A Band Called Carrollton

Last night, I took a road trip to Yorkville, IL.  The city had a festival at the park.  There were the usual carnival rides, and carnival food.  A band called Carrollton was playing too.  http://www.carrolltonband.com/  They are a Christian band that you hear on Christian radio a lot.

I arrived a little over an hour early.  There were tables around, but they were reserved for the sponsors of the festival.  There was one unmarked table with someone sitting at it.  We started talking and I found out he was there to help the band unload and load the trucks.

Soon the concert started.  Time for action.  I grab camera and went on a mission.  The band started playing while it was still light out.  There was the evening glow as the sun went down.160902_287_n1_p_wp

I love capturing facial expressions of the band members.  The put a lot of effort into their music.

As the sun set below the horizon, the lights started coming up.  that is when I have the most fun with camera.  It can be difficult with the changing light intensity, but the mood and expression is what I look for.



The group sings Christian music and tries to make people think more about God, and bring Christ centered family time for people to enjoy.


Shooting somewhat from the side, I was able to capture this one.  I was shooting between all sorts of support rods for the set.  Time and patience pays off.


This was a small venue for the band.  Hopefully I will be able to see and photograph them at a bigger venue some day.

Carrollton, thanks for a great night of music and Praise.

Partridge Falls -Two Worlds Meet

A place not visited often.  A divisor of nations where they come together.  A place of peace for those who appreciate it and will seek it out.  A road not traveled often.  And, on a river that divides USA and Canada.  I find myself immersed, consumed and overwhelmed.

Tranquility is what this place means to me.  Time alone was one of the things I was seeking.  Silence that was louder that I could talk, is what I found.  The peacefulness in the power of water and rock that senses soak up.

Two worlds apart, but still together.  That is one of the things I thought of while sitting here and when looking back to the time spent there.

Sitting in the USA, on the bank of a river that pounds the senses and still calms the soul with Canada on the other side.


Times like these are treasures to enjoy.  Life is full of these things.  Looking into this picture, there is no one thing that made up the experience that brought me to this moment captured with the camera.  Everything seen, heard, felt, smelled, and tasted made up this experience.

For an hour my experiences changed.  Amazement, wonder, fear, filled my mind and emotions.  Who has been here before?  Who has hunted here before?  Were treaties, weddings, friendships, heartaches, acted on, or pondered here?

Everyone who sat here has experienced something similar, yet something different from other guests.


One person observes experiences in one way, while someone else may see things slightly different.

Seeing with your life experiences is a lot like seeing with a camera.  Where you are standing is part of your vision.  Moving to the left or right, or up and down changes things.

Time will change things too.  The more time you spend somewhere, the more you may be able to see.  Looking, walking and sitting someplace takes time.  Time that allows you to experience.

This is a place of power and peace.  A place of comfort and refuge from the daily life.  God made places like this, where we can view His mighty creation, and be in awe of of His power, intelligence, and the peace He can bring.

A song comes to mind “Our God is an Awesome God” .  “He Is”



Time of My Life Tour Pictures and Announcement of Carrollton Concert


Last fall, I was able to photograph another concert.  Again, it was at First Christian Church in Clinton, IL.  Four groups played this day.  “The Afters”, “Chris August”, “Unspoken” and “Among The Thirsty”.  It was a great time for sure.  Lots of great music.  Music that gave honor to God.  And proceeds going to a great cause.


“Fan the Flame Christian Concerts” http://fantheflamechristianconcerts.org/  tries to have the monies going to the bands be donated from local business and individuals.  The ticket sales then go to different charities.  This is a win win situation for the people wanting to see the bands and for organizations that are supported from that performance.


There will be more concerts in the future.  The next one will be Sunday, January 31, 2016 @ 5:30 PM in Clinton, IL.  The band will be Carrollton.  I will not be able to make it this concert, unfortunately.  But, I know those who are able to be there, will not be disappointed.


Just as in past concert, like the one I am showing pictures for now, the next one should be great.


I appreciate that Randy and Ann Anderson, have the vision to bring bands like these to central Illinois.  I am looking forward to many more.  I thank the Andersons, Fan The Flame Christian Concerts, and First Christian Church in Clinton for bringing these band in for us to see.  If you get a chance to go this weekend, enjoy.  Sing a song, tap your foot, and take a picture for me while you are there.  And remember, to God and Jesus Christ be all honor and praise.

The Drive North of Duluth, Minnesota

One of the ways I enjoy spending time on vacation is getting in the truck and driving.  I may not know what I am looking for, but I am always looking.  It is invaluable to have paper maps and GPS in hand.

After spending some time scouting for hawks at the Hawk Ridge area and not being successful, the pavement gave it familiar call.  Wanting to take it kind of easy, I stayed on the hard road.  Driving north along Lake Superior there were many sites to be seen.  Houses, beaches, places to eat and islands peaking through the tree lined shoreline.

It was starting to be get dark out and I had not found the image I was looking to capture with camera.  As mentioned, the hawks did not come in as I had hoped.  Driving, I saw a lot of pretty sites, but none that really moved me.

Using the topo maps on the GPS, I saw an island coming up ahead.  Islands are always worth investigating further.  I could see there was a road leading down to a place where the island was view able.  So many times, that does not happen.   There are trees in the way, or other obstructions making picture not possible.  Driving down a narrow steep road, the days plans came together.


The sun had all but gone down, and there was a glow on the opposite horizon.  The island was picking up some of the last light.  I had  a foreground on top of that.  I love wide angle photography.  That is my first love in photography.  Getting out tripod, I did say tripod, I brought camera close to ground.  Using a remote shutter release, I started capturing time as it moved on in front of me.  Light was changing and time was working for and against me.  Against me, as I did not have much time.  For me, as it was painting the scene in front of me.


Knowing there is always more that one image in a picture, I rotated camera and recomposed.

When, scene, light, and time come together, magic happens.  This was one of those moments.

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”.  http://fantheflamechristianconcerts.org/

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.