Category Archives: Religion

Boone FUMC Church Directory: Chapter 4

This collection of pictures I took for Boone First United Methodist Church’s Church Directory were taken because the Committee (I feel like I’m in an Orwell novel when I write ‘the Committee’, but if the last few years have taught us anything, it is that Orwell was a bloody optimist) wanted pictures of the choir, the praise band, Doug sermonizing, and of Children’s Time. These were taken on Mother’s Day, so the Children’s Time pictures are actually of a pageant of some kind the kids put on for their mothers.

I don’t actually think that any of these pictures are actually in the directory, but I haven’t studied it to within an inch of its life, like some people.

Have a peek:


Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

If our church looks like a happening place filled with all sorts of hip cats and the kind of place that you would like to check out, then you are correct. You don’t have to stand on ceremony though. Just invite yourself in. As the saying goes, “Walk-ins Welcome!”.

There is a “traditional” service at 9 AM on Sundays. A “contemporary” service at 11:15 AM on Sundays. There are a plethora of other activities sprinkled though out the work that you can pick from once you get plugged in.

Boone FUMC Church Directory: Chapter 3

Seems like another good time to release a collection of photos that I tooke for the Boone First United Methodist Church’s Church Directory.

In this collection are pictures I took of a particular stained glass window that the committee wanted, a communion set that the committee wanted, some Youth Group pictures the committee wanted and a choir picture the committee wanted.

You will see no pictures of Kio, which I believe is what the committee wanted. Too soon? Love you Kio!


Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

Boone FUMC Directory

There is still at least one, possibly two more sets of pictures from the Boone FUMC Church Directory Photo Shoots still out there to publish!

Selfie Project – January

Loyal leaders may recall that I started up the Selfie Project again in 2019. At the end of every month I will check-in with it to share some of my favorites from the month.

If you don’t want to wait until the end of the month, you can follow me on the Instagram to see what I have done and where I have been.

To follow me on the Instagram, scan my Nametag below:


Instagram Nametag

Spoiler: For January I’m not sure I did anything all that exciting. Although I did leave Iowa once to visit the Miller Triplets in Kansas.

Here are my favorites:


December 31, 2018
December 31, 2018

January 4, 2019
January 4

January 8, 2019
January 8

January 10, 2019
January 10

January 12, 2019
January 12

January 14, 2019
January 14

January 16, 2019
January 16

January 17, 2019
January 17

January 18, 2019
January 18

January 20, 2019
January 20

January 21, 2019
January 21

January 22, 2019
January 22

January 23, 2019
January 23

January 25, 2019
January 25

January 26, 2019
January 26

January 27, 2019
January 27

January 29, 2019
January 29

January 30, 2019
January 30

January 31, 2019
January 31

Hopefully I will be interesting in February. There is a baby I need to visit up in Minnesota. A baby I need to visit down in Des Moines. If the weather gets nicer, I could spend some time pursuing THE TOWN SIGNS PROJECT or I could spend the entire month hanging around the house with Naima.

The struggle is real!

+++++++

Here is a big update on my pursuit of a drone:

  1. Car paid off. – I got the pink slip daddy!
  2. Training Budget Reimbursement – Bought about 10 books and signed up for an online portrait photography class that I will discuss someday.
  3. Purchase Popcorn Maker – The Union Street theater has procured its very own popcorn maker from Flat Earth Joe. The one that was borrowed from Andy’s friend of a friend has been returned.
  4. Computer Upgrade – I have completed upgrades on my home computer. I’ve put in a solid state drive to run the OS and the applications, I upped the RAM to 16 GB and I replaced the video card with a video card with twice the ram and that is capable of running 3 monitors.
  5. Figure out the effect of the Iowa GOP Tax Scam – The Iowa GOP Tax Scam will indeed result in me paying more taxes. There is about a $7 effect on my paycheck, meaning I am getting a tax cut of roughly $200. (Assuming the withholding from my paycheck is being done right.) However, since the Iowa GOP Tax Scam made it so a 6% sales tax is levied on all online purchases, I will be taxed well more than the $200 benefit. For example, I’ll pay over $100 in taxes on purchasing the drone that I wouldn’t have had to pay before the Iowa GOP Tax Scam became law. 
  6. Rear Brakes – I had the rear brakes replaced on my car last night. It costs me about 40% of what I was expecting Win!
  7. Computer Mine Bonus – I did indeed get a Computer Mine Bonus. I can’t complain about it one bit. 
  8. Bank Fraud Resolution – I am going to consider the bank fraud situation resolved. I haven’t received a letter saying that it is a done deal, but the bank did place the $350 that I requested in my bank account as a provisional credit. The investigation is still to be closed by January 31. I have a naive faith that the investigation will end in my favor. Otherwise, Credit Union Time?
  9. Federal GOP Tax Scam – The Tax Scam didn’t effect my tax refund at all. It was almost like it wasn’t meant to be a tax cut for lower class and middle class people. It is almost like it was a cash grab for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations under the ludicrous precept that some of the benefits would trickle down to us poor folks. I can say this with 100% certainty. I respect a person that believes the earth is flat way more than I respect somebody that believes in the Laffer Curve. 
  10. Change Jar -I have added some change to the change jar, including the change I won in a football pool at the Computer Mine. However, I am still probably 2 inches short of being almost full. I should effort to go through the cushions of my couches. If I can get within one inch, of the top of the jar, I will call this quest complete and proceed to order my drone.

That looks identical to last week’s drone update. This is because it is identical to last week’s drone update.

Here is what is different. I’ve decided not to wait until the coin jar is full to pull the trigger on the drone. I pulled the trigger last Friday and it should arrive to be safely caressed in my arms tomorrow.

I don’t know when I’ll be able to actually use it due to the weather, but I will monitor the weather closely. It is possible that the first day of decent weather I’ll take off of work and go play in the skies above us. No higher than 400 feet and not within 5 miles of an airport.

I know what you’re thinking, you snagged your reward before achieving your goals. That shows a lack of discipline. This is very disheartening, considering you have been yammering on and on to anybody that would listen that you are going to be more financially responsible this year.

This is true. My main goal of 2019 is to be lest wasteful with money in certain ways. However, the benefit of that is that I get to be more wasteful in other veins.

My way of being more financially responsible is to have set some goals.

Goal #1: Decrease my actual debt load my a certain amount of money. I’m not heavily in debt. I have a house payment and some credit card debt. However, while I don’t have a car payment, I want to hammer on my debt and get it below #X by the end of the year. I’ll report on my progress here, because congratulations, you just became my accountability buddies.

Goal #2: Figure out why my website is costing me so much more money than I ever intended. I have partially concluded this goal. I actually (I know people should do these things) sat down and reviewed what my webhost was charging me. I discovered that I was paying $10 a month for something called Website Builder, that I don’t use. I built my website with my own two hands and Vest’s two hands and WordPress. They are also charging me like 8 bucks a month for PHP 5.2+. I’m still trying to figure out whether or not I need that, but at the very least, I’m saving $120 bucks a year on this website.

Goal #3: To stop wasting so much money going out to lunch at work. It is not an exaggeration to say that in 2018 and the years before I went out to lunch, on average 4.5 out of 5 work days a week. If I conservatively estimate the average lunch to be $10, I probably spent $200 a month on lunch. That is $2400 a year. My goal is to only eat out for lunch 20% of the year. I estimate that just by bringing lunch from home, I can save $1800 a year. The good news is that I’m on track this year. In January there were 22 work days. I went out to lunch one time. I’m currently at a 4.5% eating out for lunch percentage. My worry is that I will get burned out on eating in. So I’m going to try to mix it up as much as possible. If you have any cheap, healthy lunches that are easy to prepare either at work or on the Sunday before the work week starts, throw them my way. This week I’m eating overnight oats. This space is a place where I might also share some of the recipes I come across. I have to thank American Ninja Steve for introducing me to overnight oats. I’m not making his recipe yet because it involves lots of exotic ingredients I need to be able to track down like flax milk and hemp heads. But when I make that for a week, I’ll share that recipe here.

