Thursday, December 17, 2009

Raw Emotion - People of the South

Someone once told me that you'll take enough pictures until you finally figure out what you "like" to shoot. Well, I've got a year of photography under my belt and it's a clear favorite that I like capturing natural emotions of people. No "say cheese" shots for me, no way no how. I like to capture emotions that are natural and spontaneous. That is hard for a photographer, not only because of the legalities of it all, but because you have to actually be there with the perfect lighting, perfect attitudes, perfect everything to get that perfect "people" shot. Here are some of my favorites from 2009.

These young men were at the Veteran's day celebration we had in Vicksburg, Mississippi this year. That was one awesome event. I talked to the old timers and loved hearing their stories. I know that they loved telling them. For more Veterans' day photos of that day, click here.

This is my Godson, Brayden. He is a Southern character! He is one of a kind that has this personality that is infectious. He is spoiled rotten, but somehow you put up with it. Which is not me. I have a tendency to try to "fix" spoiled children. But Brayden always gets me laughing before I can "fix" him.


Here are some shots from Downtown Vicksburg this past summer. Kids playing in the water at "Catfish Row" water park. My wife and I had the best time just talking with the parents and kids. After we took the pictures, we give the parents my website so they can go download them all for free!


Of course, my favorite character of the year was Mr. Clovis. See my blog just on him. Check out these random shots of the many Southern characters I met in 2009. The second shot is Mr. Earl, and the third shot is Mr. Rodgers.


But, because I am married and my wife makes me take some "say cheese" shots, I do occasionally takes the kids and their friends out to take a few candid shots. Here are my kids.


Well, that is a pretty long blog. Thanks for hangin in there with me. This will be my first full winter to shoot photos in, so I am looking forward to revisiting some of the same places we went to this summer, but from a winter perspective. You guys have a wonderful and merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Southern Places - Beauty Everywhere

The southern United States. Mississippi, Louisiana and other southern states have such a unique landscape. There is so much beauty in just normal everyday southern stuff. Buildings, landscapes, or tires leaning on a tree. Enjoy some of my random shots of the south.

Cary, Mississippi - This old cotton gin was still very much operational when we stopped by. This shot was off the front of the building. The combination of broken glass, rusted tin, and water logged signs tell me this Gin has been processing cotton for many years.

 Driving through Pioneer, Louisiana this summer, we were flying down a back road highway when I looked out the window and saw this shot. It looks like the tires are all resting after a hard days work in the field.

This is one of my favorite piano shots. This one in particular was in an old abandoned church on the side of the road in the Mississippi delta up Highway 61 North. Rain had leaked into the building over the years and the wood was warping all around it. But on this day the sun was shining through the window. The piano was facing the window and seemed to be begging for someone to play it. For all my piano shots click here.

The lilies were all in full bloom this summer at Lake Hamilton near Port Gibson, Mississippi. This particular bloom was reaching high for the sunshine. It was one beautiful day. For more Lake Hamilton shots, click here.

Lake Providence, Louisiana - This boat shelter was rusting away, but the reflection on the beautiful water that day gave me a great shot. The contrast of colors between the green background and the rust colors of the building are the kind of contrast I love to find in a photograph.

So, like I said random shots from my random driving around the South. These are things that in the past I may have glanced at and never thought about again. With the gift of photography, I'm able to capture them in a single moment in time and admire their beauty forever.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Delta - "Mayor of Black Bayou"

Ladies and gentlemen meet Mr. Jimmie Rodgers. Mr. Rodgers is the junk man of the delta! He has been in the junkyard business since 1971 when he bought his place and started it from scratch.

I was out and about his junkyard looking (and photographing) the old tractors around his place, when I heard the strangest sounds coming from the back of the lot.

That's when I first met Molly and Jill.

No, not his kids, but his donkeys! Molly is the mom and Jill is her daughter. He loves having horses, mules, and other critters around. Mr. Rodgers says, "They help with the grass cutting." The Rodger's family live on "VFW road" and folks around consider him the "Mayor of Black Bayou", cause he is forever into what's happening around the neighborhood and everyone around comes to the junkyard to find out any new news. The bayou that runs along the road is call Black Bayou.

Just one more "Character of the Delta". More to come ...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Yazoo River - Reflection

It was very early, about an hour before sunrise when I snuck out of bed to get dressed. My wife doesn't mind that I get up so early to beat the sunrise for pictures, but she very much minds when I wake her up asking her where my long johns are. It was cold on this morning. At least down to 40 degrees (I can see you northern folks laughing now) yes us southern folks think 40 degrees is cold, heck we close the schools if it gets to 32 degrees! I was excited a little more than usual because Marty was taking us somewhere I'd never been before. We were going to the Yazoo river. There are several levees there and their water reflects the sunrise like a shiny glass and would give us the opportunity for some awesome pictures. The funny part is that these levees were less than 20 miles from my front door and I had never been there before. I'm discovering that a lot these days. All the pictures around me in my own home tome that I've looked over for my 41 years.

