30 December 2009

How I Spent My Holiday

"Even in a time of elephantine vanity and greed, one never has to look far to see the campfires of gentle people."  
~Garrison Keillor

I can't always spend Christmas with the family when I live so far away. Its the hardest time of the year being without the kids and I miss the smell of my Mama's kitchen. So this Christmas, I figured I'd do something different and head out into the wilderness for a while. I went camping on a dry lake bed Christmas afternoon. I still have a tradition with the kids where we watch two movies back to back on Christmas Day, so my first movie was at 9:30. Sherlock Holmes wasn't as good as I thought it might have been, but I guess I can say I got my money's worth. My next movie was Avatar. Granted it came out a week or so before Christmas, but I held off seeing it. My kids were doing the same thing only in Tennessee. I've already seen Avatar once more and will likely see it a few more times. I do that with movies I like. I saw 2012 three times, but my record is the final Lord of the Rings, which I saw 8 times. Avatar is high on the list of my all time favorites. There was simply more imagination in that movie that I think I could have ever conceived. In LOTR, Peter Jackson had Tolkien's books to work from and Tolkien was so descriptive, you honestly didn't ever need a movie. You could visualize everything. James Cameron was operating from scratch, as far as I know, and he surpasses my wildest imagination. Yeah, I'll be seeing that a few more times.

Then it was a race to get back across town to finish packing up and head out to my camp site. It was sort of a spiritual thing for me being out there alone, but at the same time, I didn't count on the distraction for the need for company brought on by a campfire. That's the only time I felt alone or like I really wanted somebody else there. As soon as my campfire was roaring (and trust me, I like a roaring fire), I felt an immediate sense of aloneness. I was cool chilling out in my tent, afterwards, but while sitting out in the open air staring at the flames as they licked and bit into the wood, you miss having another person there.

It got cold. Daaamn, it got cold. I was bundled up nice and snug, but I can tell you that you don't want to move around much. Outside of camera gear, I think I need better winter camping gear. My little hooch kept the wind off, but I know I've got to get another sleeping bag. I trust the Gortex sleep system that I had in the military, so that's my aim. I've been in 40 below in one of those things in the open air and was as snug as a bug in a rug. And I was a little more concerned for my laptop and camera too. I hadn't had the foresight to check the operational temps on the laptop. My camera's limit is right at freezing, but I wasn't sure about the laptop. Since it was just below freezing, I kept the camera at my feet in my bag and the laptop between two pillows that I slept on. I also kept it on in sleep mode, (no pun intended, there.)

The sun came out and it warmed up quickly, but I built a fire anyway. I love a good fire. Too much since I ran out earlier than I had anticipated. My need for a big fire and the fact that the winds would kick up every now and again, consumed my firewood supply quicker than I wanted. Oh well. I'll know better next time. All in all, it was a cool experience, and I plan to do it again. Maybe I can find a good Gortex sleeping bag on eBay or something. I will be looking. I hope everyone has a joyous and wonderful holiday. Tune in next time when I start  the year off with another self-interview!

10 December 2009


 "Kissing a man with a beard is a lot like going to a picnic. You don't mind going through a little bush to get there!"- Minnie Pearl

Me, with as much hair as I have ever had on my face

I'm glad there is no Decembeard...at least that I know of. Having that much hair on my face was just a complete oddity for me. I kept thinking my nose was running until I went to the mirror and noticed I had one mustache hair curling up and back into my nose. I had never heard of the thing, but apparently its [Novembeard/No-Shave November] growing in popularity. My daughter put me up to it. She said all the boys back in TN were doing it, which consisted of her hubby, his brothers, my son and a few of his friends. I figured, what the hay, so I told her I'd commit to it. I don't think I look that good in a beard, if you can call it that. Its the most hair I've had on my face, but I don't grow facial hair that fast. For me, all that was actually about 6 weeks worth of growth. At the time she told me, on Nov 1st, I was just getting ready to shave off two weeks of face hair. It still took me about another week after Nov 30th to shave it all off. The place I normally shop at was all out of my depilatory cream I use to remove hair on my face and head. I can't use a razor. The "Brothas" tend to bump up too much with a razor. I often had to have a shaving profile in the military which was a doctor's excuse not to shave.