Goal #4: Save money by buying used lenses. I’m still torn on whether or not I’m going to buy a new camera this year. It has been almost 3 years since I bought a new camera and I’m getting the itch. However, I am vexed on what camera to buy. I’ve thought about crossing over into the Sony mirrorless realm, but that means a whole new camera mount. The other option is to buy the camera that is above my camera in my current platform. That camera sells for about $3200. That price tag is going to take me a lot of meals of overnight oats to justify in my head. Especially with my debt lowering goals. While I don’t know about buying a new camera, I have compiled a list of lenses I want to buy this year. I’ve decided to hit the used lens market this year as I can save sometimes as much as 30% by going used. Some of the lens I want are pretty cheap, but some are not. The exciting news for you is that every time I get some used glass, you’ll get to read an exciting equipment review! Yay you!

Goal #5: Up % of the paycheck that goes into savings and 401K.

But none of this explains why I felt it was okay to pull the trigger on the drone with the change jar still 2 inches from the top.

There are two reasons for that:

#1. Through my works and luck at the computer mine, I had $325 in Amazon gift cards burning a hole in my virtual wallet. In my wildest dream, there isn’t $325 in the coin jar.

#2. I recently ordered a new photo toy called arsenal for $185. It is a camera attachment that allows you to control your camera with your smartphone. Now I can already control my camera with a smartphone, but there is limited control. It basically throws the camera into automatic and you get what you get. Arsenal allows you to control pretty much all the main settings on the camera. Plus it is supposed to do its own focus stacking and HDR. Plus it has some pretty sweet time-lapse settings. However, I got an email that they can’t make it Arsenal work with my camera and don’t think they ever will be able to. They refunded me that money. Although to be honest, that $185 isn’t going toward the drone. When the refund hits my account it is going towards some glass. Not sure which one I’ll pull the trigger on first. But don’t worry I’ll let you know.

So where is that change jar money going to go. Well, one camera purchase I am dedicated to this year is the Sony RX0. Therefore, when the change jar is full I will take it to the bank and then order up the Sony RX0.

This concludes your Tuesday camera equipment purchase updates.

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.

The Proverbial Swan Song

While I was preparing to write this entry I went down a rabbit hole on the origins of the term “swan song”.

I have heard the term many times, but never really understood what it meant. Apparently there is a belief dating back to ancient Greece that swans stay mostly mute for their life and then right before they die, they sing a beautiful song.

There is still a fair amount of debate on whether or not swans do in fact sing a beautiful song before they die. I would like to think it is true since swans are among the most beautiful of birds. They certainly are the most beautiful bird that you can see in Iowa, in the wild.

The term isn’t always morbid. Is has come to be synonymous with doing something great right before you retire.

I don’t know if this post 100% qualifies, but it is about a form of retirement for me.

For the last couple of years I have done some pro bono photography (although I once was paid in homemade treats for Naima) for the Boone Area Humane Society. The last time I did photography for them was when I covered their annual Pet Memorial Day Celebration.

Due to the shifting sands of the power structure of the Boone Area Humane Society, I have a feeling that I won’t be asked to do any photography for them in the coming years. But that is a story for a different time.

Here are some pictures from that event:


Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Pet Memorial Day - 2018

Kio ran the event. Pastor Doug gave a speech and lead us in prayer. It was a cool event. I hope it continues to happen in the future, but the way things stand currently, I have my doubts.

Another loss that people in one of my communities are experiencing is that we learned that we will be losing Pastor Doug and his amazing wife Jodie near the end of June. It is a good deal for Doug because he is getting a big fatty promotion. He will be the District Superintendent of the Southeast District. He will be posting up in Mount Pleasant.

For our church, it kinda sucks. Doug is a great Pastor and Jodie is possibly an even better Pastor’s wife. Losing both of them will leave a hole in our church that the next person or persons will have quite a time filling.

The new Pastor will also be like the 80th Pastor we have had in the last 5 years. Now that is probably hyperbole, but search your feelings, you know it to be true.

