And tonight she walked. She was going to leave her camera in the car. She was going to walk a full four miles that she hasn't done that often since she sprained her ankle photographing the sunrise in January. But despite the ankle, and it's subsequent healing 2014 has become the year of the camera, the year of the beautiful glass. July of 2014 has found me booking sessions daily for the fall. July has been filled with inquiries and portraits. Babies, happiness, making money and even thank you notes. 2014 is the first year I've made more than a thousand dollars for photography. That is a HUGE accomplishment!
My summer has been absorbed with photography. I've finally joined that group who is seeking professional development, reading about technology and skills and tips constantly.
Behind the scenes... Jack was licking my elbow as I shot the pictures of the Renault and the sunset.
These are the kind of images I started out with as I learned to operate my first DSLR. I shot what I was doing, whether it was a walk on the farm or a trip to the lake.
I'm beginning to read about professional photographer associations. But do I need to be bound to an organization in any form after breaking free from the institution of education and educators. I know I can build a business without it. Yet there is so much to learn and learning comes from others as well as myself.
This was the strangest flare. So I am posting it.
The rig is still up. The sun is setting and it's after midnight here and time for me to go to bed. I love and appreciate the portrait work, the events, the babies, engagements and weddings. I love the idea that photography gives. I love the happiness it creates. But most of all I love time to myself with my dogs and my old dirt road.
I went home this month. On the 18th of June I headed up to visit my friend and her family. I took the time to stop on the road and gaze at my childhood home in Boyd County Nebraska.
The long stretch of empty highway that make up the stretch of US Highway 281 in the Sandhills seems to stretch out forever when I'm longing to see a particular place that was once my home.
South of O'Neill, Nebraska you drive through miles of rolling hills.
O'Neill, Nebraska- the town where I took my first breath.
I didn't have any desire to stop between O'Neill and Spencer until I got to Eagle Creek. Finally I approached the Niobrara River Valley, just a couple of miles or so from my childhood home.
As a teenager I hated this place. I hated the fact that I was bullied in school. I hated the town. I never hated the landscape, but I couldn't disconnect the two.
Names give a place power. I tend to photograph signs because for whatever reason those names give meaning. I hate the trend towards roads that are numbered for enhanced 911 services. Names have meaning and we are taking away the names of places and giving them numbers. But, after a time numbers have meaning, like our highways.
But, I haven't returned since June of 2008. Since then I've become a photographer. I find this landscape incredibly beautiful. It makes me heartsick not to be "from" here, yet I have no desire to live here, because I love Oklahoma. I know that it is a part of my past.
The house my parents built, more house than most children could imagine to play in. A whole floor, a hot tub in the basement and a deck. I picked my own room colors at age six. Pink walls and pink carpet.
So this is a place that I call home. I don't live there. But it is still home, as much as I am from Oklahoma. I'm still a Nebraska girl.
My parents made it to Nebraska in the 60s - my Dad was a school teacher and they ended up in Spencer.
The barns that I played in.
So if you want to read intimate, revealing posts, this is pretty personal to me. Because as much as I post photos of the farm in Oklahoma- this farm is my childhood.
So here are some turkeys. It was six years since I've visited my old home, yet I've been in Nebraska numerous times over the years. I spent the next couple of days with my friend in Butte and across the road from the property that my parents once operated a business in. But I'll write more about that later. I hope you enjoy the images, and surely you will see an improvement as I've switched from a PC to a Mac and the screen resolution is incredible! I'm excited to know that my photographs will continue to improve and I can share a better depiction of my world!
So, what photos do you post after a week long trip and a thousand mile journey up into the northern plains? I am at a loss with which photos to share with you since the journey was filled with white open spaces, terrific storms and fluffy cumulous clouds over the rolling hills of the prairies.
When you drive hundreds of miles to go to a place and there is a thunderstorm, you suck up your fear get out of the car and go hike the trails. Good Earth State Park at Blood Run.
Thursday we began our journey home from Sioux Falls, South Dakota with a couple of planned stops at Good Earth State Park at Blood Run and at Spirit Mound near Vermillion, South Dakota. We ended up taking a third stop at the Missouri River and walked across the bridge to Nebraska.
