Matthew West Concert

150404_874_n1_p_r_wpSaturday was a good time.  Matthew West came to play in Decatur.  Matthew is from Downers Grove, IL but spent his college years in Decatur at Millikin University.  150404_441_n1_p_wpMatthew has won many awards in the music business and has written songs for many top musicians.  He uses his talent to spread the Gospel of Christ with his Music.  To listen to his music is a treat.

150404_491_n1_p_ss768_jThere is another Decatur connection in his band.  The drummer also attended Millikin.  That says a lot about the quality of musicians that Millikin University produces.  Another strong Decatur connection is the guitar player Jake Widenhofer.  Jake is a Decatur native, and his father is the head of the Music Department at Millikin.  As Matthew mentioned in the concert, it was a great time returning to Decatur.  He even mentioned his favorite burger from Kreckel’s.

150404_576_n1_p_wp Before the scene below, Matthew talked about how our sins and heart aches can be taken away by God.  He took several pages of paper with lists of heartaches that people have written to him about and tore them into shreds.  Then falling from above were tiny pieces of paper to represent all of the things that God can remove from our hearts.  To know you are forgiven and to know he can heal the broken-hearted, is the joy that Christians know.  To know the hope of heaven waiting for those who love Him is a comfort that God gives.

150404_945_n1_p_ss768_j  I did not make the beginning of the concert.  Colton Dixon who was on American Idol also, performed.  I did hear him play some with West’s band.  There was a lot of talent in Decatur that night.  It was a fun night of entertainment with other Christians and the presentation of a great message.


Speaking of Owls

150323_016Dusk is always a challenge to photograph.  You are working with low light.  There is a change of shift in the bird world.  Day birds slowly disappear and night birds start showing up.  This barred owl, came out to investigate me.  There actually were two for a few moments.  Barred owls are easy to find if you listen for them.  They sound like, “who cooks, who cooks for you all”.    You may be able to hear them call, but they silent when the fly.  This gives them an advantage when hunting.  Great eyesight and stealth flights, give them a great advantage at night.

Great Horned Owl Chicks

With Spring working its way in, baby birds and animals will start making themselves known.  Sometimes you are lucky to find photo opportunities on your own and other times people will share those great places with you.  A co-worker and birder told me he had a nest of owls in his neighborhood.  He said it was a couple of houses down from where he lived.  He and his girlfriend had been enjoying them for a few weeks and had enjoyed hearing the parents all winter.

Not having opportunities often to photograph owl chicks, I headed out.  It is a 25 minute drive to the nest site from my house.  People ask, why would you drive 25 minutes to see a bird’s nest?  Because when the opportunity presents itself, it can be a real hoot…  I know, I could have chosen my words better there.

150327_070_n1_p_wpIt was fun watching the owls.  One of the parents was watching me too.  It was a nice evening and I was even able to talk with one of the neighbors who was excited to have them nesting nearby.

Hopefully I will have more of these kids as they grow up and leave the nest.

The Little Chickadee

Spring is closing in.  It was nice late this afternoon.  Maybe a little chilly, but great to be outdoors.  I went down to the river to do a little photography.  There were plenty of birds around.  In the 40 minutes or so that I was down there, I saw chickadees, hairy woodpeckers, titmice, red-bellied woodpeckers, cardinals, turkey vultures, and canadian geese.  As you can tell it is slowly starting to green up out there.

150403_041_n1_p_wpSoon the little ones will start showing up.  Time to start looking for nests.

Mysterious Bridge

After work last Friday I headed to the South side of town.  Going over the bridge on Lake Decatur, fog made it very difficult to see.  As soon as I crossed the bridge, I was back out of the fog.

The thought came to me.  I know of an old bridge that would look great in the fog.  Off I drove.  So for the next 25 minutes, I cut through the city, and then I hit the country roads.  Driving down to the river via an old road,there they were.  Fog, river, bridge and a boat, all welcoming me .  Alright.  Time to break out the camera.  Out came the tripod, I needed that to compose the image and for the slower shutter speed.

150324_024I love it when bad weather makes for a great image.  Foggy dreary days are some of the best for photographers.  Don’t let bad weather run your day, let it open the treasure of creativity.  After all was done with the camera, it was time to sit back and enjoy the moment.  Geese, ducks, woodpeckers, nuthatches and other birds all made music for my ears.  My, what God has created…

Recent Time With Camera

I have not posted in a while.  I thought I would post a few images taken since the last post.

Today, I was waiting for the snow to start.  It looks like it will tomorrow, now.  So, I did some bird photography.

White-breasted Nuthatch

White-breasted Nuthatch

I spent time using my truck as a hide while photographing down by the Sangamon River for the above image.

