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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Red Clouds ~ Cause & Effect

I love Facebook! This blog has a feed through Facebook's Networked Blogs, so immediately after posting, it is pulled by Facebook and voila... the blog is available for anyone to read! So, yesterday's post about the Red Clouds was visible and a very good friend of mine, Doug Banks, who is a photographer out of Canada replied to the post. Now, keep in mind that he is not a meteorologist, but he did have an explanation for the red clouds, and it sounds good to me, so I'm going to share it with everyone else!
"During the early morning, late evening, the sun is at a steep angle and hits the side of the earth and bounces up. The red clouds must be because of the angle of the earth and the amount of aerosol in the atmosphere. In Canada we have a saying: Red sky at night ~ Sailors delight! Red sky in the morning ~ Sailors Warning!"
Thank you Doug for making sense of this subject! This was my first time to ever see Red Clouds, and I certainly couldn't explain it!
Should anyone out there have a different explanation for the cause and effect of Red Clouds, please feel free to leave a comment!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fire in the Sky ~

One evening last week, while sitting in my office at home and chatting away with a friend on Facebook, I heard the rumble of thunder and took a quick glimpse outside to see if it had started raining yet. Much to my surprise, instead of rain, I saw RED clouds! I had never seen anything like this before and I got back on "Chat" and told my friend what I was seeing. Being a photographer himself he wrote "Get pictures! I'll be here!" I grabbed the first camera within reach, inserted a memory card, and ran outside. I took 2 pictures before realizing that my lens had fogged up. As I attempted to clear my lens the rain began. I was feeling a bit defeated, went back to my computer and uploaded the pics. I was stunned to find that I had captured the image of the RED clouds! This was something I had never seen before and my friend on Facebook even commented that most people would never believe that I didn't photoshop the pics. Of course, people will believe whatever they want to believe, but I am posting this photo today anyway. I think it's an excellent example of the beauty that mother nature has given us.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Pencil Sketches

I have always had a fascination with artists! They start with a blank canvas, and before you know it, they have created a piece of art! I do not have that talent, but secretly wish I did. Perhaps that is why I enjoy photography, and turning an image into something different than it was when originally shot. That's the beauty of today's technology; we have the capability of taking even an ordinary photo and giving it new life.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Concerning Chi Chi

I have received so many e-mails since Chi Chi became ill and I would like to take a moment to thank all of you for the outpouring of support!
The photo that I am posting today was shot Wednesday night (7/22/09) around 8pm.
Chi Chi continues to take his meds (two pills every morning) and they have truly improved his quality of life! Since he has began his treatment he is back to his playful self. He has not passed out or had difficulty breathing, and although the doctor continues to inform us that this is only temporary, we will continue to enjoy the time we have left with him.
Thanks again for your love and support!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Favorite Destinations ~ Pick 1 (Part 2)

Favorite Destinations Pick # 1 (Part 2)

Oahu ~ Hawaii

I would encourage anyone who has a bucket list (you know, the list of things you must do before you kick the bucket!) to add Oahu, Hawaii to that list!

I have visited Oahu six times, the last being in 2005, and I can't wait to get back! I have also been to Maui, which is absolutely beautiful, but Oahu is where I truly love to be.

I could write about Oahu all day, but I won't. However, should you add Oahu to your bucket list I would recommend, first and foremost, visiting Pearl Harbor. It's an incredibly somber place, but you walk away with a feeling of peace and appreciation for our military! I have never made a trip to Oahu without paying my respects to those that lost their lives in paradise.

The list of things to do and see in Oahu are endless, but I will share a few. Visit the Rain Forest, North Shore, and hike to the top of Diamond Head! I never imagined that I could or would do that, but once I reached the summit I was overwhelmed by the beauty of what lie below, and felt a sense of personal accomplishment!

I hope you enjoy the photo's that I have posted today. All were shot in 2005, during my last visit.

Photo's published in "Burning Daylight"
Copyright 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Favorite Destinations ~ Pick # 1 (part 1)

Favorite Destinations Pick # 1 ~ Part 1


I have two picks for the number one position on my list of favorite destinations. I love both equally and there is absolutely no way to choose one over the other. My first trip to Aruba was in 1995 and since then I have returned 5 more times!
Aruba is located in the heart of the Southern Caribbean, 15 miles off the coast of Venezuela. Aruba is a very small island, only 19.6 miles long and 6 miles across at its widest point.

