It was cool peaceful morning in the woods. No $155 tickets. There were a few hunters as I heard shots ring out in the distance several times and as I was leaving a couple arrived to share the space but I had a couple of hours of solitude something I was longing for today.
On my day trip to Cane River a few weeks back, I heard on the radio… "Listen for your inner silence". That's very hard to do these days. Electronic devices make sure that at all times we can be connected to the noise of the world. I know I hear my inner silence only when I have a camera in my hands or I am on my knees before Jesus.
The world of noice melts away when that camera strap goes around my neck. I embrace the solitude of God's cathedral. Even that inner voice begins to silence as the shutter clicks again and again. Mother Teresa said, "In the silence of the heart God speaks." She says, "If you face God in prayer and silence, God will speak to you." So true.
The wind was calm when I arrived so I was able to shoot macro. As the morning progressed and the birds and butterflies began to dance, the wind picked up and I switched to telephoto. I wish for a longer range lens to capture the birds. Maybe someday, that will happen but for now I have to be happy with what I have. I enjoyed the shoot and got at least one good shot so It was successful. I found inner silence so it was doubly successful.
When was the last time you found inner silence? Do you even know how to find it? When was the last time you said. "Speak Lord, I am listening"? Do yourself a favor, especially in this last week before the election, go to that place of inner silence and really look into your soul before pulling that lever. All God's children, the born and the unborn, depend on your vote. If you vote to kill a child …you kill a child. My faith teaches me that. The Bible teaches that. Common sense tells me that to murder a child is evil and it saddens me that so many think this is of little consequence. In the end we will all suffer, not just the unborn, if this hate is allowed to continue. Please pray before you vote.
Enjoy the photos. Here are more… Recent Works. Have a most blessed week.
“Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love but to use violence to get what they want.”
― Mother Teresa, The Joy in Loving: A Guide to Daily Living
“I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is 'Abortion', because it is a war against the child... A direct killing of the innocent child, 'Murder' by the mother herself... And if we can accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love... And we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts...”
― Mother Teresa
Woods Walking Part II
I was determined to finish what I started yesterday. I woke to fog and overcast skies but the Weather Channel App said it would clear so I grabbed my camera and headed out. I was convinced it would be peaceful this morning. I made a quick stop for gas at the Chevron and cut thru Ball to my spot. Not so fast… The friendly Ball police had other ideas. I have worked at ADs for 24 years. Our office has been in Ball since 2000. For 16 years I have traveled thru the "Ball Speed Trap" uneventful. I was not speeding. In fact I was under the speed so I was a bit perplexed when the cop made a u-turn in front of ADs and pulled me over. He said my lights were not on and since it was a foggy morning that was an issue. I was totally unaware that my "AUTO" lights failed to turn on and thus I was illegal. I pleaded my ignorance which was 100% true. I never noticed they hadn't kicked on but this fell on deaf ears. Yes, I was guilty but my almost tears of frustration did nothing to keep him from doing his job and he presented me with a ticket. He added with assurance that he had indicated on the ticket that I had a "positive attitude" and that should keep the price down. I thought my "positive attitude" has worked real well so far but.. I was good. I kept my mouth shut, turned my lights on and drove on. I was most thankful it was Sunday not Monday therefor I didn't have the embarrassment of my coworkers gawking out the windows of ADs.
This delay resulted in the beautiful fog lifting before I reached my destination but that was OK. The Youth Challenge kids had done their job leaving some of the yellow flowers behind so I was happy to see that. After shooting for a while I set on a bench and watched the koi fish in the pond. It was peaceful. I had only heard one gun shot. It must have resulted in a kill since I heard no more shots. The ticket was almost forgotten. When I turned back to the gardens, I was treated to a sea of butterflies. Such a beautiful sight. Worth the ticked? Time will tell on that. I did the crime so I deserved it. Lesson learned, I will now remember to check my lights on foggy morning. Life goes on. I am so blessed that one little ticket will not bring me down.
O, and another good thing, "Yard Sale" Jesus it in my house. Thanks Brandon. I hope you back doesn't hurt too much.
