moonshot_12012012001 by p_d_t
moonshot_12012012001, a photo by p_d_t on Flickr.

When visiting relatives in the countryside south of Abilene a few weeks ago I attempting to get some Milky Way shots on a moonless night. I noticed a glow to the east however at first I thought this was form the nearby town. A few minutes later I realized it was the moon rising. I took this shot of the moon reflecting the sun's glow, backlighting the trees in a dark, mysterious way.


birds by p_d_t
birds, a photo by p_d_t on Flickr.

Another image of a robin from the same visit to the Black Hills of South Dakota.


birds by p_d_t
birds, a photo by p_d_t on Flickr.

I was told this is a robin. I shot this image last June while visiting friends in the Black Hills of South Dakota.


To print or not to print...

That is the question I thought I had answered ten years ago when I first discovered digital photography. Living in Rapid City, SD I was old school, believing that digital photography could never replace film. Fast forward six months and I purchased my first digital camera. I can't even remember the brand but I do remember it was pistol shaped and also shot video. Bad video. I was hooked, instant gratification, did not have to pay for developing or film. This was the best invention ever! Upon returning to Texas in late 2003 I set my sites on a better camera. In January 2004 I purchased my first "real" digital camera, a Fujifilm S5000, a real competitor to my film SLR's! Full manual control! Long zoom capability! Never have to print a photo again! A couple of years later something happened, I shot a photo of a flower that was blooming in my Dad's flower garden. I loved my shot as much as he loved his flowers so I had a print made, framed it, and gave it to him as a Christmas gift. He loved it so much he displayed it prominently in his living room for all to see. He taught me the power of a print, however I still didn't give prints much thought as the digital world still beckoned to be the future.

My mother-in-law is about as tech challenged as a person can be. Over the years she kept pestering me to print my photos. She just wanted something "I can hold in my hands". I was trying so hard to give her what she wanted but in a new and modern way. First I tried loading photos on her pc but she couldn't find them (she doesn't understand Windows Explorer). Next I gave her a digital photo frame that I would load with new photos each time I visited her. Not sure what exactly happened but something was spilled on it and it quit working. Then I gave her a photo book for Christmas but as small as it was (8"x8") she didn't really like carrying it around. Simple 4x6 prints is all she asked for, it is what gives her the most joy. To be able to carry them in her purse and share with the people she comes across in her daily life.

As the years passed, my equipment and skills have improved vastly. I now shoot with a Nikon D5100 and am learning the finer art of Long Exposure Fine Art photography. I have reflected on these two people and how ink on paper, not 1's and 0's brought joy to their lives. I have learned from them that the pressing of the button is not the end, rather it is the beginning. We has humans have been putting art on our walls for thousands of years, be it cave drawings, Picasso's, or modern prints from a digital camera. A digital photo viewed on a screen cannot enhance a room the way a framed print can. We as humans want to involve as many of our senses as possible, this is what allows the photo to have real impact. A frame adds depth, the feel of paper between our fingers reminds us this is something real. Yes, to print is the answer.

I had been planning to write this for a while but this article in the NY Times inspired me to wait no longer.


Fall arrives...

Finally, some color is coming to the local area. Last Sunday I was walking through the John F. Burke Nature Preserve looking for photo opportunities of Fall color. I had spent about a half hour down by the river shooting some shots of trees on the other side when I headed north through the woods stopping a few times to shoot a leaf that had fallen to the forest floor. The was mid-morning and the Sun was streaming through the trees in a soft light, illuminating the surrounding area with a beautiful glow. On one of my frequent stops I turned around an looked up to see this deep crimson red in a sea of yellow and green. I was awestruck by the moment, my breath taken by the scene.


My eulogy to my Dad the day of his funeral.

November 2, 2012

Today, we have come together to pay our respects and say goodbye to my Dad, William Clave Uriah Titsworth. Only after his passing have I truly realized what was most important to Dad. Family, his family, being close to us, something from the stories he told that he truly did not have with his parents. See, Dad didn’t have his parents long into his life, his parents having divorced when he was around six years old. His father later died when Dad was 21 and his Mother about a decade later.
Dad was quick to let you know if he disagreed with your choices but he was
always there to help you do the best you could once you had made your choice. He never stopped trying to teach you and help you learn to do better. Some years back I read a quote in a book, "you do what you know and when you know better, you do better". This is what Dad was always trying to do, help you do better at whatever task you were undertaking. When I was 14 I bought a stereo. Dad told me not to open it until he got home. Well, I opened it, I mean there wasn't anything to set up, you just plugged it in. He was disappointed when he got home from work, however years later I realized it was not because I went against his rule, but rather he wanted to share the experience with me, the kind of thing he never got to do with his Dad. Later, being short on money he had rebuilt an old Ford pickup and when I was 15 I wrecked it into a fence post. Yes, like a lot of fathers, he was angry but together we replaced the bent fender and bumper and it became my transportation for the next few years. When his granddaughter and the young men that were in her life at any given moment were making destructive choices, there was Dad doing his best to teach them how to do better, how to be responsible. My sister and I, whenever we needed a place to live because of some choice we made that didn't turn out as we had hoped, there he was with an open door and a strong opinion, but that opinion was his way of trying to get us to learn, to do, better.
About a month before Dad passed away he insisted on buying Mom this small electric chainsaw so she could trim the trees once he had left us. Now, I am confident to say Mom will not be trimming any trees, that will be my job but his love for her shone through in many different ways. There are many, many more such examples of how he was always thinking of others but I think you get the idea.
My last conversation with Dad was about having me get this old Dodge truck he had been working on for 3 years finally street ready so his granddaughter could have transportation to & from work. Even at the very end, Dad was never about what he wanted for himself but what he could do for others. Because I had him for nearly 48 years I will always know his answer to my question, his words forever a part of me. Dad may have not been as successful in life as others in many ways but when it came to loving his family his success has no equal. He will be missed but we must go on, it is what he wanted and as we go on, he goes with us.


