Commercial and Editorial Photographer Dennis Keim, Huntsville, Alabama Postcards of My Miss-Adventures Vol.1 blog links bio contact  

Down the Lazy River – Finale

June 20th, 2016

Hello and a happy Monday morning. I spent most of the weekend working around my house and trying to start to put things back in place after a semi-complete remodel of my townhome. Since the remodel, I have come to realize less is more and I have to make the decisions of what to keep, what to get rid of and what now to buy to fit the new look. Wish me luck!

For those of you that I have not put to sleep, bored to death or for those just tuning in, it seems like only yesterday that I was traveling down the Tennessee Tom Waterway with my dear friends, David Milly and his finance DeAnn Fowler on an 8-day Miss-Adventures. For 8 days we traveled south taking in the sights and sounds of river boating. What is left is fond memories and thousands of photos that I am not quite sure what to do with. It will take me months for me to look through them all.

The last leg of the journey had us pushing off from an over night stay on the dock at Bobby’s Fish Camp and heading south through our very last lock, Coffeeville. 13 locks down and one to go before we started seeing industrial civilization and the realization that our trip was slowing coming to an end. The whole trip down the Ten-Tom shows a true mixture of Americana, between the rich and not so rich. It allows you to see what water commerce is really all about.

It is a true adventure filled with the richness of southern landscape and southern culture. Along the way we took in the sights of some beautiful country and met a lot of interesting people. One of those interesting encounters was locking through a lock with the U.S. Coast Guard tug. They were out on the river setting new channel markers, as the river changes daily in depth and channel markers tend to get pushed around or broken off from their weighted foundations by the many barges traveling up or down the river.

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So we bid the Coast Guard a fond farewell and headed south with our sights set on our last over night point of destination, Fairhope, AL. We knew that once we reached Fairhope, that we had one last night on the water before we made our final boat ride to our port of destination, Orange Beach, Florida.

As I have said, there was so much to take in along the way and once we were past the last dam it became a different scene with a lot more industry dotting the banks of the river, a few more barges and then the real slap in the face with civilization, Mobile and Mobile Bay. That could be and will be a singular subject for a future blog.

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All in all it was a trip of a lifetime and I am so very glad I was able to share the time with David and DeAnn. For three people that had not spent an overnight stay together or even a few hours on a boat, I think I can easily say that we became a lot closer friends and were definitely a “well oiled” clean mean fighting machine boat crew. What a treat it was to have our daily healthy meals prepared by ”Chef DeAnn”. Even thought there were a few things I had to shuffle around on my plate, I could get use to it!

As we motored though Mobile bay with all the huge freighters and then cruised into the gulf, I realized what we had experienced for the last seven days was a real breathe of fresh air and a step back in time. Basically I felt like I received seven day’s of mental therapy. It would impossible to give full detail of the entire trip in the blog but I hope through the photos and the brief description, you have gotten a small sense of that the trip was all about. And what better way to end the trip then for Mother Nature to paint a final crescendo, putting the finishing touch on our trip. It was a glorious ending watching the sunset in Fairhope and needless to say, “an exceptional celebration was had by all at the Sunset Grill.”

The only thing left was tour feeble attempt to stage a Mutiny, take the ship over from “Captain Milly” and keep heading south. As you can see, that was a failed attempt. ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Keep us in mind for any of your upcoming photographic adventures.
Have Camera – Will Travel … Corporate, Advertising, Editorial and Art.

Best Regards …..
~ dennis keim ~

Down the Lazy River – Part 2

June 13th, 2016

Hello and a happy Monday to you all. I hope you had a fabulous weekend and had the opportunity to get out and hear some of the incredible music that was playing around the area. The Land Trust held the first concert of their Three Caves series with two more to come. I unfortunately got stuck in a 4-hour delay on I-65 coming home from Orange Beach that turned my 5-hour trip home into an 11-½ trip.