Mary and I kicking back some cold ones in Crested Butte, CO

So what's ol' Big T, been up to lately. Well, Photo Anthems.com has been revamped, big-time. In an effort to cater towards more weddings and other events, I've redesigned the site to reflect that a little more. Almost nothing on the site is as it was last week. Many a nights was spent taking down HUGE loads of my art nudes and other images that just didn't cut the mustard. I've got to go back to work on my landscape images, in both re-edits and new pics as well.

Mary, off the edge of a cliff  in Black Canyon, CO.
That's a couple thousand feet free-fall below her.

My good ol'e bud, Dave Rudin was in town over last weekend. He was the only one to get pics. We met for breakfast along with Wolf189. It was really good to meet Wolf. I think we share some commonalities in styles and approaches. He's been around for a while and really knows his stuff. As usual, when you put a gaggle of photogs in a small space together, time flew by as we discussed everything from camera gear, to classic films. Not film like, TMAX, well...we did discuss that. Wolf only shoots film. However I was referring to classic movie films, particularly foreign films. He and Dave were much more familiar with many of the more notable ones and the actors/actresses of the day. As Dave and I always do, we had breakfast at the Original Pancake House and about three hours had passed before we knew it. Wolf had to head out for a photo gig, otherwise we could have helped close the place. As of this moment, I didn't see any of the shots he took, but I am sure DaveR will have pics of us posted on his blog, Figures of Grace, shortly. In the meantime, pay a visit to my new friend Wolf189 at his web site, www.Wolf189.com and his blog, www.Wolf189.blogspot.com. Oh, and here is his profile on Model Mayhem. Trust me, you are in for a treat.

I've gotten a good laugh out of a few things lately, but none really so much as getting to see my friend, Jodi (with no "e"), do a tandem sky-dive. The girl's got guts. But that's not the only reason I love her so much. Outside of being a good friend, she's a strong believer in doing things the natural way, as nature intended. I love her hippie-style and the way she has a genuine care for people. She's a great mom, very spontaneous, and will take on a challenge with vigor and courage. This is the first time she's ever exited a plane while airborne. At no time does she ever flinch, hesitate, or even carry a distressed look on her face. Yeah, the girl's got guts. Enjoy the vid below or click HERE. And I thought I'd reacquaint you again with pics of my friend and once model, Mary since she said I looked like Kimbo Slice!

04 December 2009

Rest in Peace, Charis

Charis Wilson, May 5, 1914 - November 20, 2009

“Edward and I both agreed with the view of a Greek friend of ours, Jean Varda, who was fond of saying there were three perfect shapes in the world ... the hull of a boat, a violin and a woman's body.” 
- Charis Wilson

I've spoken highly and often about my most influential photographer and the model who quite possibly had the biggest impact on photography as an art form. Charis Wilson has by far been the most inspirational art model for myself and the art world. She died just a few weeks ago. She was 95. For myself, she was the consummate model, perfect in every way. I know, I'm sure she had flaws, but I can't help but to enjoy the woman's spirit, drive, ambition, talent, and her devotion. Most of us know her as a model, but she was a prolific writer, as well. In fact, the reason I say she quite possibly had the biggest impact on photography as an art form is due to her role in helping Weston get a Guggenheim Fellowship.

    "The Guggenheim Fellowships are American grants that have been awarded annually since 1925 by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation to those 'who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts'." 

