Camp Ford Southern Heritage Event

Through the photographic grapevine (that being the East Texas Camera Club) I heard there was going to be a southern heritage event at a local park, so of course I decided to pack up the camera and head over. While this was not a protest per se, it was an opportunity for the group to speak out about how they feel their southern heritage is being dismissed in light of today’s politically correct climate. I went because I felt it was a photographic opportunity and didn’t want to miss the chance to see the historic costumes that would be on display. Of course, the fact that there would be cannon fire didn’t hurt either. As they say, explosions make everything better.

The first thing I noticed was this group takes their attention to detail pretty serious. Of course, I’m no Civil War scholar, but they looked pretty authentic to me.

The medals however, are not historic. I noticed one that said “Vietnam”, and I’m pretty sure the Confederate States did not have a detachment there during the war.

Some of the guys though, looked very appropriate for the time period.

This group was not just about flying the confederate flag. They had many different historic flags as well as the current American flag. No matter what people may say, they love their country. In that I have no doubt.

They even had a few southern belles present.

While the costumes did seem authentic, those glasses…I think they are a bit anachronistic for this time period. Or he is portraying a time traveler. I guess either is possible. Although I did not notice a sonic screwdriver.

Honor guard at the ready.

And of course, what most of the photographers were here to see, other than the cool costumes.

According to the Texas State Historical Society Online, during the war, the 14th Texas Calvary was made up of men from this area.

Preparing to fire. The anticipation builds…

The moment of truth! BOOM!!! Yes!!

Yes, it was loud.  🙂

The bugler played taps in memory of those who died in service to their country. As a former brass player myself, she was very good by the way.

As I said, this was not so much a protest as it was a gathering to show respect to their common southern heritage.

And show respect they did.

I hear they have actual battle reenactments here in the spring. I’ll have to try and make it back and maybe brush up on my Civil War history before I do.

Camp Ford is located just at the north-east corner of Tyler Texas at the intersection of highway 271 and loop 323  (map). You can learn more about Camp Ford and its role during the Civil War HERE, and HERE.

i hope you enjoyed the photos


Kilgore Rangers Combine

On February 4th, 2017, over 100 hopefuls came to the Kilgore College field house looking to become a Kilgore Ranger. These young men were from several different states and many different backgrounds, but they all had at least one thing in common, football.

Signup for the even began at 10am on a brisk 40 degree morning. After signup there was a lot of time spent warming up the mussels before any time was spent checking times. Of course, even during the warm-up time, they were already being evaluated on things such as following instructions and motivation.

After warming up, the men were timed on their sprinting ability. I was never that fast, even when I was young, but they guys were amazing.

Of course, in football, it’s not just about running in a straight line, but you have to have the moves as well. Making those cuts when the other team zigs and zags is the difference between winning and losing.

A test of leg strength with the standing broad jump tested everyone’s ability to fly, at least for short distances.

Passing and catching, of course, are integral to the sport, and they were tested out as well.

And what football tryout would be complete without having to run flat-out while not stepping on players on the ground.

For those wishing to be receivers and running backs, it only makes sense that you have to do the same thing, but while holding onto the ball.

There was plenty of passing and catching going on, and even the opportunity to run a few plays as the day began to wind down.

And there were also those trying out for special teams. These guys, while not always getting the glory of a quarterback, are often times the difference between winning and losing. When the chips are down, these guys have to pull it off under pressure.

If these young men are any indication, I think Kilgore College has a good year ahead of them. And not that I’ve been tapped by the Kilgore News Herald to photograph their games, you can bet that I’ll be following their progress pretty close this year!

By the way, I don’t think it ever got out of the 40s this day. I had to change coats twice, going heavier each time. These guys have much tougher skin that I do. Oh to be young again.

Get ‘Em Rangers!

A Christmas Bargin

So winter will officially be here in a little more than a week and it got me going back through a few of my autumn photos that I hadn’t posted anywhere. The weekend before Thanksgiving, Karen’s family got together in Broken Bow, OK and we went up to spend some time there.

Broken Bow is also home to the beautiful state park, Beavers Bend. Well, needless to say, we had to take a detour through the park on the way home to see the colors. As we came to the Mountain Fork River we stopped and observed two guys in a kayak and thought it made for a peaceful scene. I got out my camera and made this exposure to remember the moment.

Now for the promised bargain. This shot along with many others, are available for sale at my Fine Art America site. And between now and December 26, 2016, you can use discount code “GTUFMA” at checkout and they will reduce my markup by %50.

So go to and check out all the cool things you can get with my photos printed on: cups, towels, duvet covers, shower curtains, iPhone cases, and yes, even  prints, framed and unframed, to hang on your wall.

Another reminder to always keep your camera handy.


Road-side Attractions

Driving home from another family visit in Oklahoma with Karen in the passenger seat, she once more points out something photographic on the side of the road, proving once again her worth as a co-pilot.  🙂

It was a cloudy, drizzly, and surprisingly warm drive home here in mid-December, and about 3 hours into the trip Karen exclaims “There’s a nice looking covered bridge back there.” So, I pull over, let all the vehicles I had passed go by, and then turn around to go back and investigate. Now we have driven this route probably at least 10 times since we have moved to East Texas, but for whatever reason, just never noticed this. And with the warmth of the overcast day and the damp fallen leaves on the ground, it certainly was a photographic scene.

I stop, take out my camera and proceed to make a few photos.


Now for the interesting part. As I finish up, I see a gentleman in a 4-wheeler coming down the driveway. I decide to wait and talk with him. As he approaches I tell him how much I like his little bridge and ask if he was coming to investigate the strangers stopped in his front yard. He said he didn’t even see us down there and was just putting some fuel stabilizer in his take and getting it mixed up. He did say that people come from all over to take pictures here and even have people come to get married here, so he’s used to the attention.

I thank him and he drives off. I get back in the car and drive off. Karen mentioned to me that she’s glad I’ve started keeping a camera handy when we are traveling. And with her eyes looking out for opportunities, so am I.


Listen to your Wife!

Here is a life lesson.

When traveling on a turnpike at 75+ MPH and your wife suddenly says, “STOP!! PULL OVER!! I SAW A BALD EAGLE!!”, the smart thing to do is to stop, pull over, and ask her to clarify. This is exactly what happened this weekend as we were traveling to Oklahoma for our yearly Thanksgiving family get-together.

For some reason, let’s just call it providence, I had decided to leave my camera out in the back seat on this trip. Usually, nothing happens so it is safely stored away in the back with the rest of the luggage on these trips. The drive to family is about 4 hours and we were at about the 3 hour mark, making good time when the aforementioned actions took place. I pulled over.

After discussing the fact that what she likely was was just some exposed broken branch in a tree, she finally convinced me to back up. So here I am, backing up on the shoulder while traffic is whizzing by, narrowly missing a mile-marker sign (oops) when Karen declared, “I see it!” It was quite a distance away, and I still could not see it. So I hand her the camera. Of course, my camera settings are completely different than hers so she has a hard time getting a shot but once she does and shows me the proof, well, I hop out of the vehicle with the camera and head toward the field.

There were a line of trees between the and the great bird, but I was able to get a couple of clear shots before it flew off.

So, listen to your life and you may just see something amazing!

Oh, and here are a couple of shots of the Bald Eagle! Quite a distance away, and shooting through a stand of trees, but still a magnificent bird.