Going to the Light
A 365-day Photo Journal

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Day 92: The Legend of Carey Place

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If you search the archives of The Daily Oklahoman you’ll find no mention of the evil that transpired in that house on Carey Place late one Halloween night in 1968. Nor will you find record of the dozen or more children who subsequently disappeared in the years to come from this cozy little neighborhood. No, this is a story that a city dare not tell in open forum. This is a story passed on in whispers and fleeting glances as the cynics proclaim it only lore.

The Legend of Carey Place

James and Catherine loved living on this little 3-block stretch in the stylish Gatewood neighborhood of Oklahoma City. It was tranquil to say the least and its exclusive nature made neighbors caretakers of one another. Most Saturday nights they’d walk a few blocks south to catch a movie at the Plaza Theatre and the next morning go to mass at St. Francis. James was an associate at Crowe & Dunlevy and Catherine enjoyed the modest lifestyle his position afforded. When their first child arrived the name was an easy decision. It would be Carey for a boy or Carrie for a girl…after the name of their beloved street, Carey Place. Carrie it was.

To see Carrie grow up was the neighborhood obsession. She was not only their namesake, she was a force of good whose bright red hair, freckled face and infectious smile brought instant joy each time they saw her. She was the only child that every neighbor knew by name. And Carrie seemed to only grow brighter with the attention she constantly received.

Shortly after her tenth birthday, Carrie became ill and her symptoms did not abate. Her normally pale skin turned ashen and her cough was deep and raspy and told of unknown malady. The doctor offered little solace and was dismissive of it being anything serious. But for week after week Carrie lay sick…never getting worse and not getting better.

Catherine was a dutiful mother who never left Carrie’s side. She managed to take care of Carrie’s younger brothers and complete the daily chores, but there were no diversions and no escapes from caring for her sick little girl. James would try to give her some time to recover away but Catherine knew she could not find respite away from her daughter’s side. It wasn’t until Halloween night that she finally found courage to leave the house without the little girl.

James’ attendance was required at the firm’s masquerade party and he felt it important that Catherine be at his side. The neighbors a few doors down in the house with the green shutters with clover leaf cutouts, had asked Todd and Micah, Carrie’s younger brothers, to go trick-or-treating with their boys over in Mesta Park. James had already secured a sitter to stay with Carrie. Reluctantly, Catherine donned her rented witch costume which caused many male party goers that evening to comment how she looked just like the actress Elizabeth Montgomery.

Catherine was nervous leaving Carrie with Ezra, the neighbor from across the street. The truth was that Catherine had always been uneasy around the widow who had such a strange name and eccentric tastes. Ezra’s was the only house that didn’t seem to fit on Carey Place and neighbors always noticed strange smells when they walked by it. It had large shutters around each window with axe cutouts that looked like they belonged on a medieval fortress instead of in this cozy neighborhood. But the thing that disturbed Catherine the most was Ezra's dog. It was small in stature, but it had piercing eyes that she had never seen on another animal. She never once heard it bark, but it would stand at attention for what seemed like hours like it was guarding some ancient treasure.

James reminded Catherine that Ezra had always looked after Carrie as she walked up and down the street and back and forth from the Rosary School. In fact, it was Ezra who had brought a special tea for Carrie when she heard she was ill. Catherine remembered that despite the odd grey color and moldy smell of the tea, it had in fact helped Carrie feel better if only for a few hours. So reluctantly, Catherine welcomed Ezra into her house as she went over at least three times how they could be contacted at the Skirvin ballroom. She and James then shuffled the boys up the street and loaded into the car waiting to take them out for a much deserved evening of play.


As the driver turned onto Carey Place, Catherine raised her head from James’ shoulder and gathered herself. She hadn’t realized just how much she needed a break until she felt the urgency of the return home. As they neared their house, James noticed a figure hanging upside down in the large oak tree to the side of Ezra’s house. It was swinging rather wildly in the wind and while he couldn’t make out the body, the inverted head was a Jack-O-Lantern. He hadn’t noticed it before they left and he wondered why it was just now appearing among the Halloween d├ęcor.