There is a common misconception that somewhere in The Bible it says “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” It is a common phrase that is trotted out as a reassurance when people are going through difficult times or grief.

The truth is that this isn’t in The Bible. Sorry, but sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

That being said, I would like to give the common response to the phrase, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

I wish God didn’t know we were so strong*.

The good news is that while God doesn’t say anything about giving us more than we can handle, God does say that we won’t be tempted beyond our limits:

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Therefore, I hope my church will not be tempted to feel sorry for itself. I hope my church won’t feel tempted to cling to the past. I hope my church won’t be tempted to resist the future.

A new Pastor is coming. While they will be the 80th Pastor in the last 5 years, I have faith that we will get a good one. We are in a good position and while we aren’t exactly a “destination” denomination, we are in a relatively good place and we have some powerful people looking out for our interests.

Playing the numbers game, we’ve really only had one bad Pastor in the last 15 years. While they were a really, really, really, really, really bad Pastor (I mean the guy sermonized at least once a month about past congregants he had smited and that is just the tip of the iceberg), we aren’t due for another like him for at least 30 years. Those are my calculations at least.

While I’m sad to be losing such great people, I am optimistic about the future and what a new Pastor will bring to our church and what our church will bring to a new Pastor!

There is light at the end of the tunnel and at this time, I don’t hear a train.

*On a personal note, this phrase has always bothered me.

Candlelight Service

I have been working on something the last few days that nobody at all will care about, but I think is somewhat of an accomplishment:

I have added a SSL Certificate to my website and now my website is secure.

I know, you don’t care. Even my fellow miners at the Computer Mine aren’t impressed. That is okay. I live with only impressing myself on many a day.

What does it mean for you? Probably, absolutely nothing. But when you look up in the address bar of this here website, you will see a little lock so that you know your information is private when you send it to this site.


It is a beautiful lock. The most beautiful I’ve ever seen!

+++++++

The webmaster at my church requested that I take some pictures of the Candlelight Services on Christmas Eve. So I took a few pictures. Have a looksie:


Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

Candlelight Service - 2018

The room with the trees is where we take communion on Christmas Eve.

+++++++

Here is an update on my 10 Step Process to buying a drone.

  1. Car paid off. – I got the pink slip daddy!
  2. Training Budget Reimbursement – Bought about 10 books and signed up for an online portrait photography class that I will discuss someday.
  3. Purchase Popcorn Maker – The Union Street theater has procured its very own popcorn maker from Flat Earth Joe. The one that was borrowed from Andy’s friend of a friend has been returned.
  4. Computer Upgrade – I have completed upgrades on my home computer. I’ve put in a solid state drive to run the OS and the applications, I upped the RAM to 16 GB and I replaced the video card with a video card with twice the ram and that is capable of running 3 monitors.
  5. Figure out the effect of the Iowa GOP Tax Scam – The Iowa GOP Tax Scam will indeed result in me paying more taxes. There is about a $7 effect on my paycheck, meaning I am getting a tax cut of roughly $200. (Assuming the withholding from my paycheck is being done right.) However, since the Iowa GOP Tax Scam made it so a 6% sales tax is levied on all online purchases, I will be taxed well more than the $200 benefit. For example, I’ll pay over $100 in taxes on purchasing the drone that I wouldn’t have had to pay before the Iowa GOP Tax Scam became law. 
  6. Rear Brakes – I had the rear brakes replaced on my car last night. It costs me about 40% of what I was expecting Win!
  7. Computer Mine Bonus – Whether or not we get a profit sharing bonus should be determined in the next week or so.
  8. Bank Fraud Resolution – This is supposed to be resolved by January 31. I have my doubts. All indications are that my bank wants me to find a new bank. Perhaps a credit union. Perhaps I should talk to Nate’s friend.
  9. Federal GOP Tax Scam – I want to see if the Federal GOP Tax Scam will hurt my refund or not. I do not anticipate it will, but I don’t want a February surprise to hit the drone budget. 
  10. Change Jar – I want fill and return my change jar to the bank before I pull the trigger on the drone purchase. I think I have about 2-3 inches of coin to collect. This isn’t really a necessity, I just want to do it.