Although small in size, Aruba packs a punch! Breathtaking scenery, constant trade winds, and every imaginable activity available for your pleasure. Aruba is referred to as "One Happy Island" and lives up to that statement!

Naturally, one cannot mention Aruba without mentioning Natalee Holloway; especially if you live in the state of Alabama. What happened to Natalee was nothing short of tragic and should never have happened. Natalee went to Aruba on her Senior class trip and was never seen or heard from again. To this day her disappearance has gone unsolved and the person or persons responsible have yet to be brought to justice.

There was a boycott against Aruba for a long time following Natalee's disappearance and that too is sad. Aruba was prosecuted for a crime that it did not commit and they suffered terribly. I have no doubt that Natalee's disappearance could have been solved and those responsible could have and should have been prosecuted and convicted. Unfortunately, as in many other countries, including the United States, sometimes it's who you know and your political status that will not only keep you free, but set you free. In the end, Aruba remains one of the safest places in the world. Their crime rate is extremely low, and when you consider the number of homicide's and disappearances in one U.S. city on a monthly basis, compared to the number Aruba has in any given decade, the chances that anything will happen to you in Aruba are virtually zero.

Now when I visit Aruba I make a point to look out across the water and remember Natalee. A young woman with her entire life ahead of her, now a memory to all that knew her and all that did not.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Favorite Destinations ~ Pick # 2

Favorite Destinations ~ Pick # 2

Here's the thing about Mexico; it doesn't take long to get there, the tourist districts are, by just about any one's standards, safe, and there are endless choices as to how you can spend your day! Add in the fact that Mexico is probably one of the most inexpensive places to visit, and you have a dream vacation awaiting you!

I absolutely cannot get enough of Mexico and I never get tired of visiting. The culture is fascinating, the scenery beautiful, and the citizens are friendly and gracious. I have always found that the people in Mexico will go out of their way to make you feel comfortable. It's no surprise to me that thousands of Americans have made the move to Mexico and now call it home.

Unfortunately, Mexico is a very poor country and has suffered a major hit recently; the swine flu outbreak as well as U.S. officials warning citizens not to go to Mexico due to safety reasons. I truly hope that Mexico has the ability to recover and flourish; they survive on tourism and they're not the only one's suffering... those of us that love that country are anxious to visit once again!

Top Photo: 2006 ~ Cancun
Bottom Photo: 2000 ~ Playa Del Carmen
Published in "Burning Daylight"
Copyright 2009

Monday, July 20, 2009

Favorite Destinations ~ Pick # 3

Favorite Destinations ~ Pick # 3
There is so much to say about Canada that I'm at a loss as to where to begin. Canada is simply stunning! It's a rare place that looks as good during the middle of winter as it does during the middle of summer, but Canada has nailed it!
In addition to the beauty that is Canada there is so much to see and do! Whether you're interested in Niagara Falls, a dinner at the top of the CN Tower, a day of fishing, gambling or on the lookout for Moose or Polar Bears, Canada has something to offer! Oh, and did I mention the wineries? A trip to Canada would not be complete without a day in wine country!

However, Canada would not be near as special of a place if not for our Canadian neighbors! Canadians are honestly the friendliest group of people I have ever met in my life! And, what I have discovered is that they're not just friendly in the tourist area's. Canadians just seem to have a friendly nature. Those that I have encountered (at restaurants, downtown Toronto, in Wal Marts, and at casino's; just to name a few places) all have a seemingly genuine concern for how others are feeling. I found Canadians to be so friendly that I secretly wondered if they got paid by the Canadian government. I do have friends from Canada and I always thought they were just "nice" people, but after spending time in Canada I have come to the realization that being nice just runs through a Canadians blood!

