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Catching up on things for 2018!

Catching up on things for 2018!

Chrystal, myself and sister April enjoy some Chicago Style Pizza at a local place a few blocks from her apartment. Good stuff, but way too much for the three of us to eat!!

Well, as always, we’ve both been behind on doing our blog posts here!! It’s not that we haven’t been on roadtrips since September, but haven’t taken the time to write about them, so this post will cover a bit!!

My sister April and I both love to travel and even though we’ve been cutting back lately as we’re trying to save up for a trip to Europe in 2019 to visit with my nephew Brad and his family, who’s stationed in the Air Force in Germany. I lived in the Frankfurt, Germany area for 3 years when I was in the Air Force and made many, many more trips back to Europe on photo assignments after I left, until I retired from the Air Force in 1995. I haven’t been back since then and really looking forward to a return trip to some of my old stomping grounds, plus a few new spots I didn’t make it to, such as Ireland!

However, this post is about catching up so here goes!!!

Fall Photography Weekend at Pennyrile and Shutterbug Kids

Jayden was all smiles after picking up his “Best of Show” trophy for the Kids Division at Pennyrile Forest’s Fall Photography Weekend.

In October we took my nephew Jayden (5-year-old Shutterbug Jayden) with us to the Fall Photography Weekend at Pennyrile Resort Park in Dawson Springs, Ky so he could participate in his first photography competition. Sis and I normally go every spring and fall and this year we’ve started taking one of the older kids; the fall was Jayden’s turn and he did outstanding in the kids division! There were about 10 or so kids this fall and one of his pictures won “Best in Show” for the division, and he also picked up a first and second place! We all were so proud of him! 

The category he won Best in Show with was “Water,” where he shot a photograph of canoes being reflected in the water at the boat dock. His 2nd place winner was in the “Close-Up” category with a flower being eaten by bugs. We all had a great time, but I think he had the best, especially when they presented him with his “Best of Show” Trophy. 

Next up will be Xavier when we attend the Spring Photography weekend in a few months. 

Chicago Trip to visit Chrystal

Our ride to Chicago, Illinois!

Our next trip was via Amtrak to visit my niece and my sisters daughter, Chrystal. She works for the EPA  there and we like to visit as often as we can. We took the train up, which of course is a favorite mode of travel in my book. The trip was pretty much centered around a concert by the group “Celtic Thunder” which we all three like a lot. We did a bit of other things such as the Christmas Market in downtown, but they both indulged me and my obsession for trains! The concert was great as was the market and other sights, but I enjoyed photographing and riding the trains of course. 

Railfan trips of Course

Other than the trips above, I’ve been out and about photographing trains of course! I usually try to get out at least once or twice a week somewhere in the tri-state area! Sometimes I link up with fellow railfans such as Ryan Scott or William Crupper, but more often as not it’s me, the scanner and my cameras! Sis doesn’t usually ride along when I’m out chasing trains! She puts up with my obsession on trips, but that’s about it! 

iPhone Black and White Photography Challenge

January 13, 2018 – Day 75 – iPhone Daily B&W Photo Challenge – Ties and Trees – This stack of railroad ties with the row of interesting trees in the background make for an interesting photograph! When out, always keep an eye out for things that make for good contrasting scenes!! I got the extra width in this photo by taking the picture while I was in video mode with the camera! That’s what that little silver button is for!!!

Another project I’ve been doing is a daily challenge where I shoot and post a black and white photo daily on my website and Facebook. Theme is pretty much anything I feel makes a good picture, which a lot of the time it ends up being the kids! I started this project as part of the week-long black and white challenge that was going around on Facebook this fall. 

I enjoy doing something along these lines from time to time as it forces be to think outside the box and to keep looking for something that makes for what I feel is a good photograph in black and white. I really enjoy black and white photography and while I do one daily as part of my routine for posting train photos, I wanted something different. I think these days black and white photography kinda has been taking a backseat to photography. It seems that the world has been consumed more by color with the advent of the smart phones. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still other folks shooting black and white, but I don’t think there’s as many as there used to be.

Upcoming Trips

This March sis and I are back to Chicago for another concert and to visit Chrystal. This time we’re going to listen to a group called “The High Kings” at the City Winery Chicago. Again we are going up on the train and I’m looking forward to going up in a bit nicer weather than our December trip!

Then in May I’ll be headed to Monticello Railway Museum in Monticello, Illinois with fellow railfans Ryan Scott and Bryan Burton for Southern Rail Productions photography charter with Southern Railway No. 401. This should be a fun trip and we all three are looking forward to the trip.





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A “Jesus Loves Me” moment with Damion

A “Jesus Loves Me” moment with Damion

As I was strapping Damion into his booster seat he did his normal thing and grabbed my reading glasses from my pocket and put them on! I was also quick on the draw with my iPhone to catch this moment with him!

September 17, 2017 – Sunday we loaded Damion and Elaina into my RAV4, after a great day at church, and headed to our favorite after church place to eat, which is Silver Star. As I pulled out onto Main Street I could hear Damion singing, “Jesus Loves Me…” softly from the back seat! A moment that lifted my heart for sure. He and Elaina are in their second year of kids choir at church and their cousins Jayden and Journey started going this year. Nothing sweeter than the sound of a young child singing in my book!!! I just hope that they all continue to do so!!


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A road trip to look for a lost train! At least to me!!

A road trip to look for a lost train! At least to me!!