The driver let them out in front of their house and Catherine headed up the street to collect the boys. James decided to take a closer look at the figure hanging from the tree across the street. As he approached the swinging line he noticed a putrid smell and arriving he gasped to see a gutted dog hanging by its hind foot with its head impaling the pumpkin. He pulled hard on the rope and felt the tree branch give way. He tossed the animal out of sight making note to return in the morning and properly dispose of the carcass. He dreaded having to tell Ezra the fate of her companion.

While Catherine was waiting for the boys to bag up their candy before returning home, James made his way up the stairs to Carrie’s room. He hoped to shuffle Ezra out the door before Catherine arrived. He opened the bedroom door expecting to see Carrie asleep in bed and Ezra sitting in the easy chair that for the last several weeks had become Catherine’s place of slumber. Instead, the room was empty and immediately there started in him an internal battle between the dread of what might be and the possibility of something simple and inane.

As the adrenaline surged James ran down hallways tossing his head wildly back and forth as he searched. He cleared the stairs to the lower level in a mere two strides. Through the parlor and out to the kitchen…nothing. He ran to the front door and burst out the door his eyes fixed on the odd house across the street. As his foot hit the sidewalk his eyes darted up the street to see Catherine coming toward him. She had one son bundled in her arms asleep and the other dragging behind her.

Catherine saw James fly out of their house but it wasn’t until she saw the terror in his eyes that she knew her life was forever changed. There was no spark of hope for a pleasant outcome. She knew as a mother knows that the debt for leaving her daughter’s side for just that one evening was now come due. She dropped to her knees; still cradling her youngest as Micah caught up to her and leaned hard against her shoulder. When the air finally returned to her lungs she expelled a gasp followed by a long haunting, “Nooooooo”.

Ned and Maggie, the couple who had watched the boys that evening, waited on their porch as Catherine headed home. They were just turning to go inside when they heard Catherine’s sounds of horror. As they glanced back the scene spoke of their need to intervene. Maggie raced in front of Ned to Catherine’s side and Ned quickly passed her, intent to meet James at Ezra’s front door. Instead, he watched as James’ foot hit the porch of Ezra’s house and immediately gave way across a pool of something dark covering half of the concrete slab.

James’ head was the first part of his body to make contact with the hard stone walkway leading up to Ezra’s porch. It was perhaps mercy that he would remain unconscious for the next hour…the hour when horror was revealed. Ned, however, remained head in this world and standing at James’ side froze as he gazed through the open door of Ezra’s house. On the large white wall on the opposite side of the great room were foot tall letters written in blood spelling out the words, “RURAL WINTER RELIC”.

Carrie nor Ezra were ever found. A search of Ezra’s house by investigators found blood…only blood. Ezra’s tastes were indeed odd and bottles of various herbs and unidentified contents along with a collection of crosses and dolls led many to believe her a witch. In a day before DNA testing, the blood remained unidentified. After months the house was turned over to Ezra’s only surviving relative, a nephew, who some say lives in the house to this day.

The whereabouts of James and Catherine are today unknown. Soon after the incident there were accusations that James himself was involved in the disappearances. Indeed Catherine left him due to her own nagging doubts and her inability to account for him during much of the masquerade party. Some say that Catherine’s obsession over caring for the sick Carrie drove James to kill the little girl in a jealous rage.

Come Halloween each year there have been reports of a girls voice echoing up and down the street, “Why daddy?...Why?” and the ghostly trio of a woman, child and small dog walking between houses. Swing sets are reported to move on windless days while singing children are heard just beyond.

The blood on Ezra’s porch could never be washed away. The new owner ended up painting the whole porch a color resembling that of dried blood to cover it up. Many neighbors sold their houses and to this day the residents of Carey Place rarely last more than a year or two before selling and moving on. Although not all on Carey Place, there have been statistically more missing children from this area than almost any other place in the United States. A famed retired FBI agent has badgered many an Oklahoma City police officer looking for clues and demanding answers…answers that so far have not come.

