Bridges on the Seine

0ea2acee15a73723b7c6d5213d092dc5_10864123Mon chocolat a fondu!!!

This does not mean I am having a chocolate fondue party on Monday.  This is French for “my chocolate has melted”.

My wife and I visited “la capitale francoise” this past summer.  Now let me tell you, it was hot that week.  I now have a theory of why the French Revolution started in July of 1789…everyone was hot.  They were wearing those powdered wigs and heavy clothes. This provided a boiling cauldron-type atmosphere of discomfort among the commoners and the buorgeoisie society and set the city on an emotional precipice.  Inevitably one day, too many chocoholiques, wanting to savor their recent purchase in the shade by the Seine, discovered, ” MON CHOCOLAT A FONDU!!!!!”

At about the same time Marie Antionette was summering in a cool cellar in Versailles eating her solid chocolate and enjoying it so much she tweeted a photo of her bliss.  Well, needless to say, her head may have been the first thing dipped in chocolate.

The heat was oppressive that week in Paris, much like the French monarchy of the 1780’s. My wife and I did two days on the Batobus instead of the one we originally planned.  This is a water taxi that travels the Seine and drops off a boatload of tourists at advantageous locations to tour the city.  The second day, we never got off the boat except to eat. It was the most relaxing day we spent in Paris.

The above photo was taken on our second day on the Batobus.  It was late afternoon and the sun was reflecting on the Seine.  I like the lighting and the silhouette of the bridges.

As far as the chocolate goes, we spent most of one day in Montmarte and as we were working our way down the Street of Martyrs, we found Henri le Roux chocolates.  We bought a small assortment, because we belonged to the commoners.

We decided to wait until later that night to nosh on our treasured purchase.  We found a small table outside our hotel on the street. With much excitement, we opened the elegant little box.  “Mon chocolat a fondu!!!!”

Maybe we should have heeded the advice of Ms. Antoinette and ordered cake.

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



Street Sax Musician


“I’ve got two extra tickets!”

Oh how we love that phrase.  Nothing activates our dopamine like someone having two extra tickets to an event we desperately want to see.

The thing is,  I didn’t desperately want to see this event.  In fact I had never heard of this person.  Is he a singer? or a magician? or a poet? or a psychic? or a self-help guru? or an evangelist? or a fund-raising politician?

My first reply was “Yes, I will take the tickets.”  My second response was “Who is Sturgill Simpson?” I guess that is why they call it dope-amine.

It wasn’t until after I accepted the invite, that I asked my wife. She was in the throes of PMS…Post Mental Shutdown, since it was after 10:00 at night. She did not put up a fight.

As we neared the destination of the concert, I reminded her that the tickets cost $40.00 each.  She did not recall that conversation from the previous night.  She then put up a fight.

We found our seats in the balcony, behind what I could only describe as a bigg’un. This guy was wearing a local motorcycle group’s shirt that had to be made by a local quilting circle.  If a Vietnamese child would have made this shirt, she would have taken it home to be the new roof of her house.

Bigg’un was waving a fifth of bourbon for all to see.  Amazingly, the liquid was reduced  down to a few tablespoons.  It didn’t take long to know where the rest of the missing libation was residing.  He turned out to be entertaining, just part of the ticket price.

I thoroughly enjoyed Sturgill Simpson and his band.  I tried to describe his music that night to a friend.  It was as if the tour buses of Dwight Yoakum, Tower of Power, and Southside Johnny collided at a New Orleans intersection.  There was a mixup and these musicians staggered onto a bus and kept touring.

I took this photo of a street musician in Boston near Faneuil Hall.  I love to listen to good street musicians.  They add so much to the essence and spirit of the city.

I like the fact that the musician’s face is hidden, that it could be any street musician.  Also since I did not get permission to use this, my attorney was happy that the musician can’t be recognized.

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




Reconstruction of the West Liberty Christian Church



We won another victory over the tornado of 2012.

Almost four years after a horrible tornado took our 102-year old building from us, we moved into our new church building.

