Category Archives: WPC – Reminder

A Photo Journal – Henry Carroll – Page 90

A couple weekends back up I went to Minnesota to check out the Final Four festivities and check-in with a few people I hadn’t seen for a long time.

On Sunday morning I hit a donut shop with Becca and Shawn. Then I went to Minnehaha Falls to kill sometime before meeting Sarah, Shawn, and Addie at Revival. I figured that this trip was a great time to knock out Page 90 of THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT. Even though it was absolutely just pouring down.

I made the walk to from the parking lot to Minnehaha Falls, protecting the camera as best as I could. I took a few pictures and then it really started pouring down. By the time I got to the car every inch of me was completely soaked.

I was so soaked that even after a 30 minute or so wait at Revival and about an hour eating and talking, my shirt only had a few dry spots on it.

Here is the picture that will be physically adhered to Page 90 of the physical PHOTO JOURNAL:


Photo Journal - Page 90
Page 90 – Create ambiguity with a blend of artificial and natural light

Pretty much every camera (even your cell phone) has white balance. This is where you set the kind of light that is dominant in your scene. It is set on Auto White Balance so that you don’t have to think about it. This is the type of thing that in the olden days you had to do with film. Film was balanced for different kinds of light. Pretty much all consumer film was balanced for daylight. Which is why when you took pictures inside, there was often a strange color cast to it.

The same thing happens when you take your color balance off of auto and set it for a type of light that isn’t in your picture. For example, in the picture of Minnehaha Falls, I set the white balance to tungsten. Since the lighting of this picture could be best described as shady, it the camera cast a blue hue on the image, thinking it was seeing tungsten light. Different kinds of lights have different color temperatures. You can make surreal images by setting your white balance against type.

One of the advantages of shooting in RAW is that you can change the white balance to whatever you want it to be. So I changed half the white balance from the image above to shady, so you can see what the image would have conventionally looked like:


Photo Journal - Page 90

Admittedly, I did play up the blue cast of the images a bit in post.

Here are a few other images I took at Minnehaha Falls:


Photo Journal - Page 90

Photo Journal - Page 90

Photo Journal - Page 90

Photo Journal - Page 90

Photo Journal - Page 90

I’m still on goal to knock out one page of the PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT a week. This week I’m looking at knocking out one of these pages:

Page 97 – Photograph a human as though it were an animal.
Page 84 – Photograph a lie.
Page 43 – Take a picture that only works in Black & White.
Page 37 – Use aperture to capture melancholy

You could be featured in just such a picture.

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Reminder that the theme for this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is RELIGION:


WEEK 188 - RELIGION
RELIGION

A RELIGION picture is any picture that involves the practice of a RELIGION. From a picture of a religious building, to a religious symbol, to a religious book, to a religious service.

Happy photo harvesting!

A Photo Journal – Henry Carroll – Page 82

Last Saturday I continued on my goal to try to finish THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT as Joe agreed to pose for Page 82.

Before you ask, yes, Joe legitimately think the world is flat. Not only does he believe that the world is flat, he is an evangelical for the theory. He spends hours upon hours posting on Facebook and YouTube about his belief that the earth is flat.

He sells flat earth shirts. He orders books about the earth being flat. He intended to go to the Flat Earth Convention last year. He plans on going this year. He says he can not date a girl that isn’t open to the earth being flat.

It isn’t a joke to Joe. It is a core, perhaps the core part of his identity.

Here is Page 82:


Photo Journal - Page 82
Page 82 – Show us the world is flat.

Now the original intent of “Show us the world is flat” was to get up high and look down on the earth and then compress the image by using a telephoto lens. I decided to go in a different direction.


Photo Journal - Page 82

My goal is still to knock at least one of these pictures out a week. I have yet to take one this week as I haven’t had the free time I expected yet, but these are some of the ones I’ve been thinking on:

PAGE 21 – Make something small look big.
PAGE 43 – Take a picture that only works in black & white.
Page 68 – Let a window do the talking.
Page 90 – Create ambiguity with a blend of natural and artificial light.

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


WEEK 186 - TOOL
TOOL

Remember that a TOOL photo is simply any photo involving a TOOL. Remember that there are multiple definitions of the world TOOL.

