January 16th, 2017
Happy Monday morning to you. As you read this I am in route to Salt Lake City for a corporate photo shoot. Given the oddity of our weather, I am at least assured that the weather there will be constant and blistering in the teens.
Last month I had the pleasure to travel over to the shoals to catch one of my all-time favorite Alabama bands, the Fiddleworms, playing on the 20th Anniversary of the release of their album “Yellowhammer”. The night’s concert would feature a re-release of the album, feature former original band members as well as the current line-up and play host to a who’s who of Muscle Shoals royalty. It was 20 years to the day that the “Worms” released “Yellowhammer” and I was fortunate to be of the many fans in the audience that night so it seemed fitting that I should be back in the audience for the re-release.
I spent a fair amount of time in the Shoals when I first moved to Alabama and became a huge fan of the Worms taking every opportunity to go see them. During those early years they played a lot in Huntsville at the Corner, the Peanut Factory, Crossroads and even played a house party of a good friend of mine. I think I still have film and prints from that infamous evening but feel it may be very incriminating for not only the band but also for my friends and just maybe … myself! The good news is we all remember the night and have many laughs when the topic of the after party gets brought up. Lets just say that one of our friends, who will remain nameless, became the life of the party and the focus of everyone’s selfies!!! But I digress. Back to 2016.
The first set for the band included most all of the original band members that had been assembled together for the first time in years. It was like stepping back in time listening to them. On the second set they brought in the current band members line up and then the processional of all-stars began to join them on stage. Muscle Shoals hit makers include Donnie Fritz and Kelvin Holly, producer Jimmy Nutt and keyboardist NC Thurman sat in during the night’s festivities. Maybe the most exciting announcement for me was that “Donna Jean” Godchaux-Mackay was going to join the band on stage for 3 or 4 songs. Donna Jean is a member of the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was notably a member of the Grateful Dead from 1972 – 1979.
It was great to see the band get back together for the anniversary and to relive an extremely memorable evening from 20 years ago. After the show Russell Medford, the lead singer and I shared a few moments together laminating about the anniversary show and about a few of the escapades from the drive home 20 years ago. I had the misfortune of driving through Hillsborough County in a red sports car at around 2am in the morning. The sheriff just thought I had to be up to no good in that “shiny red sports car”. The good news is nothing of anything occurred but it made for a few good jokes and became part of the folklore for the evening. As I left from the anniversary concert Russell wished me safe travels and said it maybe best if went around Hillsborough. If you have an opportunity go see this band, you will not be disappointed. As they say – “Dig Worms!”
I do have a camera … awaiting your call …. I do love to travel!!!!
Once Again – Best Regards …..
And Much Love!!!!
January 9th, 2017
It is extremely hard to believe that 2016 is gone and we are now head strong into 2017. 2016 was a year of change for me and as I look back and reflect on all that happened I am extremely thankful for a year that allowed me to continue to do what I love so much. More importantly, it was the time spent with family and friends that I continually cherish the most.
Before I go any further, dare I say it – Roll Tide Roll!! Tonight is the BIG DANCE and I look forward to what should be an exceptional Championship College football final with #1 Alabama taking on #2 Clemson Tigers. I hope it lives up to all the hype and that at the end of the game the SEC and BAMA comes out on top. It is the first time in college football history where two teams have repeated in the championship game.
2016 was filled with a fair amout of Mis-Adventures that kept my travel within the confines of the USA. As I looked back through the Blogs of 2016 I realized it was another eventful year that had me focuing my lens on common themes of music, travel, aviation and sports. The highlight of the year may have been the 8 day boat ride down the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway with my dear friends David and DeAnn Milly. The most heartwarming and emotional event I had the opportunity to be part of was photographing the USA Sled Hockey tournament which gives parapalegics and amputees the chance to play competitive ice hockey. To compliment those events there was travel filled with photographic sunsets and cityscapes, music and food. As I have done in previous years, I closed 2016 with my annual trip to Mesa, AZ to visit with my sisters family for Christmas and then flew to San Diego to ring in the New Year with dear friends.
As I look back through all of the Blogs of 2016, I am extremely grateful for all they represent and that my health allowed me to contiune on this adventure I call photography. I thank you all for continuing to share my visual journey with me. I am truly greatful for all of the kind words that have been expressed over your Monday morning coffee
Here’s to 2017 and all the Miss-Adventures this year will have to offer.
I do have a camera … awaiting your call …. I do love to travel!!!!
Once Again – Best Regards …..
And Much Love!!!!
January 2nd, 2017
Happy 2017!!!!!!!!! Here is wishing you the best for the New Year.
I closed the year out with my annual trip to Mesa, AZ to visit family for Christmas and I am currently in San Diego where I celebrated the New Year with life long friends.
