Saturday, June 30, 2007

Time for Dress Up

We stopped at Cari's aunts house. Her Aunt brought out a huge bag of dress-up clothes, Meredith started trying on wigs, dresses, long gloves, even some lip stick.
We all know that Meredith is a pretty princess. But dad too?

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I normally do not post about news stories. This one got my attention this evening.

Paris Hilton is out of jail and did an interview last night with Larry King. I know, everyone is about tired of this, but this is funny.

Here's a LINK to the story on CNN. Here's the relevant quote from the story:

Asked three times if she has ever used or been addicted to drugs, she replied flatly, "No." Asked if she was a big drinker, Hilton told King, "I'm not really into it. I think socially people do sometimes when they go out, but it's not something that I really care about."
She denied EVER using drugs.

Now go to this website: The Smoking Gun
They show seven videos of Paris Hilton and drugs. Some of the videos she is using drugs, some of the videos she is discussing having or buying drugs.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Out of Character

It is really out of character for me to approach strangers.

Maybe it is from all the pounding in my head, "don't talk to strangers." Maybe I'm just shy.

Either way, while we were at the hotel in Mt. Vernon, Il last week, I went out to take some shots. There was a lot around the hotel and I went out exploring. In the parking lot of the hotel there were two guys swinging ropes. I watched for a minute and went down the block a bit. When I came back, one guy was still out there roping. I decided I really wanted to take some picture of him.

"Do you mind if take some pictures while you practice?" He shook his head no.
As I set up the camera, we talked for a minute. He is from Iowa and competes in rodeos around the midwest. I forget what he called it, but what he does is ride a horse, rope a calf, jump down and tie its feet together. This bale of hay didn't seem much of a challenge for him. His friend I saw him with earlier also competes. His friend also works with him. They travel around installing lights in auditoriums.

When I was done taking pictures, I thanked him and asked his name.

"Graham, like the cracker", he responded.

"Good luck, Graham.", I replied as I walked back to my hotel room.
Back at the room, I told Cari my story. She didn't believe me until I showed her the pictures in the camera. She remarked that it surprised her that I actually did that.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Feeding Time. . .one year later.

Last year, I showed you a video of a snake that was going to eat a rat.
Click here to watch 'Snakefood'

The rat never got eaten on camera.

We were back again this summer. . . .
Who wants to see the video?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The way we went

Here's a map I put together in Google Maps.We started at the house in the bottom right, headed West and North. Stopped at Mt. Vernon to sleep and met Graham:

He installs lights in schools and also does some rodeos.
Then we headed to the two flags around Peoria. Stayed and visited for a few days before we continued along the blue path to the anchor. Another few days of visiting, fishing, picking cherries before we headed South on the blue line. The interstate was closed at the fire and we had to detour a lot. If you were able to zoom in, you would see what we had to go through there. Slept near Danbridge, TN last night and home this morning.

Starting to unpack

We're safe at home now. We have begun unpacking and resting. I have over three hundred photographs to look at. I glanced over them once and we have some great ones. I'll try and get several here later tonight. I'll also be putting a few on flickr.

Here's a news story about the accident we had to travel around yesterday. We were near that area around 4pm and past the area around 6:00pm.

Friday, June 22, 2007


I will be back to posting tomorrow afternoon. We have been on vacation the past week. That explains why I haven't posted. We traveled what feels like the entire Midwest. Traveled over to the bottom of Illinois and up the center of the state to Peoria. From there were drove over to Michigan and stayed for a few days. Today we left Michigan, headed South past Indy and Cincinnati.

Somewhere in Kentucky, there was a wreck that closed south bound lanes of I-75. We had to find an alt route. Cari found an alternate on Hwy 25. EVERYONE else had the same idea and we were at a stand still.

We jumped on the alternate of the alternate and went out into the mountains. We were in rural Kentucky for about an hour and half. Some of the most winding roads I have ever driven were in those mountains. When we got back to I-75, we stopped at Wendy's and got some dinner. Seemed that everyone in there had been stuck in traffic for hours. They were very grumpy. Thanks to my navigation system (Cari), we had kept moving and I believe we saved some time and saw some great things.

Tonight we are East of Knoxville, TN. I have only had access to a computer once this trip. I had hoped to have more time to post, but it didn't happen. I took some notes and a lot of pictures that I will be sharing this week.

Saturday, June 16, 2007


I had something to write when I went to bed last night. I have now forgotten.