I woke early under protest. My body wanted to sleep. I headed to my spot in the woods but sadly after 20 minutes or so, my peaceful walk in the woods abruptly ended. I was tolerant of the gun shots in the distance of hunters even though with every crack of the gun, I knew some defenseless critter either lost his life are wish he had. I knew they would be there and that I would have to share the woods with them.
It was a bus load of teenage delinquents that invaded my world and caused me to toss my camera in the car and drive away from the beautiful yellow flowers. The kids were of the Youth Challenge Program and were there to clear cut the forest. That said, I think I faired better than the flowers…I guess they are gone now. Not to mention the deer, pigs, and squirrels that met their demise on what had promised to be a nice peaceful morning for us all.
The upside, hopefully this bus load of kids will benefit from their morning of community service. Hopefully they will leave their aggressions and anger in the woods and become productive men and women of the community upon their graduation from the program. I know of two kids that got their diplomas there and could be poster children of the program. It is a good one.
Here a few shots I managed to get. Enjoy
PS. No spiderwebs this morning. That was disappointing too.
I left the office at lunch yesterday with the intentions of treating myself to a Subway veggie sub. The plan was to get the sub and head off to one of my secluded spots for lunch. Plans varied slightly when I saw a tiny “Yard Sale” sign one driveway passed the office. Yes, I am an addict, I will admit that. My head slowly turned right and my eyes trailed up the driveway and landed on Jesus… or so I thought it was Jesus. I had no cash on me so I kept driving.
Jesus or was that a plastic Joseph from a nativity? No, I think it was Jesus but… it was probably too much money… still, it’s Jesus, I think? Regardless I have to check it out. There is an ATM by Subway. Get some cash, the sub and stop back by on the way to the spot for lunch. Good plan!
The Subway lady quickly made my “usual” and with cash in my pocket I was back on the highway in no time. I drive back to the yard sale. The driveway was long so I drove about halfway and walked the rest. Yes, It’s Jesus not a plastic Joseph. But there’s the price… o wow, $3.00… yep that is doable. A sightless voice spoke from the shadows of the carport… “Hi, how are you”.
“Fine, Nice day” I said, “I’ll take Jesus”. To be polite I shopped the tables of other offerings before I paid for Jesus. I was then given instructions. “You can pull your car up. The driveway circles thru. I’ll help you when I finish my sandwich. It's heavy.”
“O, I can get it. Thank You", I said. Uh… NO !!! Heavy was not the word… what did I just buy? Solid concrete... How am I going to get “Yard Sale” Jesus in my car much less my house? But.. I already paid for it… it's mine… I want "Yard Sale Jesus"… You want it? It will happen.
Sandwich eaten, the previous owner of “Yard Sale Jesus helped me get the heavy hunk of concrete into my trunk. I drove to my “spot” for lunch as originally planned wondering all the while how the heck I was going to get “Yard Sale" Jesus” up the steps into my house. I planned how I would repaint the faded Jesus and where its new spot would be in my eclectic house but… damm it, how the heck will I get “Yard Sale" Jesus in my house?
I woke early this morning and thought of “Yard Sale Jesus” all alone in my trunk. You, know, It wasn’t that heavy… I can do it… today is another day… I'll get dressed, I can do this. Uh… NO!!! I couldn’t even lift his head in the coffin of my trunk.
So, once again I was quickly reminded that I can’t do everything myself. It sometimes take more than one person to bring Jesus home… It takes time… slow down… help will be available this weekend. “Yard Sale" Jesus will make it home when He is good and ready.
A good lesson for us all really. Jesus comes on His time, not ours, right?
Have a most blessed weekend.
It was a quick shoot. Work called. Hopefully I can return this weekend to my spot. I hope your day is blessed.
No pictures, just thoughts today. My faith, beliefs and ideals were headline news today. The list of adjectives describing me grows. I am now a “backward, deplorable, redneck.” My first response was, “I would rather be a backward, deplorable, redneck than a forward liberal.” Yes, it’s humorous to some but in truth I’m not laughing.