While I was in Mesa, AZ I took off one day to take a road trip with my former assistant and dear friend Herb Stokes and headed to the Apache Trail. The Apache Trail was originally a stagecoach trail named for the Apache Indians that ran through the Superstition Mountains. The 40 mile rugged desert trail runs from Apache Junction to the Roosevelt Dam. The trail begins in Apache Junction where the Superstition Mountain Museum hosts among other things the Elvis Memorial Chapel.
The Chapel was used in many of the Apacheland movies and was built for the Elvis movie “Charro!”. It was moved from its original location to it’s current location on the museum grounds. The chapel plays host to showings of many of those movies and has a life size Elvis statue inside.
As we headed up the trail we stopped in at the infamous Tortilla Flats Saloon that is world famous for its Chili, Hamburger and the bar stools made with saddles. One-dollar bills are stapled to the walls and estimated to be over 300,000. Quite the retirement fund I would think if the place does not burn down.
Once lunch was finished we headed up the trail only to realize that we were not properly attired for the unseasonably cold weather that was setting in over the area. After a few feeble attempts to capture some of the beauty of the area we realized that Mother Nature was just not going to cooperate. We took a few remaining photographs and decided to call it day seeking a lower elevation and some hot coffee. One last view of the beauty and do Enjoy!!!!
Happy New Year …..
And here’s to 2017!!!!
December 26th, 2016
Good morning and a very happy day after Christmas to you. I hope yours was filled with cheer and happiness and that Santa was very, very good to you. We now have New Years Eve to look forward to. I will be wishing and hoping for a safe and prosperous New Year for you.
As has been the routine for the last few years I am on travel, currently in Arizona visiting family and spending time with them for the Christmas holidays. Once all the presents are unwrapped and the Christmas wrapping is thrown away I will head further west and spend the New Years with some very dear friends. It has been a tradition of mine for the past few years and one that I always look forward to each year.
Since retiring from NASA “a few years back” I have the pleasure to do a fair amount of traveling for both business and pleasure but as most that know me, my camera is never far from me. Over the past year I have been blessed with a fair amount of travel and have been lucky enough to capture some wonderful memories. I was fortunate enough to have met Jolly Old Saint Nick during my travels and this year I asked for something special. I asked him for some “Santa Elfie’s” as he flew by some of the places I have been fortunate enough to visit. Here are some of the images he captured!
So this year has flown by and it has been a wonderful time seeing old friends, meeting new friends and visiting new places. As “Stanta” and I spoke briefly about his night of travel I did ask for one additional thing … His answer was – “Roll Tide!”
Wishing you all the best for the New Year and GOD Bless!!!!!!!!!
Happy New Year !!!
December 19th, 2016
Here comes Santa Claus, Hear Comes Santa Claus Right down Santa Claus Lane! 7 days and counting until Good Ole Jolly Saint Nick arrives. I hope you all have been very very good or as the case may be – somewhat naughty and are looking forward to the time you will spend with family and friends over the holidays.
Every holiday season for the past 5 years Big Spring Park in Huntsville, AL. lights up to a spectacular display of hundreds of decorated Christmas Trees. Individuals, civic groups and corporations in the spirit of community and recognition of a wonderful tradition of the holiday decorate the trees. Each year the display has moved slightly further east in the park until it can move no further and finds itself firmly “planted” in Big Spring Park east. I was fortunate enough to make two separate trips downtown to capture the city in full display of its holiday spirit.
On the second evening photographing the Tinsel Trail, Mother Nature treated me to a visual spectacle. While watching the sun setting in the west, an almost full moon began to rise in the east through a red haze of clouds that were reflecting the suns last hues. The sunset was one of those truly amazing winter scenes but I can honestly say that I have never seen the moon quite like this.
The scene was so breathtaking that I could not decide which I wanted to photograph more so I ran from side to side capturing one while looking back over my shoulder at the other. It was like watching a beauty competition where the sun and the moon vied for attention and neither was going to be outdone. I am so very glad to have had a front row seat.
It was an amazing start to the evening and I had to catch my breath knowing that I was still in for a treat as I began to prepare to capture the city in its entire holiday splendor. As the moon continued to rise, the Christmas lights began to twinkle and once again the city began to spring to life with the spirit of the holiday season. No matter what vantage point you view the display from it is a holiday celebration that the city should be very proud of. As a photographer it is one of my favorite times to capture the city and I think the images speak volumes. The only thing left if to try and capture Santa as he does a fly by over the city.
Christmas is a time of year that we should take a moment to give thanks for all that we are truly grateful for. I think there is no greater gift then the time we share and the memories we create with family and friends. When unwrapped, those memories are the true gifts of Christmas!
To Bob and Lucy Keim – Tis the season – You are missed!!!!!!!
Merry Christmas to you all!!!!!!!!!!!!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays – Ho Ho Ho!!!