Happy photo harvesting!

You Don’t Have Time to Scream!

One of the new traditions that Pastor Doug brought with him to Boone First United Methodist Church is Critter Sunday. Critter Sunday is a Sunday when you are encouraged to bring your pet to church. Then in between services, Pastor Doug blesses your pet.

There are many things that I will miss when Pastor Doug leaves for his big fatty promotion in June, but Critter Sunday will be one of the things I miss the most. Top 5. Top 10 at the worst.

While it is certainly possible that the new Pastor will carry on the tradition, I don’t expect. Pastor Doug has a special place in his heart for animals. It would be a bit much to expect the new Pastor to be the same.

Here are some pictures from Critter Sunday:


Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

Critter Sunday - 2018

I have to thank Summer for being Naima’s keeper while I was taking pictures of the other pets.

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This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is STILL LIFE:


WEEK 184 - STILL LIFE
STILL LIFE

A STILL LIFE photo is a photo of an inanimate object.

Happy Photo Harvesting!

The Driving Force

I feel it has been too long since I have had a post devoted to Naima. This is an error that I will correct today.

These pictures come from an October trip to Dickcissel Park.

Naima does enjoy getting in the water at Dickcissel, but she will only go as deep as her paws touch the ground.

Enjoy these pictures of Naima:


Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

Naima at Dickcissel

I’ll try not to go so long without a day of Naima pictures in the future!

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Just a reminder that the theme for this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE is FORMAL PORTRAIT:


WEEK 183 - FORMAL PORTRAIT
FORMAL PORTRAIT

A FORMAL PORTRAIT doesn’t have to be in a studio with a bunch of fancy lights. For our purposes, a FORMAL PORTRAIT is a portrait of somebody when they know they you are taking their picture and they are posing for the picture.

Happy photo harvesting!

Get Your Ash!

Today’s post is somewhat more of an advertisement than informational or even photographical. This is me telling you what you should do for supper next Wednesday.

The Youth Group will be making and serving spaghetti next Wednesday night before our Ash Wednesday Service. The cost of eating delicious spaghetti is an at-will donation. All the money raised will go to support the youth group and youth group activities.

All the details you need are on this picture of this wonderful poster the Sr. High Youth Group made on Wednesday night:


Ash Wednesday Spaghetti Supper

If you want it spelled out more, this is what you need to know:

What: Ash Wednesday Spaghetti Dinner
Where: Boone First United Methodist Church
Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Time: 5:30-7 PM
Cost: Free Will Donation
Why: To support the Youth Group on their Mission Trip to Rapid City, South Dakota in June!

I can personally vouch for these kids. Look at some of the good works they did in Vidor, Texas last year:


Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Houston Mission Trip - 2018

Some of the pictured kids have moved on. Some of the pictured kids will be going. Many new faces will be getting their first taste of service Christianity through the mission trip lifestyle.

So come down on Wednesday and support a good cause and great kids! Then stay for our Ash Wednesday Worship Service!

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


WEEK 181 - FACELESS PORTRAIT
FACELESS PORTRAIT

A FACELESS PORTRAIT is a portrait that does not include a person’s face. It could be a picture of just part of their body. Or with their face covered. They don’t even necessarily have to be in the picture.

Happy photo harvesting!

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.

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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 Cyclones Football – 2005

I still need to circle back to the Alamo Bowl Trip, but thought I would share more from my project of re-organizing some photos that pre-date the Photography 139 website.

I’m actually going through a big photography re-organization in general. One of the photographers I follow on Instagram recently shared a post about their photography closet and a light went on in my head.

My house has an excess amount of closet for just one person. My bedroom has 2 closets. The office has 2 closets. The guest bedroom has 1 big(ish) closet. My bedroom closets are obviously used for clothes and some miscellaneous stuff. The guest bedroom closet house like 3 shirts that randomly ended up in there, board games, and a bunch of photographs and negatives. One office closet houses retired electronics. Electronics I should just throw away, but just haven’t. If any of you want a VCR and old DVD player, a receiver, or an old CRT television let me know and you can have it. The other office closet is mostly random stuff.

