Saturday, January 31, 2009

Civil War K.I.A. Reenactment in Arkansas, Faulner County

I edited these pictures the other night. I have not looked at them in quite a while. I have been going through some older film stuff and doing some digital edits. It is also nice to look back at what I was creating a couple years ago. These were taken with some college friends of mine (Sean Harla, Nicholas Cantell, and Kingsley Coppinger). Sean Harla (Union officer uniform) is a huge Civil War buff. He has an extensive knowledge of Arkansas Civil War history. He also owns a lot of period gear and participates in reenactments. They dressed up and we did some KIA (killed in action) scenes. It was common for soldiers to loot the supplies and gear of the opposing casualties. A macabre scene. There are two confederate soldiers and one union officer, and we placed them in different combination along this theme. We tried to stay true to a historical frame. I hope you think these are interesting.

Thank you for looking!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Alan the entomologist

Male Monarch

Yellow Sulfur butterfly

Gulf Fritillary

All these butterflies were caught and preserved by Alan Taboni. I had the pleasure of photographing a few of them. I used several pieces of white foam core board, my reflector kit, SB-800 and SB-600. I set up one piece of foam core flat on a table and another propped up as a background. Shot my 800 and 600 from opposite sides through the diffusers in the reflector kit. We pinned the specimens to a piece of styrofoam and shot at an angle to cut it out. I used a macro attachment on the front of a Nikkor 50mm f1.4. Even with a bad magnifier on the front of the lens they turned out great. Once I took them to edit they really popped. Hope you think these are cool, and beautiful. If not slightly weird, because they are all dead and pinned.

Thank you so much for looking,

Monday, January 12, 2009

Travel Therapy

A Poem by Mary Oliver


The time
I thought I could not
go any closer to grief
without dying

I went closer
and I did not die.
Surely God had His hand in this,

as well as friends,
Still, I was bent,
and my laughter,
as the poet said,

was nowhere to be found.
Then said my friend Daniel
(brave even among lions),
"It's not the weight you carry

but how you carry it–
books, bricks, grief–
it's all in the way
you embrace it, balance it, carry it

when you cannot, and would not,
put it down."
So I went practicing.
Have you noticed?

Have you heard the laughter
that comes, now and again,
out of my startled mouth?

How I linger
to admire, admire, admire
the things of this world
that are kind, and maybe

also troubled–
roses in the wind,
the sea geese on the steep wave,
a love
to which there is no reply?

- Mary Oliver

Travel Therapy

I dream of far away lands.
I yearn to see the world for her,

through her
will I see the land of the gods.
By my eyes will I see
Those infinite entities

My mind travels to distant lands,
collapsing onto this one,
where I am.

- Thank you

Thursday, January 8, 2009

More pictures from this year. Thank you.

These are more pictures from this year and the camping trip.
Longhorn cavern, Westcave preserve, Inks lake. The beads are from the classroom.

Thank you.



by: Walt Whitman

Why, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with anyone I love, or sleep in the bed at night with anyone I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer afternoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.

To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.

To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships with the men in them,
What stranger miracles are there?

I have had the pleasure of being an integrated feature in a Montessori classroom this last couple of months. I am an assistant in a class of 24 nine to twelve year old children. Despite the daily challenges, and "the grind" so to speak, I feel as though I have been an observer of continual miracles in and out of the classroom. The children continually surprise me. They surprise me with their extensive knowledge on just about every subject I know about. They amaze me with their seemingly adult analysis of complex situations and interpersonal problems. They surprise me with their humor and sometimes unfortunate knowledge of the popular world. However, then, on top of the almost infinite amount of knowledge they communally posses, they soak up intense pieces of history. They write, wonderful, humorous, and poignant pieces of prose and poetry. They struggle and cry and laugh and love and hate. All of these with so much intensity and clarity. They take the moment and ride it to their own devices. Seemingly more acutely present in these moments than I have been for many years.

It seems that some of us spend all our early years learning and accumulating so much knowledge, only to reach adulthood wanting to reach back again and find sense of the moment. Wanting to reach reality in our lives. Wanting to strip down our sense of self in order to find the true self, the still self. I am trying to take many lessons from the children in my community, but this one is the greatest. The moment to moment living and learning that they do has been forgotten by so many of us. It has happened through disillusionment and disappointment. through a loss of faith and a loss of love. But mostly fear through the lost faith in love. I see this too within the children of this community. The beginnings of adolescents is the ends of children. it is into this new phase of development that we guide our children. Hopefully we have given them the tools they need to fully expand into the beings they will ultimately be. Is is not really a question of how, but when they will arrive at the same point we ourselves inhabit, and the reality being such we hope that we have done our job. That maybe these children will be more well equipped than we ourselves were.

It has been said many times that the highest gift one can give to another is the silence that dwells in the heart. For it is only when the body (mind) is quiet that the true love of well-being is allowed to flow through the hearts of us. I am thankful for the quiet experiences I have been given, and those quiet experiences that I have helped to facilitate. THANK YOU.

Our class went to Longhorn caverns, Inks lake, and to Westcave Preserve during the fall semester. It was beautiful and full of quiet moments, for me and the children. I was truly impressed at how well they performed and behaved when put into real world situations and pressure.

Journal excerpt:

Stay here and now and all things will always be ok. Take
solace and comfort in the present moment.
Be compassionate with yourself.
Nick. Show yourself the gentleness that you need....

Hold yourself as you would love and hold your beloved. Tenderly
holding your heart.

Find Grace and Tender Unconditional love through
the children. Use their example.
See how they live through the moment. They relish it and
scream it and cry it. They live through it completely.

Westcave preserve

A paradise deep in the savana of Texas. Listen...
Can you hear what the Conquistadors heard on the Pedernales?
Can you see what the early German settlers saw?


See what you see.
Hear what you hear.

I am sitting among these individuals who will carry on an interesting legacy.
Those children with very little connection to the earth.
To decomposition and growth.
Did I feel and know how beautiful and full of well-being the world was
When I was young?
Do I feel it more now?
Did I feel it then? I think I did.

Are you listening?

Rare moment, this silence.