Fireworks on the 4th
No Expense Spared
Several weeks ago I shared a few photos of collectable miniature pick-up trucks and explained how I captured those images. Well here is another look and my state-of-the-art small venue photography studio. No high-end studio lighting to be found here. Those two lights are rechargeable LED work lights from Walmart. and they are far and away the most expensive things in the studio, except for my camera & lens. Of course they can be used for any project around the house. The lights have a 2 hour run time per charge, but it takes several hours to completely recharge them and they will not work while charging. The upside is the elimination of extension cords on the floor for me to trip over. Okay, the chair is a left over shower chair from my surgery. You’ll have to scroll back to “Happy Socks” parts I, II, & III to get the full story. It allows me to get down to the level of subject and saves a of stooping and bending. Thankfully my camera also has a flip screen that helps as well, I just haven’t gotten accustomed to using it yet. The base and background are 2’x2′ pieces of 1/8″ plywood that I painted. I painted the opposite sides different colors for more variety. The possibilities are endless. I’ll go into more detail in another post one day soon. So what did the coffee cup finally look like?
Here is an image of a souvenir cup from the 1986 Tulsa State Fair that I found at a local flea market. I grew up in Tulsa and the fair was always a big deal. The pottery is Frankhoma. Frankhoma pottery was made near Tulsa and was very popular when I was a youngster. Note that the background has changed.
The final image is a pitcher. While Frankhoma pottery was considered by many to be country-western in theme, there are elegant little details that scream art deco and mid-century modern. Look at the spout on this pitcher. It is just beautiful. Oh look…different base, different background. How does he do it?
Monday’s Music Moves Me
I have to admit, the first time I read the theme for 4M this week I was at a bit of a loss. We are supposed to pick songs that are played at sporting events. I mean, we play the National Anthem at every sporting event, but then what. Well if you are a college alumni, chances are you attended football, basketball, or some other sport that had all or part of the band in attendance. So, let’s start there.
Prior the start of home football games at major universities like USC, Penn State, Alabama, Texas and my alma mater, University of Oklahoma, the marching band puts on a pre-game show that is often more fun and certainly more enthusiastic than the half time presentation. So I chose only one video today, but you will find the National Anthem, the State song, and the school fight song all in one place. At the end of the video you will be ready to play some football, or at least root your favorite team to victory. Without further delay, I present the Pride of Oklahoma…The University of Oklahoma marching band. This is gonna be fun.
Wedding Reception Centerpiece
Recently my wife was asked to create a couple of centerpiece arrangements for the wedding of a friends granddaughter. I captured a few images while they were sitting on the counter at home. Due to COVID-19 I was unable to attend the wedding and reception, so I didn’t get any images of the arrangements in their final placement. And just in case you’re wondering, they are silk flowers.
In Arkansas we are about to enter the dog days of summer. You know, that time when the temperature and the humidity are both near 90! In the cool of summer evenings my wife and I may enjoy grilling and spending a little time under the covered portion of our patio which is made possible with the help of a ceiling fan. On those evenings Lucy transitions from “House Princess” to “Patio Princess” and she does it seamlessly.
Before & After Part II
A couple of weeks ago I posted a few images of the before and after transformation of my old student desk from “shabby chic” to “country casual”. The project went very well and there is one more piece of furniture to re-purpose. My bedroom in junior high also had a three drawer chest, commonly called a bachelors chest. It had been a part of the shabby chic room with the desk above. Well here ya go!
To be perfectly honest, the chest turned out better than the desk. Anyway, both pieces will be headed off to college this fall with the middle grand daughter. It’s hard to believe these objects from my teen years are now sixty years old. I’ve been told that there are two more pieces now waiting in the wings for me to work on. Stay tuned, this may turn into a real hobby.
Monday’s Music Moves Me
This week is a free choice week at 4M. Last week I posted a song from the genre known as Red Dirt Music which is a blend of country/bluegrass/southern rock. Every so often a genre like country music wanders from it’s roots and becomes popular and groups like those playing Red Dirt music come along and move the needle back toward a more classic sound. The current Nashville scene is very different than when Hank Williams and Patsy Cline were the superstars. There is a lot of pop sound going on that is not terribly different from top 40 radio. Bands playing Red Dirt music are making an effort to reign in the pop sound and return to the roots of country music. Red Dirt music got it’s start in Stillwather, Oklahoma and the name comes from the color of the dirt around that part of the state. I have actually seen it rain red mud in Norman, OK. I cannot say that I am a diehard fan of Red Dirt music, but the sound is refreshing and I do like. So without furher delay here are a few examples of the Red Dirt sound.