As I am sure most of you already know, it was Charis who wrote the four-page narrative that won the Fellowship for Weston, despite the fact that Weston assumed credit for it. And it was also Charis who did all the writing and documentation for the 180 day, sixteen thousand mile trip they made throughout the western U.S. Weston's talent had nothing to do with writing. Charis therefore took up much of his work in editing articles and even wrote in his name. I guess it was about a year or so ago, when I finally got my own copy of the DVD, Eloquent Nude: The Love and Legacy of Edward Weston and Charis Wilson. You can do a search on my blog for my initial reviews of this DVD. To listen to Charis give the details of her experience in her own voice was amazing to me. I loved her recounts of her first meeting Weston. She provided vivid detail as to her feelings and emotions and could recall many of the circumstances surrounding all of those special events. She was honest and raw. She did not try to be "pretty and lady-like". She told it to you straight. You gotta respect a woman for that. And at 95, I felt grateful that she was so forthcoming in sharing. Amazing woman. 

24 November 2009

Going to Far? Is There Really Such an Animal?

Kathleen "K.C." Neill working with Zach Hyman in the MMofA, NYC
Photo by Clint Spaulding

"I never expected to see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do today."
- Will Rogers

"Brandi Bottoms", Model Mayhem

I was wondering how this would play out. I'm sure you remember Kathleen "K.C." Neill who was arrested in August during photographer Zach Hyman's shoot at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, right. He had also been doing the public subway nudes. Well everybody thought he was taking this one too far, perhaps rightly so. She was arrested, but prosecutors finally reached the conclusion that they may not have been able to prove reasonable doubt. Its not illegal to be topless in NYC. Neill, however, was butt-naked. I knew there was the potential that they may try to make an example out of her and Hyman, but the question is really in defining what the law says is illegal and what isn't. Public Lewdness is the apparent legal term which really obscures the line. The defense can and did argue that she was not lewd in a room full of artistic nudes and that nudity does not equate to lewdness...per se. 

So the girl got off, but you have to still wonder what doors this might therein open. Can Hyman now walk into a elementary classroom in PS 234 and commence to shooting? Can he now stroll into Bellevue Hospital and do as he wills? I can understand his need for his artistic expression. I hold true to the same thing. Public nudes is also concept I'd like to explore, but I'm not for being around kids. I guess that's where I draw the line. There were kids in the museum the day he and Kathleen Neill were working and I think I'd like to respect a parent's right to not have a kid in that atmosphere. You can see in the top photo, above, that there is a young boy getting full-frontal staring him in the face. If I'm the kid, I'm not so sure I'd be complaining. But if I'm the MOM standing next to the kid, I'd be looking for my mace. Viewing painting are one thing. Its a finished work and you still have the element of choice there. Hyman's gig was a work in progress and there was no reasonable sense of expectation for parents that their kids would be subjected to this scene. I've shot in a museum before. I had a nude model in the Erotic Heritage Museum during normal business hours. A lady was startled to discover my nude model was indeed live and not a mannequin. I will admit, that was a funny thing to witness. HOWEVER, no kids were in this museum. There was already depictions on erotica all over the museum. My shoot was for a non-erotic workshop, and my party were the only ones allowed in with cameras. The pics you see here are of Model, Brandi Bottoms as she worked that session. Talk about a fabulous model! If you get the chance to work with her, don't pass it up for no reason whatsoever. Make sure you get her well in advance, though.

But,I guess even I have my limits. I applaud Hyman for his efforts and his choice of expression. I just wish artists didn't feel the need to ... well, I'm not quite sure how to articulate this statement. "Push the limits" was how I had initially intended to end that sentence. But isn't that what we are encouraged to do. We all want to push the limits. That's how we differentiate and distinguish ourselves. I'm just bothered by it a little. No, I didn't want to see the model go to jail. I just wish the photographer had chosen a different forum or venue for his expressions. I'd have a healthy respect for those artists who allow me the opportunity to decide when its okay for my kids to be exposed to nudity. I thank them for letting it be on my terms and not forced upon them unawares. Yes, I know there are so many other darts of exposure shot at them from movies, the internet, and video games. I'm not so naive to believe otherwise. However rarely are you surprised to see it in a rap video. You realize there's the possibility of seeing it in a movie because of the rating. But in the Metropolitan Museum is not an venue that I would expect to see it. My kids are all grown up now. But I'd have been a pissed off individual had I walked in to my Wells Fargo bank with my young ones and have an artist expressing themselves in like manner.

