january 22, 2018

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“What’s past is past, nothing can change that. But the future can be different if we choose to make it so. We have to cultivate a vision of a happier, more peaceful future and make the effort now to bring it about.” ~ Dalai Lama


triple threat


I’m not even sure what to say about these three. They’re always a joy to be with of course. Every once in a while, they get these little silly notions, and the next thing you know, the camera comes out and shenanigans are caught. I’ll tell you the truth, the Yelton sisters have enriched my life beyond measure. I don’t know how I got so lucky, but I’m sure glad I did.

january 21, 2018

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“Love yourself first because that’s who you’ll be spending the rest of your life with.” ~ TinyBuddha


the look


Annabelle Bick aka Apricot (Apricot Banana Bick is the whole name): she’s going to be the tough one in the Bick Family to photograph. I see that now. I first photographed her last year when she was just a wee baby, and nary a smile did I get. I pretty much met the same fate this year, too. Nevertheless, I persisted. And while I did manage to snag a half grin here, an Elvis lip there, I went with this photo because it’s her usual look, when she’s looking at me anyway. I call it the ‘furrowed brow of questioning.’ 


grandpa Joe


Meanwhile, Annabelle’s older brother, Jackson, is the exact opposite. He isn’t shy at all, and smiles for the camera. And while we don’t see him smiling here, I couldn’t help but love this photo with his grandpa Joe Bick. There’s nothing extraordinary about the composition or lighting. It’s just a portrait of a grandson learning from his grandfather, and that’s the beauty of it. Plus, Jackson looks so much like Joe that I couldn’t help but imagine Joe when he was Jackson’s age learning from his elders.


crawling into the sunset


It’s always a delight to be with the Bick/Barnes/Yelton family around the holidays, and this year was no exception. And now, with all the little ones, I’m forced to the floor for part of the day. I’ll be needing to get in shape if I’m ever to get Apricot to smile at me. 


January 20, 2018

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“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” ~ Will Rogers


From Kentucky (Snapseed)


There’s a brief moment from I-275 in Kentucky when you can see the Cincinnati skyline. It’s a beautiful sight regardless of season or time of day. An iPhone photo in no way does the scene justice. I never see it that I don’t hear the theme of WKRP playing my head, or Mr. Carlson exclaiming to Les Nesman that he thought turkeys could fly. The city offered opportunity to many of dad’s siblings and other Appalachians looking to build their lives. I will always hold Cincinnati in fond esteem.

january 19, 2018

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“Whatever we are waiting for – peace of mind, contentment, grace, the inner awareness of simple abundance – it will surely come to us, but only when we are ready to receive it with an open and grateful heart.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach




Some reflections are interesting. Some not. Prowling around downtown Lexington provided plenty of fodder for the lens. I wish I’d had more time to explore storefront reflections a bit more. They offer so much possibility, and such variety. Maybe when it’s warmer I’ll give it another go.

january 18, 2018

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“Let them judge you. Let them misunderstand you. Let them gossip about you. Their opinions aren’t your problem. You stay kind, committed to love & free in your authenticity. No matter what they do or say don’t you dare doubt your worth or the beauty of your truth.” ~ Scott Stabile




Winter skies offer subtle sunsets. They also tend to remind me of Doctor Zhivago. I don’t know why, but there you have it. Anyway, I remember the first time I heard thunder snow. I was six or there ’bouts. We were living at Malone, out in the country. A big snow had come through earlier in the day. At the gloaming, a deep, low rumble sounded up the valley toward Caney. It was both lonesome and ominous and it seemed to go on forever. I remember so clearly standing in the yard waiting for something to happen. I don’t know what I thought it would be, but I knew thunder in winter was unusual. It was weird enough to warrant something spectacular, surely. Nothing happened. I got cold and went inside. Now, I’ve got a hankerin’ to watch Doctor Zhivago, which has absolutely nothing to do with thunder snow. Just go with me, people. Some days are just this convoluted and funny.