My heart is saddened that so many people HATE me because I am what I am. My heart is also sad that these same people live in a world void of the graces that God offers to them. I was listening to a Priest a few nights ago that said, “We all have a season ticket. It is up to us if we choose to use it or not.” Putting the ticket in a drawer isn’t good enough for some. It goes further than that. These people, who have pinned these labels on me, go out of their way to mock my beliefs. It’s as if they think that dragging me down to their level will make their future better for them. It seems like they believe they know more than God. Wow… could that be?
They ridicule my beliefs by injecting the poison of their beliefs into society thus hurting not only themselves but others. They say I am evil for not respecting the rights of women. AKA… Killing a child is acceptable. They say I am heartless for believing that relationships should be a union between a man and a women for the purpose of procreation. AKA… premarital sex, birth control, gay marriage and switching gender is acceptable. They say I worship idol by having a statue of Mary and an image of Christ in my home but fail to realize that by it’s very definition an "IDOL" is the device they are using to type their hate… smart phone, iPad , laptops, social media, etc. Praying an hour before an image of the Crucified Christ brings one closer to Jesus. Wasting an hour before their "golden calf" bashing people, does the opposite. When they say the Catholic church is archaic in their beliefs they are only hurting themselves and others because the purpose of the Church is to bring souls to heaven. It isn’t there to make one feel good. Yes, it’s hard …VERY HARD but the reward will be oh so sweet for those who are up to the challenge.
Yes, it hurts to be called names but in truth, they can bash me all the want and call me every name in the book because I believe that I have God as my shield and in the end He will protect me from satan’s wrath. But who will protect them? It is bad enough to descend into hell on your on but bringing others alone for the ride makes the fall much faster and the landing more painful.
Pray, Pray, Pray.
I pray you are resting in the arms of our Lord.
The old house is still standing
Though the paint is cracked and dry
And there's that old oak tree I used to play on… It's good to touch the green, green grass of home.
It was calling my name…
I photographed this GMC at lunch. I was eating lunch on the banks of the Red when a gentleman drove up in this stunning truck. He began photographing it so I assumed he was putting it up for sale and needed photos for an ad. I was sure glad when I found out I was wrong. I didn't get his name but he just finished restoring this truck passed down from his grandfather. It is a labor of love & a legacy to his dad and grandfather. Both have passed but his father was able to see him restoring it. He let me photograph it too. It will be in classic car shows around the state in the weeks to come. "Go Jimmy Go"
Brief stroll thru the woods on a Friday Morning.
I made this page of inspiring creative words for the inside of an art journal I created for a gift. Worth a read…
I took these a few weeks back on the banks of the Red River. Nothing exciting, just a quiet morning watching the barges flow under the old railroad bridge on the Red. An event that happens often, I am sure, but one that requires a lot of coordination between the railroad traffic and river traffic. I saw no one which made me wonder if the bridge was on a timer of some sort causing it to rise and lower when a barge approaches… like the doors at Walmart. I'm sure the technology is available but I sleep better believing that there is an engineer in the house atop the bridge and pilots aboard the tug boats. I timed it right to see the event. It was a hot morning and the mosquitoes were bad so I didn't stay long.
These two are untitled but are clearly about "image" as well.
In The Works
I repurposed teabags a few weeks back… and they sit. The next step will present itself in due time of that I am sure. I am looking forward this weekend to completing one art piece I am working on. I just need to mix the epoxy and I will be done. Last Sunday I was stuck but I simply walked away and by mid week an idea presented itself. It is titled, "Image". I never stop creating. I get stuck sometimes as with my teabags but I simply move on to the next idea in my head. I have two more boxes prepped and ideas for use so I plan for a busy studio weekend.
Every person has ghost. Not necessarily bad ones just persons no longer here that pop up now and again when you least expect it. I like the concept of this piece. I may do more.
Thought we could use a bit of flora on this hot, sunny, September day.
