Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Let Freedom Ring - Day 3

 My father served in the Navy during WWII.  He was stationed aboard the USS Bunker Hill. Here is a brief history of the "Fighting Lady".

USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)
CV-17 USS Bunker Hill was one of many aircraft carriers of the Essex class built in the early 1940s. Commissioned in 1943, the ship completed training and small missions in the Atlantic before being sent to the Pacific to help during World War II attacks on Japan, Rabaul and the conquest of the Gilberts.
Bunker Hill also supported the invasion of Saipan and the Battle of the Philippine Sea. Two crewmen were killed in the battle with the Philippines due to a bomb that hit nearby, but the damage to the ship was minimal. She remained in the war with Japan through the majority of 1944 before being sent home for repairs and modernization.
She was quickly repaired and returned to the Western Pacific in 1945 to help with the Iwo Jima invasion and raids on the home islands of Japan. She was a flagship of Task Force 58 and was very involved in the Okinawa campaign. In May of that year, the Bunker Hill lost almost 400 crewmembers after two attacks by suicide planes.
Here are some images of the Bunker Hill after she was struck by two suicide plane on May 11, 1945.  Images like these make it very clear why someone who has never been to war will never understand what it is like.  We will never know how they felt, what they thought, or what they endured.

WWII vets are vanishing from our landscape at a very rapid pace.  My father passed away five years ago, at the age of 89.  I miss him terribly.  If you have a WWII vet in your family, cherish your time with them.  There will NEVER be another generation like this...ever.

Let Freedom Ring - Day 2

 My great grand father fought with the union army during the Civil War.  He enlisted in the 19th Kentucky Cavalry.  He was born, raised, and died in Crittenden County Kentucky. 
Perhaps the most famous song to come out of the Civil war was the "Battle Hymn of the Republic."  One thing that most everyone has forgotten is that we do not live in a pure democracy.  We live in and are governed by a Democratic Republic.
"The Battle Hymn of the Republic", also known as "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" outside of the United States, is a song by American writer Julia Ward Howe using the music from the song "John Brown's Body". Howe's more famous lyrics were written in November 1861, and first published in The Atlantic Monthly in February 1862. The song links the judgment of the wicked at the end of time (New Testament, Rev. 19) with the American Civil War. Since that time, it has become an extremely popular and well-known American patriotic song.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Let Freedom Ring - Day 1

This week leads to the celebration of the Independence Day. If we learn anything from this celebration, it should be that freedom is not free. It comes with a price, and that price is the blood of men and women who stand in harms way to protect the lifestyle that we, all too often take for granted. I have decided to do a mini-music marathon in honor of Independence Day. I love patriotic music. More often than ever before, these songs bring a tear to my eye and fill my heart with pride. May we never forget the source of our freedom comes from our Creator and the instruments of that freedom are our men and women in uniform.  Enjoy the music, celebrate the day, and give thanks for the privilege of living in the greatest country in the world.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wordless(?) Wednesday

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but we haven't lived there in over 30 years.  However, we do go back a couple of times a year for various functions.  As a retired architect, Tulsa has a rich history of art deco buildings which I did not appreciate growing up.  My favorite building in Tulsa is the Tulsa Union Depot which I posted last week.  My second favorite building in town is the Fairgrounds Pavilion.
Designed by Leland I. Shumway and built in 1932, the Fairgrounds Pavilion serves as the gateway to the Tulsa State Fair.  It has hosted concerts, horse shows, tractor pulls, the ice capades and pro wrestling.  Several years ago the building was restored to it's original glory and it is a sight to behold.

 When someone says, "They don't build them like they used to", this is exactly what they mean.  It is unlikely that we will ever see terra cotta details like this again.

 These ram's heads are my favorite detail on the building.  There are several other works on the building, but these just fascinate me.

I love the agricultural theme incorporated into the art deco style.  It is a master piece in my humble opinion.  If you're ever in Tulsa, drive out to the fairgrounds which is now considered the Mid-town area of Tulsa and walk around this building.  You won't be disappointed.