I realized that once I began looking through all of the images I shot on by Tenn.-Tom boat trip and writing my first blog that it was going to be somewhat of a daunting task to narrow the images down and attempt to tell the story of the trip. There was just so much to see and describing it in a concise but efficient manner was going to be a challenge. So I have decided to break the story down into travel sections and do the best I can to leave you with an impression of the 8-day trip.

After doing seven locks in seven hours on day three, we took a much easier ride on day four, leaving out of Columbus Marina in Columbus MS. and passing through three locks getting the “green light” with all the locks in the up river position. Depending on the river traffic you may have to wait to allow the lock to reset the water level as you travel south or north but the “waterway fairy” seemed to be in our favor. We ended our day stopping in the Demopolis, AL. and took a much-needed extra day to recuperate from our boating excursion. I actually was able to meet up with some dear friends, Katie and her mom Judy and Katie’s son, Austin. It also gave me the opportunity to spend time in the boating marina graveyard that you may see in a future blog.

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So with a fresh and renewed vigor we headed out on day six making our way down the river and coming across all kinds of sights. One of the things that amazed me most was the “country volleyball” courts you would pass by that may be in the shallow water or on a riverbank. You would literally come around a bend and there would be the courts or people sunning for the day in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere. As we traveled down river and came across civilization, the seadoos would find there way to the rear of the vessel for a little wave jumping. When it was appropriate Capt. David always tried to give them the best ride for their money. Once of the most impression sites heading south was coming across the Selma cliffs and the White Cliffs of Epes.  These were huge white embankments that look so very out of place of the river.

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Our goal of destination for the day was the infamous Bobby’s fish camp now run by Bobby’s daughter, Lora. The camp is been there for over 60 years and sports one dock and one gas pump that can only be read from a supporting pump close to the restaurant. We pulled in early enough to get the full tour of the facility by Lora and enough time to settle end before an 80’ vessel tied up to share the dock for the evening. To say the least Bobby’s Fish Camp is a must see for any boater traveling the Ten-Tom. The history on the walls of the restaurant and the private tour by Lora is worth the price of admission. With Day six in the books and one lock left to conquer, we realized it was time to celebrate knowing we had two days to go to our final destination in Orange Beach. As we were settling for the evening we were treated to an amazing rainbow and a stellar sunset as if to say – Salute to another day on the river and another job well done to the crew of Mailbox Money. So stay tuned, there is so much more to come as we meander the last few miles down the Lazy River!

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Keep us in mind for any of your upcoming photographic adventures.
Have Camera – Will Travel … Corporate, Advertising, Editorial and Art.

Best Regards …..
~ dennis keim ~

Down the Lazy River

June 7th, 2016

Hello and a happy Monday to you all. Actually I am guessing you will be receiving this on Tuesday. Greetings from somewhere on the Tennessee Tombigbee Waterway. As you can see the blog is running a little behind because I am are running down the Tenn-Tom waterway on what is commonly called “river time!” I had to rush home last week with only one day to unpack and repack and then catch a boat ride headed back to Florida with my good friends David Milly and his finance, Ms. DeAnn Fowler. As crazy as it may seem, two weeks ago David and DeAnn were heading north on the vessel from Orange Beach to Huntsville as I was heading south in my Hummer to St. Petersburg, Florida and other cities. Timing they say is everything.

I must say when I got a call from David and DeAnn about a month ago inquiring as to whether I would be interested in boat trip down the Tenn-Tom with them, I answered with a resounding – let me check my schedule – YES!!!! A trip of a lifetime is how I thought about it, imagining the interesting photos I might be able to capture along the way. A leisurely boat trip (or so I thought) from Huntsville, AL to Orange Beach, AL with stops along the way. The most intriguing part of the trip for me was the idea of passing through the 14 Tenn-Tom locks along our journey south.

We left Huntsville on June 1 riding high on their 43-foot Silverton with our first layover in Florence, AL. The first lock we took the “ride on” was Wilson. The ride being the drop in water level from one point to another which was truly exciting for me because I had never had the experience of going through one. It is so extremely amazing to the see the whole system work, gates closing, draining the “tub” and then the doors open to a new water level.

