Saturday, June 18, 2016

How to get GPS coordinates off your cell phone

So your on a photo journey, and you've found some great shots! You want to go back to the spots or share them with others. Here is how you can capture your current position from your iPhone.

1) No app needed way...

On the iPhone goto

Settings, Privacy, Location Services and make sure "Location Services" is turned on at the top. Then further down the screen look for the "Compass" app and make sure that Compass is "While Using" and not never.

Now, you can open the "Compass" app and you will see your coordinates at the bottom of the screen.

2) Or you can download an App called "GPS Tour". It is free and it is great for capturing the whole days photo locations without having to write them down or screen shot.

Once you download and install "GPS Tour", when you open it your current position is right there on the front screen. So easy! But wait, there's more. If you click on "Edit Locations" icon on the bottom of the screen, you can easily capture all your days journey in one log file. Just hit the "+" sign at each location to capture a location. Then you can enter a description of the location in the location box, even take a quick photo with your phone to remember what this location is. Then Press the "Use Current Position" to grab your current location. Then click "Save" to finish up. Walla! All done.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Bless the Lord O My Soul

"Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me. Bless His holy name"

I was driving up Hwy 3 toward Yazoo City, Mississippi just enjoying a beautiful morning. I wasn't looking for a "quantity" of photos, but I was looking for a few "quality" shots. This cross was on the side of the road, kinda deep in the woods. It caught my eye as I was driving about 35! It was the shot I was looking for.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

More Southern Pulpits - Grits Photography

This is a follow up to my previous blog posted over six years ago! I love taking photos of old pulpits. The spot where pastors stand to deliver their message to the flock. A two-sided communication bridge between God and the congregation looking for Gods wisdom and inspiration.  One one side of the pulpit stands the spiritual leader of the church.  When the leader steps up to their side of the pulpit it is a time of reverence.

For more photos of southern places, southern faces click here

These photos are part of my Grits Photography website - capturing southern photography around Mississippi and the Mississippi Delta. Southern Places, Southern Faces.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Get On Up - James Brown Movie - Rodney, Mississippi

I recently went to see the James Brown biography movie, Get On Up. I went because it blended both of my worlds of photography and music, two of my favorite activities! I knew that the movie was filmed in several locations across Mississippi, but when I heard they filmed a scene at the old church in Rodney, Mississippi, I had to go see it!

I watched the movie with much anticipation, thinking they would barely show the old church, or I wouldn't recognize it, but then it happened...

My heart JUMPED out of my chest, and I wanted to turn to the folks around me in the movie theatre and tell them, I KNOW THAT PLACE, I've stood right where they are standing. But it was more than that, something inside me was happy for the old church that no one ever gets to see. It is so remote and forgotten that the earth is slowly overtaking it. So, yeah, I guess I was happy that now the world was seeing it through the film

Just two weeks ago Marty Kittrell and I went to shoot the old church (again), with a new friend of ours to show it to him for the first time. Here are some photos from that day.

Well, anyway, just wanted to share this moment of my life, it was very thrilling to know that this little jewel of Mississippi was being shared with millions of movie goers around the country. This old church that we visit regularly because we know that eventually the earth will overtake it and be forgotten by all. The old church that rain and weather has already claimed most of the inside walls and ceiling, is now temporarily revitalized because the movie company shored up and cleaned up the inside for filming.

I hope to find some of the other Mississippi locations that were used in the film. To see the movie trailer for the James Brown movie "Get on Up" click here.

To see the church yourself, take a quick trip to Rodney, here are the coordinates Just be careful and respectful of the old girl!

Latitude: 31.860774, Longitude: -91.200990

Monday, December 16, 2013

DIY Bench from Headboard

So I got a Facebook message from a family who had this headboard and wanted it made into a nice bench for her foyer. It is a queen size about 60" wide. I also had the bed rails that were made from wood that matched the stain so I wanted to incorporate them into the design somehow. Let the brainstorming begin!!

The first problem was that the headboard needed to be raised about 6". So I took some of the bedrail and made a 6" extension. I trim it out in the finished product.

Next, I had to build the frame for the bench. The headboard had that "inset", and I wanted the bench to go the full width of the headboard all the way to the outside edge, so I had to account for that. As you can see, I put one 2x4 the same width as the inset and used pocket screws to secure it to the headboard. Then I built a rectangle frame that wrapped around the sides of the headboard and used pocket screws to secure the frame to the other 2x4. You'll notice that the rectangular frame doesn't quite go all the way to the outside edge. That is because, I have 1" trim pieces that I made from the old bed rails that I will fasten to the frame toward the end that will make the bench flush with the outside edge. 

Next was pretty easy. Just filled in the bench with 2x4's and pocket screwed them into the frame, and built the legs with 2x4's to match the height of the back legs. I then added some braces as you can see to just tighten it up a little more. What you cant see is that I also added a 2x4 underneath the bottom of the bench in the middle to give the bench more support. 

Add, here you have it. I painted the new wood pieces all black and trimmed the outside edges with the old bed rails. I put a nice wax shine on all the wood to make it look like a brand new bench.


1 old headboard and old bed rails
10 - 8 ft 2x4's
1 - Can of black glossy spray paint
Nails and screws
Couple pieces of scrap trim for the leg extensions on the back. 