13 November 2009

Different Styles of Editing

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." - Mark Twain

Good gracious. I'm trying to use the time I have to organize and do some re-edits of some of my older photos. At some point, I've really got to update my landscape work. There's been so much that I've learned over the last year that its difficult to now go back and try to apply it all. I've touched on this before in a previous blog entry. Things like updating meta-tags on my images are on my mind. Getting my next batch of images in the right format for copyright  registration is also paramount. I need to figure out how I'm going to update my back-ups procedures based on some more efficient tools and processes. Being jobless has posed some strict limitations on  what I can do so prioritizing is of utmost importance.

"Oh, by the way...How's the job hunt going, Terrell?"

Model, Clarissa

Thanks for asking. Its going is about all I can say. I'm in the process of updating materials and seeking new ways to market myself better. All in all, I gotta tell ya...I'm doing okay with this. The job I had was really consuming valuable time that allowed little room for recuperation. I've been able to focus on my photo work, and despite the challenges, its still fun for me. The one thing that hasn't been so fun is the pinched nerve I've had over the last month. Vicodin and Flexeril don't even touch the pain. I'm serious. X-rays revealed nothing, so its basically a suggestion to add Ibuprofen to the mix and go home. I'll do some physical therapy next week. Its been a while since I've been in this much frustration from pain. Who's had a pinched nerve before?

Photo and Model by Nora,(Edge-Dreams)
Edited with permission by Terrell Neasley

I got to meet another up and coming business woman in my area. Lillie Kleemeyer is the proud owner of the new photography studio, Xquizit Pix, located here in Henderson, serving the Las Vegas, Clark County area. She's got a nice setup, complete with a 1300 square foot studio space with 14 foot ceilings, a kitchen, model changing areas, and space for a MUA. She rents her studio space for $30 an hour! Sweet, huh? Yeah, I'll be spending some quality time there and I think you should too, especially if you're on a budget like me. She's got props, wardrobes, lights, seamless and muslin backdrops, the works. Or you could just go to her website and check all this out yourself. I was there for several hours til I got kicked out so she could do a private model shoot. But then I just came back later. I'm looking at doing some of my Las Vegas Art Model Group gigs there. So go see Lillie and check out her facilities next time you're in Vegas needing an indoor shooting arena. Give the girl some love.

Model Katherine, her dog and hawk

Lastly, I've missed working with alternative editing techniques. As a film purist, I had really just begun mastering the print process and then exploring new techniques when I moved to Vegas and no longer had a darkroom. The top pic is my first ever Polaroid transfer. I think I did that in back in 2006 or 2007. Basically we took slide film and made a Polaroid from the processed slide. Then we used another process to lift the emulsion of the Polaroid substrate and apply it to something else. I transferred mine to a piece of watercoloring paper. Here's a tutorial on how its done. The other shots are more experiments with the distressed style similar to scratching negatives like I used to do back in the day. Enjoy.

03 November 2009

In 140 Characters or less...

These social networking sites are the new wave of communication amongst many in not only the US, but the world. Twitter has slid its foot in the door and forced its way in between Facebook and MySpace as the juggernauts of internet commo. It has grown faster than any thing we've seen before. This thing has become global in just 3 years. I hadn't done the research behind it yet, but I'd certainly like to see how it is profit driven. Its a free service and there are no cluttering advertisements that float across the screen or use dancing figures in triplet to get our attention. To my understanding, one way they do this is to sell member information to 3rd parties. If you wikipedia Twitter, you'll see its use in everything from education, politics, and even space missions. That's right, astronauts were using Twitter to give updates on Hubble repairs! 

