Amelia Island Pier in Morning Light

image_1I desperately need me some vacation time…

I am enduring the Facebook pages filled with photos of smiling people frolicking in the surf and eating scrumptious seafood platters.    I am enduring day after day of work waiting for my time in the sand, sun, and waves.

Big Surf Daddy is getting restless.

I introduced  you, my valued throng of readers, to my alter ego a few months ago.   The legend of Big Surf Daddy began in the Hawaiian Islands in 1984.

My friend and I were sitting on a beach on the south side of Oahu watching these large waves pound the beach.   Somehow we got the idea that we could body surf in these waves.   We surmised that it would be a much grander experience than body surfing on the east coast or even better, dare I say, than the beaches of Galveston.

My friend was convinced that we would have no problems making the necessary adjustments from the knee-high waves of the Gulf of Mexico to the twelve-footers on Oahu.

Of course this is the same friend that argued with me that anyone can hit a 90-mph fastball.   All that was needed was a  little practice.   After much dissent from my side of the Chevette as we were sweltering in Houston traffic, he began to muster more faith in his ability to connect with such a small orb flung at such a high-speed.   So we did what any normal twenty-something, less-than-mature, semi-adult males would do.   We pulled into the batting cages on Fondren Road and stepped into the cage named Ol’ Smoky.

Well, my friend looked like a little schoolgirl trying to swat a bee.    He never got close, blamed his shoes and left under a heavy barrage of I-told-you-so’s.    Unfortunately, he was now my inspiration sitting on that beach.

We were a bit curious as to why no one was in the water at this time.

We ventured out into the surf, full of excitement, knowing we were going to have the body surfing experience of a lifetime and all of these other pathetic landlubbers would just have to watch from the sandy shore of Wimpville.

As I caught the first swell, I knew this would be swell.    I just kept elevating and thinking that I had never, ever had this type of  ride on a wave.    At the crest of the wave, something strange started happening.    The internal gyroscope in my inner ear told my brain “This is not right”, as my feet were now more elevated than my head. Then came the roller-coaster type drop and the nose dive into the sand.   “Where is the water?  I was supposed to hit water.”    I hit the sand with my face…then I found the water.    The wave  deposited massive amounts of water on top of me with the force of an elephant stampede.

I finally crawled out of the water, breathless and battered.    I looked around for my friend and could not find him.   Panic set in, for he does not possess the adaptability to changing water conditions as I.

He  eventually surfaced or rather the ocean spit him out like a bad clam.

We sat on the sand looking more pitiful than two Exxon oil-spill survivors.

Staring into the void and wondering what just happened to us, my friend looked down and noticed that the undertow sucked his wedding ring off his finger.   Now most adults with only a functioning brain stem without the attached gray matter would realize they were lucky at this point and just sit in the sand and enjoy the ocean breezes.    But, alas, we decided to try it again.   We knew we would have better results if we just tweaked our technique just a little.

So out into the surf we went….

(See the above description for the results of the second and FINAL attempt).

Somewhere off the coast of Oahu, Polynesian pearl divers are still looking for an oyster containing the legendary ring that is rumored to have mystical powers that control the waves, but all they have found is an old pair of flowered swim trunks with the monogram “BSD” sewn in the waistband.

Legend has it that the winds still call out for the return of Big Surf Daddy to the south shores of Oahu.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.


Faculty Recessional at Graduation


I have been emancipated from the financial vise of undergraduate education…free at last!

I have written my last tuition check, my last apartment rent check, my last food dispensing check, my last parking ticket reimbursement, and my last college calamity check.

My two children are now college graduates.  At this moment, I am glad we never had a third child.

My daughter and son graduated from Morehead State University in Morehead, KY.  This is a beautiful small school in the hills of eastern Kentucky.  It is a state school and public university, one of the top public universities in the south.  I am honored to have both of my kids to now be alumni of the same school as their dear old dad.

Morehead State was close enough to where I live in West Liberty that I could go over and take them out to lunch or dinner on numerous occasions.  College students are always up for a free meal.  More importantly, it gave me a chance to spend some valuable time with my two favorite young adults and also spend a little time back on the college campus that I remember so fondly.

This is a picture of my son’s graduation from Morehead State.   He can be seen in the picture…he’s the good-looking one.  My mom and dad are also in the photo and that means a lot to me.

I was always drawn to the color and pageantry of the college commencement…this doesn’t mean that I want to attend them every year.   I love the multi-colored robes the faculty wear.

At my daughter’s graduation last year, I tried to get a shot of the movement of the faculty during their recession.  I did not have a tripod, so I could not get a good shot of what I wanted.  This time I grabbed my tripod and we sat in the same spot behind the stage.  I was pretty happy with the result.

