Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dude, Where's my Cow?

It’s not everyday that you see a man walking his buffalo along main street. But that’s exactly what I saw as I was driving through Bandera, TX, on my to the Dixie Dude Ranch.

After I saw Len “Buffalo” Early and his 15-month-old Buffalo Lakota, I careened into the first available parking space and jumped from my car. I’m not sure it had stopped yet as I grabbed my camera from the trunk. I felt like a kid on Christmas morning and this was a truly a gift.

Turns out it’s not that unusual to find Early and Lakota out on a Saturday afternoon. They’re hired guns in the town of Bandera, known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World.”

Every Saturday the Frontier Times Museum sponsors “Cowboys on Main,” where real cowboys greet visitors to the little town about an hour northwest of San Antonio.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


What do you do with half a mile of cable, a few trees and an entrepreneurial spirit? You build what’s called a zipline on the side of Purgatory Mountain outside Asheboro, NC.

Years ago, Buddy Hammer marveled as he watched on National Geographic as scientists used ziplines to study the Amazon Rainforest. That was almost twenty years ago.

Buddy waited for retirement and for his children to graduate college. With plenty of free time, he decided to give that little pet project of his a try. Thus was born Richland Creek Zip Line.

Richland Creek Zip Line is one of the stories I shot for the Images of Asheboro/Randolph County, North Carolina magazine.

The bell tower above First Baptist Church.

The evening sun hits the Confederate Monument in front of the old Randolph County Courthouse.

A visitor to the Zimmerman Vineyard in Trinity, NC, takes a rope swing for a spin. Norm and Leslie Zimmerman started their winery on an old farm and recently opened a wine tasting room.

One of the elephants that has been moved to the Watani Grasslands Reserve at the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.

A worker in one of the framing rooms at Klaussner Home Furnishings manufacturing plant in Asheboro, NC. The company employs about 3000 workers and is headquartered in Asheboro.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Paris in Under Two Hours

I recently had a big dilemma. I had a shoot in Paris and had to get there and back in a day.

Since the Concorde fleet was retired in 2003, I had to find the next fastest vehicle: a 2008 Chrysler Town and Country minivan. With it’s speed and sleek aerodynamic fuselage, I was able to make the trip from Texarkana to Paris in about an hour and forty-five minutes. And no tickets to boot.

I was in Texarkana working on the Business Images of the Ark-Tex Region magazine for the Ark-Tex Council of Governments and spent about four days exploring the counties that make up the area.

And believe it or not, there really is a replica of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, TX, with a cowboy hat on top.

The Titus County Courthouse in Mt. Pleasant, TX.

Angela Clark RN and Joe Stringfellow RN monitor a patient at Paris Regional Medical Center's new cath lab in Paris, TX.

The Methodist Church in Ben Franklin, TX, was erected in 1898. Settled in 1835, the community got its post office in 1853 and by 1884, its population reached 200.

A view from under the Titus County Heritage Bell Tower in downtown Mt. Pleasant, TX.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Through Fields of Marsh

Marshfield, Wisconsin, is one of those out of the way towns that you would most likely pass by without stopping. But once you’re there, you may never leave.

I got to visit Marshfield about a month ago. I was there working on the Images of Marshfield magazine.

As I scoped out the town, I noticed these steel sculptures scattered throughout and did a little research. They were created by retired attorney Clyde Wynia. He’ll tell you he’s an “amateur paleontologist” who has managed “to excavate and recreate as best as possible the now extinct creatures that inhabited the large McMillan Marsh near Marshfield, Wisconsin during the Iron Age.”

In reality Wynia creates his sculptures from scrap metal that he finds or is brought to him. He “leases” his fossils for a period of 99 years at his field research facility called Jurustic Park.

Nancy and Clyde Wynia stand in front of the Hobbit House at Jurustic Park outside Marshfield, WI.

Calvary Bible Church

Painter Victoria Montoya Mesa works in her studio at the Chestnut Avenue Center for the Arts.

A windmill at the Hamus Nature Preserve and Recreation Area.

Andrea Mahnke, right, works with a subject in Interaction Lab of the Biomedical Informatics Research Center housed in the Laird Center for Medical Research in Marshfield, WI. The Laird Center for Medical Research, a world-class medical research and education facility, is named after health care advocate, former statesman and US Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird.

Early morning frost turns to water on a feather at Wildwood Park and Zoo.

John Twiggs is one of the instructors at the Karuna Yoga Studio in Marshfield, WI. The studio uses geothermal energy to heat the studio.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Roller Coaster of a Finish

The Valero Texas Open golf tournament didn’t have the star power like some PGA Tour events. Tiger and Phil weren't there. Ernie and Vijay were nowhere to be seen. But with a lot players trying to move up the money list and secure their tour cards, it definitely had all the excitement.

On the final day, just about everyone on the course had a shot at winning the tournament. Some faltered early, while others made their runs late only to fall short in the end.

With the leader board changing names fast enough to make you dizzy, I managed to walk at least twenty holes while only seeing about seven.

After following leaders Rory Sabbatini and Zach Johnson for a couple of holes, I dropped off to catch the first contender of the day. I picked him up on 16 and followed him as he finished his round. By the time he had finished, another contender had emerged. It was back to 16 to pick up the new leader.

This cycle must have gone on for at least half a dozen golfers.

Whispers soon began to make their way around the course. It was that one word that any golf photographer dreads: Playoff. It's the equivalent of a four letter word with photographers. And like Forrest Gump said: “Momma always says, Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.”

Ladies and Gentlemen, so is a playoff in golf.

In some tournaments, it’s a sudden death playoff. Worst case scenario is an 18 hole playoff starting Monday morning, which is fine and dandy unless your deadline is Monday morning and your flight is scheduled to leave at 7am.

Luckily, in the end, Zach Johnson managed to prevail and got to hoist the trophy over his head and try on a new pair of cowboy boots.

And I got to make my flight home on time.