Previous to this, we worshiped at another church.  I know it was a great sacrifice on their part but they  graciously provided their building to us for about a year.   This was a wonderful act of kindness to a reeling church body after taking a devastating blow.  Luckily we were able to stagger back to our corner and get our wits about us.

We were at this time able to go through the difficult stages of shock and grief over our building.  Also the healing started as we dealt with the emotional attachment to a building that was so meaningful to many of us.  Seeing our children coming to accept the Lord Jesus and go through the act of baptism, walking some of those same children down the sloped aisle to their awaiting spouse, saying good-bye to those who meant so much to us at their funerals was on all  our minds as we started planning for a new building.  We all knew how hard it would be, for we had not planned on bidding adieu to our old friend on the corner of Prestonsburg and Broadway.

We then worshiped in a mobile unit for another eighteen months or so back on our lot.  As we stared at a vacant lot where the old building stood, a constant reminder of what was taken and how much work lay ahead of us as we tried to fill that same lot.

We then built a metal building on the back of our property and praised God there.  We shared this building with the food pantry.  On some Sundays we could smell rotten potatoes or onions or other produce.

Eventually God’s grace and mercy brought us through the storm as He promised.  We had our first service on the first Sunday of 2016.  We were so excited. We moved in before the building would be finished and we are still waiting for the downstairs and kitchen to be completed.

I am very grateful to our congregation for their perseverance and their faith in the one and only Creator.

I took this photo during the construction of our new church building and loved the shadows on a late afternoon.  You can see the domes of two buildings in the background, the dome on the right is atop our old, 109-year old court house.  The tornado weakened the roof and the dome collapsed into the courtroom.  The dome on the left is our new judicial building that was close to completion when the tornado hit.  It had to have major reconstruction.

Through it all, when our faith was struggling and our strength seemed to be fading, God answered our prayers and reminded us that His Grace is sufficient for us.

As I write this, I am listening to a song by Jeremy Camp called “Same Power”.  He sings about “the same power that rose Jesus from the grave, the same power that commands the dead to wake, the same power that moves mountains when He speaks, the same power that can calm a raging sea, lives in us.  He lives in us.”

I know we have a long way to go.  We still have to pay for this building.   But we have already had one to commit her life to the Lord Jesus and was baptized.  There will be more.  There will be weddings and funerals and memories for the next generations of God’s people, if He permits.  He has blessed His people since the beginning of time and will continue till the end of time.  Then Jesus will usher in His Kingdom and I will see some of those I said good-bye to in that old building.

After the tornado,  I was interviewed by CBS reporter Anna Werner as we looked at the pile of rubble that was the old building and she asked me what it would mean to see a new building standing here.  I replied, “God always wins.”

He has won another victory for our small town.

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.

Silhouetted Saints


While the world is focused on the conclave in the Vatican in anticipation of the next pope, I thought I would get as much mileage as I could out of my photos from Rome.    I have over 1500 photos…………… I can wait out the Cardinals.

This is a shot of the statues atop the colonnade surrounding the piazza in front of St. Peter’s Basilica, Piazza San Pietro.

There are ninety-six statues of saints and martyrs, designed by Bernini, that stand above the colonnade.   These statues are, left to right,  St. Leo the Great, St. Alexander of Alexandria, and St. Ignatius.   They have peered down on the parishioners and pilgrims for over five hundred years.

When my wife and I were in  the Vatican, it was late afternoon and the sun was behind the massive structure.    I could not get a good photo of the front of the church so I reverted to my old standby of silhouettes…making lemonade when you have lemons…putting on my big boy pants…sucking it up…walking it off…”stop crying Nancy”, sorry just remembering some comforting words from the past when things did not go as planned.

As I have mentioned in previous writings, my wife is of the Catholic faith and I am not.   This has led to some interesting conversation over the years, usually ending with me asking too many “why” questions and she questioning my motives and rolling her eyes and muttering under her breath as she leaves the room.