Help Me – The anti-abortion theme has found a place in my art and it speaks loudly here. It is a small piece. The box was a drawer to a wooden jewelry chest I recently found at a thrift shop. I painted it black and played with the idea of using shaved sidewalk chalk as an accent. I like the effect and will use it again. The doll pieces I found on eBay. The doll head was broken but I made it work. The clown butter knife speaks volumes and the added photo concludes the story.
Mac - I began this piece with the paintbrush and the photograph of a boy. I married the two and the rest just fell into place. The box itself is a child's art box from the 60s or so. The red pegs were a part of the art box set. The architectural drawing in the background I found at an estate sale. The roll of drawings were from a student's project and something I just couldn't pass up. The background design, combined with the compass, protractor,and mechanical pencil give it an architectural theme. It is a musical piece in a way as the metal spikes are from a child's piano and can be played if you wish but they were not added for that purpose just for aesthetics. The top is an art deco desk calendar. I added MAC for my Dad. This peace reminded me of him.
Broken windows and empty hallways
A pale dead moon in the sky streaked with gray
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today
Scarecrows dressed in the latest styles
With frozen smiles to chase love away
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today
Tin can at my feet
Think I'll kick it down the street
That's the way to treat a friend
Bright before me the signs implore me
To help the needy and show them the way
Human kindness is overflowing
And I think it's going to rain today
I love these lyrics. My favorite interpretation is by Katie Melua. She is a beautiful young woman with incredible talent and a beautiful, soulful voice. It was also sung by Bette Middler in Beaches back in the 80s. I think these lyrics are fitting for this series of broken window photographs.
I made a few shots before work today and played with color. I kind of like the results and I really like this space. Nice find.
Have a most blessed three day weekend.
I fell in love with this huge tree and the little house in its shade. Sadly, the house was unoccupied but at some point I imagine lots of children climbed in the branches of this tree. Perhaps at one point there was a swing hanging from the sturdy limbs or maybe even a tree house nestled in the branches. Regardless, you can be sure it is home to lots of squirrels, birds and insects. Enjoy…
A bird chirped outside my window all night long or so it seemed. I kept waking up to his endless chirping. I finally rose early and grabbed my camera where I was treated to the morning fog. So, as annoying as that bird is I can credit him with being able to see and photograph the beauty of a foggy morning in the woods.
I used the HDR (High-dynamic-range imaging) effect on these three photographs. It's different. In some ways I like it but in other ways I see it as just a gimmick. I don't like when it is used to the extreme. I feel it works most effectively in architecture and thus used it here and if it works at all, it works here. This is an interesting space. I have photographed it before and it hasn't changed much since I last shot it. The bleachers are gone and there is a bit more graffiti on the walls. Here I show all 4 walls of this rectangular space in HDR.
Storms On The Horizon
We have been blessed in Central Louisiana not to see the rain of our neighbors to the South but we have still gotten more of our share of wet stuff this year. The good thing durning this photo shoot was the showers were spotty and I could easily drive out of a rain shower into clear skies.
May God continue to bless those who will suffer the effects of the flooding for years to come.
Light And The Lack Of
“It's beautiful here, but morning light can make the most vulgar things tolerable.”
― Donna Tartt, The Secret History
One of the most beautiful spots in Louisiana is Cane River country. The area spans between Alexandria and Natchitoches in the central part of the state. I remember the day I first saw the cane. Prior to that I never knew that was the origin of the name of the river. Last week I had the opportunity to escape to the area. It was overcast and I had to dodge the rain showers but I still found the beauty of the river. Had the light been more forgiving the shoot would have been more productive but I enjoyed the brief escape none the less.
I guess it is both…
This tree, ugly and bent from age, is a family tree. We all walked past it time and again. Maybe others didn't ever pay it much mind but I always did. I think If you study it you may find the McNamara's in the branches. This tree is the tree my dad climbed on as a child. I use to swing on its vines. This is the tree my Uncle Johnny hung Louisiana moss from. This tree shaded our cars from the Mississippi sun. It wasn't a pretty tree but it was there and is still today. It is as much a part of us as the house.