My photography stuff is strung all over the house. I have a big metal cabinet with sliding glass doors in my bedroom that is meant to house all my photography stuff, but that has never really worked. Then I decided to dedicate an old dining room table that is in my living room to store stuff. That definitely hasn’t worked. I’ve decided to steal the photography closet idea from that Instagram photographer.

I’ve decided to make one of the closets in the office the photography equipment closet. The other closet in the office the photograph closet. The guest bedroom closet will become the retired electronics closet, unless I finally am able to get all of that stuff out of my house. Especially before I retire any more electronics. For example, in 2020 I may upgrade the projector in the Union Street Theater to 4K. This will mean that I will also need to upgrade the receiver in the basement and then add a 4K player to the Union Street Theater. Of course, that will mean more retired electronics.

But that is 2020, I need to conquer my 2019 goals first.

Some of this physical reorganization has lead to digital reorganization. Which has lead to this post. Here are some pictures from the Iowa State Cyclones 2005 football season:


Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Illinois State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Iowa 2005

Iowa State vs. Nebraska 2006

Iowa State vs. Nebraska 2006

Iowa State vs. Nebraska 2006

Iowa State vs. Nebraska 2006

Iowa State vs. Nebraska 2006

Iowa State vs. Nebraska 2006

Iowa State vs. Nebraska 2006

Iowa State vs. Nebraska 2006

Iowa State vs. Nebraska 2006

Iowa State vs. Nebraska 2006

Iowa State vs. Baylor - 2005

Iowa State vs. Baylor - 2005

Iowa State vs. Baylor - 2005

Iowa State vs. Baylor - 2005

Iowa State vs. Baylor - 2005

Iowa State vs. Baylor - 2005

Iowa State vs. Baylor - 2005

Iowa State vs. Baylor - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

Iowa State vs. Oklahoma State - 2005

These pictures were taken with my very first digital camera. A Minolta Dimage Z2. It was at a point where I wanted to dabble in digital photography but was still really loyal to film.

The Dimage Z2 was a point & shoot digital camera, but a bit on the higher end of the spectrum. I was so broke back then, I couldn’t have imagined buying an actual DSLR.

There are a couple hundred more pictures from that season that you can peruse by clicking on the link below:

Iowa State Cyclones Football – 2005

Hopefully next Friday I will return to the Alamo Bowl Road Trip.

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This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is SELF-PORTRAIT:


WEEK 179 - SELF-PORTRAIT
SELF-PORTRAIT

A SELF-PORTRAIT is a picture that somebody makes of themselves. Pretty simple and straight forward.

Happy photo harvesting!

Remember Tonight…

I thought I would take a Friday off from regaling you with events from the Alamo Bowl Road Trip because, I do now own the drone that I have been planning to own for several months now.

While admittedly, I only reached 9 of my 10 goals, nobody has seemed to displeased with the fact that I’ve switch the filling of my change jar to when I pulled the trigger on the Sony RX0.

I received the DJI Mavic 2 Pro on Wednesday. I was able to put it together and charge the batteries and read parts of the manual. Because I wanted to at least see it in the air, I flew it about a foot off my dining room table and took a picture.

When I got home from work on Thursday there was a brief respite in the harsh weather conditions and I was able to fly it around my backyard for a bit and snap a few more pictures.

Therefore I present the first pictures taken with Photography 139 One (name unofficial and probably will change by the end of this blog):


Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

Drone Photography

This is the tip of the iceberg. There will be plenty more drone blogs in the future. A full review and tons of video. Tons of video!

I can report that Naima is not a big fan of Rodan 139 (see, I told you the name would change), but I feel in time she will grow to love it. Like how she loves being carried to the basement to watch Iowa State basketball games or two watch the feature movie on Movie Night or how she loves inflatable things or how she loves her dog food bag.

Speaking of Movie Night, Movie Night in February will be ON February 17. Projector rolls at 6 PM. The feature will be FORTY GUNS. It will be the first (but certainly not the last) Samuel Fuller movie shown during Movie Night. The B Movie is still to be determined. Snack currently to be determined, but popcorn will definitely be on the menu.

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


WEEK 178 - EYE
EYE

An EYE photo is simple enough. It is a picture of an EYE or anything EYE related.

Happy photo harvesting!