So, should you ever want to go somewhere that will leave an imprint on your heart, head to Canada! Soak up the gorgeous surroundings, snack on some Moose Droppings, and take some time to chat with our neighbors! Oh, and did I mention the wineries?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Favorite Destinations ~ Pick # 4

Favorite Destinations ~ Pick # 4
The Bahama's!
The Bahama's has so much to offer and if you're looking for beauty and tranquility, the Bahama's is the place to be!

I was lucky enough to spend a week in the Bahama's and went back at a later date on a cruise. Paradise Island was one of our ports of call and they rightfully earned that name! Breathtaking scenery, lively night life, and a sun lovers paradise!

The Bahama's has something for everyone! My fondest memory of time spent in the Bahama's is, without question, swimming with the dolphins! These creatures are incredible! They are gentle, playful and highly intelligent! I cannot imagine anyone being able to spend time with dolphins, in their natural habitat, and leaving without realizing just how fantastic nature is!

We really are very small ~
Photo's copyright 1999 - 2009
Published "Burning Daylight"

Friday, July 17, 2009

Favorite Destinations ~ Top 5

I'm often asked, of all the places I've been, which is my favorite? This is a very difficult question to answer; each and every location has it's own special place in my heart. I think my answer may vary depending on the time of year and my mood. Sometimes you just want to get away from life as you know it and chill out; when I'm in that state of mind I think of Maui. Sometimes you just want to have fun, cut loose and party; no place like Vegas for that!
I have given much thought to this question and I've decided to make my top five list! At least this is my top five right now! The list is subject to change. So, starting with #5 and working our way to #1, my #5 pick is France.

France is a photographers dream and absolute heaven for any artist or history buff! The city of Paris is alive with excitement and undoubtedly the worlds fashion capital! There's a relaxed atmosphere and the way of life is quite different than what we experience in the United States.

I spent an amazing 10 days in France, but the highlight of my visit was spending a day in Giverny France at Claude Monet's home. His gardens are still maintained exactly as he himself had cared for them. The interior of his home remains the same and as one strolls throughout the property it's nearly impossible not to feel his presence. To see what he saw and to wander around as he did, there is no question where he found his inspiration.

Claude Monet died in Giverny France in 1926.

Photo's copyright 1995 - 2009

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Alabama the Beautiful

Summertime ~ My favorite time of the year! I would imagine that most people would probably choose spring or fall as their favorite time of the year; especially photographers! The colors are spectatcular during the fall and who doesn't love to see everything coming to life in the spring? I'm with ya on that! Unfortunately, where I live we don't really see spring or fall. We basically get one week of fall type weather and one week of spring type weather. In Alabama we pretty much go from winter straight to summer. This is definitely not the place to be if you don't like the heat! Back in June we were already pushing 100 degrees and the humidity is something that one would need to experience to actually understand. But, I love it, and going back more than two decades ago I never imagined I would be able to say that. When I first moved to Alabama I was convinced that I had actually moved to Hell! Anytime I stepped out my front door the heat would literally take my breath away.
After surviving three Alabama summers I discovered that the heat no longer affected me. The hotter the better! I never complain about the heat and when making travel plans I think nothing of going to Mexico during the middle of the summer! And, as a photographer, I have learned to appreciate the mornings and early evenings! Trust never want to be out in the Alabama heat during the afternoon trying to photograph anything!
I have now lived in Alabama for twenty six years and have discovered that once you get past the weather here it truly is a photographers paradise! There's a reason why this state is called "Alabama the Beautiful."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Over the course of the past few weeks I have found myself drawn to bugs, which is rather funny since I go running and screaming anytime something comes flying past me. Oh, and don't let me find a spider in my house because his time on earth is limited. I will find a shoe and snuff him out quickly!
Having said that, I have recently realized that these small creatures are quite fascinating and even more appealing as a photography subject. There's something about these tiny creatures in their natural habitat (which is anywhere outside my house) that I find intriguing.
During a visit to my in laws a couple of weekends ago I spent a considerable amount of time in their garden. As I was photographing this flower I didn't even realize the spider was there. The next day, as I was viewing the photo's from the weekend, I spotted this guy!
Aren't we lucky that Mother Nature provides us with a world of opportunities?

