Photography at Southern Museum of Flight

Southern Museum of Flight Aviation Display
Southern Museum of Flight Aviation Display

I finally made it over to the Southern Museum of Flight. I have lived, worked, and traveled around Birmingham for the better part of my life, but had never been over to this particular museum, even when I worked at the Birmingham Airport. On Saturday I had some uncommitted time in Birmingham and I decided to head over towards the airport to check it out. I wasn’t real sure how much there would be there to see, but I was pleasantly surprised and I had basically complete access to shoot throughout the museum. I love aviation museums (the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola is probably my favorite, thought I haven’t been to the Smithsonian yet). There is a civil aviation side (hanger) and a military aviation side, each with unique displays.

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Space Shuttle Discovery Makes Historic Landing in Washington

Space Shuttle Discovery

Days when the national news like CNN and Fox News actually cover something for more than a 3 minutes sound bite seems to be the huge exception to the rule today. That is, unless, there is actually something going on live they can’t manipulate into a proper commercial break spot. Lately I have come to loathe the repetition of information on the news and documentary-reality shows. This morning was one of those non-stop coverage points for the historic landing of the Space Shuttle Discovery, and an end to a space program, really the only one I have ever known in my lifetime.

Since this is really the only space program I have ever known in my life, it has been sad to me to see it being dismantled over the last 12 months, but I’m sure they know what they are doing and it’s time to move on. Being an average objective observer of the program over the last 30 plus years I certainly can’t offer any inside knowledge for anything NASA, I will just miss watching something I have known since I could was old enough to know what a rocket was. Discovery had a beautiful landing this morning on the back of that giant NASA Boeing 747SP-21 (see some pics here). Ben Cooper over on Airliners.net captured a great sunrise shot of the departing N905NA / 376 (cn 20107/86) captioned saying: “Farewell, Discovery! Shuttle Discovery departs Florida for the final time in history at sunrise, atop NASA’s 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, bound for the Smithsonian in Washington DC.” Well said.

Over Egypt

If I timed this right, and that’s a stretch but it should be close, we are flying over Egypt right about now looking out over the Saharah Desert. The shot above is what we should be looking at right this very moment as we cross over from the Mediterranean Sea into the great land of Egypt. No, I don’t have wifi on the airplane unfortunately, I just, for once, planned ahead. I’m not really sure why this point in the trip has significance to me, perhaps because after all this preparation we are finally over the continent of Africa, but if you are looking at the photo above and thinking, there’s nothing there… that’s sorta the point. Nothing, for miles, hundreds of miles, except sand. All I could really think about was how in the world did the Israelites wonder around in the desert for 40 years? No wonder they were ready to kill Moses at that point.

Getting to this point in the trip keeps me thinking about being stuck between two worlds, the western world and all it offers is now so far behind us, yet we sit on a plane, which is basically our own civilization and culture, while we look out over a land that Moses walked across some 4,000 years ago (give or take a few). Another 4-6 hours and we will land in Rwanda, then Uganda, and leave the culture we know and understand behind for the next week or so. From then until we leave we will be known as the Mazunga who came to visit.

I’m a terrible poet, but this view and this flight across the desert, where so many thousands and thousands of people flown before today, deserves to be written about at some point. I know, at least for me, I’m excited that we have finally crossed over into Africa.

Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again… Genesis 46:3.4

I love that God has called out this land from the beginning, and I am now able to see it as none of the Israelites could have ever imagined, from 40,000 feet up in the air. Looking forward to some sleep on the ground in another 6-8 hours or so. Till next time.

Finishing Up Atlanta to Denver and Back Home Again

On one hand traveling anywhere on a plane today is such an incredible pain, and seems to take forever, but in the view of history, two thousand miles in a few hours isn’t so bad I guess. We went from a remote-ish cabin in Estes Park Colorado at 8,000 feet to our house, at sea level in Auburn, in about 12 hours. I have always loved airports, at least at long as I can remember anyway. Today the airlines pack as many people into every single aircraft as they possibly can, which makes for extremely crowded airports, and cabins. My perspective of airline travel has changed tremendously over the last twenty years, but airports, especially the major airports like Atlanta Hartsfield or DIA, are still a great place to just relax, people watch, read, do some photography, and generally take a break from the normal routine of things. I do love visiting different parts of the country, and the world for that matter, but as the cliche goes, there’s no place like home. I have visited every state in the country, lived in a dozen or so, and I can say without a doubt that the south really is a great place to live.

For all the craziness that is involved with traveling today I only have to look at the photo below to remember the reason why all that was worth it. To be there for the birth of our second grandson was an experience we will be able to remember as he grows up, and to be able to photograph his arrival into the world makes those memories even more vivid. I always feel very privileged to photograph specific events. They are all little pieces of history, frozen in time, never to happen exactly that same way again.

The photos in this post are sort of a hodge-podge of images from our trip home. I never did get a chance to do my 50mm airport shoot at Denver International Airport because by the time we got through security we only had about 30 minutes left before we got on our sold out flight, and we arrived hours before our departure time. I have several more photos of baby Luke than just the one below but I will save those for another post sometime.

This season, to me, seems so crazy right now that I find myself looking desperately for some margin (or balance). Fall is always a very busy time of year, but between football season, our multi-site movement at Cornerstone, a grandson being born trip, a niece to be born sometime this week, seminary classes, and a trip to Africa in two weeks, I’m feel a little frazzled (that a very scientific technical term) at times, just like everyone does.