It was a student from a nearby college who chilled by the telling of this story took on the words that were written on Ezra's wall. "Rural Winter Relic", he discovered after many sleepless nights, is an anagram for CARRIE WILL RETURN.

The current residents of Carey Place have for the most part embraced this story. They put out RIP Carrie headstones and decorate a bit more than the average neighborhood. I suppose they discourage the curious by making light of what happened. But if you venture there some Halloween night, don’t be fooled and please...don’t lose sight of your children.

DISCLAIMER: The story above is just that…a story. It contains elements of the various versions of the Carey Place story that friends have shared with me. It also contains extreme embellishment on my part. So what of the story is true? The official answer is that none of it is true. But unofficially I must say that my own belief is that every legend starts from fragments of truth.

Camera Info: 70-200mm lens at 153mm. 1/500 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 91: At the end of the street

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Another trip down Carey Place. I'm sure by now the permanent residents of the street have made note of a silver van that has passed by too many times.

It's closer to Halloween now. It's closer to the anniversary of the day that made this place the subject of twilight tale. The air's a bit cooler tonight. A lot of the leaves that were clinging to the trees earlier in the week are now blowing down empty lanes. Children sit and finish homework but think about the weekend to come when churches have ghost-free Fall-fests and next night going door-to-door pillaging piles of perfection into plastic pumpkin pales.

With my window open I rest the camera lens on my lap. Fluttering sounds as a bird lands on a power line above me...more fluttering...louder and louder as more and more birds descend on Carey Place. They must know...I think...of what happened here. It's where they must be tonight. For tomorrow Carrie comes home.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 70mm. 1/1000 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 90: Hellhound

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Another trek down Carey Place and I noticed something odd. The street has these wonderful lamps that jutt high above the ground and at night cast a cozy glow the length of three blocks. For Halloween, the lamps have been covered with plastic orange sheaths that make the lamps look like glowing Jack-O-Lanterns. But these pumpkin faces are all upside down. Why upside down???

Today's photo is of another unnatural sight my daughter and I encountered on Carey Place. As we drove down the street we both noticed this dog and how it remained perfectly still. Only its eyes moved as we creeped by. I grabbed my camera as we stopped in front of the house it appeared to guard...a house with shutters boasting cut-outs of axes and porch painted red. I had to take this photo because the dog looked so strange. It was so small and yet it had the features of a much larger animal. I turned and looked in the back seat at Jenna. She slowly turned her head from the dog to me. Without saying a word we agreed it was time to go home. I don't think Jenna will be returning to Carey Place soon.

This is what wikipedia has to say about the hellhound: They are often assigned to guard the entrances to the world of the dead, such as graveyards and Indian burial grounds, or undertake other duties related to the afterlife or the supernatural, such as hunting down lost souls or guarding a supernatural treasure. As legend goes, if one happened to see the hellhound three times directly in the eyes, he or she will die an abrupt and unseen death. Be careful not to look at this photo too many times.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 145mm. 1/125 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 89: just a coincidence???

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When you arrive at Carey Place you'll find one of the most charming little streets in all of Oklahoma City. Each cottage is unique and yet fitting with its neighbor. It's a place on first notice that evokes peace and tranquility. Gentle vines cover stucco facades. Large trees shade the multi-story abodes. Arched alcoves seem to welcome visitors to closed-in courtyards. But from the midst of all the signs saying you are indeed welcome, you begin to notice that something isn't quite right about Carey Place.

Today's photo reveals a bit of the enticing magic of this street. Do you care to venture on?

Now if you do want to visit Carey Place this Halloween you might want to go to Google maps to plot your course. I did just that thing this morning and when I pulled up the map on my computer I almost dropped my coffee cup in my lap. You see the tiny little street that is Carey Place makes a perfect upside down cross. Just a coincidence???