january 17, 2018

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“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.” ~ J. R. R. Tolkien


from here


There’s this place on Limestone between two buildings where you can see both Christ Church Episcopal and First Presbyterian Churches. On Monday, as Stacy and I were walking from Lowell’s, I stopped to snap a pic. I’d seen this view before, and I think I even snapped a pic, but it didn’t do anything for me, so I didn’t share it. This composition still doesn’t do it for me, but I love the reflecting colors of the buildings. One of these days I’m going to have the right lens with me at the right time of day in the right season and the way I see this scene from the sidewalk will magically appear as an image. Until then, I’ll keep practicing.

january 16, 2018

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“Sometimes the strength within you is not the fiery flame all can see, it is just a tiny spark that softly whispers, ‘You got this. Keep going.'” ~ Unknown


snow dog


Wally’s eyeliner was on full display in today’s new snow. Just a few days ago I was complaining that we’d been denied a healthy snow after all the buildup produced hardly more than a dusting. Then, suddenly, overnight, we got a good snow when only a dusting was predicted. Ah, Kentucky, how I love your fickle weather ways. UK called off classes and work, so Wally and I enjoyed some (more) time together in the great outdoors. I shoveled snow. He watched. Any extra time with him is alright by me, even if I do all the work. 


too stinkin cute for words

january 15, 2018

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“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.




The University observes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, so I was out of the office with a lot of things to get done. First on the list was car repair at Lowell’s downtown. Stacy and I had a great breakfast at Lexington Diner, then we joined the MLK March near the end of the route, which was also taking place downtown. What I admired most about MLK was his non-violent ideology. Over the weekend I watched a TV series on India. Gandhi, who was a great inspiration to MLK, also lived by this non-violent doctrine. Their belief in peaceable protestations changed the world (in Gandhi’s case, India gained its independence from Britain). This doesn’t mean there isn’t violence in non-violent protests. The people asking for equality do so peacefully and lawfully. The violence comes from the oppressors or agitators, but not from the people who genuinely want change. One does not have to march to make a difference, but one must understand that a difference needs to be made until we are all judged by the content of our character and not the color of our skin, the lack of money in our pockets, who we love, or our gender. I’m pretty benign, politically speaking, but I’m always in solidarity with those who practice non-violent discontent. The MLK march celebrates a man and a movement that lived that ideology and I was happy to be there to help celebrate. 

january 14, 2018

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“Find hope where there is none because no one is going to give it to you.” ~ Tsem Rinpoche


backdoor sentry


It’s cold. It’s January. Last winter was mild, and we paid the price when bug hordes came out of hibernation. This winter’s multiple Arctic freezes will, hopefully, stifle that rampant population come spring. It’s not too late to wish for more snow, though. It’s beautiful and brings with it a stillness and peacefulness that no other time can offer. A heavy fog is the only occurrence I can think of that comes close. In any case, one of the things I love about this cold period during the year is all the cooking I do. I always learn a lot, holed up in the house binging on whatever is on TV at the time, and channeling the Grandmothers. Let’s eat!



january 13, 2018

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“Every obstacle is an opportunity.” ~ Unknown

on her way


Abigail Bartlett got a camera for Christmas. Proud parents, Bryan and Jen, invited me over to walk her through it. Naturally, Abby knew more about the menu than I did. Nevertheless, I talked with her about depth of field, exposure, speed, and focus; the important technical things you need to know about photography no matter the camera. It was really good for me, and Abby absorbed everything I told her because her brain is pure sponge right now, soaking up everything she hears.


director Bartlett


Let me tell you, Abby is one of the brightest kids I’ve ever met. She’s creative and driven. She reminds me of myself at her age, but I think she’s able to focus a little better than I did. While most kids are interested in being in a starring role, like a singer or actor, Abby is interested in directing films. I find that intriguing. She’s interested in still photography, yes, but she’s very interested in moving pictures. In fact, she’s already made a few short films. 




Near the end of our session, Abby asked to interview me. She’s working on a new project by interviewing people about their jobs. She had her questions ready. With mama and papa Bartlett both having on-air radio backgrounds, Abby’s delivery was as natural as breathing. Boy, did The Bartlett’s make my day! I had the best time hanging out with them. I can’t wait for warm weather so we can go out shooting together. I predict great things for Our Girl Bartlett.

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