6 out of 10 completed. What isn’t mentioned in the 10 part plan is that I won a $250 gift card to Amazon at the Computer Mine Holiday Party.  That is a bonus 11th step. 

Boone FUMC Church Directory: Chapter 2

Back on December 27, 2018 I began publishing pictures I took for the Boone FUMC Church Directory back in April and May.

One of the things that I do for the Church Directory is going to the local nursing homes and take pictures of church members that can’t make it to the church for the actual church directory photographers, but still wish to be included in the church directory.

Here are pictures from those photo shoots:


Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

Boone FUMC Nursing Home Photos

There are still at least one, possibly two or three collections of photos I took for the Church Directory still to publish.

+++++++

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


WEEK 173 - ABSTRACT
ABSTRACT

An Abstract image is a picture of something where it isn’t readily evident what the subject is. It is a representation of an object that isn’t meant to be an exact facsimile of the object. Wildly out of focus pictures qualify for ABSTRACT. Long exposures can be ABSTRACT photos. Or, you could even take a picture of ABSTRACT art.

Happy photo harvesting!

2019 Photography 139 Calendar

Yes Virginia, there was a Photography 139 Calendar this year. However, I didn’t sell them this year. I just made a small run and gave them out to a very few small group of select people.

Here are the pictures from the 2019 Photography 139 Calendar:


2019 Calendar - Cover

The front cover is a picture of William McAlpine peering through the hole in a brick. It was taken in the backyard of the Photography 139 Studio. It was taken for the FRAMED theme of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

This photo was entered into the 2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. It was accepted for display.

Willy is the first person to appear in a Photography 139 Calendar since the 2012 Calendar featured a final rendition of THE 9 EMOTIONS PROJECT that included images of AmyJunck-Wallendal, William McAlpine, Derrick Gorshe, Shannon Bardole, Jesse Howard, Jennifer Gorshe, Sara Junck, Jill Gorshe, and Jay Janson.


2019 Calendar - January

The January image was taken on a very foggy Christmas Eve morning. It was taken facing northeast from the road in upper Ledges State Park.

This image was entered in the 2018 Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. It was selected for display.


2019 Calendar - February

The February image of a red hibiscus was taken in the Photography 139 Flower Garden in 2017.

Unfortunately, the hibiscus did not survive the winter and did not return to the Photography 139 Flower Garden in 2018.


2019 Calendar - March

The March image is of a lily is located in the Photography 139 Flower Garden. It is located in a designated lily patch near the birdbath.

While this macro photo might appear to be one image, it is actually the product of a technique called focus stacking. This image is actually 7 images with different focus ranges stacked one on top of the other.

This photo was nominated for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest, but it lost the popular vote and was not entered.


2019 Calendar - April

The April image was taken at The Grotto of the Redemption in West Bend, Iowa. It was taken on a road trip with my Office Buddy Joe Lynch. It was taken with the in-camera black & white HDR setting.

This image was taken for THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT. The theme of the image was to go some place “touristy” and take a “non-touristy” picture.

The picture of Mary holding a crucified Jesus was selected for April to coincide with the celebration of Easter.

This image was entered in the Photoshop category of the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest. It won 1st Place.


2019 Calendar - May

The May image is of the sculputre Skallagrim by Peter Lundberg. Skallagrim is located in the Franconia Sculpture Park near Shafer, Minnesota.

I took this photo on a trip there with Bethany, Dae Hee, and Nora.

The image is HDR toned and is used as the base image for a Small World image.


2019 Calendar - June

The June image was taken on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee. It was taken on the Liberty Bowl Road Trip I took with Russell Kennerly and Jesse Howard to watch the Iowa State Cyclones defeat the Memphis Tigers.

The image was originally taken in color and was transformed into black and white in post production.


2019 Calendar - July

The July image is of a hollyhock from the Photography 139 Studio Flowerbed. This pink hollyhock grew in the dedicated hollyhock patch along the north fenceline.

