Category Archives: Flowers

Blue Steel Redux

Cleaning up some of the May 2018 backlog brings us to even more “reimaginings” of classic Photography 139 image “Blue Steel”.

These pictures were taken when I was playing with extension tubes. Extension tubes are fun for the whole family. The family that loves super macro photography. And what family doesn’t? No family that is worth know, that is who!

Have a quick peek:


Extension Tube Test

Extension Tube Test

Extension Tube Test

Extension Tube Test

Blue Steel Redux

Blue Steel Redux

Blue Steel Redux

Extension Tube Test

Extension Tube Test

Blue Steel Redux

Blue Steel Redux

Blue Steel Redux

I’m thinking of adding a Blue Steel Redux picture to The Canvas Project, but I already have the original “Blue Steel” hanging up in my hallway. That might just be too much Blue Steel for one house.

Who am I kidding? You can never have enough Blue Steel.

Alamo Bowl Road Trip: Alamo Bowl

We gave her a hug. Loaded back up in the rental and left Waco profoundly changed in a way that is hard to figure. My best guess is that it would be the way you would change if you saw the Vietnam War Memorial with a veteran of the Vietnam War or if you talked to a holocaust survivor or met somebody that was in the towers on 9/11. Something that was merely academic, was suddenly real.

We were a couple hours from San Antonio and several hours from the kickoff, but the game seemed decidedly less important than it did just an hour or so earlier.

We only made one stop between Waco and San Antonio. Some gas station that won’t be remembered for the cleanliness of their bathroom. Bathroom not pictured.

We reached our hotel near the San Antonio airport about 4 hours before kickoff. We dropped off our stuff and took an Uber to downtown San Antonio to meet Andree and his brother. The Uber driver really hated Lonestar Beer. He made a point of that in our conversation.

We met Andree and his brother at their hotel and walked to Fudrucker’s for supper. This violates the #1 rule of Christopher D. Bennett road tripping, but I was hungry and wasn’t in the mood to make a big deal out of it.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

The River Walk, which we walked by.

On our way to Fudrucker’s we ran into a guy with a beard that was almost as impressive as mine. We exchanged pleasantries and then we hugged it out for a bit. I think Andree and his brother were a bit mesmerized by this exchange. Apparently they have never hugged a complete stranger. Which is sad and means that they clearly need to grow beards.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip
My burger and onion rings hit the spot!

After the meal we walked to the Alamodome for the Alamo Bowl. We walked a good portion of the way with a Washington State graduate that was from San Antonio originally, but now lived in Japan. He was fortunate to be able to attend the bowl game of his alma mater because he had come home to visit his mom for the holidays. Washington State happened to be playing in San Antonio. Really worked out for him. He was a pretty cool guy.

We got to the game and I had an usher take our picture:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

The usher walked back like 20 rows to take our picture to make it horribly backlit. I did what I could to salvage the photo in post.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Unfortunately, the Cyclones couldn’t pull off the victory. The refereeing was dreadful. The kind of refereeing you get one Big Ten refs referee a Big 12 game. They just don’t see the caliber of athlete and they aren’t prepared for the speed of the game.

This resulted in one of Iowa State players being ejected from the game for targeting, but replays showed the Cyclone more like softly landed on top of the Cougar quarterback.

Another terrible call was a play where Matt Eaton caught a pass and took 4 steps before being tackled. The ball came loose as he hit the ground. It should have been a 20 or so yard completion for the Cyclones. Somehow the refs called it an incompletion.

Regardless of how terrible the refs were, Iowa State has to look in the mirror and face the fact that they gave that game away. 3 turnovers. 7 false start penalties. That isn’t a recipe for beating anybody, let alone a top ten team.

It was with that bitterness we filtered out of the Alamadome, knowing the better team didn’t win that night, but excited to see what these young Cyclones do in 2019. Even though we were facing the reality that Hakeem Butler and David Montgomery were probably leaving for the NFL with a year of eligibility left.

Jesse and I bid Andree and his brother a fond adieu and took a Lyft back to our hotel. I think our Lyft driver was somewhere on the autism spectrum. At the very least he was extremely socially awkward. Not the type of guy that hugs a stranger on the streets of San Antonio.