We then visited Spirit Mound, near Vermillion - South Dakota. This is an impressive site to see.
A day on the road like this is filled with opportunity, yet you know you need to stay on the road and drive to get home.
Stopped for a minute to capture this train beside the old farm house in between Vermillion and Yankton.
So we walked to Nebraska; my sister and I walked over the Missouri River on this old bridge.
The Missouri River.
I love the rolling prairies of North East Nebraska, the Meadowlarks, the smell of the grass, this is home. Nebraska will always be my "home" because Nebrasks is where I spent my childhood.
Traveling on the plains in the summer is a wonderful experience. The rolling hills of the prairie that change into the high plains and then back to the cross timbers of Oklahoma. But...
On Highway 81 between Yankton, SD and Norfolk (NORFORK...please don't say NorFOLK) there is road construction; and so we wait.
waiting, waiting, waiting...
Time to go!
I always say I love Nebraska...in the summer.
The sun was setting after we left York.
My Sister's new Scion; now talk about great gas mileage!
I love this shot. Not long after this I took over driving the rest of the way to Oklahoma, and arrived home around five am.
While I charge batteries and pack my bags to leave the Hilton Garden Inn in Manhattan for the next leg of our great northern journey, I will share with you a few images from my drive from Abilene to Manhattan yesterday afternoon. My subsequent backroad journey was ended with an allergy headache that lasted until late last night. You can see below in related articles a mixture of this year and last year's Kansas vacations.
I'm not doing as much this year thanks to the cold/flu that I arrived with.
Such a beautiful day out in NW Kansas.
Such a nice afternoon to have the allergens give me a headache.
This is probably the culprit for the headache.
I know I've said this before but being able to navigate off of a paper map is a useful skill to have. It's a scary world to think how dependent upon electronics people are. It's also scary to think of the absolute trust people place in their GPS dependent navigational systems. That being said, I used my GPS on these images so the metadata is geo-tagged. Which I think is pretty cool!
I believe I love the wide open spaces better than the forests and the trees.
After I finish loading these photos I think I will go to the zoo or the lake, since we can't leave for Nebraska until four.
Tomorrow is Nebraska! So get ready the Flint Hills become Sand Hills and the rolling prairies of NE Nebraska - It will be the first time since the early 90s that my sister and I were in Nebraska together.
Hello (and goodnight) from Salina, Kansas. Just a brief stop on the beginning of the first of my 2014 adventures into the prairies and plains.
Pulled off to get a couple of shots of the churning clouds above then on down the road for fuel. These photos were between just south of Perry Oklahoma to near Tonkawa. We continued on through the night through Kansas to Salina where we will sleep.
I'm tired, but needed to relax and wind down before I sleep a few hours. I can relax tomorrow.
I can't say a roadside sunset on the interstate makes for a beautiful photo, but the sunset in itself was beautiful.
But this is the last that you'll see of Oklahoma because for the next week (and beyond-depending on how much shooting I do)- you will be seeing Kansas, Nebraska and quite possibly more!
Goodnight Everyone it's almost 2 am I need to get my six hours in. Sometimes it's just annoying to see people's vacations on the beach where it's hot, sticky and crowded---but beautiful. But right now it's good to get further north into the dry air where I don't feel like I need gills to breathe, sight seeing is individual and peaceful. I enjoy it. I can save beach trips until November. No matter where you go, you are only bored if you are determined to be bored and write a place off as invaluable.
I didn't feel well today. But I left the house to go to the gas station for some ice this evening and noticed the spectacular sunset and had to take off down the road to capture this beautiful sunset.
What is photography to me? Is it a religion, an obsession, or just a way to see the world. What is photography? It is something that has managed to consume my times, thoughts and emotions over the last five years. Is it narcissism because I have a certain skill at it. Do I enjoy other people finding pleasure in my pleasure. Photography along with other forms of art, is simultaneously one of the most valued things in society and one of the things that is devalued on a professional level. It is a philosophy, an ontology, it is the lens for which I view the world. It is my critical lens, my philosophy now. It wasn't always this way, but awareness changes thinking. An intense awareness of your surroundings.
