Huffman Prairie

Huffman Prairie

In 1903, the Wright brothers successfully flew for a handful of seconds at Kitty Hawk. The next year, the brothers started experimenting and flying at Huffman Prairie, northeast of Dayton, OH in an effort to learn how to control their airplane and improve its design so that it would become a practical machine. Later, the prairie became the first permanent flying school, where the brothers charged $750 per student to teach them how to fly.

Even today, the prairie is impressive, though it no longer contains the cows that the wrights had to dodge.

the waist

Dark Waist


In the waist of the B25, just behind the bomb bay is a position for two gunners. The space is incredibly small and it is hard to imagine the suffering that went on in the confined area. Hours were spent in very cold temperatures and in huge bulky suits.


Waist Gunner


It was indeed a very remarkable generation of young men that lived, fought and died in these tough conditions. I think about them every time I visit a museum and see the planes on display. This was the first time that I had the opportunity to climb up inside of the planes and the feeling was very palpable. The thoughts flowed from within my mind as I got to experience the space that they worked within.





Today, I had the unique opportunity to spend some unrestricted time in a shop that is rebuilding a B-17G bomber from the Second World War. I was fascinated to see the skilled craftsmen at work restoring the giant plane. While there, I also got to crawl around inside an operational B-25 bomber. You can be sure that as I work through the hundreds of images, I will post the best of the lot for all of you to see.

Meanwhile, I have a lot of post processing to do.




I was reading Karen Walrond’s post on her blog Chookooloonks about how the demise of Kodak has her thinking about printed photos. Karen wonders if photo albums and printed pictures are disappearing. She asks if our kids think of photos as only temporary in nature. (BTW, if you ever want to meet a truly beautiful human being, inside and out, you should read Karen's blog on a regular basis.)

Karen’s well written thoughts have touched on an issue that has been on my mind for the last couple of years. What to do with all of the images that I create? How do I ensure that they are around for a long time? As a photographer, I see myself as part artist and part recorder of events, places, and people that are a part of my family’s life. In that sense, my images are important to me and hopefully to future generations of my family.

With film, we can count on the fact that we have printed images and negatives that are physical. A lighting strike is not likely to suddenly wipe out a lifetime worth of our photographic work when we have negatives and photos safely tucked away. I have many times, seen disaster survivors on television, holding with all of their might onto the family’s photo album. Sometimes they are shown picking through rubble, collecting framed photographs. These photos represent the precious memories of generations of friends and family. I know that if I were to wake up to find my home on fire, I would grab my family, my pets, and my photos… in that order. Everything else can be replaced. Not so with the photos.

In this age of digital photography, when every cell phone takes a decent picture, how do we safeguard our family’s collective memories? Certainly, we want to keep the electronic photo files safe and secure. We should save them on backup drives or in the “Cloud” as a form of insurance, in the event that something happens to our primary storage (probably our computer’s hard drive.) One power surge, lightning strike, or hardware failure won’t wipe us out if we have a solid back up policy.

However, having backups of our image files is only a short to medium term solution to the problem. What will we do when technology changes and hard drives and CD/DVD storage are no longer an option? Eventually they will go the way of the tape drive, floppies and zip drives. Keeping up with technology is going to forever be a thorn in the photographer’s side. Just around the corner, the next generation of computers won’t have hard drives or CD/DVD drives. Some computers have already replaced the hard drive with a solid state chip.
We can move to the cloud! Sure, store all of your images online and let some service provider worry about the back up of your images. You may already have your images stored on the cloud. Do you use Flikr? If you do, then you are using the cloud to store your photos. Actually, this is not a bad idea short to medium term. Long term, the cloud can be a problem, because eventually, you will no longer be around to pay the cloud service provider and your images will simply go away or you will lose access to them.

So what is the answer?

For me, the answer is to turn back the clock and forget about modern storage technology. I print my photos. Ok, I don’t print them all, but I do print the best of my images, the ones that I want to be around for a long time. I print my photos in two different formats. The first is the traditional photographic print. Sometimes, I use my own printer and sometimes I use a photo printing service. Once I print them, I place them in frames around the house or put them into a file for long term storage. When I get tired of looking at a framed photo, I simply replace the photo with a new one and reuse the frame.

Of course, with printed photos, you still have the ability to store them in photo albums. I don’t, but that is a personal choice of mine. If I had young children at home, I could see myself using photo albums as a fun project for the kids. They could be a great way for the kids to record their own memories.

The second print format for me is the printed photo book. I’ve written about creating photo books in the past. I think they are a fantastic way to share your best images with friends and family as well as a perfect means of long term storage. What is as long lasting as a book? Not many things are. I hope that generations from now, some child will get a thrill out of seeing a book filled with his great great-grandfather’s photographs.
Currently, I make photo books for many reasons. I print an annual “best of the Year” book. I create destination vacation books, ordering a copy for every family that participated. I also like to make special occasion books. My parents recently celebrated their 50th anniversary and I created a book to mark the momentous event, making copies for my parents, myself and my brother and sister.

The point of all of this is that you need to keep printing photographs. Don’t become lulled into thinking that keeping your memories on your computer or your phone means that they will be around forever. If you want your photos to be available for the next generation to enjoy…. Print them out.

Really… what are you waiting for? Go get started.

to switch or not to switch?



Claudine, are you going to switch over to Google+?




Oh, I don’t know. All of my friends are here and I like playing silly games about being a farmer.




You don’t! All of those Farmville requests drive me nuts. I’ve had it with Facebook. How many times do they have to mess with our security settings before they get it right? Besides, Google+ has some really cool features like Picassa, circles, and sparks.




Mia, none of our friends are there. We would be all alone. I would have to make new friends all over again.




Claudine, would that be such a bad thing? I’ve seen some of your friends. To be honest, making some new friends might not be such a bad thing for you. How many videos of talking cats do you need in one day?



wha? ummm… huh? thank you!

This is a post without pictures. I know, we al like pictures and I like showing you pictures. however, pictures are not what this post is all about. You had the pizza monster earlier and that will have to suffice, so calm down.

This post is about some incredible, but puzzling, web traffic that I experienced yesterday. I don't check the traffic on my site very often. Usually about once a month I like to see the google analytics, just to see where my visitors come from. I average about 30 people a day and for the most part, they are people that I know personally or from a small group of  on line photography buddies.

Yesterday, I just happened to log in and see a weird number… over 400 visitors. I kept looking at the little graph and couldn't get my head around the fact that so many people had visited my site. Before the end of the day, the number had risen to over 600 visitors. Who are these people? Where did they come from?

Lately, my site has seen a little more traffic because of some links posted on Light Stalking, an on line photography community. I can see the source of the traffic and Light Stalking was not the source of these visits. Most of these were from a site called Never heard of it. Turns out that, after a little investigative work, is twitter. Somebody tweeted a link to one of my posts, causing the incredible avalanche of visitors. I don't know who the little tweeter bird was, but I would like to thank you for valuing my post enough to tell others about it and for sending all of that great traffic my way. Who ever you are, you are incredibly generous.


Thank you,


missing out on life



I am addicted to technology. I have to own the latest gizmo. I can spend a day on my computer and wonder where the time went. I know where this kid is coming from. Here he is at the barn dance. The kid is surrounded by live music, cheering, laughter, and dancing. What does he do? Why, the boy fires up the laptop and disappears into his own world. What else would you expect?

I do understand this kid. The difference is that when life starts taking place around me, I know when to turn things off and start participating. And, if I forget… I have a wife that doesn't!