After having the same conversation with the Lyft driver at least 5 times on the way back to the hotel, I was relieved as we hit the hotel room. I crashed almost immediately.

Jesse had booked us kind of a fancy pants hotel with all his Marriott points. They had a spread for breakfast that made me almost (ALMOST) forgive them for not having a make your own waffle maker that makes waffles in the shape of Texas.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip
They had 2 guys making cook-to-order omelettes.

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Jesse had something of a dreadful pain in the gulliver, so I took over the driving duties. The trip back to the Cyclone State was mostly business, but we did stop in Austin.


Austin
Austin artwork.

Austin

Austin

We also stopped to see the Stadium where the Texas Longhorns play football. I’m pretty sure it is the biggest stadium I’ve ever seen. It holds almost twice the number of people as Jack Trice Stadium. It feels twice the size of any other stadium I’ve seen. Such as where Kansas plays, where Kansas State plays, where Iowa plays, where Missouri plays, where the Vikings play, and where the Chiefs play. The only stadium I’ve been to that is comparable in size is where the Nebraska Bugeaters play.


Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Austin

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip
Horns Down!

The guy we met outside of Texas’s stadium was interesting. He immediately wanted to engage us in a political discussion when he found out we weren’t from Texas.

He had two main planks to his political beliefs.

#1. Texas not having state income tax was the greatest thing ever.

I was happy for him to be so happy about it, but I tried to explain to him that having no income tax just means that he pays higher taxes in other areas. Furthermore, not having state income tax moves the tax burden from the wealthy and makes poor people pay more taxes.

He insisted this wasn’t the case, but it is in fact true.

The effective tax rate on the bottom 20% in states without income taxes is 10.7%. The effective tax rate on the bottom 20% in states with income taxes is 9.9%. 9.9% is less than 10.7% if you were trying to do the math.

The effective tax rate on the top 20% in states without income taxes is 4.7%. The effective tax rate on the top 20% in states with income taxes is 7.6%. 4.7% is less than 7.6% in case you were doing the math.

The sad truth is that whether or not you have an income tax or don’t have an income tax, the wealthy in this county don’t pay their fair share of the tax burden and the poor pay too much of a tax burden.

To his other point that he wasn’t get taxed more in other ways to make up for the lack of income tax, the numbers don’t back him up there either.

Just putting Iowa against Texas, Iowans pay a little more than 1% more in state taxes than Texans. But 1% is not the great number that he purported.

Iowans pay:

Total Tax Burden – 9.32%
Property Tax Burden – 3.45%
Income Tax Burden – 2.5%
Sales & Excise Tax Burden – 3.35%

Texans pay:

Total Tax Burden – 8.15%
Property Tax Burden – 3.70%
Income Tax Burden – 0.0%
Excise and Sales Tax Burden – 4.45%

Excise and sales tax burden is inordinately paid by the poor and middle class.

States that don’t have an income tax get that money from some place else. That some place else is usually the poor.

While the jury’s still out on the benefits of living in a state with no income tax, experts agree that there is one clear result for those states that do levy an income tax.

It helps the poor.

An income tax is a classic tool for redistributing wealth. It’s usually “progressive” in nature, meaning that it taxes higher earners at a greater rate than lower earners. Other taxes typically don’t have that Robin Hood-like characteristic.

Sales taxes, for example, are considered “regressive.” They don’t change depending on the income level of the consumer. They treat everyone the same. So do levies on food, gasoline and other key consumable items.

These taxes place an unfair burden on the poor, according to research from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The reason is the lowest earners in the state devote the lion’s share of their take-home pay to buying things that are subject to sales taxes. The wealthy, who can save a chunk of their income in their 401(k)s and other investments, have a much smaller exposure to the sales tax.

If you think I’m delving into class warfare, I will only say this:

There can’t be class warfare in this country until the poor start fighting back.