This macro image was taken while experimenting with a new set of extension tubes.

This image was nominated for the flower category for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest, but was not entered.


2019 Calendar - August

The August image was taken in the midway of the Iowa State Fair. It was taken for THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT. The theme of the picture was to take a picture of something that is “nondescript during the day.”

The image was taken when I was able to sneak away during a break in the action of Baby Got Rack’s competitive barbecue competition.

The image was HDR toned in post-production.


2019 Calendar - September

The September image was taken of a grasshopper at Big Creek State Park near Polk City, Iowa. The image was taken for THE PHOTO JOURNAL PROJECT. The theme for this image was to create a playlist and listen to it while taking pictures. The playlist I selected was the BABY DRIVER SOUNDTRACK. I was listening to the song “Bongolia” by Incredible Bongo Band when I took this image.

2019 Calendar - October

The October image of a ram lounging was taken in Badlands National Park in South Dakota. The image I was taken on the way home on a road trip I took with my Mom to Mount Rushmore.

This image was voted to be entered in the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest in the Nature Category.


2019 Calendar - November

The November image was taken at the Iowa State Fair in the Discovery Garden. It was originally taken in color and converted to black and white in post-production.

It was nominated for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest in the Nature Category, but it was not entered.


2019 Calendar - December

The December image of an abandoned dump truck was taken in Boone, Iowa near the south terminus of Division Street.

The image was color processed through the Color Efex Pro 4 plugin during post production.

The image was nominated for the Pufferbilly Days Photo Contest in the Hidden Treasures of Boone County category, but was not entered.

+++++++

There are a few calendars to handout, but for the most part delivery has finished. Almost on time this year.

Boone FUMC Church Directory: Chapter 1

One of the photo projects I worked on in early 2018 was grabbing miscellaneous pictures for the Boone First United Methodist Church Directory.

The person in charge of putting the directory together wanted some pictures of the Bell Choir and some pictures of Doug sermonizing. That is why these pictures below exist:


Boone First United Methodist Church Directory

Boone First United Methodist Church Directory

Boone First United Methodist Church Directory

Boone First United Methodist Church Directory

Boone First United Methodist Church Directory

Boone First United Methodist Church Directory

Boone First United Methodist Church Directory

Boone First United Methodist Church Directory

Boone First United Methodist Church Directory

Boone First United Methodist Church Directory

Boone First United Methodist Church Directory

The Sharp Farm

The Sharp Farm

After church I went to the Sharp farm. I believe to take a picture of an unpictured outhouse.

WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE – WEEK 171 – PHOTOJOURNALISM

The holiday season definitely hurt the amount of PHOTOJOURNALISM submissions for this week’s WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:


WEEK 171 - PHOTOJOURNALISM - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 171 - PHOTOJOURNALISM - KIM BARKER
Kim Barker

WEEK 171 - PHOTOJOURNALISM - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt

WEEK 171 - PHOTOJOURNALISM - MICHELLE HAUPT
Michelle Haupt


Christopher D. Bennett

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:



FRIENDS

FRIENDS! What a great theme! I hope everybody has at least a few FRIENDS. If you don’t, I’m willing to be your FRIEND(S). For a small sitting fee. I don’t think it will be necessary though, because I believe what Clarence the Angel said about FRIENDS. I don’t know any failures.

Now that has been established, what is a FRIENDS photo? A FRIENDS photo is a photo that is a picture of FRIENDS. They can be your FRIENDS or it can be people that are FRIENDS that aren’t necessarily your FRIENDS. It could be a photo of a product of having FRIENDS. For example, all the Christmas cards I get, I tape to my entrance window. Now I don’t get as many as I used to get, I could take a picture of that display and it would be a FRIENDS photo.

Remember that next Monday is New Year’s Eve. While many businesses and government offices will be closed (even if the Trump shutdown is still going on), Photography 139 doesn’t take holidays. Plan accordingly!

HOUSEKEEPING

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION

The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to bennett@photography139.com by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date. It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.

A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION

Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.

+++++++

That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very friendly Monday.