I look at baby Luke in this photo below and it amazes me. God spent nine months to create the perfect little boy who right now knows nothing of the hustle and bustle of this world, and by the time he is my age, around the year 2050, he will no doubt feel the same pressures and anxieties that come with living in this extremely modern world. Maybe he will some day pull out this photo on his whatever electronic fangled device he has and remember that one day he too had no cares in the world other than to be warm and sleep in the sunlight.

A Bumpy Ride but Arrived a Mile High in Denver

So we are in the Mile High city for a few days for the birth of our second grandson, Luke, but while we are here we get to take a side trip over to Colorado Springs and visit with a ministry group there. On a side note, there are an amazing number of ginormous ministry groups here in Colorado Springs, like Focus on the Family, Compassion International, Promise Keepers was at one point, and so on… amazing. We are going to get to talk about the kids in our sponsor program from Cornerstone like the girl you saw in my previous post. I’m always excited to get to talk to people when it deals with ministry and photography at the same time. It’s one thing to get to work in an area you are passionate about but it’s really fantastic when you get to combine two passions together, even if it’s just to talk about future possibilities.

So, quick photo of the day above, which is actually from yesterday. We ended up landing in Denver in horrible weather (which is rare out here). It’s also freezing out here, well, it’s not 100*F out here, but all the resort towns are expecting snow this weekend. Until next time…

Cloud Explosions in the Sky at 40,000 Feet

Today, a quick photo of the day post with one of my favorite inflight photos from my recent flight between Amsterdam and Uganda. This is a huge thunderstorm over the Mediterranean Sea that towered at least to the 40,000 feet we were flying at this day, and you can see went quick a bit above where we were flying. Somehow these two massive thunderstorms looked like (to me) two nuclear bombs exploding, and of course we were flying into these storms.

I have another post almost ready to go with photos about water, and the well, and kids, and all that stuff so look for that next time.

A Long Flight but We Have Arrived in Amsterdam

So, yes, that was an incredibly long flight, wow, and only a 10 hour flight to go. We are sitting here at the gate all glad to be on the ground for a while, even if it’s only for an hour. Wouldn’t have been all that bad except for the several thunderstorms we trounced through out of Atlanta all up the east coast. One of the rougher flights I have been on in a while. Unfortunately a girl in the front of the plane lost it but we weren’t too close to her. I had a ton of pics to post but no plugs in Amsterdam anywhere (or on the plane for that matter) so I’ll post more later. Next stop Africa. Thanks for your prayers.

From San Francisco to Paris in a 2 Minute Time Lapse Video

I love this time lapse by Nate Bolt (@boltron on Twitter) who works/owns this cool looking media firm Bolt Peters, (also on twitter @boltpeters) that went viral recently. There are more details on specifics of how he did it on another blog post here too, along with ABC and I think CBS News, but this is such a creative look at what has become an every day thing (flying).

I love time lapse stuff but I love even more when people find ways to capture the mundane into new and creative ways. Hard to do today. Every time I think of something I think is creative or unique it has already been done by someone else. Bet he didn’t think this one 2 minute video would get so much attention while he was over in France, but it’s just that cool.

Sometimes I think those of us in the church land world give up on being creative because it’s all been done before, or it’s not necessary in order for our message to be heard, but that is our mandate given to us by God Himself starting in Genesis. Right now I’m walking through a new book called The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion by Tim Challies, and he puts it like this:

The Bible reveals that we are created and called to fulfill God’s mandate: that we go into all the world, faithfully stewarding the world God has created and the message he has given us… God has gifted human beings with remarkable ability to dream, create, and invent technologies that serve us as we serve him, technologies that enable us to better serve him.

I love that. If you haven’t seen the video below take a look, really neat shot of the aurora borealis about 15-20 seconds after takeoff. I would love to try this on my next flight but I would get kicked off the flight and placed on the no-fly-list in a second.

Orange County Airport Photos and a 50mm Lens :: SNA-MIA

On my way from ATL to SNA

Terminal Building at SNA

John Wayne in SNA

Han gliding in SNA

Terminal Building at SNA

Terminal Building at SNA

Terminal Building at SNA

Departure at SNA

On my recent trip to California I decided to continue my 50mm airport series I started a while back.  I generally carry all my equipment with me on the plane since a lost bag will result in a non-existent photo shoot, and a few trips ago I started trying to get the creative juices flowing by using one camera and one single fixed focal length lens (a standard 50mm) to cover each new airport.

This past week the new airport was Orange County’s John Wayne Airport (SNA). I have usually flown into LAX and since I had not been to John Wayne in a while, it was next on my photo list (ATL has long since be shot, see my post Atlanta Airport Photos and a 50mm Lens // Part 1, if that is your interest).  For the extremely busy location of southern California, Orange County is a great place to fly in and out of and almost has the feel of a Midwestern Lubbock or Amarillo feel to it as far as the traffic goes.  I also didn’t get harassed by security, police, FBI, or any other uncomfortable PAX in the area, wonderful.

The Longest Day as Catalyst West Coast Begins

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I can’t quite remember a day that lasted this long since my last trip to Las Vegas when we arrived at 2am after leaving Atlanta early in the morning.  Today at least I did arrive in the 3pm area but not it is 12:30am at home and I am just trying to process everything that went on today.

I did take a tour of Mariner’s Church for tomorrow’s main event.  It was very great to get an early walk around and I did get to see some familiar faces from Atlanta over here in Orange County.  After the labs ended today the kick-off event started with Carlos as the MC.

Below are just a few photos form the evening. The last shot is the chapel here at Mariner’s Church.  At night it was transformed into this incredible flood of colors and I may do a post with just shots of this chapel, it is very beautiful.