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 148mm. 1/800 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 88: Stories that chill

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I've always been a sucker for a good story of ghost or ghoul but there was a time in college that I was particularly spooked. I had a good friend who gathered up some of us close friends to take us to this neighborhood in Oklahoma City where true evil had transpired. I remember getting more and more nervous as he told us the story and we approached this little street. But in a day before Google maps and GPS, we were never able to find it. Just a few weeks ago I was on one of my photo jaunts and I ran across this eerie sign. In a flash the story came back to life and I was transported back in time to Carey Place.

Stay tuned for the next few days leading up to Halloween as I share in photos the story of this 3-block little street. Then come Saturday you can visit it yourself...if you dare.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 200mm. 1/250 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 87: Incredible Roots

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Today my church celebrated its 100th anniversary. We had a wonderful service that showcased the great talent in our church. New members (including my daughter) were welcomed, dignitaries were acknowledged, a Jubilee offering was taken, and time was spent lauding the great accomplishments of a church that spawned the community of Bethany, Oklahoma. Blown up photos from the past lined all the hallways and letters from Governor Henry and President Obama were on display. It was one of those very special days that will long be remembered.

I think what made the biggest impression on me was the message delivered by our pastor and especially a quote that he used by the great English missionary, C. T. Studd. The quote was, "Some wish to live within the sound of Church or Chapel bell; I want to run a Rescue Shop within a yard of hell."

We live in a time in which the focus of church and everything else is on taking care of ourselves and protecting what we have. Our pastor reminded us that the message of Christ was one of going out to the poor and disadvantaged and making them the priority over ourselves. Our church was founded from an orphanage, a home for unwed mothers and a college preparing young people for service. These are the roots and the principles, the pastor reminded us, that should guide us as we go forward.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 70mm. 1/100 sec at f/4.0. ISO 1600.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Day 86: Youth not wasted

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High School Seniors are my favorites to photograph. There is something about this time in a person's life that just sparkles with possiblity, vitality, attitude....life. Today I was honored with photographing a young lady from my church, Lacie Gassett. I have to tell you, despite having photographed many, many seniors, this was the most intimidating. You see, Lacie is herself an incredible photographer. And being asked to photograph a photographer is....well, it's scary. Just ask my wife who had to try and calm my nerves as I was getting ready this afternoon.

Lacie, thanks for letting me capture this time in your life. You have an amazing future and I can't wait to see what develops.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 195mm. 1/40 sec at f/4.0. ISO 100. Here's another from our shoot.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Day 85: Country roads

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On my way home this evening, I went a bit off the beaten path hoping to find some more evidence of this glorious Fall we are having. Somewhere between OKC, Piedmont and Yukon I found this scene. I think it reminded me that Fall is quickly followed by Winter. And while I'm no meteorologist, something tells me this one is going to be harsh. Maybe it's time to buy a few more sweatshirts.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 70mm. 1/250 sec at f/8.0. ISO 100. Numerous Photoshop filters applied.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 84: ...if you dare

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There are some who believe that the camera with either film or electronic sensor can capture things from the metaphysical world that remain hidden to the human eye. I took this photo just because I love Halloween decor. However, when I returned to my digital lab, something that I didn't originally see with my eyes made an appearance and I became chilled. I suspect we will avoid this house should we go trick-or-treating this year.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 70mm. 1/15 sec at f/2.8. ISO 800.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day 83: Some day...

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I'm really coming to love the part of town around where my daughter has drama class each week. As she attends class I've been able to explore the area and it is filled with these wonderful excentricities that seem to merge the past and post-modern worlds. I think I love it so much because it's a metaphor for how I see myself as well.

Camera info: Tripod mounted camera with 24-70mm lens at 70mm. 8.0 second exposure (remote shutter release) at f/11. ISO 100.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day 82: A good dam day

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I love going to lunch with my friends but some days I prefer a little solitude. Today I grabbed a sandwich at City Bites and headed to the dam at Lake Overholser. As I arrived in the parking lot, Bob Stoops was starting his weekly press conference on the radio and with the windows cracked it was really quite pleasant. It was just what I needed for a few minutes.

