Well here I am with my beautiful bride on day 31 of my photoblog challenge. Towards the end of June, I was at Amy James’ home visiting with my friend Bobby Harris. I explained to Bobby that I had sold all of my camera equipment and was taking a hiatus from photography for many reasons. Besides needing the money, taking pictures simply had stopped being fun. I told him that there was simply too much emotion wrapped up and that I was just a “tormented artist.” Bobby looked at me with a scowl and said that was all BS and that he was pissed off at me. I was perplexed to say the least.

A few minutes after the initial exchange Bobby challenged me to take a photo a day for one month and blog about it. Initially, I dismissed this idea because I had taken thousands of photos and what could a few snap shots per day really matter? A week or so later, I decided to accept Bobby’s challenge as I had been missing taking pictures. So my month long journey began and I cannot thank Bobby enough for kicking me in the ass and making me do it. You are welcome to browse the daily photos to see what I captured during July so there is no need to rehash each day, but looking back I can honestly say that it made all the difference in me as an artist.

Before I engaged in this challenge I was always so focused on the technical details of the picture I did not appreciate simply taking photos and seeing the art come out of them. Instead of shooting with thousands of dollars worth of equipment, all of these photos were taken with an inexpensive compact camera and a little help from post processing. I learned to appreciate the randomness that accompanies simply snapping images and seeing what happens. I learned to tear down the ideological boundaries that traditional photography place on art. I learned to take photos for my pleasure and for my art rather than for others approval.

I am not sure where my photography will go in the future. I do not know if I will ever become a professional or serious photographer, but I am a photographer and a good one. I can be a professional if I chose and I know I have the skills and talents to do so. I know that I am my own worst critic and that I need to work on accepting the outcome for what it is: ART!

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One of the more important decisions I took part in during my time as a pageant director involved a dear friend Jordan Johannsen. A few years ago when Jordan was our titleholder, she lived and went to school in Arkansas. Jordan was on the Pom Squad and was a Hog through and through. It was a good thing that her blood was already red because she bleed red to the core. After her first year with us, Jordan committed herself to someday becoming Miss Texas, but had a to decide if she could do that living in Arkansas. Jordan sought counsel from many people and Alex and I were honored that she sought ours as well. I remember telling Jordan that this would be perhaps the most significant decision of her life to date because if she left Arkansas and came home, the course of her life would be changed forever.

As you may know, Jordan did decide to leave Arkansas and become a Horned Frog at T.C.U. Today, Jordan is VERY close to becoming Miss Texas and I have no doubt she will work to fulfill that dream as a proud Horned Frog, but I also know there will always be a little Hog in Jordan Johannsen. If you are ever fortunate enough to play even a very small role in counseling someone about such a huge decision, remember that what you tell them will in some way influence their decision and always take that responsibility seriously. I feel very fortunate for the years spent with Jordan as Miss Ellis County and Miss Irving and I also an very lucky to have her as one of my “secret daughters”.

What is water? Water is many things to many people. For all of us water is the giver of life, the medium of survival or a harbinger of death. This image is a rather boring picture of me watering my front lawn spiced up with some post processing. Frankly, today’s picture of the day is my laziest attempt yet at simply putting something on a page. But what is water? Billions of people all over the world would look at this image and think how perverse it is to waste drinkable water on a lawn. How vain is it to care about how one’s lawn looks when people the world over are literally dying for a drink of clean water? The sad truth is that life is relative. Is watering my lawn essential? The answer is both yes and no. Cosmetically the answer is no, my life will be no different if my yard is brown grass and dirt. On the other hand, if I do not water my lawn, the ground dries up which affects my foundation possibly causing it to shift or crack which can fundamentally affect my life. People living in Haiti might wish they simply had a house with a foundation cracked all to hell to shelter their children, yet for me a cracked foundation is a fear of crisis proportions. All life is relative and in America we live a relatively great and rich lifestyle so we have little appreciation for things like clean water. So little in fact we, I included, simply waster by watering our lawns and allowing the runoff to flow down the streets into the sewers. Water is the giver of life, the sustainer of humanity and yet we treat it as the most worthless and abundant liquid around. All life is relative!

HAMSTERS!!!!

Posted: July 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

Well this is going to be an interesting post. A long time ago there was a beauty queen named Hadley Smith. Hadley you see is a drop dead gorgeous, sweet and brilliant young woman who most would say is extremely mature. Hadley has the manners and mannerisms of a woman well beyond her teenage years, but she also has a side more typical of young women in their mid-teens (at the time this began).

One year at Miss Texas, an event where young women are called upon to behave very maturely, Hadley brought herself a friend, a small pet if you will. Now bringing a pet along for a competition is not a terribly unusual act, but her pet had one huge difference: it was and still in invisible. Having invisible friends or pets is again not terribly unusual, but Hadley felt that certain friends of hers needed their own invisible pets, so like rabbits, Hadley’s invisible pets multiplied! To make matters worse, the invisible pets were hamsters and these hamsters lived on people’s heads.

So imagine a state wide beauty and scholarship pageant composed of the most beautiful, intelligent and mature young women, a few of whom were running around in their multi-thousand dollar wardrobes with invisible hamster on their heads. To add to this craziness, my wife who was supposed to be the “adult” had her own invisible hamster. Remember, my wife and I are half way insane so she was in some small way encouraging nutty behavior in all. Basically what we had was hot girls, ADHD, Adderall and hamsters. I never anticipated the level of insanity this would create!

Fast forward a few weeks to Miami. Alex and I took Jordan and Reilly to the beach following Miss Texas. We did not travel alone! Alex, Jo and Rei all took their invisible hamster along. I believe it was on this trip that they found small stuffed hamster who embodied these invisible pets. These damn things went everywhere, on their heads. The hamsters wore hats and tiaras and posed for photoshoots everywhere. The hamster got more love than I did.

The hamster are still around today albeit a little older and in semi-retirement. Jordan has gotten a little older and is now a “mature” woman. Reilly is not Miss Teen Texas and so the hamster has to remain behind the scene and my wife’s ADHD is such that she has developed numerous new interests, but the hamster are still there, waiting, watching! I hope now you understand a little bit about why this Kia made me laugh so hard today when I snapped the photo!

Coffee…IV…Stat!

Posted: July 28, 2011 in Uncategorized

I love coffee just about as much as I love anything. There is a local coffee roaster close to where I work named Addison Coffee Roasters. They source beans from all over the world and roast is small batches. Frankly, when I am at work their coffee keeps me going. There is something very comforting about a cup of hot Addison Coffee with hazelnut creamer. Just makes the day go by faster. I know, brief and boring but this is one of my little pleasures!

I am going to keep today’s post fairly short. This morning I received a bottle of Heartbreaking Dawn’s 1498 Trinidad Scorpion hot sauce. The Trinidad Scorpion is currently the hottest pepper on Earth and this sauce is a scrumptious mixture of Scorpions and other ingredients. Growing peppers and becoming a “chilihead” has been quote therapeutic for me. Since the late winter, Alex and I have poured alot of love into our little chili pepper garden and I am hopeful that this fall we will see the fruits of our labor. Doing anything in life is so much more enjoyable when I do it with be beautiful bride and pepper gardening has been no exception. Between peppers, photography, guitar, Boston Terriers, Bulls and the normal day to day living, I have been keeping busy which has been a huge help in overcoming my OCD. If you like hot things, try this sauce and hit me up in the fall to see how the harvest goes!