So Annnywhooo, it was about a 100 ft walk from the top of the levee to the edge of the water, and it was DARK! And in Mississippi there are critters everywhere around the water. Snakes, alligators, etc. So Marty takes off toward the water and I naively walk behind him making as much noise as I can. I hear things splashing in the water, but I cant see anything yet. Hoping an alligator doesnt grab me, I get in position for taking pictures!

Then the sun started to rise! Oh my stars! When I see the photos in front of me. Here is my first shot of the morning after it got light enough, the sun just starting the break the horizon, it was then I noticed the FOG! How great for God to add a touch of fog to the photo! This lonely tree sits there every morning waiting on the sun to rise. Today it was showing off for us because usually no one is there to see its beauty.

Click on the pictures to see them full frame

The sun started rising and pushing the gray skies out of the way! It was like someone spilled a glass of orange soda and it was running through the sky.

There is Mr. Sun! He finally peaks over the horizon!

Until finally he is out in full glory! Here is a wide shot of what was in front of me the whole time.

You have to get out of bed before sunrise to see a sunrise. I'd never seen a sunrise on purpose over the last 40 years. Now, if I wake up before sunrise I almost can here the sun calling my name to tell me, "Don't miss me today, it is going to be awesome!"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Jim's Cafe - Greenville Mississippi

Ok, If you've read my blogs, you've figured out by now that I love Southern character and charm. Well when my friends took me to eat at Jim's Cafe in downtown Greenville, Mississippi I felt like I was drowning in Southern Charm. After I placed my order for pancakes and grits, Mr. Jim gave me a tour of the place and talked me through all the various photos on the wall. Here are some pictures of the place. Go and eat there soon! It was fantastic.

The pure colors of the booths, tablecloths and decorative flowers were absolutely southern. I could have sat there all day.

Mr. Jim sells homemade pepper sauce. Our friends bought us a bottle last year and we LOVED it. We bought another bottle while we were there plus a few more for family and friends!

Then finally our food came and it was the best homemade southern breakfast I had had in a long time. That is melted butter in that little cup, and the syrup, oh my that awesome syrup.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Black and White and Beautiful All Over

"Lord! Lord! My grandma taught me how to cook chicken, rest her soul! Now I cook up that chicken for all my friends. Do you know my Jesus?"

That was Mr. D as he came out singing to us as we enjoyed his wonderful fried chicken at the "Old Country Store" in Lorman, MS

Last weekend was an awesome day for a photo adventure! Rain clouds loomed over us, so I decided to shoot black and white all day. The clouds and gray skies provided the perfect backdrop. Here are some shots from up and down Highway 61 South, starting at Windsor ruins and ending up back in Vicksburg! Hope you enjoy

This old Bordon milk truck is off the side of Hwy 61 South about half way between Vicksburg and Port Gibson.

Church Hill, MS - This church dated from the late 1700's - There were graves in the back as late as 1773.

Photos of Windsor Ruins - Click here to learn more about Windsor Ruins

More photos of the day

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day After Thanksgiving - Road Trip!

As I took off this morning, I went around a curve and saw the above cross through the woods. Such an appropriate sign to start my day.

What a wonderful day of Thanksgiving I had with family yesterday. So many things to be thankful for! I saw a church sign one time that said, "Richness is not measured by how much you have, but by how little you need". Well if that is the measurement, then I am rich beyond imagination. I have a God that saved me, a wonderful healthy family, a job I love, a beautiful wife that loves and takes care of me. So with all that in mind, I woke up this morning belly still fat and full from a day of Thanksgiving food and decided to go meet with God and take some pictures of His glory.

This old barn was so lonely sitting in the middle of this huge field.

An old truck with a bucket on the front was once a powerful tool for some farmer back in the day. Now it's just rusting away in this field.

I turned off of Hwy 3 down this side road. After a few miles, I went around the corner right after sunrise and saw the sun blasting through this Spanish moss. Slammed on brakes, jumped out and took the shot.

First shot of the morning. The fog rolling off the Yazoo River. Had to climb through a patch of woods up a hill to get a clear shot. Was in a hurry, the sun was rising and hadn't yet reached this patch of cold fog. I knew once it reached it, it would be gone. After I got back in the car I thought to myself, "Walking through the woods during hunting season. Probably not good"

Well thank you again Lord for all you do for me and my family. To all my fellow bloggers and readers, I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'll read your blogs to catch up with how it went for you.