Camera info: 17-35mm lens at 30mm. 1/200 sec at f/13. ISO 100.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Day 81: Breezy

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It was a windy day today. I'm surprised these didn't blow up into Kansas.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 185mm. 1/500 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day 80: ...the one that's with you

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I finally got around to downloading a new iPhone app called Best Camera. The app is the brainchild of Chase Jarvis who at this moment I'm pretty sure is swimming in cash. Jarvis is a professional photographer who developed a book of photos that he took with his iPhone. The idea was to promote the notion that "the best camera is the one that's with you". So at the same time he released his book, he also released an iPhone app that allows you to add some stylistic effects to your phone photos and then share them through the major social networking outlets.

Today's photo was taken with my iPhone and stylized using the Best Camera app. I have the first generation iPhone and I must say that the camera is pretty limited (fixed focus, aperture and shutter speed). The new 3Gs iPhone is much more capable. But as Jarvis suggests, you can take interesting photos with the most basic of cameras. Be sure to check out his video on the link I provided. It gives a great overview of the app.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Day 79: An orange day

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On a day that I would have preferred to see more crimson and cream, orange ruled the day. Pumpkins and flowers at NW Highway and MacArthur.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 70mm. 1/3200 sec at f/3.2. ISO 800.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Day 78: Magic

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We spent a wonderful evening with our friends the Spears. Today's subject is their youngest, Tucker. At the moment of this shot, Tucker was performing a magic trick in which he made a pack of candy disappear. But I think the real magic of this moment was that of a child in the act of discovery. Wouldn't it be great if we adults could approach the world around us with an understanding that there's more to be discovered than is already known.

Camera info: 35mm lens. 1/40 sec at f/1.8. ISO 800. Available light.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Day 77: Our disposable lives

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By request, today's photo shows the beginning of the demolition of Garey Hall on the campus of Southern Nazarene University. Here is a short video I shot as well. At the rate they proceded today, I expect it to be leveled by Monday. Garey was a women's dormitory that was built in the 1960s. My sister was once a resident there as were many of my friends from college.

A few days ago I featured a photo of the Catholic Cathedral for the Oklahoma City Archdiosese. That building was built in 1921 and is still functioning as it was when it was dedicated. I think of the many structures that inhabit our country and to a much greater extent the world and I can't help but be a little saddened that the world to which I identify is much more disposable. I understand that economics dictate the wisdom of tearing down and rebuilding. But the romantic in me longs for something that remains...that marks the footsteps of those who came before me and for those who will come after.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 54mm. 1/1600 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100. Several grunge style filters applied in Photoshop.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Day 76: Does anybody really know what time it is?

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When I was 15, I worked at the J.B. Nimbles Ice Cream Parlor here in Oklahoma City. It wasn't my favorite job ever, but it was the first time I ever got an actual paycheck. Now I have always been a technology buff and in 1977 one of the trendiest techno-gadgets was an LED watch. The first time I saw one, I knew I had to have it. So one of my first purchases from my new bus-boy windfall was a watch much like the one in today's photo.

I remember my mom driving me to Target whose Sunday ad had several models featured. I could only afford the cheapest model which was $40 on sale. I think my mom even had to spring for the sales tax. Within the first 2 weeks of ownership, I had worn out a battery by showing everyone within 10 miles of my house this new marvel. Within a month, several of the LED lights had burnt out and I shipped it off to Boston for warranty service. It took about 6 weeks to get it back...6 of the longest weeks of my life.

Several weeks ago, I was in a movie theatre and wanted to know the time. I held my watch at various angles trying to get enough light bouncing off the movie screen to illuminate my dial. At that moment, I thought back to my LED watch and wished I had such convenience. Well when I got home I went on Ebay to see what was available in LED timepiece technology today. And after looking at about 100,000 options I found this baby available for $7.99 with free shipping. And by-the-way, it's made much better than my Texas Instruments model I purchased 32 years ago.