So let me ask those of you in the art community...How many of you models, photogs, and artists use Twitter regularly and how do you use it? I think I'll post this on my devianART page as a poll question. Virtual Photography Studio.com posted this article on 80 photographers you should be following on Twitter. WeFollow.com also does this same thing...track photographers on Twitter. I jumped on a few months ago to see if I could get a feel for it. I'm definitely not an everyday...every second user. These constatn updates, sometimes called "microblogging" can be overkill for the regular Joe Smoe. Because of Chad Ochocinco, (wide-receiver of the Cincinnati Bengals), the NFL has banned twitting during the games. The NBA has done the same I believe. Right now, I tweet under Artnudephotog, but I just now created one for PhotoAnthems, as well. So take your collective asses on over there and start following me. Oh, and if you've not clicked on the button "Follow Me" on this blog, You're Wrong! So get right on both accounts. 

You all know Stacey Scott, right. She was like my first model for my Las Vegas Art Models Group art nude photo workshop. Well in case you don't recall, here's the blog post on it. That first workshop was stressful as  hell, but we got it done and Stacey was great. Well, I got to shoot her later on in another Lighting Seminar that also went well. Stacey has since moved to New York were she got to compete in tryouts for America's Next Top Model. I revisited some of the work we did and did some more edits to a few of her shots. At the time, I didn't edit that many and she's contacted me recently about some of our work together. So that's what's prompted this revisit. Is she not pretty? Chris St. James was totally smitten with her. I think she was also the first model I interviewed for his Univers 'd Artistes blog. You can also see her new website here

And speaking of model interviews on that blog, I'll be doing another one in the next few days on Trixie. She's got a great story behind her and she's not holding back anything. That's why I love the girl. She tells it like it is.

25 October 2009


"Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first, the lesson afterward."

As interesting as the above quote is, there's a ring of truth in it that cannot be denied. So far, I have no idea how I am doing on my test, nor even how much longer it is. More still, I have no idea as to the lesson I am to learn or even if its one I CAN learn. In school, I did fairly well on exams. Even if I didn't study or prepare myself for them, I had a knack for knowing HOW to take tests, especially ones that were multiple choice. I learned to deduce the correct answer in most cases to at least earn a low "B". In the event where the answers took essay form, I learned to basically BS my way around for at least partial credit. It was the fill in the blank questions that usually got the better of me. Even then, I could answer some of the questions by continuing to read the following questions, hoping for a clue.

Where am I going with this? Good question, because I am not all so sure. My current challenges in a city with drastically high unemployment still remain. Yes, that's the more obvious and probably more pertinant situation that I most needs to resolve. However its the conundrum of my photographic art that has me slightly puzzled at the moment. I often meet potential models in my comings and goings of daily living. As I meet someone I may happen to be interested in shooting, I make no hesitations in introducing myself and asking. It just so happened that earlier this week, while at a Denny's restaurant, a young lady I spoke to about my work asked me what it was that I did with my art since I made no real effort to profit from it. Of course I explained that as any artist, my endeavors are to exhibit and share it. I explained that I did so on my web site and blog. She looked at me, as if to say, "That's it?". Or maybe I just read that into her pause, as she starred at me, waiting for more in my answer.
Another potential model even earlier than the last, asked if I was any good. With my chest thrown out and a slight smirk on my face, I tried to resist a prideful or boastful answer, so I kept it simple and said, "Of course." But then she asked, "Says who?" I found myself searching for an answer that wouldn't set myself up for a response like the one you get when someone says, "Beauty comes from within." To which the popular response is, "That's what ugly people say".

So how much creditablility does an artist need before he's officially "good"? Does that warrrant being famous and well-known? Then at what level do you achieve that? Does local cred count? How do you get famous in the nude art arena? How do you establish yourself as "good"? I know I like my own work, but then that's kind of like asking a mother if she thinks her child is a handsome or pretty. Is doing art for the sake of art not enough or are credentials necessary to validate your street cred? Who knows? These are just a few other things I have to figure out for myself. Now that I have time on my hands, I can contemplate these things.