Fun With Filters
Since the Ram's head detail is one of my favorite features on this building, lets mess with it a little bit.  First, I converted it to black and white.  It gives a real 1930's feel to the image and allows you to concentrate on the detail of the terra cotta without the distraction of color.  There is a drama in black and white images that just can't be duplicated in color.

 Next, I took the black and white image and applied a graphic pen filter.  I really like this filter.  This time I used vertical pen strokes instead of diagonal.  I think the vertical strokes render the brick and terra cotta details better.

Finally, I went back to the color image and applied two filters.  the first filter was a grain texture.  I saved the image with the grain texture then applied the horizontal distortion, which are the streaks that you see running through the image.  I think this just gives the image a whole new look.  It may not be a look that appeals to everyone, but I find it interesting.

  Well, that's it for this session of Fun With Filters.  See you next time.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Fun With Filters

This is the base image and it is my favorite building in all of Tulsa, Oklahoma.  It is the Tulsa Union Depot.  It was built in 1931 and was the train depot for the Frisco, Santa Fe, and Katy passenger trains.  My dad worked for the Frisco from 1938 until his retirement in 1983.  He never worked for another employer.  He was second generation railroad.  I decided t have a little fun with this image through the use of the filters in PhotoShop Elements 13.  First I converted the image to black & white.

First, I converted it to a pen and ink sketch.  I set the strokes to a diagonal from upper right to lower left.  You can choose horizontal or vertical strokes as well.  I like this filter a lot.

Next, I distorted the image a little and then applied kind of a water color filter.  It has a really loose feeling to it at this point.

Finally, I took the original image, converted it to black & white then place it on a canvas filter.  This is another filter that I am becoming very fond of. You can vary the texture of the canvas to make it as smooth or as rough as you like.
I have been using PhotoShop Elements ever since version 3 and I am just now learning some of the fun tools that are in the program.  Why did I wait so long?  This program is more than I will ever need for editing images.  If you are new to photography and you have been advised to purchase Lightroom or PhotoShop, I would tell you that you might consider Lightroom, but you are years away from needing full blown PhotoShop.  Personally, I'd get PhotoShop Elements as long as they continue to produce it.  Have a great day.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ruby Tuesday Too

Our middle granddaughter is currently at the Oklahoma City Ballet Academy for a three-week summer session.  We drove over, for the week-end, to see her and take her out to dinner on Saturday.
Saturday was a day off for her and the students took in the Science Museum of Oklahoma, so we met Em there.  I must say, the bulk of the museum is designed for pre-teen visitors.  While the concept of a museum is a wonderful idea, the execution left something to be desired.  The interior looked more like a converted warehouse than a place dedicated to learning and inspiring scientific exploration.  However there were some fun things to see.

In Oklahoma it it obligatory to pay homage to the oil industry.  Besides, I am sure that oil families donated much of the funds to make this museum possible.  Here is a model of an off-shore platform.  Off shore exploration is one of the things that took the title of "Oil Capitol of the World" from Tulsa and moved it to Houston in the early to mid-seventies.  Now, I'm sure that title belongs somewhere in the mid-east.  But I digress.

There is a pretty cool dinosaur model in the middle of the building.  I think he needs a few friends.

 My favorite parts of the museum were the airplanes and model trains.  The trains were too hard to photograph for various reasons, so here are some of the aircraft.  You really have to give credit to someone brave enough to fly some of these experimental machines.  I think the second one here has two motorcycle engines.  At least it's a twin engine.

Yes the plane and I are both full size.  Again, I don't think I would get in one of these, even if I were able to fit in the cockpit.

However, I would fly this in a New York minute, if I knew how to fly.  I'm not sure why a minute in New York is faster than a minute somewhere else.  I've been to New York, and time seemed to move at the same pace as Oklahoma.  Now the speech patterns are much faster, that's for sure.

Then there were the war birds.  I love these planes, from virtually every era of flight.

Even a Red Baron tri-plane is on display.  I didn't see the Red Baron, or Snoopy for that matter.  Well that was our week-end.  How did yours go?

Fun With Filters

I spent a few minutes this morning playing with the filters in PhotoShop Elements 13. My base image is a rose from our garden. The plant is a cutting I took from my parents house before the final estate sale several years ago. It was my mother's favorite color of rose.