By and large, we have handled this difference in our faiths pretty well over twenty-seven years of marriage.    We mainly focus on what we have in common and that is a shared belief that Jesus is Lord and He died for the sins of all mankind and He rose again.   However it has led to some moments of entertainment for her before I learned the details of the Catholic Mass, such as the time I decided to take communion for the first time one Sunday morning at a Mass in Dallas.   I was unaware of the protocol during this beloved part of the Mass.   Evidently you are to respond, “Amen”, when the priest offers, “The body of Christ”.    My lovely wife left out this little nugget of information as we were waiting in line to receive communion.

When I approached the priest, he offered me the host and said, “The body of Christ”.    I stared at the host, then up at the priest, then back to the host, then back up to the priest wondering why this was taking so long.    As my wife turned and walked away, I felt my life-line slowly leaving my desperate clutches.    I was like that astronaut who, after deciding to skip the spacewalk class, found himself  adrift in space, wondering why he never asked a few more questions.

At this point, I realized that I was to respond.   Panic set in for I had NO IDEA what to say.    Before I could verbalize something that would make it even more obvious of the “NC” at the altar, (that is” non-catholic” for those of you who don’t have my extensive knowledge of the Catholic faith), the priest had mercy on a troubled soul and handed me the host, probably thinking he was being presented with one who was not in control of all of his faculties.

This led to a rather lengthy discussion between Mr. NC and Mrs. C on the ride home.

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

Big Mac Bridge


I was saddened by the recent death of Stan Musial. He was a prolific hitter known affectionately as “Stan the Man” and played for the St.Louis Cardinals from 1941 to 1963. He was my dad’s favorite baseball player.

The earliest memories I have of going to Cincinnati Reds baseball games as a child were at the end of Stan Musial’s career. My dad would load us up in the early morning hours for the trek up to Cincinnati. This was before I-75 was constructed so we would have to go to Maysville, KY and cross the Ohio River and up Route 52 into Cincinnati where we would find good ol’ Crosley Field. Sometimes, I guess when we weren’t running late, we would use the ferry to forge across the river in Augusta. These trips would probably take about three and a half hours in those days of the early 1960’s.

I know it wasn’t always the case, but it seemed like the only time I saw the Reds play, they played the Cardinals and Stan Musial. I remember being at Crosley Field for Musial’s last game in Cincinnati. I remember Sunday afternoon double-headers and twinite double-headers, both getting to be a thing of the past. I am experiencing a lot of “things of the past” lately.

I took this photo of the Big Mac Bridge that connects Newport, KY and Cincinnati one unusually warm morning in January of this year. The cold water temperature combined with the warmer air temperature created a fog that hung over the river up into the early afternoon hours. I was going to take some pictures in the city but I was drawn to the riverbank.

This wide-angle shot of the river with the fog and bridge was shot on the Cincinnati side and you can see The Montgomery Inn on the right side. Incidentally, the ribs at The Montgomery Inn were rumored to be Bob Hope’s favorite. I processed it in black and white for a dramatic feel.

This photo doesn’t have anything to do with Stan Musial.

Sometimes my mind takes me in round-about ways to get to the same place. I always loved crossing the bridges into Cincinnati and I always loved going to Reds games. Going to watch Stan Musial was the beginning of those feelings for me and somehow this shot reminded me of Stan Musial…go figure.

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

View from Sausalito


Happy 12/12/12!!!!

I really don’t have much to write about today, I just wanted to have a medium to voice my disappointment with the last tri-numeric date that we will ever experience. That is unless a little gravity leaks out of the sun like methane out of grandpa and our planetary orbit extends to need a thirteenth month.

Now some of us may be cryogenically frozen and we are re-animated in the year 3001 and we can have the tri-numeric experience for another twelve years.

You may ask what does this line of Nobel-like thought have to do with the picture above. The answer is absolutely nothing. This is one of my favorite pictures taken through my camera lens. I was living in California for a few months and I spent part of the day in Sausalito, across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.

I recently started meditating. I don’t think I have the hang of it. All it does is give me a really quiet time to think about the many things I am trying not to think about. I am exhausted from all the thinking.

I also wonder if the zen masters have trouble with the guilt that comes with meditation. You know like thinking of all the things I could be doing if I wasn’t laying here like last year’s fruitcake.

Well, maybe it is paying off because why else would I have thought of the word tri-numeric.

Happy 12/12/12.

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