Dusk at Broken Heart

I photographed this property over a period of a year, working to capture the home, workshop, covered arena and guest quarters in one shot with a bit of the dramatic. My aerial shots were fine for establishing the layout of the property and buildings, but I wanted a sunset shot to set the scene. I showed up an hour before dark and asked the sellers to turn on all the lights, waited till the lights inside and heavenward were relatively balanced, then my Higher Power granted me the sky and light I’d been looking for. Hallelujah!

Sunset Over South Tyler

2018-09-17, Sunset Over South Tyler & Flint

We get some killer sunsets from time-to-time and I put the Phantom 4 Pro up 300 feet to get this panorama of South Tyler and Flint. The “river” you see is actually fog flowing down the creek bottom (Shackelford and Mud Creeks). On the skyline at right are the Faulkner Park lights. Below is a single frame with more detail.

Fog Over Old Lake

Fog is the ultimate diffuser, and on those days when it hangs on I like to make some snaps, particularly over water. This is Old Lake, the first in a chain of three in our neighborhood.

~ Shot 10 Feb 2018 with the Light L16: ISO 100, Exposure 1/100 s, Focal Length 85mm

The Greatest Generation Is Passing

Recently I was going through some old RAW files in my “To Be Processed” folder and ran across this shot from five years ago when our son Lucas interviewed Capt Arnold Nass for a school project. I sat in and photographed the captain as he described flying his B-24 over the beach at Normandy on D Day. He said he could have hit the German machine-gun emplacements on the cliff, but his assignment was to blow the rail lines inland to halt Nazi reinforcements. He went on to serve as a flight instructor and then had a career in oil & gas. He passed in 2013 at 93 years. We’re losing some great Americans.

Captain Arnold Nass


Children are so open, with such mercurial expressions, that sometimes it’s better to just shoot video. You won’t hang it on the wall, of course. With the iPhone, there’s another option, and that’s actually holding the shutter button down to capture a series of photos.

That’s what I did recently when I visited our grandson, Jack, at his daycare during recess. We were sitting under a huge bull pine and I was teaching him how to use pine needles as mini-helicopters when he began to exclaim about the size of the tree we were sitting under. This whole sequence took less than five seconds, and you can see how his facial expressions changed.

Semi-Spontaneous Portraits

Brooke & Jody McClosky

For the past few years, my walk-around camera has been a Fuji XT1. It is mirrorless, so lighter and more compact than my Canon 5D’s. It isn’t fast, though, and I use it mainly for scenics and posed photos. It’s not good at capturing our dog or our grandson in motion, but when I see something interesting along the road, I hit the shoulder and pull it out. Or, when I am in a closing with a real estate client, I like to grab a shot for Facebook. Last Friday, I went to Jacksonville to close with two people I like a lot…a young couple I’d helped find their first home. Now, with two little girls, they are moving home to Rusk and selling their home in Bullard. We closed in the old formal dining room of the John Wesley Love home, now an office for East Texas Title. So I posed them in front of the big bay window overlooking the old orchard that had made the Love’s wealthy (he was known as “The Peach King”) and again in front of the massive chandelier.

Vegetable Study

Andrea had just made turkey chowder, a family favorite using a Greenberg smoked bird, and I was cleaning the kitchen when I noticed this interesting geometric pattern formed by the celery stalk she had discarded. I experimented with various backgrounds, then brought this into editing software and experimented first with color and then black-and-white versions, which I wound up taking to finish.

Event Photography: Fall Festival

I’ve never pretended to be an event photographer. I know some very good ones, some who have created profitable businesses chronicling conventions, sales meetings, wedding receptions, rodeos, etc. However, a couple of times a year our neighborhood puts on events and I show up with my camera to get some snapshots. I can handle the more static stuff…adults visiting and food prep, but kids moving fast present big challenges. I’ve shot this event a half-dozen times before and so have some general idea of how to approach it, but in retrospect I missed a lot. Ah well, there’s always the Spring Picnic next year.

The Camera Most Often Carried

How often have you seen something you felt worthy of a picture but, darn it, you didn’t have your camera. If you haven’t, then you’re an unusual person.

For those who carry a smart phone, you might be surprised by the level of imagery coming out of these ubiquitous devices. My wife, Andrea, like to stalk flowers in our garden with her iPhone and post them on her Facebook page. Kent Barker, a wonderful photographer who has posted some of his abstract iPhone images on his Facebook page, recently posted a link to Emil Pakarklis’s video on iPhone photography tips. It’s over-long (almost 28 minutes), but I watched it and learned some things I didn’t know. Last night I received a follow-up, the winners of his most recent iPhone Photo Academy contest winners. I really had no idea an iPhone could deliver images like these.

Shot and edited with iPhone. Photo by Elina Mitsova

Shot and edited with iPhone. Photo by Elina Mitsova.

Unplanned Portrait

Jack Panagl and Big Board at Country Place Lake

Jack Panagl and Big Board at Country Place Lake

I ran across this young fella yesterday while out fishing. He was sitting on the lake bridge looking out on the water. I felt a certain sympatico with someone who appreciated the view enough to sit and admire it so I stopped and introduced myself to 14-year-old Jack Panagl. I found out he and his family are neighbors on Oak Meadow Circle, that he’s lived here about a year and goes to Whitehouse Middle School (not Jesuit). He rides this big board down the hill on Lakeshore (but only about half of it…he’s not nuts). Jack’s not sure of what he wants to be when he grows up, and he doesn’t “dislike” fishing (damning with faint praise). I told him about my 10.5 pound bass, hoping to motivate him, but am not sure he shared my excitement.

I don’t normally ask strangers for portraits, but this teen was generous enough to give me a couple of minutes to act as my model against one of my favorite backdrops. My best to Jack and his family.