Have a blessed week y’all!
Backyard Birding – House Finch
This past week-end our family gathered to celebrate Father’s Day. Our daughter, her husband and the four grandkids, plus the husband of our oldest grand daughter assembled at our house for a cook-out Saturday evening. Our oldest grand daughter and her husband brought Cousin Bruno.
Our 3 year old American Cocker Spaniel, Lucy stands at 12 inches tall and weighs in at 18 pounds. Cousin Bruno is approximately 24 inches at the shoulders and tips the scales at 95 pounds. He is an 18 month old Chocolate Lab and Bruno is a stunning canine.
At first, Lucy was not terribly thrilled about Bruno, but after a little getting acquainted they got along just fine. Lucy spent a lot time trying to capture the high ground just to prove to Cousin Bruno she was in charge. It was a great week-end having all of the family together. As the grand kids grow up, their schedules get filled and getting together as a family is becoming more difficult, so we cherish these times. Hope you had a grand celebration.
Monday’s Music Moves Me
This week the theme at 4M is songs that honor World Music Day. I’m not quite sure what to do with this challenge. I could select music native to various regions of the world. I could select music by artists from around the world or I could select songs about exotic places. Well, here goes nothing.
I don’t know if this truly qualifies as music, but I do know that it is a popular form of competition in Europe, and that would be drum corps. I love watching precision drills and the Top Secret Drum Corps from Switzerland is among the best in the world. Enjoy.
By the name of the group, Cross Canadian Ragweed, you would think that this band comes from the Yukon Territory of Canada. Well they do come from Yukon…Yukon, Oklahoma that is and they are one of the top Red Dirt music groups in the country. Red Dirt music refers to a brand of country/rock/bluegrass blend that originated in central Oklahoma. The land west of Tulsa turns to mostly a red color clay similar to that found in Georgia. The music is a bit of a throwback to the dust-bowl folk/country sound of Woody Guthrie with southern rock overtones of Alabama, Lynrd Skynrd, and a little bit of Leon Russell for good measure. It may not be music from around the world but it from my world and my playlist.
My final offering comes from a group that is purely of Ameican origin, but they have played around the world. Currently, we are in the middle of a cluster of patriotic celebrations in this country. May gives us Memorial day. June 6, we honor D-Day, the invasion of the Allied forces to free Europe from Nazi rule in WWII. June 14 is not an official holiday but it recognizes the official adoption of the American Flag in 1777. June 19 may not be an official holiday either, but there is a push to make the anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves a national holiday. July 4 brings this season to a close with Independence Day. So what better way to honor these celebrations that with The Presidents Own, Marine band and “Stars and Stripes Forever”! Have a blessed week.
Aww Monday – Before & After
Last week I posted the image above of Lucy, our American Cocker Spaniel. Not long afterward, Lucy made the trip to her groomer for a new summer look.
“Lucile” is now rockin’ her new “Summer Doo”! It’s shorter all the way around and more of a puppy cut, even though Lucy is a three-yar-old young lady. She seems to like the cooler cut for those dog days of summer.
Before & After II
Eight years ago the two older granddaughters wanted their bedroom decorated in Shabby Chic style, so Nana took the early American student desk that I had in junior high and chalk painted it, distressed it, and made a slip cover for the chair to the left of the frame. We painted the room a sunny yellow and added crisp white curtains. It looked great.
Fast forward eight years. The oldest granddaughter is now married and the middle granddaughter will soon begin her second year in college. This year she will be out of the dorm and into an apartment. She has decided to take the old student desk and a matching small chest with her, but she would prefer a more country casual style to the shabby look of previous years. So, I brought the desk home, stripped all of the paint and most of the varnish off, then painted the desk a light cool grey and put a matte finish clear acrylic on the top. I think it’s going to be a winner.
I wonder what it will look like eight years from now?
