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. http://youtu.be/vptGSENcXeI

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.


Materials

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.

Mitch...

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!





Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Red Barns - Gone

Digging through some old photos I took a while back and coincidentally found two red barns that are no longer with us. First, this old barn was still being used, freshly painted when I last took its picture. But the 2011 flood wiped it out. Nothing left where it once stood. It was located right off the dry side of the levee over in Mound, Louisiana.




This old barn was located in Rolling Fork, MS. The famous Graft Family Barn that recently fell after a storm blew it down.






Saturday, January 12, 2013

Making Picture Frames From Cabinet Doors

So, lately I've been into making homemade picture frames for some of my photos. I am in the middle of remodeling my bathroom and when I took the cabinet doors off of my 1979 bathroom vanity I had an AH HAH moment! Why not make picture frames out of these doors. Once I'm done I will have 4 perfectly matched frames.

That is where this blog begins! Here is a shot of the original door, complete with the fake brass decorative knob...

Cabinet door for making picture frames

Next, I scraped the old loose paint off the door, this was pretty easy for my doors because we didn't paint them correctly last time, so the new paint scraped right off. 


Then, I drew boxes in where I wanted the cutouts for the pictures to be. In this case, the door was a perfect size for three 5x7 pictures. The cutouts were 4 3/4 x 6 3/4 so that the photo could rest on a 1/8" lip inside the cutout. In other words, whatever photo size you want revealed, make the cutout 1/4" smaller. 

Then I drilled holes on the inside of the four corners so I could use a jigsaw to cut out the openings. 


Here is the door once I cut out the openings. 


And here is the door once I took a power vibratory sander and gave the door a little distressed look by revealing some of the underlying wood. 


 Here are all four doors once I completed the job. Tomorrow, I will rub stain on the doors to give the wood that has been revealed a really cool distressed look.