Alamo Bowl Road Trip: Branch Davidians

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.

You see, we had stayed the night in possibly one of the worst places in the United States. If it wasn’t for Chip and Joanna Gains, Waco, Texas would have zero positive press.

When you say Waco, Texas people only think of a handful of things in no particular order:

1. Branch Davidians and their fiery end.
2. The Baylor football program and the scores of sexual assaults and rapes that they committed that were then duly covered up by the school, athletic department, and most disturbingly… the police department.
3. The 1916 lynching, torturing, burning, and mutilating of Jesse Washington. A lynching that was attended by in excess of 10,000 people.*
4. Baylor basketball player Patrick Dennehy being murdered by fellow Baylor basketball player Carlton Dotson.
5. FIXER UPPER

I wish I would’ve thought to go see the memorial to Jesse Washington, but it was forgotten. Sorry Jesse.

But being someone with an interest in history and more than a bit of a fascination with cults, there was no way we were going through Waco, Texas and not visiting the Branch Davidians and the site of the Waco Siege.

It is not a stretch to think that it was one of the most important historical events of the 1990s. It was an event that contributed to the dangerous rise of the alt-right and was directly responsible for the Oklahoma City Bombing. The deadliest domestic terrorist attack in American history. Killing 171 people. Including 19 children.

It is not overstated it to say that we would be living in a different America if the Waco Siege never happened. If you don’t know or don’t remember the Waco Siege, here is a brief synopsis from the Wiki:

The Waco siege was the siege of a compound belonging to the Branch Davidians, carried out by American federal and Texas state law enforcement, as well as the U.S. military, between February 28 and April 19, 1993. The Branch Davidians were led by David Koresh and were headquartered at Mount Carmel Center ranch in the community of Axtell, Texas, 13 miles (21 kilometers) east-northeast of Waco. Suspecting the group of stockpiling illegal weapons, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) obtained a search warrant for the compound and arrest warrants for Koresh and a select few of the group’s members.

The incident began when the ATF attempted to raid the ranch. An intense gun battle erupted, resulting in the deaths of four government agents and six Branch Davidians. Upon the ATF’s failure to raid the compound, a siege lasting 51 days was initiated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Eventually, the FBI launched an assault and initiated a tear gas attack in an attempt to force the Branch Davidians out of the ranch. During the attack, a fire engulfed Mount Carmel Center. In total, 76 people died, including David Koresh.

There is too much controversy and too much backstory to really do the Waco Siege justice. If you have questions about it, I suggest you leave them in the comments and I’ll answer with what knowledge I have and what opinions I possess.

What I will state definitively is that the Waco Siege was a terrible waste of life that could have been easily avoided. It is what happens when law enforcement tries to do things for public relations, rather than for… well law enforcement. They took their mistakes at Ruby Ridge and made them exponentially worse.

I’m sure these were some of my thoughts as we pulled up to the gate of Mount Carmel. One gate was open. There was a sign that said that you could get a look around the ranch for $10.

Shortly after we pulled into the ranch a truck came speeding up towards us. Considering where we were, was a little disconcerting. The driver rolled down their window and told us that we should hurry up to the chapel. They were giving a tour up there and we could make it if we hurried.

So we bypassed the building we thought we were supposed to pay at and headed up to the chapel.

Once we got there, there was a guy there telling the story of the Waco Siege. He wasn’t a member of the Branch Davidians in 1993, but now he researched the event with David Thibodeau** (one of the few to survive the fire).

He showed us pictures of the people that perished in the fire. He showed us “trophy photos” that the FBI took after the church (they are offended by the term “compound” because of its militaristic connotation) burned completely down. If you know any hunters, you know what a trophy photo is. You can imagine what you would feel like if people took trophy photos with the remains of your friends and loved ones.

He argued that David Koresh wasn’t even doing anything illegal. It isn’t illegal to stockpile and sell firearms. While it might (you can take out the might for me) be morally reprehensible to most of us to have sex with 14 year old girls, in Texas 14 year olds can be married with parental consent. Which David Koresh did have. Yeah. Gross. Texas, Do better.

Eventually the man (I can’t remember his name) left and we were introduced to Heather***. Heather really made this a special stop.