Monday, July 13, 2009


People love anything nostalgic. Old movies, antique furniture, antique cars, beautiful old homes, cans, name it! So, should we be surprised that people can't get enough of old photo's? The photo's themselves don't even have to be old; as long as they look old! There has been a growing trend over the past few years in the photography world relating directly to this topic! Consumers are quickly buying up prints that have that "old time feel" and photographers have discovered that Sepia and Black & White prints are all the rage!
So, what is this all about? I tend to believe that we gravitate toward nostalgic items because they remind us of a simpler time. We can look at something old, touch it, and remember life before computers, cell phones, and plastic surgery. Even if we weren't alive back then we somehow feel comforted when we get a glimpse of the past. Who doesn't love an old rocking chair sitting on a porch? It's an instant reminder, for so many of us, of our childhood. We see something old and we're reminded of our grandparents; our history.
Life back then just seemed easy. People moved at a slower pace. So, when a single photograph can transport someone back to a different place and time it's no surprise that they would be drawn to it.
Photo copyright 2009
Eastcreek Photography

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Not Just For Asses Any More!

Okay...I promise I'm going to get back to photography next week, but I had a conversation this weekend with someone that was so funny I can't help myself but to blog about it!
I received a phone call and this is pretty much how it went:
Me: Hello?
Un-Named person: Hi!
Me: Whatcha doin'?
Un-Named person: Lying in bed.
Me: In bed? Why? It's only 8pm
Un-Named person: Because I'm naked and wrapped in Saran Wrap.
Me: Why are you naked and wrapped in Saran Wrap?
Un-Named Person: Well, I read that if you lather your body in Preparation H and then wrap yourself in Saran Wrap you will lose inches!
Me: (laughing uncontrollably) And how long do you have to stay like that?
Un-Named Person: Twelve hours!
Me: Well, I guess Preparation H isn't just for asses anymore!
The next day I just had to know how this little experiment went so I called this person back.
Me: So, did the Preparation H help you lose inches?
Un-Named Person: Hey! It sure did! I lost one and a half inches on each thigh, around my waist and my arms!
Me: Are you kidding me?
Un-Named Person: No! In fact my husband's thinking about trying it!
Me: Well, you better tell him to be careful! He may have something that he doesn't wanna shrink!
Photo provided by Wyeth

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Up In Smoke

Today's post has nothing to do with photography with the exception of the photo's that I'm posting.
I started today like any other day. Woke up, got ready for work, jumped in my car and headed for the gas station. Yes, the cost of gas has gone up again, but that's to be expected during the summer months; with all the lucky folks going on vacation. However, what was not expected was that overnight, as I slept peacefully, the cost of cigarettes jumped from $3.00 a pack to $5.50! I couldn't figure it out! The cashier couldn't explain it and there was nothing on the radio about it. How could this happen? Did every tobacco field in the world go up in smoke last night? I just couldn't understand what happened. Once I arrived at work I logged onto Facebook and shared my thought for the day; would you guess it was about the cost of cigarettes? THEN it happened! I was informed that the tobacco fields are fine...our government just decided to sentence smokers with an enormous tax! Yes! It would be the smokers that would be responsible for bailing out the government! I mean, who else should do it? It all made sense! Of course the smokers should be held responsible! It is our fault that loan officers approved mortgages that they knew people couldn't afford! Oh, and how could I forget that it was also our fault that the government gave billions of dollars to auto makers just so those auto makers could rip dealerships out from underneath the owners! Mmmm Hmmm it's all very clear now!
Well, I for one will not pay the ransom that the government is demanding. I have smoked for 30 years and I thoroughly enjoyed every last cigarette, but it is now over. I work every day and I pay my taxes just like everyone else, and I don't mind paying taxes on cigarettes, but when the tax on cigarettes is higher than the actual cigarettes, I will just have to tell the government to "Kiss my BUTT!" If you ask me, paying more money to the government is just money going up in smoke!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Some Beach