I guess I'll just tell you that I removed a tick from myself last week. No worries. The dog had one as well. Much bigger one on the dog, and the tick was huge from eating. The tick on my was just going for a walk. I gave him a change of pace and he went swimming. . .in the toilet.

Also, I'll show you a picture of Graham practicing his roping skills. He is from Iowa. Picture coming, maybe next week. As well as more details to come.

Hope I remember what I was going to tell you later. I'll write it down if I do.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Discovery Channel

I really enjoy watching Discovery, National Geographic, and the History Channels.
Recently, after watching hours of Discovery, I've decided to rename that channel.

It's new name: THE DEADLIEST CATCH channel.
The runner up name for the channel was the MIKE ROWE channel.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Dog bites Pastor

The title of this post is also a text I got from Cari last week.
I was at work, but when I saw this I had to take a break to call her.

I was at work, Cari was out shopping with the kids. The pastor of our church stopped by to drop off some materials.

When Cari got home there was a message on our answering machine from the pastor. He stated that when he came over to drop off the materials our dog bit him.

Initially, Cari was annoyed. Of course the dog bit him, the dog is protecting the house while we are not home. The UPS guy won't even get out of his truck at our house, he just drops packages in the bushes beside the driveway.

Turtle hasn't bitten anyone before, but she does growl and bark if people come into the driveway. I guess most people back away when a dog is growling. Cari wanted to find out if the pastor was ok and also wondered how this happened. She called him.

He said when he was walking up, Turtle growled. He stopped for a moment and let her smell him, and then she walked off. He thought everything was ok so he proceeded to our front door. He had been over maybe twice before, so this was not his first encounter with the dog. Once at the door, the dog came back to him and started growling again, he put his hand down to pet her and she snapped at his hand. He said the bite wasn't too bad, but did break the skin.

That is the pastors side of the story. Turtle saw things a little differently.

A strange man walks up the driveway with a package, maybe a bomb. She must protect her territory. She warned the stranger that she is protecting her territory. He yielded to her warning so she went back to watching bunnies play in the yard. She thought he was going to turn and leave. After the bunnies scampered off, she went back to the front door and saw the stranger. She growled louder this time and barked as she approached him. He may try and leave that bomb on the steps of HER house. The stranger reached out to strike her in the head, but she used her lightening quick reflexes to bite him. He dropped the bomb, screamed, and ran back to the car. After he left, she went back into the yard and found a spot to pee.

Remember. There are always two sides to every story. Yes, this incident is a true story. Thankfully, the bite wasn't too bad, and he did not push the issue.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Wedding

I went to a wedding yesterday. Not as a guest, but as photographer. This was the first wedding I have done. I very quickly learned a couple of lessons first hand.

As a wedding photographer, you must be QUICK. There isn't a lot of time to think about the shot before the moment is gone. It's not like doing a portrait. When the bride and groom have their first kiss, that only happens once. No second chances. When the couple turns to their guests to walk out. . . only once. Throwing the bouquet. Once. Cutting the cake and smashing it to each others face (didn't happen yesterday) only happens once. Miss a camera setting or be slow to take the shot, you've missed it. No second chance. I put the camera in full manual mode yesterday so I would have more control of my images, but there were some times I started to second guess myself.

The other thing I learned was that being a wedding photographer is stressful. Mostly for the same reason I listed above. Cari was with me as assistant, and she did a great job. She asked me if I was having fun. I told her it was not fun. It was work. I was stressing. Not only did I have to be quick and on my toes, I had to be very aware. I was getting pictures of some guests and of the bridal party. At the same time I kept an eye on the bride and groom. I also had to keep my ears open to hear what was coming next. Cutting the cake, was not announced. It just happened. I heard a mother talking about it so I stayed near the area. If I had been across the room getting other shots, I would have missed it.

After the reception, back in the car, I took a deep breath. "That was fun.", I told Cari.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Time for some Geocaching

We took a few hours to do some geocaching today. Last time I took Randy, he screamed the whole time. He refused to give anything up.

The first one was near a small waterfall off the side of the highway. The bottom of the waterfall is only knee deep, so after we found the cache, we let the kids play in the water for a while.

Our second cache was at a place called Aunt Sue's. A cluster of buildings housing a small restaurant and unique gift shops. After we found the cache we headed up to the buildings for some ice cream. Randy had picked up a bouncing ball that flashes colored light in the cache. While we ate our ice cream, he decided to give it to Meredith. The deal was that he could have something out of the next cache. I explained to him that sometimes there is NOTHING good to take from a cache. He accepted that risk and handed the ball to Meredith.