I've discovered that if you're willing to wait a few weeks, you can get some incredible Ebay deals from Hong Kong merchants. I've purchased a/v cables, phone chargers, Ipod cases, camera equipment, LED Christmas lights, and now watches for pennies on the dollar and I've yet to have a bad experience. But this watch is probably my favorite. In fact I like it so much I just purchased more to hand out as gifts. To my surprise, when I returned to the listing the price had gone down to $4.99. So if you need a cool retro watch, you can purchase your own here.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 70mm. 1/13 second at f/3.2. ISO 800.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Day 75: Strength

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I like photographing people more than anything else. Today I was asked again to provide a headshot for a colleague and former pastor, Rev. Mike Meeks. After we took some shots of what he needed, he consented to let me capture a few for my own tastes. My goal was simple...to capture something that spoke to strength of this man. Pastor Mike is man of great character and strong conviction. And his leadership was especially important to me at a rather dark moment in my life.

There's a lot of discussion among professional photographers about shooting for the client vs. shooting for the photographer. I think I'm coming to an understanding that it is the artist who can accomplish both tasks with the same photo. I've also come to understand that I am not an artist. But, I've really enjoyed the aspect of this project that has allowed me more opportunity to shoot for me, the photographer...and discovering what that really means.

Camera info: Off-camera flash directly to the right of the subject. 70-200mm lens at 85mm. 1/30 sec at f/7.1. ISO 100.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Day 74: Gord-geous

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My friend Kristie told me about this pumpkin stand at NW 23rd and Council in Oklahoma City called "Ruby's". She recommended it because she saw it as the sun was setting and said the light against the pumpkins was beautiful. Unfortunately, the sun has not made an appearance since the recommendation nor has the weatherman offered any hope of it happening before Ruby's sells out. So I went there today undeterred by the thick cloud cover. It certainly lacked that "golden hour" charm, but it was still a great place to be and take photos.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 40mm. 1/640 sec at f/3.2. ISO 800.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 73: Fancy Fence

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I saw this fence and it really captured my mood. I'm really in need of some sunshine.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 58mm. 1/1250 sec at f/3.5. ISO 100.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Day 72: Fall Flower

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Oklahoma seems to actually be having a Fall this year. I love the colors of this time of year.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 185mm. 1/500 sec at f/4.0. ISO 100.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Day 71: Pretty as one

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Here is one of the residents of the Oklahoma City Zoo.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 145mm. 1/400 second at f/4.0. ISO 800.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Day 70: Peace, Love & Mickey Mouse

Today, Jenna & I sent Lori on a well deserved break to Disney World with her best friend. Lori is an incredible wife & mother who works very hard so that Jenna & I don't have to. So as a small token of appreciation we sent her to her favorite place on Earth...the happiest place on Earth.

Today's photos are messages to mom written in the air. Jenna & I took turns drawing in the air with little LED lights. I used a long-exposure in a dark room.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 65mm. 20 seconds at f/16. ISO 100.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Day 69: Built to last

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I love churches - not the cookie-cutter, made-from-tin variety that seem to appear like weeds in the metro areas across our country. No I love the solid, interestingly designed, built on the sacrifice of many variety. And today I present one that I discovered on that trip down Western I mentioned in yesterday's post. I've lived in Oklahoma city for 31 of the last 33 years and it was just a few weeks ago that I discovered The Cathedral of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. This morning on the way to work I returned there to take today's photo.

As I researched this mighty structure I also discovered that it is one of only 3 Catholic Cathedrals in the state of Oklahoma. Cathedral status is reserved for special churches and designated by the Pope. This cathedral was built in 1923 and designated the Cathedral of the Diocese in 1931. The parish is also the home to the Bishop John Carroll School and at one point housed a convent.