I received an e-mail yesterday from an old friend that's basically ready to throw his hands up and walk away from the world as he knows it. I read that letter and when I finished reading it I read it again. Nothing in particular seemed wrong, nothing earth shattering, nothing life altering. So, I determined that my old friend has the blues. Doesn't that happen to all of us at some point in time? You get so bored with your life, your job, your circumstances, your friends, your family, your spouse, your surroundings; you get bored with yourself. I think that's why they invented vacations.
Even the happiest, most content people in the world take vacations. We all have a desire to escape our hum drum everyday lives. A change of scenery does wonders for the soul. I think Jimmy Buffet nailed it when he sang "Changes in latitude, changes in attitude." Once we step outside of the box that we keep ourselves locked inside, our perspective towards everything changes.
I e-mailed my friend back this morning and included the photo that I'm posting today. I wrote one line in that message: Some Beach...Somewhere!
Photo published in "Burning Daylight"
Eastcreek Photography

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Choose One

Photographers are often asked "Which is your favorite photo?" Here's the problem with that question: Asking a photographer which photo is their favorite is like asking a mother which child is her favorite. It's nearly impossible for a photographer to choose a favorite. Now I'm going to tell you why...
Photography is an art. Think of a painter... he will put his heart and soul into every stroke of the paintbrush. In his head he has a vision and it is his goal to bring that vision to life. For a photographer, we look at a subject, whether it's a flower, tree, lake, bird, or human and we strive to capture that subject in a way that is uniquely ours. Most photographers "know" the moment they have captured the "money shot." But, that doesn't mean that particular shot will be their favorite. Art is personal. It's what you feel inside. On any given day my "favorite" shot of any given shoot will change. My mood may be different today than yesterday and I may find one shot more appealing then I did the day before.
To prove this point here's an example of a recent study:
I posted twenty nine (29) photo's from a recent shoot. Out of the 29 posted photo's no two people chose the same photo as their favorite, and no one chose my favorite as their's. So, what does this mean? This is proof that we all see things differently. Time and time again you will hear people, including photographers, say that for every 100 photo's you take only one may be a good one. But, if you are constantly searching for that one "money shot" then you may be throwing away an opportunity. There's a reason they say "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Drops of Water

I have never had much interest in flowers. I've never had a desire to grow a garden or even been interested in photographing flowers. It's not that I don't appreciate the beauty of a flower; it's more of a feeling that it's been done time and time again, and like anything else, if you're not passionate about what you're photographing, then you're gonna end up with just another picture of a flower.
Now, having said that, I spent some time at my in-laws this past weekend and they have an amazing garden! I'm not just talking flowers here; they have a full vegetable garden as well! It's quite obvious that they love their garden. So, after eating way too much for lunch, I grabbed my camera and headed out to the garden! If anything, I surmised, maybe I could walk off some of that lunch!
It had rained all morning long and drops of rain were still visible on the flowers and veggies. This perked me right up! I may not enjoy photographing flowers, but drops of water are an entirely different topic! There's just something about a water drop that seems to add interest to nearly any subject, so I began shooting!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What is Art?

What is art?

I have heard it said that art is anything that evokes emotion. Whether it brings back a memory of happiness or sadness, transports one to a different place or time, or simply fills one's soul with joy: That is art.

If that is true, then the photo's that I am posting today must be art, right? Because when I saw these writings posted on a historical monument, it definitely evoked emotion within me. I became angry.

I have great respect for talent, and I believe that there are countless talented individuals in our world that will never be recognized for their talent.

I will be the first one to admit that graffiti artists' leave me in awe. There are numerous graffiti artists' out there that are truly gifted and when you view their work there is no doubt that you are viewing talent.

However, as there is a blatant difference between Pornography and Fine Art, there is a difference between Graffiti Art and Profanity. This, I believe, is where most individuals cannot distinguish the difference. Having said that, who determines what is what? Or, like art, is that up to the individual that is viewing it?

There are some states across the U.S. that have designated area's to graffiti artists'. Granted, they are few and far between, but they do exist. Additionally, businesses across America are now commissioning artists' to paint their storefronts and walls. In some countries, such as Japan, they have designated area's where anyone can go and create giant murals. I am completely on board with this idea!

What I am not on board with is the idea that this is a free country and certain individuals feel the need to destroy Historical Landmarks. If someone feels the urge to write "fuck" on something, why don't they go home and write it on their parents dining room wall?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Life: Crap Shoot or Pre-Destined?