Monday, November 25, 2013

Photo Shoot Locations Around Vicksburg, Mississippi

So I get asked a lot about good places for backgrounds for senior photos or family photos around our Vicksburg area, so I decided to put together this post to show you guys a few great locations right around here. The times of year (winter vs. summer) make a big difference so they might not always be as good as the example photos I'm using, so keep that in mind.

Downtown Vicksburg

Great for more urban backdrops and architecture! Loaded with old brick walls and buildings from the good old days, these backdrops provide that aged look that no money can buy for a commercial backdrop.

Brick wall of the old Corner Drug Store. Shot taken just before sunset.

Wall of exposed brick in Downtown Vicksburg

Steps of the old Trustmark Bank Building

Middle of the road. Watch out for traffic!

There are a couple of old trains down by the old Train station downtown

Glass reflection and a bench in Downtown Vicksburg

Mound, Louisiana Levees
Best in the summer when the wild flowers are in bloom! But great anytime for a wide open field look.

Rail Bridge on Old 27
Take either frontage road west (toward Jackson) all the way until you can't go any further, then take a left. On the left side of the road before you get to the Visitor's Bureau there is an old Rail Bridge.

Valley Park Train Station Site
I don't know who owns these trains or if they are on private property, but they provide a great backdrop for photos. I've never been asked to leave and I've shot there many times. Go up 61 north to Valley Park and the trains are parked on the left side of the highway.

Railroad Tracks off of Washington St Going Toward the Harbor Project

Go all the way down Washington Street toward the Harbor Project and when you get to the Fort Hill area of the Military Park on the right, look to the left and there is a long stretch of railroad track.

Miscellaneous Places

Bovina Rail Trestle - Not much for ground beauty, but a great backdrop.

Grand Gulf State Park - Just a short drive to Port Gibson. I've never shot there, but would probably make a great location

Catfish Row Downtown - Summer time place for GREAT action shots for the smaller kids.

Michel's Music Store Downtown Vicksburg - If I'm shooting a senior that is into guitars, then there's no better place than a music store.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

250 Sundays

I've been holding off on writing down my thoughts on Mitch, Rebecca and Cooper leaving. To be honest it's something that I chose to ignore, for now, thinking that the weeks remaining would go slow, and I didn't have to face it. Well, time was unusually cruel and passed super fast, and last night we had our last rehearsal with Mitch as our leader, our last rehearsal with Rebecca and me laughing about something crude, or arguing about who's singing the tenor part on a song. Our.... last.... rehearsal.... I can't even type the words without wanting to cry.

First, let me start with Rebecca. There is not a person on this earth with a more compassionate soul. She inspires me to see the good in people and give them second chances. I've watched her grow from this newlywed, newly everything girl, into a strong, loving wife and mother. I will miss her dearly (She is crying by now reading this.)

Cooper. Awe man... Ole Cooper... People that know me, know that typically me and kids don't get along. But, Cooper and I, we have this love/hate thing going on. One minute we are high fivin', and the next he won't give me the time of day. But, he is an independent soul who is going to grow up to do great things, and I can't wait to see what God has in store for him.


So now I get to Mitch. A friend, a brother who I love with all my heart. When he started 5 years ago and he would listen to everything I said, soak it in, but over the last few years, he has grown into his own leader with his own vision and ideas. He has pushed back on some things that I thought would flop. But it never did. It has been phenomenal. Now that I know he is leaving, it is so
obvious how God has developed his heart, his talent and his leadership skills for the next chapter in his life.  His heart is on fire for God, and I am sooooo jealous that he gets to start this church plant! It is going to be one of the most exciting times in his life, and I can't wait to keep track of the progress and see the lives changed as a result. He has promised me that if my work travels ever lead me to North Canton, Ohio, that I can come sit in with the Worship team. (I'm going to hold you to that)

Another way to describe what I love about Mitch is to tell you some things about his personality...

Heart First, Talent Second. Mitch never, ever required a musician to be at a professional level to start on his stage. His thought was that if you love God with all your heart, have the raw talent, and are willing to make the commitment to serve Him then you're good enough to play by his side. That doesn't mean he settled, he would work and develop talent with a patience I've never seen before, that will serve him well as he goes forward with his ministry.

Creative Vision. 

Christmas Carnivals. Mitch has lead us through so many creative events. One of his first things as our new leader were the Christmas carnivals. I've never seen so many "un-churched" people attend a Christmas event. His thought process was to put on an event that would give our Crossway folks a chance to pour out love on top of them and "Change the way they feel about Sunday".

Special Worship Services. I remember the special services. Like the one in the picture below where we setup the band in the center of the room. His creative mind is always looking for new ways to present the message. To not stick to the old religious traditions, or "that's the way we've always done it" mentality. 

His Stage Designs. Mitch had strong ideas about how he wanted the stage to look, and we were happy to help him execute it. 

Nights of Worship. His two special nights of worship where we all got together to praise and worship were so special. 

Heart For God. Mitch is the real deal, the complete package. Talent that is overflowing, and a love for God that is takes that talent and makes an offering to God each and every week. I will miss these guys with all my heart, but we send them off knowing that Crossway is better off for the time they gave us, and God has only begun the works at Crossway Church and Missionview Church!