 This is the original image.  I took it into PhotoShop Elements 13 and tweaked it just a bit.

Next I added the "color pencil" filter and brightened a couple of the colors.  I really like the effect that this filter has on most images.  Of course you can convert the image to black & white if you like or go to a pen and ink filter as well.

 The graphic pen is an interesting filter.  But I went back to the original image, converted it to black & White, then applied the bas relief filter.  You can even change the direction that the light is coming from.  In the image above the light source is coming from the  upper right.  In the image below the light source is distributed across the bottom of the image.

That's it for this edition of "Fun with Filters".

Friday, June 12, 2015

Crash and Burn

The blog has been semi-dark for the past week.  Well, I had a major crash and burn.  My computer hard drive seemed to be malfunctioning and it's only four months old.  After a couple of phone calls and transfers, I got the correct people at HP support.  Their thought was that there might be something wrong with the operating system (Windows 8.1).  They probably thought that there was also something wrong with the operator of the system (me), and they might not be far off of the mark.  At any rate, it required that I wipe the hard drive clean and reinstall the operating system.  I have never done that before and my confidence level was not very high.  Still, the tech support walked me through the process.  It took nearly an hour but it seems to have fixed the problem.  On the down side, I now have to re-install all of my programs, put my important document files back where they belong, and try to figure out how to reset my preferences.  Needless to say, it has been a journey.  Hopefully, I'll have it all back to almost normal by next week.  Technology is a wonderful thing...until it decides to not be a wonderful thing, then...it's your worst nightmare.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Inspiration Thursday

Fun With Filters

One of the things in this life that inspires me is photography.  Most of the time I pursue excellence in the image.  I try to capture a great image, then take it home, open it in PhotoShop Elements 13 and attempt to enhance the image further.  When I get it right, I am inspired to move forward and pursue different types of images.  But there are times when I just like to sit in front of the screen and play with a few of the filters in PhotoShop Elements.  Here are a couple examples.

Here is the original image.  It has been enhanced and cropped to 8x10 format.

Here is the filtered image.  I added a little distortion to create something similar to a painting.  If you click on the images to enlarge them, the changes are more evident.

Here is the original image.  It is a bust of Alexander Hamilton.
Three filters later and it is difficult to identify the subject but the effect of the filters make the image really different.  In this case not necessarily better, but certainly unique.  So, what inspires you?

Music is always a source of inspiration fore me.  It reminds me that the One who lives in me is greater than the one who lives in this world.

Music also reminds me that regardless of my past, regardless of my insecurities, and fears, that by faith, through the grace of God and His redemption of this sinful soul, in His eyes, I am now flawless.  Have a blessed day.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Wordless Wednesday (Not)

Last week I posted several paintings that were in an exhibit at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, in Bentonville, AR.  I did post a couple of sculptures as well.  This week will feature sculptures from the permanent exhibits.  I did not take the time to gather the information on the title or artist of these works.  Sorry about that.

I have no idea how so much detail can be executed in stone.

This is one of my favorites.  It is called "The Old Arrow Maker".  Again, the detail is amazing.

HIstory buffs might recognize this colonial statesman as Alexander Hamilton.  I had to read the card.

One look at my header image and you know that this is one of my favorite works.  I love the detail and craftsmanship of this wall hanging.  It is about 42" in diameter.

This looks like Lincoln Logs for adults, but again, I can appreciate the detail and craftsmanship.  The piece is about 6' tall and perhaps 8' long.  It does appeal to the architect in me.

This final wall hanging is at least 8' tall and 10' long.  It is quite impressive in person.  Again, the structure of this work appeals to the architect in me.  Well, that concludes this minor tour of the sculpture works of Crystal Bridges.  Soon, we may go outside to the sculpture garden and see what we find.  Have a blessed Wordless Wednesday, or whatever you're celebrating.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Ruby Tuesday Too

Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, AR has  a new acquisition.  The painting is called "Landscape".  It is by Mark Tansey and was done in 1994.  It is about 7 feet tall and 16 feet long.  Yes, it is quite a wall full.  I really like this piece and I think it makes a great Ruby Tuesday Too post.  How about you?