Life... they say it's what you make of it. But, is it really? Don't bad things happen to good people? Are we really in control of our fate? Or, are some of us just luckier than others?

I spent half of the day yesterday visiting a few covered bridges in northern Alabama. It was pouring down rain and I wasn't even sure I would be able to get any photo's, but after being in the car for a couple of hours I wasn't about to turn back. If anything, I'm determined!

I had just arrived at my third stop of the day; a covered bridge in Oneonta Alabama. It was raining so hard you could barely see out the car window, and there was no where to park. This covered bridge is no longer operational, and it was pretty much like coming to a dead end country road. No where to park, no where to turn around, no where to go.

As I sat there I looked out the drivers side window and thought I saw a body lying in the middle of the bridge. My husband, who was driving the car, kept trying to see what I was seeing, but he was positive I was mistaken. He exited the car, came around to my side with an umbrella, and with camera in hand, we walked towards the covered bridge. We immediately realized that there, indeed, was a body lying across the middle of the bridge. My husband thought we should leave, but I knew I couldn't just walk away not knowing if this person was dead or alive. So, as quietly and as slowly as I could move, I made my way towards the lifeless body.

As I approached the gentleman lying on that bridge I stopped and held my sight on his back. I waited to see it rise as he breathed, but he was as still as a rock. I then moved my eyes toward his shoulders; no rise there either. I was quickly becoming panicked. I realized that I would have to walk past him and view him from the other side. I was worried that I would find his face missing; what if he was dead? What if he had been here for days? What if he had been shot?

Once again my husband suggested we just leave, but I wasn't willing to do that. He did however remind me that if we startle this person he may have a gun and begin shooting. I was a nervous wreck, but slowly eased past the body lying still.

Once we were past him we turned to see the condition of his body. I felt relieved. He appeared fine. Dead still, but fine. His eyes were closed and although he still didn't appear to be breathing, he seemed peaceful.

I went about my business, photographing my third covered bridge of the day and when I turned back towards the car I saw flashing red lights. Two rescue workers began walking in our direction. Without saying a word to us they approached the lifeless body lying on the bridge. I'm not sure why, but instead of continuing my walk toward the car I stopped dead in my tracks and begin photographing the rescue workers as well as the gentleman lying there. I sighed a breath of relief as the resuce workers shook the man and he awoke. He seemed confused and perhaps irritated that they woke him from his sleep, but he was alive, and I turned back to leave.

As my husband maneuvered the car away from the bridge I silently wondered what happened to bring that man to the bridge. Was it bad luck? Life circumstances? Did he recently lose everything, as so many Americans have over the course of the past year? Or, did he end up sleeping on that bridge because of decisions that he made? Alcohol? Drugs? I'll never know what brought him there, but I do know that this is a common sight across the United States. What I don't know, and what I don't understand is, why do the rest of us see another human being at their lowest moment, and somehow view them as less than human? Don't we all deserve the same amount of respect?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Independence Day ~

Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.
~ Calvin Coolidge

I have been fortunate enough to travel across this great country of ours. I have seen the best that the United States has to offer, but I have also seen the other side. There are countless communities within this Land of the Free that we choose to hide from public view. We, as Americans, know they're out there, but we feel better if we hide it; even from ourselves.

America is, without question, the greatest country in the world. We, as Americans, are always the first to lend a helping hand. We believe in freedom and we are willing to fight for that freedom. No cost is ever too high. Americans understand sacrifice and we understand the importance of hard work. We are proud to be Americans, and at times, that pride has caused other nations to hate us. We are all to often viewed as a nation of individuals who are self centered and ignorant of the world around us. We have been attacked time and time again. Yet, as Americans, we tend to believe that time will heal all wounds and we slowly forget the sacrifices that have been made to keep our country safe.
Today, July 4th, is the birthdate of our great nation. The majority of us will celebrate. We will enjoy bbq's and fireworks. We will spend today with family and friends. Many Americans will be traveling across our countries highways and the majority will photograph today's events. It would be my hope that all of us would take a moment today and remember the sacrifices that have been made so that we may enjoy our freedoms. Let's remember the military that fought in both World Wars. Let's remember the brave citizens that lost their lives on 9/11 and let's remember all of those that are still fighting the fight.
It is also my hope that we open our eyes and take a good hard look at what's around us. We need to remember that not all Americans are living the American dream. Millions of Americans will not have BBQ today; they will go to bed hungry. Our country is in real trouble right now and many Americans are quickly losing everything. They may have been middle class or even upper class this time last year, but now they are living day to day. Homes are being foreclosed every minute. Americans are losing their jobs. Health Insurance is now a luxury. And, for the millions of Americans that have always lived in poverty, this July 4th is no different than last years. It's when we learn to appreciate what we have and work together to help those less fortunate, that we will truly know what "Freedom" is.
Be safe and take care of each other!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Beauty hides the turmoil