Here is my favorite example of how class warfare currently works in our country:

A billionaire, a worker, and an immigrant are sitting at a table with 1000 cookies. The billionaire takes 999 cookies and says to the worker, “watch out, that immigrant is going to take your cookie.”

#2. Ann Richards is the worst thing that ever happened to Texas.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on Ann Richards. I’m not. I’m not going to defend her. However, after listening to this guy espouse about his libertarian belief for 15 minutes. Then listening to him call Ann Richards a bitch at least 5 times and tell us about how he celebrated her death, the only policy that he pointed out that was so terrible was that she repealed a law that made it legal to build a building that is taller than the state capitol building in Austin. That would be a libertarian policy. I’m not sure he actually knows what he is.

But I digress.

After doing our “horns down” gesture, we loaded back into the car and headed north. Hoping to get deep into the heart of Oklahoma before bedding down for the night.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is TRANSPORTATION:



TRANSPORTATION

A TRANSPORTATION photo is a photo of anything that is TRANSPORTATION related. From trains to planes to automobiles. To bridges to tunnels to tracks.

Happy photo harvesting!

Iowa State Fair – 2006

Another Throwback Thursday. Throwing it back to pictures I took at the 2006 Iowa State Fair.

These picture never appeared in “An Artist’s Notebook”. I uploaded them now because I am going through some nearly pre-Photography 139 photos and trying to get a grasp of a semblance of an organizational system for them.

Looks like in 2006 I took 2 trips the Iowa State Fair. One involved Ernie and I assume Teresa. Also Monica, Robert, and Robert’s lady friend at the time. Then there must have been a second trip with Jay.

Here are a few photos from those days:


Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

Iowa State Fair - 2006

I don’t know that I have many of these extreme walks down memory lane left to publish, but perhaps a set of pictures from after the Towers were imploded might be on the docket. The ones in Ames. Not the ones in New York City.

Macro for Days

Back in July we had a brief bit of rain. The resulting wetness in my yard gave me a chance to take some macro raindrop images.

I enjoy them, hopefully you will too.


Spider Rain

Spider Rain

Spider Rain

Spider Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

Lily in the Rain

As we sit and shiver through the 45th snow “storm” of the year today, I hope these flowers warm some people up. It is only about 4 weeks from spring and with it flowers and green grass and cherries and rhubarb and raspberries and fire pit Friday Night Supper Clubs and maybe, I’ll actually get to take the drone out for a spin!

10-13-08

There is quite the collection of images in the folder called 10-13-08. I can’t possibly include all of them in this here entry, so I’ll just have to pick out a few that I like the most.

The pictures range from Gyro Day at the Computer Mine to the Ames Party Bus in action to a road trip to Kalona with Mom, Teresa, and Jay.

Have a looksie:


Gyro Day - 2008

Gyro Day - 2008

FNSC

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

Kalona Road Trip - 2008

While I’m not 100% sure, I believe that is the last of my Ames Party Bus pictures. Which means I should explain why you haven’t seen Becky driving around the Ames Party Bus in 10 years.

I might not be getting the details 100% correct, but the spirit of what I’m writing is dead on.

Shortly after Becky finished restored the Ames Party Bus and began putting out an APB on fun, Big Party Bus felt threatened. In fact they were scared. Petrified.

Big Party Bus checked their address book to look up which state representatives they had in their back pockets. Then they went to these bought politicians and pulled their chains.

The bought politicians reacted by passing a law that made party buses carry an exorbitant amount of insurance. Like an incredible amount of insurance. Insurance that was price-prohibitive.

This effectively shutdown the small-time party bus. Becky was out of business, shortly after the party had begun. Rich people win again.

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

Spoiled

Euphonious

Kalona (Part 1)

Kalona (Part 2)

Next week’s walk down memory lane will involve an Iowa State football match with the Bugeaters of Nebraska.

Alamo Bowl Road Trip: Magnolia

I slept like a baby. Like an angel. Like a baby angel. I woke up in the morning ready to take on the world.

After I got out of the shower I decided to walk the Motel 6 grounds to check out the lay of the land. I carried the trusty Alpha 77ii with me as I was deleting images because I didn’t want to run out of images on the memory card because we were going 2 places I planned to photograph.


