Friday, January 30, 2009

Downtown black and white III

The Valley (look on the front about three stories up; one of the children is Laurence Leyens' dad)

On the hill next to the Biscuit Company

Building at corner of Grove and Walnut Streets

Christ Episcopal Church

Wow! What an adventure! I did not know I had taken so many photos from downtown. But it has been hard to leave any photos out. If you are just joining us, this is the third post of black and white photos from downtown Vicksburg. Keep scrolling to find the other two!

The last picture in this series of Mary is at a church I consider to be downtown, but some of you may not. If you still can't guess where some of these pictures in any of the posts were taken, then drop me a comment!

But this is not all! I couldn't resist returning to downtown at night last weekend and, so, on Monday I will post nighttime black and white shots of downtown, plus a couple of other b&w shots from the week. See you Monday!

P.S. Are you helping to spread the word of this blog? Please do! Share this website with anyone who you think would enjoy these photos! Plus, it's free!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


No theme today. Just a few photos I've taken the last few weeks I just wanted to share with you.
The first is the Mint Springs photo I took Saturday. Look closely and you will notice some of the icicles I talked about in an earlier post. I hope to catch bigger ice if if ever gets real cold again and I am able to get out to the springs and shoot.
The other two pictures are of a bus located in the woods near Kings Point Ferry. Look how the tree has grown around the front left bumper. I have taken several folks to photograph this old bus because it is just not something you expect to find. I enjoy seeing how different people compose their photos and have to confess that many of them have been quite more imaginative than I have been. That just makes me try harder in working on my composition of any photo I take.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Downtown black and white II

Mississippi River Commission building (chains hold up awning)
Hotel Vicksburg
Taken in Gordon Lane that runs behind the stores

Hotel Vicksburg
Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum

On Clay Street down the hill from Washington Street
On Clay Street down the hill from Washington Street

When was the last time you saw a barber pole? Or a fallout shelter sign? Did you know one of the shepherds from the Christmas story had a price on his head? Ever seen a man spitting chain? It's amazing what you find when you start looking for the details. That's what happened to me this past weekend when I shot black and white photos in downtown Vicksburg. For those of you who are just joining us, the first part of this adventuret was posted on Monday, so scroll on down!

These photos are probably like a cruel game of "Where's Waldo." There are two options: either try to find them yourself in downtown Vicksburg or leave a comment and I will let you in on where these photos can be found downtown. I will tell you that many of them were taken while I was sitting in my truck!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The men of the Iowa Monument

I love the Iowa Monument. The sculpture there is absolutely superb. I have counted 41 men in the various reliefs of the monument. They are ready for business, too. I have studied each of their faces and each has a story to tell, it seems.  The sculptor shows a lot of depth in his work and I see that especially in this last photo. He looks like a soldier who has been in more battles than he can count. He's resolute in his convictions, but he looks so tired. You can almost see him dreaming about going home. 

It grieves me to go to the park and watch cars just zoom by the monuments without the occupants getting out and taking the time to really admire the little details that each monument offers. The park is one of the largest art museums you will ever find! Take advantage of it today.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Downtown black and white

Display window of Sweet Beginnings

Trustmark Bank
St. Paul Catholic Church
Former children's museum on Walnut Street 

For a man who loves the colors that God surrounds us with everyday, it was a particular challenge I gave myself this past weekend — to see the world around me in black and white. It's not as easy as it looks when it comes to photography. Not all color photos look good in black and white. The opposite is true, too. Some photos look better in black and white than they do in color. Those are the photos I tried to find this weekend. I tried my experiment in downtown Vicksburg and had such a wonderful time I would like to go some Saturday morning and explore the old downtown of Jackson. Anybody want to go?
Anyway, above are the first results. I will post other photos on Wednesday and Friday. By the way, when was the last time you saw complete mannequins used in a store window display?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Geese on the Levee

[Click on the photos to enlarge them for better viewing!]

I ventured over to the levee on the Louisiana side Sunday afternoon and I am so glad I did! I don't usually shoot in the bright afternoon sun, but I may have to change that way of thinking. Driving down the levee, I didn't see anything spectacular until one time I turned around and it was unbelievable how blue the water in the borrow pits was! The sun was hitting it just right and with the wind blowing it seemed like there were scores of different shades of blue dancing across the water. Throw in some geese and you have one happy photographer! I can't say the same for the geese, for they were surely not happy to see me interrupt their afternoon paddle. The closer I got to them, the louder they honked. Then it only took one to start flying to send the whole flock into the air. 
P.S. The sunrise this morning was spectacular. Saw some of the pre-show on the way into work around 6 (with the crescent moon in the sky among the wispy clouds) and I envy those who got to see it bloom across the sky full of God's Glory! I hope those clouds hang around in the morning, so I can devote my entire Saturday morning shoot to it!
Friday Bonus: I am meeting so many new people through this blog! From Florida to New York and all areas in between, I have had correspondence with some of the nicest people. One of my biggest supporters is Sheila at