It is like a prayer, it is something I do every single day. I'm not a religious person. I'm not a praying person; yet spirituality is still there. Because we will never know all the answers. We are all from the earth, we are a product of billions of years of evolution, we come from the stars. We exist. We exist, we disagree, we start wars, we kill each other. We don't all pray to the same gods or have the same belief system; yet we all concur that beauty can be found in nature.
We can all sit in our disillusioned worlds that filled with pain, heartache and the anger the media feeds us. We can all declare we need more time in order to enjoy life, or we can go out and enjoy our lives, moment by moment. We hurt each other and break each others hearts yet, we lose loved ones to disease, yet nature is static. It is there, predictible. The sunsets at a certain time. The ancient ones knew this. The ancient ones knew nature because they lived it. Our generation views the beauty of the world on a computer screen. Some of us bring that obscurity to life for them. We are the philosophers.
We capture the world with our lightproof boxes and we share them. The same principle applied to photography since 1840. We are the light gatherers. We are photographers. We follow the light and worship the golden hour, scorn high noon and look for these glorious moments that leave us in awe of nature.
We seek a profound moment in fractions of seconds, in Fstops, the mathematics of photography is complex and the technology is in ones and zeros and not in chemical compositions. Yet we stop and we look and we see these patterns drawn in perfection.
The bokeh, the modern day equivalent of Monet, Renoir, Manet, those impressionists who were influenced by early photographers. Their play with light is translated into our love with these images that are light and color, yet we know they're a field, a flower or a background. Cezanne, Mary Cassatt, these artists who left their mark on humanity can be seen in contemporary photography. We are all influenced by each other. We, the photographers, we the bloggers, we take time from our lives to share these seconds with you. We share what we see - we give you a momentary glance into our world.
We the photographers, we the bloggers, we the people looking to find positive in this world. Are still trapped in reading the negative diatribes of the media, the hate filled world of anger when a tragedy happens. We continue to find beauty in obscurity and to lift up the mundane and ordinary to help you to see what we do. We, the photographers spend too much money with too little appreciation. We are the crazy people on the side of the road taking photos of a fence, the sunset, something inconsequential to your field of vision.
While you can rant about politics or bemoan the state of the world, some of us spend our time editing photos and not fixating on the hate the media feeds us, the hate it sells us. We don't have cable television, we made a choice to drown those voices out of our lives. We spend our evenings in Lightroom or Photoshop and uploading to our blogs. We talk to our friends about gear, glass and lenses, our friends enable our addiction and never suggest we seek help. Yet we know it means meals not cooked, rooms not cleaned, or laundry not folded. We do it anyways. Photography is our critical lens in which to see the world. It is a second, a shot taken or missed, one to file away to be revisited a decade later. A memory. A memory kept held tightly to ourselves or one shared with the world. Either way it belongs to us.
Friday afternoon I took the kids to the Chickasaw National Recreation area, one of our favorite places to go in the Summer. They didn't get to swim in Little Niagara- instead we found this.. I But it was open a couple of weeks ago, we found it drained and empty. I was told someone dove in head first and broke his neck while a few weeks ago. So I was not shocked to find the little Niagara portion closed since, this is a "natural" place which is clearly controlled not by nature but by the will of man. Little Niagara - NPS
Sure you can picnic..but there is no water in the creek (there was a couple of weeks ago though). I also know people were swimming in it a couple of weeks ago.
I've probably posted more about this park than any others in Oklahoma since it has been our favorite since 2010. I argue that the National Parks system do not "belong to the people" if the government manages them to the point where the people have no control over them. The example is the Federal Government shut down which declared them "non-essential" - I'm sure Teddy Roosevelt would roll in his grave to know that happened. The hazardous conditions are someone dove headfirst and broke their neck, so no one else can enjoy it? Maybe I'm wrong and these are just conjectures. But it doesn't seem very good for all the new businesses the Chickasaws have opened in the area when the main attraction can't be supplied with water.