August 15, 2017 – This morning about 10am CSXT 323 leading, with the L&N Herald on it, passed my house in Richland, Ky headed south toward Calvert City Loadout. I didn’t have time to give chase so I figured I give it enough time to get there and start its way around the loop.

So I headed down about 1pm, following the Paducah and Louisville line which the train takes to Calvert City, Ky. I checked Princeton Yard to make sure it wasn’t there and it wasn’t so I headed on down to the loadout.

When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised to find this empty BNSF train getting ready to depart toward Paducah, Ky. There was another train in the loop and so I figured the CSX train had already started around and decided to head down to the Paducah and Louisville Yard and get some shots of the BNSF train there, as it would take awhile for CSXT 323 get get back around the loop where I wanted to shoot it.

Well, I got the shots at Paducah I wanted, plus a few others that I’ll share over the next few days, and headed back to Calvert City, as I figured I had given the train there enough time for the engine to move around the loop where I could photograph it.

Well, I arrived back and a train was right where I figured it would be, but it wasn’t CSX, but a loaded P&L coal train from Warrior Coal in Madisonville! So, now I’m still trying to figure out where they put the CSX train as I checked all the accessible sidings between Princeton and Calvert City. So, I’m guessing they put it into the siding at Dawson Springs, Ky as I didn’t stop there and check of course. You can’t see the head end of a train in the siding there anyway as it’s about 1/2 mile from any crossing and around a curve.

Some days just don’t go as planned! LOL Still got a few nice shots and stopped for some great BBQ on the way home! Maybe I’ll get lucky and catch it tomorrow on its way back north!

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A “Be still my heart moment,” with Elaina

A “Be still my heart moment,” with Elaina

Today’s roadtrip was a very short one… to church! Of course we do this every week on Sunday and we almost always take some of the little ones with us, unless they’re tied up in their busy schedules! LOL

In this frame grab from the video of today’s service, Elaina (center) heads up the aisle after Children’s Moments.

I run the video camera equipment at First Christian Church in Madisonville, Ky and today was a busy morning as we had a lot going on with a congregational meeting afterwards, but I’m getting a little off topic here.

The audiovisual/sound platform is at the rear of the sanctuary and has several steps leading up to where the camera and sound gear are setup. I was doing my thing after the Children’s Moments, where I position the video camera for choir’s anthem, when I feel this tugging on my pants! I pivot around and look down to find Elaina looking up at me with her lips puckered and eyes wide open waiting for a kiss! Of course I obliged and then she throws in a hug for good measure before turning and bounding off to her Worship and Wonder class. Talk about making my day! 

For most of my nieces/nephews and great nieces and nephews I was off on roadtrips traveling the world with the Air Force while they were growing up. I’d get to see them when I came home on leave (vacation), but it’s not the same thing.

Now most of them have kids of their own and I’m loving the fact that I’m here as they’re growing up and doing things that I unfortunately missed out on with their parents and grandparents. I know they all get tired of me taking their pictures sometimes, but thankfully they put up with it. I try to make sure to balance between the shooting of photos and participating. I didn’t get a shot of today’s moment with Elaina, but it is embedded in my memory for all time!

Moments like this make life wonderful! I look forward to many more with all the “littles” in my life these days!

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A Final Roadtrip

A Final Roadtrip

Davie and I on a cruise to the Bahamas with family.

Losing a family member to sudden death is probably one of the hardest things that one will experience in life. While my sister April and Davie’s twin brother Dannye, have seen our dad, mom, and another brother make this trip before, it’s a little easier for us, but still hard. For all his nieces and nephews, great and great-great nieces and nephews, it’s been a lot harder as he’s been like a second father to all of them.

A little over a week ago we laid Davie to rest, or to many of his kids, Uncle Davie, next to his mom, dad and brother who made this trip before him.

Davie loved life, there’s no doubt about that at all. He was also probably one of the most christian men I’ve ever known in my life. A role model I’ve tried to follow over the years. No, he didn’t attend church on a regular basis and I honestly can’t ever recall him saying a prayer out loud, but instead he lived his faith in love and service to his family, friends and in some cases those he didn’t even know that well. That was my brother Davie.

As with any loss of a family member we all have had our “what ifs” that we must deal with, but I know my brother and he’d be the first to say, don’t even think of going there! When it’s time, it’s time and only the Lord knows. The saving grace in all this is that he didn’t suffer as his dad, mom, and brother did for several years before they passed. I personally think that would have been much harder.

All the family made it to Davie’s Celebration of Life service, even his nephew Brad and family, who are currently serving in the Air Force and stationed at Ramstein Air Base in Germany, were able to take part thanks to today’s modern technology by using Facebook’s video chat feature and our nephew Kenneth who kept the camera rolling through some difficult moments for himself.

Davie’s service was just what the name implied, a celebration of his life and I know he was there in spirit enjoying every minute of it. All the little ones running around, yes running around, and playing, along with family and friends telling funny stories about him and celebrating the life he led. I can see Davie through the lives of his nieces and nephews. I know from the bottom of my heart that he loved us all and is proud of all of them!

Davie, like his dad, older brother, and myself, served his country and the military service and honors given him at the graveside were moving to say the least. I’m sure he’s humbled at it all, because again, I know my brother.

I’ll miss him here on earth, but I rejoice in knowing that we’ll be together someday down the road! Till I take that trip myself, I’ll try to carry on the love that he had for his family and friends.




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