Oh how we say time flies, but then there are those days that just seem to stay frozen in time. It was just about two years ago that I had to put my good friend down. I still feel a little lost without him. I miss his fierce protection of all under my roof. I miss his smell. Probably only true dog folks can follow that, but every dog I have owned had their own distinctive smell along with their own pedigree of personality:

Samantha (the sweetest), Pork Chop (the happiest), Midnight (a troubled black lab I could never quite follow), Clovis (the only dog we ever paid for, unconditionally the smartest and who was so tight with his pack) and then comes Grace (our blue-eyed deaf rescue found abandoned at a West Texas railroad station and who is now my only four-legged shadow).

I have loved each of them greatly and differently. Each one has brought me their lifetime of joy and buckets of tears upon leaving. Clovis was my poser dog. Whenever I got out my Nikon, he was quick to notice and quicker to upstage anyone and anything.

Since I lost Clovis, I have not, with any degree of seriousness, picked up a camera. He just took that out of me. I have tried to shoot at some images, but every time I pick up a camera I hear his tags a jingle, a bump on the leg wanting to know where he should pose. My heart goes adrift and the camera back in the backpack.

I am a sentimental old coot and damn but I miss them all and can pull up many a tearful memory. I have to ask, how can a dog steal my vision? Hey, if they can steal your heart, vision is pretty much a simple task.

Get busy living or get busy dying!…”Red”…aka S. King

Peace Out,   jasL

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #866- Autumn falls

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My Autumn Leaves

“I watch the woods for deer as if I’m armed.
I watch the woods for deer who never come.
I know the hes and shes in autumn
rendezvous in orchards stained with fallen
apples’ scent. I drive my car this way to work
so I may let the crows in corn believe
it’s me their caws are meant to warn,
and snakes who turn in warm and secret caves
they know me too. They know the boy
who lives inside me still won’t go away.
The deer are ghosts who slip between the light
through trees, so you may only hear the snap
of branches in the thicket beyond hope.
I watch the woods for deer, as if I’m armed.”
                                                                  BRUCE WEIGL
Along with the coming of November comes our first frost…
stay warm & young at heart…†…monos en theos…jim

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #860 – OUR HANDS

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I have always been aware of my hands. From an early age as I viewed my hands outstretched in front of me, I somehow felt that the image of my hands would always be there. That one would be able to frame the present through those same hands and measure the passage of time by seeing the change upon the frame.

My hands now carry the scars and memories of my life. As do most everyones. I have always heard that the eyes are the window to our soul, but I believe the hands expose a more detailed view of our story.

My hands are stiffening with age. They carry the pain of arthritis. Having never thrown a punch in my life, I still somehow question how I could even have the grip to toss a baseball, much less a punch.

Deadheading flowers in the garden is about as tough a foe as I deal with.

It is a marvel to find details of life within the wrinkles of time.

What story do your hands tell?…monos en theos…†…jim

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #849…Missing the wide openness of West TX (just a bit)

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I grew up in West Texas. My family up and moved to the Dallas area when I was thirteen. I can remember this feeling that came over me of feeling a bit closed in. When you grow up with the open skies of West TX, it can be just a mite claustrophobic with all the trees and hills. You throw in a few days of solid cloud cover, with rain mixed in and well…I guess it is something that only someone from the vastness of open skies can relate to.

So, under wet and grey clouds, I had to pull up an old West Texas sunset to brighten the day…monos en theos…†…jim

Shades of Gray from Grayson Co, TX #845…Fear at the jump


It is just so hard to really believe that I have come to the end of the board. It is time to take a leap and hold firm to the faith that a net will appear.

We finished the last of our sports portraits and school photos last week. A lot of my identity has seemed tied to what I do for a living. I know this is a false assumption yet cling to it none the less.

I remember the words from my dad shortly after he retired. How he shared that he had been someone who people came to for advice and help with their cameras. After retirement, he sorely missed being called on for his opinion any longer.

Hence I am filled with fear of the same. You notice that my feet are not so close to the edge of the board. I like to use the excuse that it was because I had almost 10K$ of camera equipment around my neck, but there is a deeper issue. The fear of having to work to redefine myself, my calling, my passion.

I do look forward (ok, I am tiring to convince myself) to not having to make any more photos of kids holding some kind of a football,volleyball, baseball, softball, basketball, tennis ball, golf ball, baton, hurdle, barbell, pompoms, megaphone, helmet, bat, glove, bases, mask, google, golf club, cleats or swim fins. But I will miss hearing some youngster telling me his mother or dad told me to tell me hello, that I did their photos years ago when they were in high school, jr high or elementary school.

So here I stand at the end of the board. Listen for the splash….monos en theos…†…jim


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I don’t quite understand the dynamics of photographers making photos of cameras, but it is a fairly common exercise.

While not fully comprehending the reason, I also jumped in on doing it. Thanks to my dad, I have a pretty nice collection of old cameras.

I was fortunate that my first serious camera was a “Rollei”. Mine was one that my dad, a German factory trained Rolleiflex repair tech, put together out of spare parts. It was a pretty nice rig. I still have it.

This old “baby Rollei” (it used 127 film as opposed to 120/220 for the full sized Rolleiflex)  was given to me after if had more or less survived a fire.

relish the tools of your trade.    en theos ††† jim


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As I photographer, I have most often looked forward to making images during that “golden hour”. That thirty minutes before and after sunrise & sunset. Recently I have been introduced to “light painting”, which pretty much means bringing my camera out after dark and using flashlights and such to light things that are otherwise unseen.  Last night I was outside looking at the almost full moon and just for the heck of it brought my camera out, cranked up the ISO to 1600 and set about to just see what was out there that my eyes did not see.

Both of these images are not manipulated in photoshop other than some exposure adjustments and running them through some noise reduction software. I was amazed at what there is unseen out there.

It reminded me of laying on my back at night in the back yard as a youngster and staring in wonder at the depth of the West Texas sky. I always wondered where does it all end. Some sixty years later, I still ponder that question, but the answer comes that it never ends,

Enjoy life, see what you never stop to see! en theos ††† jim


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It makes one wonder, what was here and why do downtowns in small town America become semi-ghost towns? The normal response is to blame Wallyworld, but there is no blue box store  in this little burg. Just a victim of time and change.

Adapt to change or fade away. enjoy life ††† en theos ††† jim



Locoweed, the common name of a number of different plants that poison sheep, cattle, and horses on the Great Plains. Some, such as the poison larkspur, are poisonous in themselves. Others are poisonous because they concentrate selenium that exists in the soil. Among these are the milk vetch and white locoweed. The poison affects the nervous system, causing an acute or chronic disorder called loco disease.

Loco is the Spanish word for “mad” or “insane.” The symptoms of loco disease include staggering, falling, defective vision, nausea, constipation, and loss of appetite. Affected animals may suddenly jump for no reason, or run into obstacles. The acute form may end fatally in three days. Animals suffering from the chronic form of the disease may waste away for weeks or even for months.

I think I first heard of locoweed from the old TV series Rawhide. Trail boss Gil Favor and ramrod Rowdy Yates (played by Clint Eastwood long before “Make my day” fame) encountered all kinds of pitfalls and challenges driving the herd from San Antonio TX to Sedalia MO.

Little did I know how common locoweed was and I could have inspected the mysterious plant right in my backyard of Odessa TX. I was probably more interested in having a “cool” name like Rowdy, Sheb or Wishbone instead of plain ole Jimmy.

Be aware of all that you have in your backyard. † en theos ††† jim