It was just sad. But we did find places to go swimming.
A rare photograph of a smiling thirteen year old boy.
The kids always enjoy swimming here.
Some kids messing around and jumping into the water.
Summer fun, these kids are local kids too.
and into the water he goes..
We did a little more exploring and I've found some of the trails I've never been on. It's amazing that you can go somewhere for four years and still find something new every time you go. That is why we need to find value in our local surroundings.
All these years and I didn't know this was here.
So I'm not out spending this nice Sunday shooting. I have an earache, so I'm going to sit here and load images on my page.
Have a beautiful Sunday.
The last time I visited Turner Falls was in January of 2011, before that it was 2008. The cost is prohibitive in the Summer with it being $12 apiece after May for entrance. So a family of five to visit Turner falls is like $62. We always go to Sulphur and Little Niagara, it's a shame because Turner Falls is closer and also very beautiful.
In January of 2011, I had just gotten my first telephoto lens. I thought it was all pretty awesome. I was also shooting with my Canon Rebel.
This time I was shooting with a 18-135, which I absolutely love the range of an 18-135 and I can't seem to find an equivalent high end lens which offers this range.
I also love getting a wide angle view of the falls so you can see the surrounding mountains. Telephoto views make you lose sight of the big picture. Only when you zoom out can you see the surroundings.
But it is an appealing sight. I was sorely tempted to climb down to get some pretty yellow flowers in focus with the falls blurred in the background. I knew I could do it. I knew it may not be wise. I didn't do it because I had someone with me.
These weren't the only ones...but that gives you an idea.
We have all of these parks with nature preserved for the people, yet we fill them with cement and warning signs. Our nature is filled with rules for our behavior. I wonder what our world looked like before dams, before some engineer decided we needed to create lakes out of all of our rivers.
Turner Falls is an awesome place to visit! We were lucky to be there on the last day of Winter pricing April 30th, so we went in for $4.
So if you're driving south to Dallas on interstate 35 make sure to take a little side trip and go see Turner Falls. You don't have to go into the park, but the overlook is spectacular.
In July of 2010 I posted some photos of this bridge. In May of 2014 I will post some more. I must rid myself of this self inflicted backlog of photos from the month of April.
I was shooting with a T3i and didn't realize my white balance was set to cloudy. Can you see how warm this photo is, can you see the yellowish tone? I didn't compensate in editing to make it look like the sunny day it was. Custom white balance is easy - just take a photo of something white in whatever light you are in. But, if you shoot in raw you can correct white balance errors, easily.
I corrected it in this shot.
This is such a pretty, peaceful place. This photo was shot with a wide angle zoom lens.
It was kind of a cool morning on April 30th but definitely better than the 95 degrees of today.
Someone working for the Chickasaw Nation contacted me and asked to use one of my Lincoln Bridge photos once, I returned the email and asked them how much they paid, to no response. Normally I allow image usage, but my own Choctaw Nation pays the artists who contribute to their buildings and with their images. I am proud to be Choctaw. This land was once part of the Choctaw Nation, we allowed the Chickasaws to share this land with our people after the hardship of the Trail of Tears of the 1830s. But before the Chickasaws and Choctaws moved on this land, it was home to Plains tribes and Caddo and even more ancient cultures. This landscape was never empty, to imagine it was is contemporary arrogance.
So at heart I am a Choctaw Nationalist. Our people sided with the French, our histories were clouded by assimilation. Yet, one Native issue that bothers me is how there seems to be an assimilation guilt of those who do not know their culture. There is a guilt and one placed upon us by traditional Natives. Far too many of us were raised in a secular nationalist sort of way, by secular nationalist I mean we are members of our tribal nation, yet we do not know the language or ceremony that made our people survive the thousands of years that we did on this continent.
So while I go off on wild tangents as I write these posts; I am always thinking about what an interconnected world we live in. I am proud to see the Chickasaws and Choctaws be successful as nations as long as they don't lose sight of why they are nations to begin with and become giant corporations with voiceless people.