Go visit her; it will warm your heart!
I have been reminded many times this week what a great God we have. Forget diamonds and sapphires. God's jewelry is sown across the lakes and ponds that dot this great region of ours. We're rich!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sunset on the Mississippi River: Part II

I guess the part I like about taking sunsets at the Mississippi River is that I have never taken the same one twice. They are all different, each having its own identity, it own characteristics. Some days there are no clouds, some days the sky is boiling with them. The water's up, the water's down. Boats come and go.
I wish you could have been with me the day I took the bottom photo. It looked like giant spotlights were situated behind the bridges sending brilliant orange colors into the sky. It was if God was saying, "Ta Da!" And I timed it. That one little scene was gone in less than a minute. I thanked God right then that day for the show He put on, it seemed, just for me. I am glad I can share it with you.
Go watch a sunset today — they are free, yet priceless.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sunset the Mississippi River: Part I

Know how moths are attracted to the light? They just can't seem to resist its charm. That's me with the Mississippi River. I love watching the sun reflect off the churning water. I am mesmerized each time I watch tows cutting their way underneath the bridges. My wife and family know that if they look up in the sky and see that the sunset is going to be a pretty one — and I am not home yet — then I will usually be perched somewhere on the river to capture God's Glory. God does an exceptionally good job of ending each day with an array of dazzling colors that so many never take time to see. Not me, brother. I'm there if I can.
The pictures you see here were all taken in the last week. They were shot from the new parking garage tower of Ameristar. I appreciate the casino building me a photography stand with seven different levels. It's nice. I love the third picture the best — it seems like the river is fire!
But these pictures, however, can't do the sunsets the justice they deserve. They are just too pretty to be captured adequately by a camera. The colors change so fast, the clouds breeze by so quickly, the sun sets so quickly. But give me an A for trying. I'll show you some more tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Expressions: Part II

Here are some additional shots from my time in Cedar Hill Cemetery this past weekend. The top photo is a metal statue of Jesus on the Cross, located in the area of the cemetery where the nuns and priests are buried. 
I took the photo of the hand and believe it belongs in this group of photos because it stopped me in my tracks when I found this particular monument. The symbolism of the hand holding the rose, almost like it is going to drop, is so poetic. It is such a delicate gesture and full of expression to me.
People sometimes are surprised when I tell them I like wandering around old cemeteries. But I connect with the history of the people who are buried there. I consider their lives and the lives of their children and how they may have impacted the community in which they are buried.  I dwell quite a bit on the people who made the actual statues and monuments as well, because some of the monuments  — such as many in Cedar Hill — are so elaborate you know it took quite a bit of time and effort to make them. Devotion to doing the best they could shows all around. I like that. 
Plus, I like the hidden "jewels" I sometimes find. Saturday I ran across a grave that had fallen over. Below the ground line of the tombstone were the words "Erected by his mother." The words would not have been seen when the tombstone was erect, but were laid bare by time. There's a story there, a sad one perhaps, that I will just have to ponder in my heart for a while.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Expressions: Part I

I awoke Saturday morning and headed to Mint Springs. I was hoping the fall would still be a little bit frozen from the bitter cold the day before. But, alas, only a few icicles clung from the top of the fall.  Still a pretty picture, though. I'll show it to you later in the week.

The sky was completely overcast so I decided to head over to Cedar Hill Cemetery, because the best time to shoot photos there is when there are no shadows and even tones are available on the many monuments. While I was driving down Mission 66, however, the still, small voice in me said one word: "Expressions." That was it. Usually when I go shoot photos in Cedar Hill, it's all about wide angle photos and full monuments. But now I started to think along a different track. I entered the cemetery looking for expressions on the faces of statues. Cedar Hill is a virtual art musuem when it comes to sculpture, just like Vicksburg National Military Park is. I deliberately decided to photograph monuments I had never shot before and the results were both pleasing and startling to me. For some faces, time has passed slowly, while for others Mother Nature is slowly taking over. The lichen and moss on some of the faces nearly obscures the details. But yet, in itself, it is a very beautiful sight up close. I don't know what to think. Some of the photos are hauntingly beautiful is about all I can say. And no, that is not a pun.
I'll have more photos tomorrow.