Those with children may see where this is going. . .

At our third and final cache of the day, we walked a short distance into the woods. I pointed to some fallen trees up a hill and Randy scampered up to find his first geocache. He ripped it open and found some flashers that fit on the spokes of his bike tires. Immediately, Meredith started having a fit. She didn't want the ball anymore. She wanted Randy to have the ball. Cari and I quickly signed the log and closed up the container. Meredith was about to lose it and we had to go. Little one cried all the way back to the car, telling me how she didn't want the ball. When I asked her to give it to me, so I could put it in a cache, she cried more. Now she wanted Randy to keep it. She wasn't willing to let it go back in the box.

For the next fifteen minutes riding in the car was not fun. She screamed and cried. Finally, Cari took the ball from her. Now she says she wants Cari to run her over to the dollar store and get some toy. We'll see about that.

Overall, the four of us had the best time geocaching together. I was really happy that Randy helped and didn't have a fit. Meredith did really well until the very end as well.

Cari and I also picked up two travel bugs that we will leave as we travel on vacation coming up. This will give some of these travel bugs a huge boost in mileage. Hopefully we'll bring some back from vacation to place back around here.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sunday in the South

Listen. Do you hear it?
It is Sunday morning. Roughly eight in the morning.
I'm just waking up. Cari is in the room getting ready for church.
"Do you hear that?", I ask her.
"Yeah. Someone is cutting their grass.", she answers.
My first thought is that the Atheist is out there. Then I remembered he doesn't cut his grass, he makes his pregnant wife do it.
"Look outside. Who is it?", I ask. I sat up in bed and listened. Trying to decide which direction the noise was coming from.

There isn't anything wrong with cutting grass on a Sunday. I've done it once in a while myself. But on a Sunday morning? I knew that all the houses on our street would be up and getting ready for church. All but two.

Cari looked out one window, didn't see anything, then looked out the other. "It's the Yankee.", she reported.

"Figures.", I replied. I didn't even bother looking for myself. I imagined he was out there wearing his huge airport-style ear protection and goggles.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

A new shot!

I've had an idea for a photograph stirring in my head for a few days. Today I had a chance to try it. I'm still thinking of ways I can improve on it. Here's how it was done.

Park the car in the road at the end of the driveway and set up a tripod. The first shot, I was in the driver seat. I had the flash on the floor of the passenger side to light up my face a bit. The second shot, I climbed over to the passenger seat and put my head down. Again, firing the flash into my face. Cari was assisting, sitting next to the camera with the remote. As I got into position, she would hit the button.

The final shot was to lay on the roof of the car. Originaly, I thought I would have Cari use the leaf blower on me to simulate wind. I climbed onto the trunk and almost to the back windshield before I jumped off screaming. Cari looked at me kinda puzzled. The car was hotter than putting your hand on a burning stove. This would have to be a quick shot. No blower today.
I told Cari to get ready. I scrambled up the car as quick as possible. Layed on my stomach and I heard Cari take a shot. I lifted my hand to my hat. I heard Cari click about four more shots. I jumped off as quickly as I could. My shirt had moved a bit and I burned my stomach. Fifteen minutes after being off the car, my palms still hurt. Minor burns might be worth it, if I got the shot.

After loading the photos and picking the best of each shot, I merged them together in photoshop. Added some motion blur, and done.

I have some other ideas along the lines of this shot, but I'll wait for a cloudy day to try it. Click on the above shot to get a better look.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Fireman in a small town

Our cub scout pack had our last meeting of the year last week. We had an outdoor theme. We played with hoola hoops, had a water balloon toss, and played with Frisbees. The highlight came when the firetruck pulled up in front of the field. The truck was holding 1,200 gallons of water.

All the kids knew what came next and lined themselves up in the path of the hose mounted on top of the truck. The fireman was excited to come and be a part of our meeting. He started up the truck and sprayed a HUGE plume of water into the air. If you didn't look up, you would think it was raining. Some kids got up on the truck and helped direct the spray across the field. Somewhere around five minutes later, the water ran out. All the kids groaned at the same time at the end of getting soaked. They shouted, "MORE!". The fireman agreed we should have more. He backed the truck about two blocks down the road and filled the truck up at the hydrant. When he pulled back up to our field, he started spraying again. Everyone had a great time, and it was a fun meeting.

On my way home, I saw the firetruck back at the hydrant. I slowed down and saw the fireman spraying water for a single kid that was playing in the yard where the hydrant was located.

That's a guy that really enjoys his job.