Two weekends ago, I went to LeClaire, IA to photograph eagles.  The eagle counts are low because of the warm weather and lack of ice.  I made the trip with a friend and ran into two other friends from Mount Zion.  It was a good time talking and getting some great pictures of the eagles.

Eagle catching fish on Mississippi River at Lock and Dam 14

Eagle catching fish on Mississippi River at Lock and Dam 14

Eagles are always fun to photograph.  It is great to see them soar while looking for fish, then skim the surface of the river and come up with a catch.

I took an evening to watch and photograph a high school basketball game between Decatur’s Lutheran School Association and A & M.

Slam dunk by Lutheran School basketball player

Slam dunk by Lutheran School basketball player

About all I can say about this picture is OUCH!!!

One evening I was driving around.  It was foggy out.  Driving past Central Park, the fountain took on a new glow.

Foggy Night at Central Park, Decatur, IL.

Foggy Night at Central Park, Decatur, IL.

Stop the truck, roll down the window, and shoot.

A cousin got married in December.  I took some candid photographs of the behind the scenes during the formal pictures.

Rose and Adam's Wedding

Rose and Adam’s Wedding

Rose and her mom having a laugh.  Something must have been funny.

Rose and Adam's Wedding - Riding Away on the Firetruck

Rose and Adam’s Wedding – Riding Away on the Firetruck

Both were having fun at the time as they drove off leaving us all behind.

This fall, Rock Springs had a candle light tour of the old homestead.

Volunteer During Candle Light Tour at Rock Springs Homestead.

Volunteer During Candle Light Tour at Rock Springs Homestead.

It was a cool November night, but everyone had fun.  The volunteers told stories about the days gone by.

Mark Schultz was in concert at Grace United Methodist Church.

Mark Schultz In Concert at Grace United Methodist Church in Decatur, IL.

Mark Schultz In Concert at Grace United Methodist Church in Decatur, IL.

It was the second time I photographed him in concert in the last year.

Another Concert was Remedy Drive.  The concert was brought in by “Fan the Flame Christian Concerts”.

Remedy Drive Concert

Remedy Drive Concert

The fog made for some great photography.  The music was great, also.  And so was the message.

Rock Springs Conservation Area always has something going on.  Here is another one of their programs.

Old Time Tools In Use At Rock Springs In Decatur

Old Time Tools In Use At Rock Springs In Decatur

Now there is some talent.  He shared a lot of information about tools from that time period.

More time spent with camera and birds on the Sangamon River.

Hairy Woodpecker Down by the Sangamon River

Hairy Woodpecker Down by the Sangamon River

I love the fall color in the background.

Sunset in Rural Macon County, IL.

Sunset in Rural Macon County, IL.

After photographing birds all day, a great sunset completed the day.

And to finish of some of my photography the last three months of 2014 I will share some images from Rocky Mountain National Park.  I had a great time photographing by myself and with another photographer by the name of Weldon Lee.  i look forward to going back again.  This was my first trip there.

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Bull Elk and Cows at Rocky Mountain National Park

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Storm Mount Lookout, Colorado

Storm Mountain Lookout, Colorado

Well, you can see what I did this last year for October, November and December of 2014 along with January of 2015.  It was a great time and hope to have more fun in the next year.  It is always joy to get out and enjoy the outdoors and to spend time with family and friends.  All of those are gifts from God.  I hope you have enjoyed some of the blessing I have seen and experienced this last year.  Hopefully more will follow.

Fridays are Golden


140425_022_n1_p_e_1It has been a long week.  After work I moved some flower pots around the backyard and enjoyed seeing what prairie plants are popping up in my backyard.  Then for a little relaxation in the big chair in the living room.  Two episodes of Duck Dynasty to set the mood for the rest of the evening.  Grabbing camera I headed for Spitler Woods State Park.  The woodland flowers are coming up all over.  Bluebells, trout lily, dutchmans breeches, and red trillium are what you can see.

Not long before the sun set, I was looking for something that had the glow of the setting sun on it.  Most of the forest floor was in the shade.  Gold, I see.  Great light on the flower and background.  Getting the legs spread out to get my tripod on the ground, I lay down on the ground.  Then the unthinkable.  Coming down the trail are a mother and young son.  I just took all the effort to get down here and they show up.  I gave in and moved some and they gave in and walked around me.  I am grateful for that.

Back to the flower, getting out a reflector to add more light and time to capture light.  That is what photography is all about.  Capturing light.

Heading home, I put the canopy over the swing in the backyard.  I took it down for the winter.  Then I sat in the swing for an hour listening to all the sounds and spending some time reading a book on my phone.

The end of the week was great.  I found the pot of gold in several ways.  I hope you enjoy the one part I can share and I hope it brightens your day.


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