15 October 2009

Scouting Nevada...Again!

"Live passionately, even if it kills you, because something is going to kill you anyway."
-Webb Chiles 

Well, the job hunt continues. Gotta make rent, you know. But sometimes you gotta take a break. Granted, I took a week off from losing my job before I started back the job hunt, but these experiences can really get to you. So I had the opportunity to head back out on a scouting trip of Nevada again. Actually, I retraced my steps back in June of 08 when I headed up to Cathedral Gorge. With the exception of Delamar, I made all the same stops. You can read about my first endeavor on the lonely Hwy 93 HERE. Most of the images from that excursion were lost when my computer crashed not long after I returned and I hadn't backed up those shots. So my rusty can project...gone. I could have headed back in to Delamar where I got all those shots, but I'll save that one for another time.

This trip was a little different. I didn't take the same shots as I did on the last one. Some were similar, but I don't think I got one shot of Cathedral Gorge this time. It was a little more of an adventure to me this time around. Previous posts spoke of my climbing, scrambling and at one point, almost getting stuck on a mountain out in Red Rock. It was no different at Cathedral Gorge. There were some teenage kids that drove up and as they walked nearby, I asked them if any of them had a rope. I wanted to climb back down into the cave that Felix helped me explore on the last trip. None of them did, but they told me about another cave that I've got to go back and check out. I'm all about some spelunking. Anyway, a few of them started climbing the formations that make up Cathedral Gorge. One of them saw something that he thought was cool which prompted me to join him. Next thing you know, a few others come up and somehow, somebody gets the notion to see who can get to the top...all the way to the top...first.

There was that errant pause, that often proceeds the quick considerations that run through the mind when you are contemplating doing something stupid. It lasted only about 3.6 seconds at the most. Then there's that sudden burst of appendages reaching out in all directions as each of us tried to find the easiest and quickest path to the top. One chickened out first. Another got stuck in an impassible route. Me and another kid were like live action Spidermen as each of us reckelessly made our ascent. Twice, I hit a few spots that initially looked impassable, but my momentum simply forced me to jump to the next ledge before my mind could have the benefit of thought. "Thought", would have been an exercise in wisdom because at any time, the loose dirt and rock could either take away your footing or simply cave in under you. But at the same time, "thought" made you sacrifice speed. No way I was gonna let this kid beat me.

As you reach the top, it's actually not the top. Its just another plateau. There was more to climb. It reminded me of the Yamahs, back in Korea, which are what we called the mountain ranges that had staggered plateaus. From our vantage point, we couldn't see the top. All we could see was the next plateau which was a few hundred feet deep and hid the next summit. So just when we've thought we've finally reached the top, the next climb is revealed. That gets discouraging after a while. But anyway, I beat the kid. He talked smack initially, so I threw it into his face that he let a 40-year old man kick his ass. Needless to say, I am certain he didn't need to soak in a hot tub later that night like I did. Getting down was the tricky part, so I let him lead me back down. It was not a bad day at all. I don't know why I act like such a kid when it comes to this sort of thing, but when its in you, you gotta let it out somehow.

Its good to get away from the city. I like being out in nature. Passing through Caliente this time, I got to talk with a lady who was born and raised there, Roz, along with her daughter who lives here in Vegas, Dawn. I was intrigued that the city (or town, as it were) even existed. I can see why it was there back in the mining days, but why its still there today was a mystery to me. You can't get a cell phone signal with AT&T or Verizon. There is no Wal-Mart and the closest fast food joint is an hour an a half away. Roz explained that the place sort of grows on you and you get used to it. Crime is low and its a great place to raise kids. They still have all the amenities of a regular city. Not sure about a movie theater, but they do have a park, schools, police, firemen, and a hospital equipped with a medevac helicopter. They feel its an excellent place to retire. Dawn gets bored there too easily, she says, so I guess its not for everybody. I'll be visiting there again at some point. I gotta check out that cave those kids told me about.