The faculty always seem to be in a hurry when they leave the ceremony.  I always wondered what would happen if one of them tripped, would it look like a massive pile-up on the Autobahn?  I assume they want  to start their vacations by getting out of there as soon as possible.  Much like my wife and I are now in a hurry to jettison the extra money we will have to spend on ourselves if we can recover from paying for seven years of undergraduate expenses.

So to all of us who graduated our offspring this year…congratulations to us.  Let’s hope they can get a job so they can buy us a meal.  I will order lobster at market price.  Before the check comes, I will be moving out of the restaurant faster than this faculty.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my pictures here.

Cupola at Sunset

image_1As a photographer, what happens when your worlds collide?

I am talking about your photographer world and your loving husband world.  It’s the age-old  case, the classic moral dilemma, the situation ethic, the ego vs. super ego, good angel on the right shoulder and demon on the left.  What is a photographer to do when faced with this paradox that could end all of humanity (or at least his humanity)?

My wife and I were driving through  the University of Kentucky’s campus in Lexington, KY last evening.   There had been a storm that had just passed through and the sunset  that followed was beautiful and there was dramatic lighting all over town.   So in photographer world, there is a great need to park the car and start taking pictures of something… anything… in this lighting.

Unfortunately, we were road- weary from a long drive and wanting to get home.   We had to make a stop in Lexington to drop off some precious cargo and we had just started back on the road.  In the loving husband world, we were trying to get home to watch a) the recorded seven-hour US Open golf championship or b) the newest episode of “Madmen”.   Both were equally important  but not exactly in the same order for each occupant of this automobile.

Now I have had much experience in the past in dealing with these emotional- erupting,cosmic calamities.  I am usually able to avoid them by focusing my telescope on the beautiful heavenly body sitting in the passenger seat and gauging the path of her orbit.   It usually has to do with the level of gamma rays emanating from a face-melting stare that gives me a clue as to whether I should stop for that photo.

I am sure photographers have been faced with this unfortunate situation since the dawn of man, when Og would stop the family mammoth on their way to the in-laws for Thanksgiving and chisel out a beautiful sunset on the ol’  Kodak Kodastone.

One particular world-colliding event my wife and I survived had been on a trip to California.   We were driving on the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway on a sun-bathed day.   We were heading to San Francisco.  My loving radiant wife was a few months pregnant with our first child and had that other-worldly glow.   We came upon a Winnebago that was moving at the speed of my ability to determine changes in my wife’s mood.

With some deft driving skills I passed the mammoth-like vehicle on the curvy road…only to find a spot to pull off for a once-in-a-lifetime photo.   As I was putting my camera back in the bag, my heart sank as I saw that Winnebago drive slowly by.   My wife had a loving, eye-rolling smirk…so cute.

Again I found myself behind this slow moving behemoth and after drafting him for about ten miles at about ten miles per hour, I finally made a move reminiscent of James Bond on an Italian mountain road.   I waited until I knew I had put enough curvy black top between me and the Winnebago and pulled over for another once-in-a-lifetime photo.   Much to my surprise, the Winnebago went lumbering by.  My wife had lost the smirk… and the eye roll.   Now it was just eyes without the roll.

I swore to my wife I would make this good and maneuvered my powerful four-cylinder rental around this bliss-killing  sloth a third time.   When I pulled off to take another once-in-a-lifetime photo, I did not have to see my wife’s expression…I knew.   She said something about Shirley MacLaine not having as many once-in-a-lifetime photos.   Meanwhile there went the Winnebago….and there went my wife’s glow.

I took this shot yesterday of the cupola atop the Lexington Theological Seminary.   I only tweaked the contrast and exposure during editing.  The colors are natural.  My wife was supportive because she was already asleep.

This is not a once-in-a-lifetime shot.  I am not allowed to take anymore of those.

If you like this photo, you can see more here.


Walkin’ Railroad Fork


Ahhh, solitude…..How I long for you.   Have you gone to be by yourself again?

Whenever I have had enough human contact for the time being, I tend to daydream about a secluded beach,  a secluded path to trod, a secluded fishing hole, or a secluded walk down a secluded road where there is no one except me and my dog… and this guy taking a picture of me and my dog on the secluded road.

I took this picture a few years ago when I was with my dad in Cannel City, KY in southern Morgan County .  He was working on a history book of that part of the county. It also included the O & K Railway that ran from Cannel City to Jackson, KY. He had me along for cheap photography services.

I saw this fellow walking along Railroad Fork Road with his dog.  It just looked so “eastern Kentucky”.

Whenever I occasionally struggle with my fellow terra firma playmates, my friend will tell me to “try to look at things from 30,000 feet.”

Believe me…I wish I was there.

If you like this photo, you can see more of my photos here.