Epiphany...of sorts...

Yesterday, as I often do I was thinking about my photography (this particular moment was some hours after reading an article on techniques) and how to improve it when I had an "aha" moment. For a number of years now I have understood and practiced the technical aspects of photography and that has led me to take very good, sometimes great, photographs. However there was something lacking. I knew if I set my camera to this and that setting I would achieve a certain result. However that was knowledge that it would happen. What I was lacking was the ability to "see" the photo before I took it. Place salt and pepper shakers 2 feet apart. Your human eyes can only see one at a time. You will see the other one in your peripheral vision however only one will be viewed sharply. As your eyes flick between the 2 shakers each will come into focus and the other out but you can't really see this. Now take a photograph with your camera settings showing one in focus and the other blurred. When you look at the photograph you will see both of them, one in focus one blurred. This is because the actual scene is in 3d where the photo is in 2d. You are not seeing the 2 objects, you only see one, the actual photo. What I was not doing was "seeing" the photo as the camera would "see" it, i.e. I was not visualizing the blurred pepper shaker and the sharp focused salt shaker. I saw salt and pepper shakers and just knew that if I set my camera a certain way it would achieve the scene I just described. There is a difference between knowing the result and seeing the result before you even press the shutter. Maybe only I will understand what I have just described but rest assured this is a big step in my abilities as a photographer. Nearly 20 years a go I took a mail order photography course and the very first lesson was about developing the eye. I now finally "get" what that lesson was trying to teach.


Waggonner Park

DSC_0195-001 by p_d_t
DSC_0195-001, a photo by p_d_t on Flickr.

This photo is of a wooded area on the pathway between Mike Lewis and C.P. Waggonner parks in Grand Prairie, Texas. As I was walking along the path I was taken with the sunlight filtering through the trees illuminating the deep green natural grass.

John F. Burke Nature Preserve

John F. Burke Nature Preserve by p_d_t
John F. Burke Nature Preserve, a photo by p_d_t on Flickr.

The John F. Burke Nature Preserve is a small (104 acres, most of which is open grassland) natural area along the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. The preserve has a considerable amount of wildlife for being located in the middle of an urban area. I have seen various waterfowl along with egrets, raccoons running through the woods and an abundance of forest birds. I will be posting more photos of my visits in the near future
John F. Burke Nature Preserve



Which is the lesser evil? The drug addict that knows they are an addict and cannot help themselves yet won't find help? Or the dealer whose greed and lack of a conscious allows them to sell to the addict?


Skyler and his fiance, Sara

sara_skyler by p_d_t
sara_skyler, a photo by p_d_t on Flickr.
Skyler returned to Texas in early January and last week his fiance, Sara, came down from Arkansas for a week. Just minutes before I was ready for this shot the sky was overcast with perfect lighting. Then the sun came out creating these harsh shadows. I hadn't expected this so I didn't bring my deflectors! Shame on me!.

Via Flickr:
Skyler and is fiance Sara.

Been a long time...

For reasons I cannot understand I just no longer seem able to dedicate time to posting on here. I became swept up in the Facebook craze where it was so much easier to put thoughts down. I have now grown weary of that and hope to continue to returning to my blogging roots here. This blog started out as a way for my family to stay updated on our lives when we had moved to Rapid City. Back then inserting and linking to photos was not an easy process as you had to actually learn a bit of coding. I taught myself how to code links to photos I had uploaded to various sites and while it worked it was cumbersome. How we have come such a long way in 10 years! Now, with the proliferation of digital photography and social media, billions of bytes of photo data is uploaded daily if not hourly (my opinion, I don't have statistical data supporting this). I have rededicated myself to my photography hobby as it is what really brings peace to my soul and here, on this forum is where I hope to express myself in words that accompany those images. The image I have included below is a sort of test to see how that linking process works and if it works well enough for me to continue it. I use Flickr and pay the small yearly fee for unlimited storage. I am forever connected to them as I do not want to have to update various posts with new links to images. So here goes, 10 years later!