By the way, did you notice the logo on the truck's trailer!?!?

07 October 2009

The Biggest Tattoo Show on Earth

Everybody Loves Calvin and Hobbes... I thought this one was appropriate.

Franz Nieto, Piercing Expert

Martha, Piercing Expert

I mentioned to you all about last weekend's excursion into the mountains. What I saved until today about this past weekend was my invitation to the Tattoo Expo 2009, dubbed "The Biggest Tattoo Show on Earth". I think it lived up to it's billing. Granted, there was a Photoshop convention going on at the same time...I went Friday afternoon. However the Tat Expo was the bigger deal for me. It kicked off at the Mandalay Bay and had an enormorous turnout. As soon as you walk in you hear the loud buzz of tattoo guns, but as you acclaimate, you cease to hear them. There were so many artists there with a labyrinth of booths and stations set up to give anyone their heart's content. I need to give a special big thanks to Martha and Tattoo & Company piercing expert, Franz Nieto. Talk about some awesome folks with big hearts. Martha had some of the first dermal achors that I had ever seen. I think I'd seen them before but mistook them for bars.

Esther Hanuka

Do you remember the T-Mobile commercial where a series of accountants are getting the door slammed in their faces for trying to talk to families about saving money on their cell phone plans; but then Catherine Zeta-Jones walks up to do the same thing and immediately gets this one guy's undivided attention? Well, that's what it was like when I got to meet Esther Hanuka, aka Queen Esther, who is probably the prettiest thing on the planet wearing skin art, and let her talk to me about tattoo magazines. I'm telling you, I was within arms reach of the woman and I still wasn't believing how gorgeous she is. As many nude woman as I photograph, you'd think I'd be fairly comfortable around women and I tell you she gave me a case of the dry mouth. However, she quickly put me at ease, with how cool she is. She's not standoffish at all, as some hot mods get a reputation for. I'm pretty quick on discerning people's demeanor and at no time did I get the impression that she's stuck up or maybe too good for us regular folk. We talked for more than a minute and, in fact, she talked to me about how gorgeously beautiful Vikki Blows is, as if she weren't just as fabulous herself. (She even promised to let Vikki know I want to shoot her, next time she see's her!) But then again, I can be honest. When I walked away from her table of tattoo magazines, I wasn't thinking about Ms. Blows. Esther is a fabulously gorgeous woman, but I was mainly impressed with simply how awesomely cool she is. And besides, she's got a beautiful name.

All in all, I enjoyed myself at the Tattoo Expo. I just finished editing several of the pics I shot that day. You can find about 20 more shots of them on my web site, Photo Anthems.com. One thing that I didn't expect was to be able to take my camera in there. I brought no flash, diffuser...and only the 50mm prime. I figured if I went in with a bigger lens, that I'd get stopped at the door or something. Had several instances where a nice zoom would have made the difference. I figured I'd get to go back on the next day, and bring the bigger gear, but then that was when I got stuck up on that mountain. I was too tired to go afterwards and the knee was just starting to ache by the time I got home. Lesson learned.I'll def know next time.

04 October 2009

Check out Melissa on Univers d' Artistes

The interview for Melissa has been up on Univers d'Artistes for a few days now. This girl has been working constantly, but I am sure you can still get on her calendar if you contact her. You should go over to check it out. (Speaking of calendar, you can get her's here.) I think it went well. In fact, let me ask you to take a second to help her become the face of E.L.F. Cosmetics by voting for her on this link right here. You can vote every day in fact, so bookmark it and comeback as often as you can to give her your vote. I did it just now and it took me 4 seconds, so help out a model, why don't cha!

