Monthly Archives: January 2017

Stonehenge II – Ingram, Texas

Texas is known for a lot of things, but many people who live here do not know there is a replica of Stonehenge in their own state. It is located in the hill country just outside of Kerrville, Texas in a little town called Ingram.

It is not a full size replica, but it is about 2/3 the size of the original. According to the Hill County Arts Foundation it is 90% of the height and 60% of the width of the original in England. And not all of the stones are actual stones. Some are plaster covering a mix of steel and metal.

Originally it set on creator Al Sheppard’s land in Hunt, Texas. Years after he passed and the family land was sold, the entire thing was going to be knocked down, until the town of Ingram came along and partnered with the Hill County Arts Foundation to move the exhibit to Ingram.

In addition to the replica of Stonehenge, there are two Moai statutes like that found on Easter Island which stand 13 feet high.

You can see all of my Stonehenge II photos by going to the Galleries Page.

Petrified Forest National Park

One of the national parks I got to see this summer was the Petrified Forest National Park. Located in Arizona, the Petrified Forest makes for a great day trip. I made mine on my way to the Grand Canyon. It includes an easy road to drive through the park.

The park itself is beautiful. In addition to the petrified forest there is the painted desert to see. The park straddles Interstate 40 and it is definitely worth the stop. There are plenty of places to stop, walk around, hike, or even picnic if you like. I took my time seeing the scenery in order to take photos and it was just a nice afternoon.

There are other activities you can enjoy if you so choose as well including hiking, backpacking, and guided programs with park rangers. Be sure to check out the different things going on while you are there at the visitor’s center. There is one at both entrances to the park.

Be sure to check out all of my photos from the Petrified Forest National Park in the Galleries section.

Harvard Offering Free Photography Course

I am always looking for new ways to improve my photography. When I was learning it was trial and error at first. Then I was fortunate to learn from a guy I met while living in South Korea. He gave three friends and I lessons one year. I learned a lot, but still do not consider myself quite a professional. There is still so much I want to learn. Then I saw this:

Harvard Is Putting Its Photography Classes Online For Free

What a better place to learn than from one of the most prestigious universities in the world. And it is free. There are 12 modules that teach you everything from light, exposure, to software tools. There is a lot to learn here for anyone I think, and as soon as I am finished writing my master’s thesis, I plan on taking the course to see what I can learn.

If anyone decides to take the course in the near future, please let me know what you think of it. I’m really interested in taking it but will not be able to get to it till at least this summer.

Fort Pickens – Gulf Islands National Seashore, Florida

Before Christmas I had the chance to visit Fort Pickens on the Gulf Shores National Seashore near Pensacola, Florida. I have been to Pensacola and the beach there too many times to count, but I had never ventured down to the end of the beach where Fort Pickens has sat since the 1800s. I am glad I finally did.

Fort Pickens is a historic fort on Santa Rosa Island named after a Revolutionary War hero, Andrew Pickens. The fort was completed in 1834 and was used for over a hundred years until 1947.

The fort served with two others, Fort McRee and Fort Barrancas, that served to protect the entry to Pensacola Bay. Between the three forts the entire entry to the bay was protected. The area has another interesting fact in that some historians argue that this is where the first shots of the Civil War occurred.

On the night of January 8, 1861 Lieutenant Adam J. Slemmer, who was in charge of Fort Barrancas, repelled a few local men intent on taking over the fort. Two days later Florida seceded from the Union and Slemmer left Fort Barrancas. Before he did, he spiked the guns and destroyed the gunpowder at Fort McRee moving his troops and arms to Fort Pickens because he felt it was the easiest to defend. After reinforcements, Fort Pickens remained in the hands of the Union throughout the war being one of the few military forts in the south to stay with the Union.

As time moved on, captives from the Indian Wars were sent here including Geronimo, and Apache war chief, who spent nearly a year here in captivity. Along with a few of his warriors, Geronimo’s family was brought to the fort as well. Eventually the military would move him and his warriors back west.

With new advancements in military science and weapons, Fort Pickens was turned into a more modern defense installation. Several batteries were built including the eventual Battery Pensacola which was built in the middle of Fort Pickens.

Here you can see the back of Battery Pensacola, the black section, built in the middle of Fort Pickens (the brick walls).

One if the interesting parts, or missing parts perhaps, of Fort Pickens is the huge hole in the outer wall. On June 20, 1899 a fire reached a magazine containing 8,000 pounds of black powder exploding and destroying Bastion D. An entire corner of the fort was blown away sending debris over 1.5 miles away. Surprisingly there was only a single fatality.

This is a view looking down on where Bastion D would have once stood. Instead there is a huge hole in the fort from the explosion.

The fort became apart of the National Parks Service in 1971 when it was added to Gulf Islands National Seashore. You can find out more information about visiting, camping, and fees from the National Parks Service website at –

To see more of my photography of the fort and the surrounding area or to purchase a print, visit my gallery by clicking on the Galleries button above.

Happy New Year!!

Sunset along the Mississippi River in New Orleans

Happy New Year!

While many people look at 2016 as the year that took so many celebrities, I would rather look at it as a year in which I was fortunate to travel to two new states, drive the Alcan Highway, and see 10 new national parks (2 in Canada) over the course of the summer.

The new year brings us new opportunity. No matter how you feel 2016 was, it is over now and it is time to move on with a positive outlook on 2017. So whether you want to lose weight, travel more, save money, or start a new job go into it with a positive attitude and make the best of what is to come. Life is too short to worry about the small stuff.

While I am not good with resolutions for the new year, well not good at keeping them anyway. I am going to make it a point to do a few things during this trip around the sun. First of all, I want to get outside more. Being outside relieves stress and is definitely something I’d like to do more of. Besides, I tend to have my camera more when I am out. Secondly, I want to try and find the joy in something small every day. Whether that is taking time to just enjoy my coffee, or enjoy somebody’s company with a nice conversation. We do not need huge big moments in our lives to find joy in our lives.

So Happy New Year! Go out, explore, create, and be happy.