One thing I found interesting is that on all the red-painted curbs around the church, in addition to the English words "NO PARKING", there is also words that looked to me to be Latin. I wrote them down and Googled them when back at home. I discovered that the language is actually Vietnamese. And while researching the cathedral I learned that in the 70's during the flight of Vietnamese refugees, this cathedral opened its arms to the refugees and remains committed to this community today. In fact they have both English and Vietnamese language masses each Sunday.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 24mm. 1/160 second at f/8.0. ISO 100.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Day 68: I'm still a happy Buddah

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One of the great rewards of doing this blog has been the discovery of things very close to me that I never knew existed. Since August I have found myself on many occasions taking right turns when normally I would have gone left...or driving straight on an extra mile or two to see what's just ahead. When I finish this project, I may have to end up writing a travel guide for Oklahoma City. I'm finding that my town is filled with plenty of wonder that I previously believed could only be experienced by traveling afar.

Today's photo comes from just such a discovery. One day I had business at I-44 and Western and when I finished, instead of getting back on the highway and proceding home, I decided to go South on Western and see what I found. I have to tell you that a short 15-minute excursion resulted in numerous finds that I'm sure will grace this blog in the coming year. One of these I returned to yesterday to get a closer look. Super Cao Nguyen Market is a Vietnamese mall of sorts located at NW 26th and Western. It includes a "super" store of Asian food and merchandise, as well as, a wing of retail space that has yet to be fully occupied.

One could easily spend a morning just going through the main store of this complex. It is a feast for the senses and I look forward to taking my daughter there for a cross-cultural experience. I love the smell of incense and the mixture of sandlewood and fresh seafood is truly...well different. And the colors and packaging of far east products in aisle after aisle of retail space feels like what I imagine a taste of Hong Kong must evoke.

As I entered the store I began snapping shots like a tourist in a foreign land. But apparently Cao Nguyen wants the store to be experienced first-hand and not through photographs. Almost immediately, I was met by one of Oklahoma City's finest and escorted from the building. No photos allowed. I must say that the police officer was very polite and did not hassle me at all. He was just doing his job and he did it well.

As you can see, I smuggled out some digital files and I was quite pleased that the very first thing I shot was this Buddah. I love Buddah figures. I mean there is something great about a religion that has diefied a happy, fat man.
Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 57mm. 1/60 second at f/3.2. ISO 400.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day 67: Hey there Delilah

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When I think back to my college experience, what I remember the most is the interaction I enjoyed with a faculty that truly cared about the lives of the students they mentored. Indeed the modeling I saw by these wise and gifted men and women is what led me to become a teacher. And while not unique to just my school, I do believe that the nature of small liberal arts institutions is one of being centered around the lives of students and developing the whole person.

I'm happy to say that while the faces have certainly changed, the sense of mission is still just as strong among our faculty. And today I had the pleasure of photographing one our very best. Dr. Delilah Joiner teaches in both our traditional and adult programs and she is treasured by her students. She has this amazing gift of being able to pour out endless empathy for her students while at the same demanding the very most of which they are capable. She takes them as they are and points them to heights they never imagined they could obtain. In a school that emphasizes Christian values, she is Christ to her students.

Delilah needed a head-shot for professional uses and while I had her captive in my studio I shot this profile shot. It was done with a single light shining thru a soft box. The wall behind the subject was a green-blue color and the room was fully lit. But by shooting at a higher shutter speed, the background was rendered black. 70-200mm lens at 153mm. 1/200 sec at f/4.0. ISO 100.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Day 66: Fuel rods

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I was playing around with light inside of a vase and this is what I came up with. The green glow reminds me of fuel rods inside a nuclear reactor.

Camera info: Off-camera flash inside a vase with green gel. 70-200mm lens at 195mm. 1/200 sec at f/5.6. ISO 400.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Day 65: I love my town

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Tonight we picked up my daughter from play practice along with our friends Rick & Susan who were also picking up their daughter Mady. Afterward we stayed around for a bit to experience the Plaza District Festival. We got to experience our first Big Truck Tacos cuisine, see some improv, check out arts & crafts and see lots of local color. It was a really nice little affair that brought out folks from the area of various cultural and economic backgrounds. I love these little microcosms that capture the true diversity of our city. Today's photo captures some of what I love about living in Oklahoma City.