What you see here are the images we used for that post taken recently in the Vegas deserts. I've been out to that location twice since we shot looking for a specific geographic feature and have come up nil on both occasions. There is supposed to be a body of water out there up in the mountains and I see now way how one can reach it in 30 minutes from the location Melissa and I did our shot. I spent hours scrambling up rocks on the first attempt in one direction and got not even half way. Oddly enough I decided to come back down for two reasons. One it was getting dark, and two I had began to feel light-headed. I had forgotten to eat pretty much that whole day. I had forgotten to wear a hat as I usually do and I even forgot my watch. Things started getting black like tunnel vision so I sat down for a while, but as I got up, I was still dizzy. So I just passed out on a big flat rock for a spell and woke up to the sun almost down over the mountain. I guess losing a job can have that sudden effect of temporary stupidness.

The second trip, I took a different route. No trail this time. I just went straight up a canyon valley, scrambling over rocks. This time I think I was half way up before I decided to come back down. I tell you the distance is much farther than you think when you are looking up at it from below. The scrambling this time was a little tougher and once again, its about 5pm and it dawns on me that I hadn't eaten a thing all day. Fortunately, I never felt faint on this hike, even though it was more strenuous. I think I'd like to do it again if for no other reason then just the exhilaration of the climb, only without my backpack. Twice I lost footing because it threw me off balance and there were several spots where there were just inches of foot space along a ledge with a sheer drop-off. Going up was much easier than coming down, although coming down was faster. I was high enough to switch my phone over from 3G to the Edge network to still get a signal out. So I called Felix to let him know a reasonable proximity of where I was and that if he didn't hear back from me in 3 hours or so, to send somebody looking for me. I figured it might be wise to do so, since I was alone in a remote place. Sometimes, my knee can just give out without warning (from an accident while in the military).

I seldom discuss politics or religeon on this blog. However speaking of the military, I was reminded of an article I read today that just burns me on both ends. I recall seeing in the news a while back about an organization that stood outside the funerals of fallen soldiers and protested while the grieving parents and family tried to say good-bye to their son and pay their last respects.

"NASHVILLE, April 11, 2006 — As dozens of mourners streamed solemnly into church to bury Cpl. David A. Bass, a fresh-faced 20-year-old marine who was killed in Iraq on April 2, a small clutch of protesters stood across the street on Tuesday, celebrating his violent death.

"Thank God for Dead Soldiers," read one of their placards. "Thank God for I.E.D.'s," read another, a reference to the bombs used to kill service members in the war. [One even read, "God hates your tears".] To drive home their point — that God is killing soldiers to punish America for condoning homosexuality — members of the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., a tiny fundamentalist splinter group, kicked around an American flag and shouted, if someone approached, that the dead soldiers were rotting in hell." - New York Times

As a veteran myself, you have to understand, this pissed me off to no end. I am still amazed at the depravity of humanity. Just as it seems I can't be surprised anymore of how low mankind can get, another invention of hatred and evil is released upon society; and in the name of God, no less. I felt fairly confident that this was such a clear-cut case that it would not only be stopped but that the perpetrators would be penalized and the victims redeemed. Well, I was wrong:

Court Says GI Funeral Protests Legal, September 25, 2009, Baltimore Sun
"RICHMOND, Va. -- A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a fundamentalist Kansas church's protest outside the funeral of a Westminster Marine killed in Iraq is protected speech and did not violate the privacy of the service member's family, reversing a lower court's $5 million award."

I don't always agree with the some of the reasons why we go to battle. As a soldier, I pledged to follow orders and defend this country and its interests and allies against enemies both foreign and domestic. We are a military with a civilian politician as Commander-in-Chief. It is not always a cut and dry decision when we deploy and the public may not always agree. I can understand that. Iraq is not popular. I can understand that. Soldiers on foreign ground done always solve a problem. I understand that. But to disgrace and disrespect the men and women, and their families, who are the ultimate servants of our country, who volunteer their lives to provide the freedoms all of you enjoy... I just don't understand why everyone in America is not coming to the defense of our fallen. Too many cases. Too many situations arise where our fallen are disrespected in order to get a story, express a radical opinion, or otherwise get attention and not enough is being done about it.

Damn. That went on more than I wanted. I'm done ranting.