The photo's that I am posting today were shot on 06/28/09.
These are images from a wall that is visible the moment one exits Red Mountain Expressway in Birmingham, Alabama. This wall of beauty runs two blocks, literally dividing the city. What most people just driving through would not know is that behind these walls lies one of the most dangerous area's in Birmingham. This area is called Southtown.
Southtown is a 455 unit apartment complex and sits directly in the middle of Birmingham. From Southtown the beautiful homes of Red Mountain are visible. Just north of Southtown you will find UAB, Birminghams largest employer, Medical Complex, and University Campus. Southtown is surrounded by Lawyers, Doctors and College Students.
One would imagine that Southtown would be a fabulous place to live. Center of the city; walking distance to everything. Unfortunately, that is not the case.
Southtown covers nearly 25 acres and 8 city blocks, but this area is known for it's drugs, crime and violence. The ringing of gun shots is, unfortunately, a familiar sound to the residents of Southtown. From April 2008 to May 2009 there were three homocides in this area alone.
The majority of us could not even begin to imagine what living in Southtown must be like. For many, this is where life has brought them.
I do believe that we all have the ability to change our lives. But, I also believe that for many, it's not as simple as that. Some individuals find themselves in a situation, and in time, they begin to accept their circumstances. For all too many, they lose hope.
The fourth of July is approaching quickly and most of us will spend the day with family and friends. We will barbeque and sit back and enjoy the fireworks. For many at Southtown, they will lock themselves in their apartments in hopes that a stray bullet will not make it's way through their walls.
It's a shame that all too often we only see the beauty and fail to realize that behind that beauty lies turmoil.
Southtown walls were painted in 1981 by artist Vance Wesson.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

It's all about sex and love ~

Sex is full of lies.
The body tries to tell the truth, but it's usually too battered with rules to be heard, and bound with pretenses so it can hardly move.
We cripple ourselves with lies.
~ Jim Morrison

I have had countless conversations lately, some with very old friends, some with new friends. Some of our conversations have taken place over the telephone, some via e-mail, some while chatting and numerous face to face discussions. And, I'm left wondering, what the hell is going on in America?
It doesn't seem to matter who I talk to, no one is having sex! Newlyweds aren't doing it, singles aren't doing it, couples that have been together for years aren't doing it, and I don't get it!
It's been long debated that "love" doesn't actually exist. It's been said that "love" is really just a state of mind. It's a known fact that when you meet someone that you're attracted to chemicals in the brain are released. After a certain amount of time has passed, those chemicals are no longer being released, and that's when people begin to look outside their relationships. Everyone is, or seems to be, addicted to that chemical!
And, if it is the release of the chemical in the brain that attracts us to each other, then why can an individual that's in a relationship walk out the door and experience that with someone else? Obviously the chemical is still working... why isn't it working when they're with their significant other?
Where's the passion people? Where's the excitement? And why do we not pay as much attention to our partners as we do to complete strangers?
Relationships are difficult and there are numerous reasons why the flame goes out, but I can't help but believe that at the end of the day we can only blame ourselves! Men say that they stray because of the way the other woman makes them feel. Women say that they stray because they don't get the attention that they feel they need and deserve from their partner. So, it sounds to me like everyone wants the same thing. That leaves me asking this: Why is it easier to give that attention to a stranger than it is to give it to the person that you say you love?
Just wondering...
Photo/Jim Morrison
Photographer unknown.