Kisatchie National Forest
I woke early and went walking in the woods prior to coming to work. The light was bad. It was overcast but I enjoyed the escape anyhow. The photos are not great but a memory anyhow.
"Bankrupt Manor". That's what my uncle called in a video he made on Christmas Eve 1987. It was an odd choice of words, since it was't… bankrupt that is, but I found it humorous when I first viewed the video. That was almost 30 years ago. A lot has changed now. Don't get me wrong, the house is the same, but it's just a house. The life is gone. I said I wasn't going back. I said I wasn't going to photograph it again, but I did. I'm not sure why, maybe in some ways it is a member of the family too. Maybe it is more than just a falling down old house. Maybe it has a heartbeat too. I must admit, it is hard to separate it from my memories of the family.
After Aunt Joe died, I had many bad dreams about her being sick. Maybe it was because I was there the day before she died. The cancer was advanced and she was suffering greatly. We talked about the house that day. She said her best memory of the house was of us kids having a play on the front porch back in the 60s. She died that night in the house where she was born. The bad dreams ended the night I dreamed she was in heaven. Heaven was the McNamara front porch. It was all bathed in white and Aunt Joe was a bright light. I knew she was at peace. I hope Dad is there. I hope the author of the words, "Bankrupt Manor". is there too. I miss him… miss them all.
Why would anyone buy dying flowers? That is something my Dad would have said. I love "dried naturals", as Hobby Lobby calls them. I supplemented them with ones I found in the woods. The pot was found as well. The moss, I took off a tree in the Natchez trace. The result… a pot of dead flowers. Seems appropriate for the history of the pot. And this photo feels appropriate for this Friday.
My Uncle Son passed away this morning. He went peacefully. His wife and daughter were at his side. He donated his body to science so there will be no funeral. He was an old man, worn down by life. He had this theory, that I named the “Uncle Son Bucket Theory”. It goes like this: The mind is like a bucket filling with water and as one ages the bucket get so full that new information simply flows over the edges. I added an addendum to that theory. It goes like this: when one gets a hole in the bucket it’s called Alzheimer’s. Uncle Son had a hole in his bucket.
I didn’t know him as a kid. He was simply one of my Dad’s many brothers I didn’t see very often. It was later in life that I got to know him. We both shared a fondness for family photos and our visit usually ended up in his den of photographs. Uncle Son had taken a staple gun and stapled the family to the wood paneling. To me it was beautiful. Only Uncle Son could come up with that. The room was full. The photos got him to talking and before his bucket developed a hole he would tell stories. One of his last was this…
My Grandfather, Uncle Son’s dad was the "McNamara" in O’Neill McNamara Hardware Store in Vicksburg, Mississippi. He was their top salesman. He would leave on a Monday morning from Vicksburg. He would travel into Louisiana across the Mississippi River bridge and then travel south thru Louisiana till he got to Vidalia. He would cross into Natchez Mississippi and head north ending back in Vicksburg on Friday. He would always take one of the McNamara boys with him… not the girls. One week he took very small Uncle Son. They climbed into his Model T. On the floor of the back seat was large jug of whiskey. It soon became clear to Uncle Son why his dad was their top salesman. As evening set, they arrived at a large plantation house in Louisiana. Here, Uncle Son was to spend the night. Hand in hand they walked to the big house. Uncle Son ask my Grandfather what the large bell was for in the front of the mansion. He explained that the big bell was used to call the help to work in the mornings. After my Grandfather dropped Uncle Son off, having arranged for him to stay the night, he then traveled to a near by farm. There, after a night of poker and whiskey, he would return to pick up his son with his bulging sales book full of orders for tools, seed and farm equipment. Uncle Son woke very early the next morning in a strange bed in a strange house. He looked out the window and saw the big bell in the yard. He slipped out, unnoticed, and walked to the big bell. On his tip toes he pulled the rope that set the bell to clanging. From all directions the help came running. The were yawning and rubbing their eyes that were filled with fear as the thought they had overslept. Uncle Son took off running back into the plantation hoping to avoid the punishment that was sure to follow.