Heather was 9 years old during the Waco Siege. She was in Mount Carmel when the siege began. She was the last person to leave, days before the final assault that ended in the deaths of almost every Branch Davidian in the building. Including her father.

If you know the timeline of the Waco Siege, Heather’s dad was the mailman that was inadvertently tipped off to the ATF’s attack by a lost member of the media. This is why the ATF didn’t have the element of surprise. This is why the raid should have been called off.

Before he died, he gave her a teddy bear and told her that the bear would watch over her until he saw her again. Then he sent her out into the “Babylonian” world.

As she told us the story she paused and then said, “I didn’t know at the time that he meant, when we see each other in heaven.”

As she walked down the driveway, she expected to be shot in the head every step she took. Finally, she reached the end of the drive and was grabbed by the police. They took the teddy bear away from her and ripped it up.

This wasn’t done (completely) out of malice though. They were checking the bear for a bomb. There wasn’t one.

Tears rolled down her face as she told us this part of the story.

Then she said, “I never got the bear back.”

You could tell with the way she said it that it still hurts that the last thing her dad gave her. The thing that was supposed to “watch over her” was taken from her, destroyed, and never returned.

She wiped the tears off her face and apologized for crying.

We told her not to apologize and thanked her for sharing such a memory to people who were basically tourists in her pain.

Then she offered to give show us the rest of the grounds.


Branch Davidians
The current chapel was built in the same place as the chapel that was burnt down.

Branch Davidians
The fire.

Branch Davidians
Trophy photos.

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Stage.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Telling the story.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Pointing out the “Trophy Photos”.

Branch Davidians
David Koresh

Branch Davidians
Heather is seated in the lower right hand corner.

Branch Davidians
David Koresh thought he was the second coming of Jesus, but this time he wasn’t sinless.

Branch Davidians
Bill Clinton was president during the Waco Siege.

Branch Davidians
Tanks crushed this bus.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
People were trapped in this storage room.

Branch Davidians
Heather’s ducks.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
They built this pool the year before the Siege. They got to use if for 1 year.

Branch Davidians
Heather was really cold. It wasn’t cold for Iowans with plenty of built in insulation.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Oklahoma City Memorial

Branch Davidians
ATF Officer Memorial

Branch Davidians
Current Chapel

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidian Memorial

Branch Davidians
Branch Davidians are an offshoot of Seventh Day Adventists.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
Gate.

Branch Davidians

Branch Davidians
The road outside of Mount Carmel.

Branch Davidians
The Branch

Alamo Bowl Road Trip
Selfie with Heather.

During the tour Heather didn’t say anything positive about David Koresh. She talked about how he separated her from her dad and took over her discipline.

As a child Heather was pigeon-toed. He used to make her walk back and forth the length of Mount Carmel. He would hit her with a stick when he felt she was walking pigeon-toed.

If David Koresh would have stayed alive and remained in power, she would have become one of his wives when she turned 14.

Mount Carmel burned down when I was in high school. We watched it in class. I have seen at least 5 documentaries on it. I have seen a movie on it. Willy and I watched the WACO television show last year. The tragedy of what happened there didn’t really hit home until I was standing on the same ground where it all happened. It is something I will never forget.

We thanked Heather again for sharing and giving us a tour. I felt like a doucher, but I asked for a picture with her. She obliged willingly. She asked us to friend her on The Facebook. This made me feel like less of a doucher.

I broke my 2 month absence from Facebook long enough to become her friend on The Facebook, but I haven’t been back since. If I ever get the stomach to return, I’ll hit her up and see if she remembers us and see how she is doing.

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.

+++++++

This is your reminder that this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE theme is RUINS.


WEEK 177 - RUINS
RUINS

A RUINS photo is a picture of something that is in decay.

Happy photo harvesting!

*If we ever have Youth Group again, we will briefly discuss the lynching of Jesse Washington
**David Thibodeau is the survivor that wrote the book that part of the television show WACO is based on. He was played by Rory Caulkin in the show. I can’t recommend that show highly enough.
***Heather is featured in a documentary about the Branch Davidians that aired on A&E in 2018. I have procured a digital copy of it. If you ever want to watch it, I can arrange it. But you have to ask nicely.

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!