Nostalgia

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NostalgiaMemories are funny things. When I saw this cabinet in a local antique store I was immediately transported back to my childhood, remembering our dining room at home. There was an old buffet by the window and my mother always had it tastefully decorated with a bouquet of flowers. I thought about all of the good times we had together as a family and was filled with nostalgia. That’s what was going through my mind as I tripped the shutter on my camera.

I’m not sure why a happy memory made me want to add a bit of melancholy to the scene, but I decided on a B&W toned presentation. The word “nostalgia” is a combination of Greek words that mean “homecoming” and “ache/pain” so maybe it’s appropriate. I’m a very sentimental person and it reflects in much of my work.

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Going Home: Dad’s Toolshed

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I was born and raised in central Michigan right in the heart of farming country. My dad owned his farm for 70 years until he died; then it went to my brother and finally to me after my brother’s passing.

During one visit — while the crops were growing and through harvest time — I made a lot of images in and around the farm buildings and the fields. This one was from inside an old toolshed. Dad would use it to work on the machinery during winter months (most farmers did all of their own repair work). He had all kinds of tools in there.

I can’t really put my finger on why I like this image so much, but every time I look at it I’m instantly transported back to when I was around ten years old and helping my dad. Those were really good days.

The Lost Art of Hand Writing

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The Lost Art of Hand Writing Fine Art Photos by Greg Phelps

With the advent of the computer, word processing software and email, the art of beautiful penmanship has become a lost art. My own hand writing has almost become illegible — and to think I came from a mechanical design background where everything was hand-lettered!

I decided to do a photograph as a remembrance of that almost forgotten era.

This is a fountain pen, a ball point pen and a mechanical pencil from the Cross writing instrument company. I always thought they made beautiful writing instruments. I used a piece of sandstone rock as a background and some lavender blooms as a background.

Lighting was pretty simple: one large, soft box directly overhead and then surrounding the entire set with reflector cards.

Why not pick something you are fond of and see what you can come up with as a commemorative image?

Palmetto Hills

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Battle of Palmetto Ranch

This week’s photograph may not look like a stunning landscape, but the story behind it is really something.

Just a few miles strait East out of Brownsville is Palmetto Hill. Not much of a hill really, but the road does rise a little. It was here on May 12 and 13, 1865, that regiments of the Confederate and Union armies met in battle: the last battle of the Civil War.

It was especially unfortunate for those who fought and died here since the war was already over. Lee had surrendered several months prior to this battle.

According to the informative plaque that is here on site, what you see in this picture is almost exactly the way it looked in 1865.

As I stand here at the northernmost corner of where the battle took place and make this panoramic view of the battlefield I get goose bumps. Just imagine yourself out in this wide open plain, with no cover, looking directly into the eyes of your enemy, cannon fire all around you and the whoosh of musket balls whizzing by you. And the screams of the men who were hit. It really took some major cajones to be able to do that.

This is one of the things I love about photography: it’s a time machine. It allows us to travel backward in time to see from whence we came. Then with a little use of our imagination, we can see the whole picture.

Now… if we could only go back to pre-historic I would love to get a first hand look at the landscape and the great lizards that once inhabited the planet. Wouldn’t you?

Wall and Umbrella

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Wall Umbrella

 

I was photographing some of the old buildings in downtown Brownsville, one really hot August afternoon. I had just set up to photograph this wall when this Mexican woman went walking by with her groceries.

People down here all use umbrellas in the summertime to keep off the sun.  The woman passing by with her umbrella in hand adds a story to the photograph.  Looking at it, you can feel how hot that day was.

Woman Cooking

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Woman Cooking - George Ranch Historical Park

 

My son-in-law and I spent a day wandering around George Ranch Historical Park just outside of Sugarland. The place is a real 1800’s working ranch that has been internationally recognized living history site. It has authentically preserved and interpreted the four generation of Texas family living beginning in 1824 and spanning for more than 100 years. All the people who work there wear authentic clothing from that time period and use tools from that era. They look really cool.

The woman in the photo was preparing a noon meal for the ranch hands. I struck up a conversation with her and when it came time to eat she and all the ranch hands insisted that Nacho and I join them even though it really wasn’t permitted. We felt very honored to be invited and the food was great.

 

Pipe Art

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Pipes Art

While on assignment for a local utilities company I was photographing one of their new sub-stations and noticed this tangle of pipes. I decided to photograph them from several angles (this one turned out to be my favorite). I don’t know what runs through them but they made for an interesting design. Intriguing images are all around us if we just stop and look. It’s simply a matter of keeping our eyes open.