I will miss his stories, his BBQ ribs, his dry humor, his den of photographs and his love for life but I believe he is in a better place. I believe his bucket will never be full again and will never have a hole. I believe he is with my Dad and his other siblings. I believe he is swapping stories with them all of growing up in the McNamara home, the Model T, going to the Brother’s school, WWII and so much more that I was never told.
I have his photos and stories to remember him by. I have a set of 100 year old encyclopedias he gave me. Ones that he purchased from the Vicksburg library book sale. And as frail as he was he insisted on helping me load them in my car. I have the clock my Dad gave to him when he was home on leave from the Navy. But I will still miss him….
This isn't good by simply a…see ya later Uncle Son.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
This is my latest assemblage piece. It speaks for itself really. It is an odd jumble of objects: keys, tintype, old carpenters ruler, typewriter key (floating shift), doll parts, brass dog, needle book needles, and old printers type all inside a wooden box. I will let your mind write the story.
Among The Weeds
This photograph was made in the Old Rapides Cemetery in Pineville on July 30th, 2016.
This gentleman died 100 years ago. He was 74 years old. Who was he? Was he a father? Was he a farmer? Perhaps he was an elected official or a preacher. Was he Catholic, Baptist or did he not have a faith at all? Did he live in the area or was he passing thru on a boat floating down the Red River or was he on a train riding the rails through town when he left this world? Who erected this stone. Was it his wife or son? Did he pass after a long illness? Maybe he fell off a horse to his death or was run over by a Model-T. Maybe someone shot him in a bar room brawl on Main Street. Or did he simply just close his eyes while watching the sun set one evening and opened them to see the beauty and glory of heaven.
These are the things I think of when I walk through an old cemetery while reading words engraved on headstones. Sometimes I will see the words Mother and Father engraved in large letters but aside from that, I can't always tell a whole lot about a life that once walked on the same soil as I. It saddens me today that young people in our society label people not by their position in the family, their religion, occupation, military rank or origin but by appearance and sexuality. Young people use words like: gay, straight, bi, transgender, black, white or latino when ask to describe someone. How sad is that? Young people see a person's appearance not their contributions to society. The result… devision and hate.
God made us the race and sex we are for a reason.
God made us to know Him, to love Him and to serve Him.
God put us here for a reason.
Have you figured out why you are here or are you still hung up the fact that God made you as you are?
Time to wake up and work on the second part… the reason you are here. The end is near.
Morning After The Rains
I like warm colors and cool grays, odd I suppose. This morning on my way to the office, I made this photograph. In this image, the early morning sun was casting warm colors off the concrete making it the focal point. The warmth is also seen in the trees in the foreground pines and even those in the background have a warm yellow cast to them. We use the same terms for color as temperature… warm and cool but in reality that isn't always true. A blue flame is often times a hotter temperature even though it is considered a cooler color. The best time to shoot is early morning. It is cooler but the colors are warmer… go figure.
This sculpture is downtown Alexandria. What I noticed Saturday morning when I made this photograph was not the sculpture itself but the colors in the negative space. I always think of O'Keefe. Perhaps studying her work has taught me to see beyond the object just as she did in her desert bone paintings. The bones, the decay, framed the living art created by God. That's not the same here, however, as most of what is downtown was created by man. We define what is art. The creator of this sculpture is an artists but so are the Architects that build the buildings. The city planners, the brick layers all are artists in their own rights. Maybe we all are, God included, weather we care to admit it or not.
Wishing our girls luck today… Geaux Team
I woke to this news: France church attack: Priest killed by two 'ISIS soldiers'….The attackers entered the church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray during Mass, taking the priest, Fr Jacques Hamel, 84, and four other people hostage….Police sources said it appeared the attackers had slit the priest's throat with a knife…..Pope Francis decried the "pain and horror of this absurd violence".
My heart is saddened. Let us pray…
Eternal rest grant unto him,
O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
I made this photograph in a Catholic Church in Marksville, LA. The mid day sun is shining through the beautiful stained glass windows onto the baptismal font. Most beautiful.