Camera info: 70-200mm lens at 125mm. 1/200 sec at f/3.2. ISO 100.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Day 64: Meet Molly's Mayhem

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If you lived in Oklahoma City in the 70s or 80s, you were undoubtedly aware of a true treasure in the form of Molly Murphy's House of Fine Repute. The salad bar built into a beautiful Jaguar convertible, the unique decor, the really quite wonderful food and of course the characters made this a favorite place to launch a special evening. What I've discovered recently, however, is that for a number of employees of this landmark resturaunt, Molly's was more than a job and it still remains an important part of their identity.

Today I introduce a small group of a much larger cast. My friend Darren flew to OKC yesterday to meet up with a merry band of Molly alumni who this morning embarked on a journey to the Honobia Bigfoot Festival in SE Oklahoma. Darren suggested that they pause before they took off this morning for a group photo and asked me to do the honors. His idea was to do something with a little style and suggested something like a album cover photo of a rock band. I took his lead and set up this pose. Then back at the color lab I used some grunge filters to give it a weathered look.

What a great group of people to photograph. In the very few moments I worked with them, I instantly knew why they remained buds and why Darren would fly across the country to hang out at a Bigfoot Festival with them. From left to right, meet Susie, Greg, Chip, Darren, Dottie & Mimi.

I also want to put in a plug for Darren's book, Who are you supposed to be? I'm about half way through it and if you have fond memories of Molly's you will love this memoir. It is filled with great humor, photos, art work and best of all a very candid, behind-the-scenes look of Molly's hay day.

Camera info: 24-70mm lens at 42mm. 1/5000 sec at f/10. ISO 1600 (I thought we were going to be in shade and forgot to dial the ISO down for full sun).

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day 63: New old friends

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I had dinner with Darren and Shelley this evening. Darren lives in Maine and Shelley lives about 3 miles from me. As we talked we came to realize that I had not seen either of them in 26 years. I truly hope it's not so long before we see each other again. I know for many of those years I probably wouldn't have had the nerve to meet up with them. I'm continually amazed at how my insecurities kept me from experiencing all the friendships available all around me. Perhaps that's one of the gifts of getting older....we start to realize that life is too short to not experience more of it.

I was thrilled that these two would let me photograph them for my blog. I had intended to do an outdoor shot, but the wind made it impossible. Instead we did this in our family room with off-camera lighting.

Camera info: 85mm lens. 1/200 sec at f/2.0. ISO 100.

Day 62: The joys of social networking

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I seem to find myself in many conversations these days that debate the merits and pitfalls of social networking sites like Facebook, myspace and twitter. And while I can testify to many drive-me-crazy moments while viewing my Facebook home page, I must say that I have felt my social interactions to be enhanced and broadened beyond anything I anticipated.

I remember about 3 years ago sitting in a faculty meeting and the presenter showing us Facebook and basically saying, "If you're not already doing this, you need to get started right away." Now when it comes to diffusion of innovation, I am almost always an early adopter. But when I saw Facebook demo'd, I just didn't get it. So I waited about a year to finally decide I should check it out. I was instantly amazed. In the first 24 hours I communicated with people who not only had I not talked with, but in many cases I hadn't even thought of in years.

I'm ashamed to say that today's subjects were a part of my non-communicato status. You may remember Jana from one of my earlier postings and with her today is her husband Phil. We had lunch today...something that never would have happened were it not for Facebook. Tomorrow, I'm having dinner with two other Facebook friends whom I haven't seen for over 20 years. And again, it's a because-of-Facebook phenomenon. Look for their photo here on Friday.

Camera info: A quick, semi-candid shot. 35mm lens. 1/40 sec at f/2.0. ISO 320.