Alamo Bowl Road Trip
Motel 6

While I was deleting pictures a paranoid Motel 6 employee approached me and wanted to know what I was photographing. I explained nothing, I was just deleting images. He seemed to be satisfied with this answer. But he also seemed to shadow me for several minutes. Not very trusting these Waco types.

I don’t watch a ton of home improvement shows, but my two favorites are REHAB ADDICT and FIXER UPPER. While Chip and Joanna Gaines aren’t making the show now, they have created a tourist trap where people can fork over their hard earned coin for overpriced mugs, shirts, and bags.

Jesse and I left the hotel and headed to this oasis in Waco known as Magnolia.

Here are a few images:


Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Alamo Bowl Road Trip

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

Magnolia

The fact that the Alabama Sweet Tea food trailer wasn’t open was a minor tragedy. True, I still had a couple bottles of Gold Peak Extra Sweet Tea in the cooler in the car, but I strongly wanted to evaluate this Alabama Sweet Tea to see how it stacked up against my own brew, Thick Soul Sweet Tea.

The lack of Alabama Sweet Tea wasn’t going to ruin the trip, but it certainly left a hole in the trip that didn’t seem could be filled.

My recommendation if you go to Magnolia is to skip the bakery. There is a trailer that sells the same food as the bakery, with a considerably shorter line.

Magnolia was cool and all, but it is still mostly just a store. As a minimalist, there is only so much unabashed commerce I can stand.

That being said, if you are in Waco I would recommend stopping.

As for the bakery, I had the Silo Cookie and the Chocolate Chip Cookie. They were both tasty, but the Chocolate Chip Cookie has it all over the Silo Cookie. They also sold cupcakes, but I didn’t purchase any, as I am not a big fan of cupcakes.

We loaded up the car and I punched the address of the Branch Davidians Compound into the GPS. I had absolutely no clue what we would find what we would find when we got to the place where 76 people died in the Waco Siege.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is SURPRISE!


WEEK 176- SURPRISE
SURPRISE

A SURPRISE photo is a photo of anything that deals with a SURPRISE. From reactions to results to planning.

Happy photo harvesting!

10-01-08

There are two types of pictures in the folder called 10-01-08. The first types are pictures taken during the restoration process of the Ames Party Bus. The second type is everybody’s favorite: flowers!

Have a looksie!


Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Ames Party Bus

Flower

Flower

Moonflower

Moonflower

Moonflower

Asters

Asters

Asters

Asters

Asters

Asters

Asters

Asters

Mums

Mums

Mums

Mums

Miums

Miums

ON a future blog I will rehash the rise and ultimate demise of the Ames Party Bus, but this isn’t that post.

By adding these pictures to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” blogs to their original glory:

Volt-Face

Restoration

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve Iowa State football.

09-28-08

The pictures in the folder 09-28-08 are from the Des Moines Regatta.

Back in the day, Jen used to row and her team competed in the Des Moines Regatta. A rowing event on the Des Moines River that ends in Prospect Park.

On that day Derrick (duh), Sara, Jay, and I loaded into a convertible and went down to watch her.

I took a few pictures of the event.

Here are some of those pictures:


Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Des Moines Regatta - 2008

Looking at these pictures I’m reminded that I used to have friends that were foolish enough to smoke. I don’t know that I have any friends that smoke any longer.

I have friends that vape, which is kind of a trade-off. They don’t smell as bad as smokers smell, but they also constantly talk about vaping. Which is almost more annoying.

This day is also the day that will live in infamy as the Sara Film Camera Incident.

I handed Sara a film camera to hold onto while I prowled around the regatta grounds. When I came back, she told me that the camera had made a funny noise and wouldn’t take pictures.

She thought the camera was a digital camera and had shot completely through an entire role of film.

Ahhhh… memories!

By adding these images to the Photography 139 Gallery, I was able to restore the following historic “An Artist’s Notebook” entries to their original glory:

My Saturday (Volume 1)

My Saturday (Volume 2)

Next Saturday’s walk down memory lane will involve senior pictures for Brandon.