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From Florence we headed south, traveling to Iuka, MS, and then on to Bay Springs, Ms. where we stopped over night at the Bay Springs Marina. We time on our hands we decided to take the “marina curtsey car” on a road trip that evening down the Natchez’s Trace trail and ended up in Tupelo, Ms., the birthplace of Elvis Presley and as luck would have it, they were getting ready to host an Elvis festival. We toured the birthplace of Mr. “Hound Dog”, ate dinner in Tupelo and headed back to the Marina to hunker down for Day 3 of our trip!

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You see, Day 3 had been circled on the calendar since the beginning of the trip because we knew what lay ahead of us. We had set a lofty goal of passing through 7 locks in one day, traveling a whopping 65 miles. So far our best had been two locks in one day. Gaining entrance and passing through locks is totally dependent on the traffic running up and down the waterway with commercial barge traffic receiving priority status. As luck would have it, our trip was almost flawless catching a every lock in an up river status with the green light to enter. The only wrinkle in the whole trip was that we were asked to share the “ride down” with the barge Heritage at the number 6 lock, Armory at mile marker 371.1. It was a burden that we gladly relished, finally catching the ride with an additional occupant. We took aim with our final run of the day and ended up in Demopolis, AL for the evening and due to the weather took the next day off to enjoy some down time. Seven locks in Seven hours, it was time to celebrate.

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So far it has been a photographers dream come true but everyday has been anything but a vacation. Boating is not as easy as climbing aboard and enjoying a libation or two as you rocket down the river. There are lines that need to be tied to cleats, ballers to be roped in the locks and preparing the boat for the next’s day journey, tightening down the hatches if you will. Lastly there is the river traffic of huge barges that you have to get around. We have been very fortunate so far on the journey to have missed the storms by finding refuge in a couple of marinas well ahead of the downpour.
With Day Six in the books and a few more days to go, I can only imagine what awaits us on our water journey south.  A few more barges to dodge, a lay-over at the near infamous Bobby’s Fish Camp, run by Bobby’s’ daughter, Lora Jane just north of our last “down ride” at Coffeeville Lock. The fish camp and the one dock one gas pump “marina” have been in operation for over 60 years.

So stay tuned, there is so much more to come as we meander down the Lazy River!

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Keep us in mind for any of your upcoming photographic adventures.
Have Camera – Will Travel … Corporate, Advertising, Editorial and Art.

Best Regards …..
~ dennis keim ~

A Day To Remember

May 31st, 2016

Good Morning from Sweet Home Alabama! I’ve been on the road for almost two weeks and drove back yesterday from Perdido Key, FL. I hope your Memorial Day weekend was an exceptional and honorable weekend spent with family and friends.

For all of my many trips back and forth to Florida one of the things I have wanted to do for quite sometime was visit the Alabama National Cemetery in Montevallo, AL. just north of Montgomery. I have seen the sign so many times as I past it by on I-65. I have always wanted to stop by but my travel schedules have never allowed for the extra time. As luck would have, yesterday, on my return home on Memorial Day just happened to finally allow me to take a side road.

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I am a huge admirer of cemeteries and even more so of those that are associated with the military. There is something very powerful and commanding about a military cemetery with all of the identical white headstones lined up in perfect symmetry. Generally I find myself over powered with a sense of reverence and become very humbled to be in the presence of those that have given their lives as the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms.

Yesterday was even more special as I walked through the rows of head stones for the very first time. The Alabama cemetery is not as austere as some of the military cemeteries I have witnessed but it commands the same reverence and respect as all of the others I have had the honor to visit. I felt an additional amount of pride and humility, as it was the very day meant to honor those individuals whom have given their lives.

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As I walked through the cemetery I could not help but notice many in anguish but particularly a young lady sitting so very close to a headstone. It was obvious that it was someone she had dearly loved. As I watched, her pain and sorrow for the person she had lost was overly apparent, as her love and admiration seemed to be unequivocal. I could not help but imagine who the person may be and could not help but want to offer a kind word in support. As I approached and asked whom the love one was she uttered the words my Papa – my grandfather. I was taken back by her answer and could only utter a few words of encouragement and support for her loss and his service to our country. At that moment it seemed so unfair that someone so young had to experience something of this magnitude and the sorrow showed on her face as she wiped back the tears.