Monday’s Music Moves Me
This week at 4M is a free choice week. Since last week’s theme that required songs starting with the letter J was so much fun, I almost continued that train of thought into this week. Then I started listening to a couple of other songs on YouTube that I thought were worth bringing to the party. This will probably be a mixture of old and new artists along with some familiar and not so familiar songs. My first choice comes from two music legends, but the song my not be one that you know well and sing along whenever you hear it. I am a fan of 90’s country music. That decade gave us Garth Brooks, Trisha Yearwood, Travis Tritt, Leroy Parnell, Martina McBride, Shania Twain, and Vince Gill just to name a few. Vince Gill is a superb tenor vocalist and a legendary guitar player. The song I have selected to start this party is a duet featuring Vince and music icon James Taylor singing a song written by Sweet Baby James. Enjoy.
Another Oklahoma artist that found success in the 90’s was Toby Keith. Toby was the reincarnation of the outlaw sound that Waylon, Willie, and the boys of the 70’s made popular. “I Shoulda Been a Cowboy” is still one of my favorite country songs. A little more mellow sound is found in the tune “I Wish I Didn’t Know Now”.
The 90’s produced a multitude of bands with a country sound. The southern rock/country sound was dominated by Alabama. Country music is filled with odes to love lost and one the hits from this groups songbook that you don’t hear much these days is “Old Flame”.
I guess that I was wrong about one thing, there are no new artists or songs in this playlist. Let’s close this session with my all time favorite female country artist, Mrs. Garth Brooks, better known as Trisha Yearwood. I always thought she was the best female vocalist since Linda Ronstadt and you can hear Linda all over this song. Have a blessed week.
It’s a Small World
My wife is apparently preparing something in the kitchen and it has Lucy’s full attention. She doesn’t really beg for food, but if something falls off of the counter it will barely hit the floor before Lucy has her nose on the fallen object and checking to see if it smells good enough to eat.
Since we have all been sheltering in place for the past three months, I have been playing with a few ideas for my photography. Several weeks ago I posted images of some collectable model pick-up trucks that were from a Thomas Kincade collection that was released in the mid-80’s or early 90’s. After watching a few videos about photographing smaller objects I decided to construct a sort of mini-studio.
This image was captured using some simple props that I acquired. The gray base is a 2’x2′ piece of painted plywood and the blue background is a plastic tablecloth from Walmart clamped to a frame built out of 1/2″ PVC pipe that I bought at Lowe’s. I used an LED work light for the main light and then supplemented with on-camera flash. This was my first effort and it was hot in the garage, so I didn’t spend a great deal of time refining the techniques.
In this image I used a warmer gray base and a black background of the same painted plywood. In post processing I decided to give it a retro feel.
So…what does this state of the art mini-studio look like you ask.
No expense was spared in the corner of the garage to create these images. Of course I have to set it all up when I want to photograph something and break it all back down when we need to put the wife’s car in the garage, but it is a mini-studio on a budget and the possibilities are endless.
Monday’s Music Moves Me
It’s the first week of June and summer has come to Northwest Arkansas. As I write this post, the outside temperature in over 90 degrees and the heat index is pushing 100! It may be a long, hot summer in the Ozarks. Enough about the weather, the theme this week at 4M is songs that begin with the letter “J”. One’s first thought might be that there are no great songs that start with this tenth letter of the alphabet but then, “Jolene” pops into my head, followed by “Johnny B. Goode” and “Jail House Rock”. After considering those songs, I thought that everyone would be posting them so I would go find some music that might be new to you and me.
The first song is not new to me. It is an old country classic from the 50’s or early 60’s that my dad liked to listen to.
I was a child of the 60’s so everything from The Beach Boys to Jefferson Airplane falls into my wheelhouse of musical favorites. The 70’s brought us knit suits, stacked heel shoes for guys, and Disco. The undisputed kings of disco were the Bee Gees and that is no “Jive Talkin”.
This next song is new to me. The water tower in the background is from Blake’s hometown of Ada, Oklahoma. My great-aunt lived just north of Ada and I visited her farm many times as a youngster and an adult. Aunt Elva was my dad’s favorite aunt and an extraordinary woman. For those of us born and raised in Oklahoma, we will always consider our home state to be located “Just South of Heaven”.
Closing out the playlist this week will be a song of inspiration, and Lord knows, we could all use a little inspiration these days. People are trying to solve the worlds problems with worldly thinking and it isn’t working. The answer to solving the tension, unrest, and discord that abounds today is not more demonstrations, curfews, or national guard. The answer is found in changing the hearts of men and that happens one heart at a time. All of the pain, anger, and rebellion has to be replaced with “Jesus, Messiah”. Have a blessed week.