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 http://MHamptonPhoto.FineArtAmerica.com 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.



Kilgore Football: Part 2

Welcome to Kilgore College vs Tyler Junior College, part 2. Thanks to the KC win over TJC of 50-29 the previous week, these two teams, with a long history, had the opportunity to meet up once again the very next Saturday in the first round of the SWJCFC playoffs. So sit back and enjoy along with me as I had the opportunity to shoot this game from the field level rather than from the stands! So, while this post may seem one-sided, remember I was there at the courtesy of Kilgore College, so they were my focus.



The Kilgore band was in place and ready to go as the teams came onto the field.


KC Special Teams coach Gary Wade stands with his players as the game gets underway.


#6 Joe Lewis, was seen making quite a few big plays during the game. Once he got the ball he was off!


As the teams line up, eye-to-eye and nose-to-nose, you can almost feel the tension from the years of rivalry between these two schools.


#32 Alvin Kenworthy and #41 Dillon Hall stand on the sidelines, ready to jump in at a moments notice.


Another play maker for KC, #15 Kyle McBride, runs for another first down.


The Kilgore crown was certainly appreciative of their Rangers as they continued to score over TJC.


Hard working guys resting before being put back into play.


Celebration after another first down.


Being an old band member myself, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance from the TJC Band. If I understood the announcement correctly, this is the professor of woodwinds at the school, jazzing-out with his students during halftime.


The TJC band leader caught my eye as she directed from atop a ladder.


Go brass section!


TJC’s percussion section was equally impressive.


Kilgore’s band is smaller, but performed quite well. Marching up and down the field sure brought back memories of friday nights from my youth.


And of course, you can’t have Kilgore football without the world famous Rangerettes!


Back to the game.  #2 Chandler Eiland looks to pass the ball before the approaching Apaches make contact.


Playmaker #7 Tyreik Gray, light on his feet making yardage before being brought down.


#3 Hasan Deense takes control of the ball for yet more yardage.


Sometimes there is just no stopping #7 Tyreik Gray as he hurdles over an attempted tackle and continues on for yet another touchdown!


Coach Wade had a discussion with one of the Refs


But once the game is complete, all harsh moments are put aside and congratulations all around are shared from both sides.


As the Rangers celebrate their 58-51 win over TJC with singing their school song


And closing for a word or prayer, thanking God for the victory and safety of both teams. The next week KC lost to Trinity Valley Community College in overtime, but they have been invited to play at the Mississippi Bowl in Perkinston MS on Dec 4th. We with them good luck in their game against East Mississippi Community College.

So, that’s it. My first chance shooing a game from the sidelines. It was a great opportunity and one I’m hoping to continue into the future. Defiantly as unpredictable as wildlife but certainly more action packed into a shorter amount of time.

Hope you enjoyed. Looking for my next adventure!



All photos copyright of Michael Hampton 2016 and taken with the Canon 5DS-R or Canon 7D Mark II

Tyler Highland Games

Okay, I’m a little behind on my photo editing, but wanted to share these. Near the end of October was held the Tyler Scottish Festival and Highland Games. Having never been to one, and always admiring men willing to wear a kilt in public, we packed up the cameras and headed over. There were multiple tents for vendors selling their wares, as well as Scottish music and games. As you’ll see, the games were not limited to only men.

When we got there, the games were already underway, but we got to watch a couple of weight toss and caber toss events which I found interesting.

First up were the 56lb and 28lb weight toss events. This was kind of like a discus throw, but with a weight which has a handle attached. The participant spins in a circle to gather momentum, and then lets it fly. These guys and gals were pretty impressive with their strength, as well as their ability to not let it fly in the wrong direction and injure those behind them.





The one I really found interesting was the caber toss. I had see this before, but never understood what the rules were, until now. The purpose is to toss the large pole, have it flip end over end, and then you are judged on how straight it lands to where it was thrown. While it looks easy, apparently it is not. Of course the biggest hurdle is first picking up the rather long pole and balancing it before you actually try to flip it. This was very impressive.


This guy actually accomplished the feat! I think the yelling at the pole actually pushed it over the edge and got it flipped.




The parade of the clans was quite a site. They paraded around the area being led by the piper to the traditional song you usually hear on bagpipes. All the clans and their colors (tartans) were on display. Each clan had their own tent where you could learn some history of the clan and even see if maybe you were a descendant from them.


And of course, what sort of festival would it be if there wasn’t music? This is the Reel Treble Band, hard at work entertaining the crowd.

I didn’t get to stick around as long as I would have liked, but thoroughly enjoyed everything we saw. Next year I’ll plan a full day and see and learn even more!

Until next time…