As a photographer we see things in a different way and we hoped that through our vision we can make a difference in the way we all live our lives. As difficult as it was for me to capture her in her time of despair I could not help but be drawn into the moment, with such a riveting and emotional image before my eyes.

I can only hope that the significance of the moment and the beautiful image can help someone else though such a troubling time. It is with sincere gratitude that I would like thank all who have served and to offer my condolences to all who have suffered a loss. We salute you all!!!!

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Keep us in mind for any of your upcoming photographic adventures.
Have Camera – Will Travel … Corporate, Advertising, Editorial and Art.

Best Regards …..
~ dennis keim ~

Sunshine City

May 23rd, 2016

Good Morning from the Sunshine Shine state! I writing you from the Florida highways where I am on a two-week photo safari, the first real extended road trip of 2016.

The two-week excursion began with a two-day stay in Perdido Key visiting with my dear friend and exceptional model, Marina Semenova. Our days our generally spent on catching up, shooting and ending the day eating sushi at our favorite sushi bar, Jellyfish. Jellyfish is so much a favorite that we ate there three nights in a row. Can you say, I love Sushi?

From there it was off to St. Petersburg, FL. where I was doing a commercial photo shoot over the weekend with my good friend and spokes-model, Natalie Shugars, for the Pittsburg Dental Spa and Ms. Elaine Rolison. The spa is looking to develop a new campaign that is lifestyle oriented and the theme was having fun and enjoying life on a travel excursion. I was able to engage an exceptional makeup artist in the area, Ms. Valentina Hiestand and for the two-day shoot as Natalie played the part and looked fabulous with “V’s” makeup. We stayed on St. Pete beach and shot all around the area. Many thanks to Daniel Helou for all of his help and the hook up with an exceptional house on the bay to shoot in, as well as, all of the fabulous recommendations for dining after the shoots. We stayed on the south end of the island and every morning I stood on my balcony and looked at the near famous resort, the Don Cesar. Although the Don does not quite have the notoriety of the Hotel Del, on Coronado Island, it is very well known to travelers on the east coast (west coast of Florida). As you can see with its “Caribbean colors” it kind of stands out on the beach.

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On one of the two days shooting we decided to head downtown to shoot in and round the city. St. Pete has taken on an air of a “little south beach” with all of the restaurants with there out door seating and the plethora of marinas that surround the cities bay front. As we hopped around from location to location (what we call guerilla style shooting) we came across a rather large yacht docked on one of the larger private areas. Much to our surprise we were informed that it was the “Tatoosh”, one of Paul Allen’s (the co-founder of Microsoft) super yachts. The Tatoosh is the smaller of his two yachts measuring in at a mere 303 ft. ($160 million) while his new super-yacht, the “Octopus” measures in (45th in the world) at 414 feet for the mere cost of  $250 million. The Tatoosh is for sale at the price of $125 million. Of course we had to turn down the offer to have dinner due to our shooting schedule (can you say – Dream On?)

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All and all it has been a great start to the Florida road trip and I am now looking forward to heading over to the east coast and spending time with my dear friend and model, Ms. Lauren Suzanne. Always fun to see hear and get to work together. With a lot of catching up to do it will be hard to fit it all in. A couple of days there and then I head north for the Memorial Day weekend.

The good news while in St. Pete, I was able to spend time with one of college classmates, Marie Izzo where we shared the distinct honor of being photo lab assistants together in the College of Arts and Letters, in the Communication department at the University of South Florida. As always, it was late night dinners in the city enjoying the sights and the sounds of all that the city of St. Petersburg has to offer! Enjoy!!!

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Keep us in mind for any of your upcoming photographic adventures.      Have Camera – Will Travel … Corporate, Advertising, Editorial and Art.

Best Regards …..
~ dennis keim