NASCAR Atlanta Motor Speedway Photos :: Throwback Thursday

Self Portrait of My First Nikon D100 DSLR Camera

I thought I would really mix it up for my Throwback Thursday post for today. I have had many aspirations as a photographer over the span of 20+ years worth of shooting, and since I pretty much loved all aspects of photography (see Flickr), I have pretty much shot everything. I have shot from stars and planets to flowers, aviation, sports (a ton of Auburn football), people, worship, and, yes, even NASCAR.

These shots below were taken on my very first Nikon DSLR I ever purchased. I was so excited about getting this digital camera, the first affordable DSLR of its kind. After years of shooting film, I was ready to dive into digital photography. This set of images was one of the first things I ever shot with my digital Nikon, and it was the Saturday qualifying for the NASCAR Winston Cup Series race at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. These shots below were taken almost exactly 9 years ago, back when I still actually did have some hair as you can see from my self-portrait shortly after I bought my Nikon D100. It’s amazing how long ago that feels, like a lifetime ago, yet I can remember every detail of every single image I took that day.

A Milestone in Blogging with My 1000th Blog Post :: Poll

Scott Fillmer Self Portrait

Artificial as this milestone may be, this is actually my 1,000th blog post on this blog! I set a goal a few years ago on My List that I wanted to post 1,000 blog posts, and after about 10 years of blogging, I have hit that with this post. When I think about 1,000 blog posts, it really doesn’t seem like that many, but if you do one blog post a day, never missing a day, it would take 3 years to create that many articles. Since I rarely ever posted every single day, it took me about 10 years to produce 1,000 blog posts, most of which came within the last 4-5 years. I’m pleased to have stuck with it this long, and I’m still learning more and more about blogging, writing, and the topics posted here every day.

Since I’m a numbers kind of thinker it is amazing to see what kind of history you can build when you consistently post over an extended period of time. [On a side note: in actuality this works with just about anything in life that you consistently, and continuously work at over an extended period of time. Anything from the compounding of interest in saving money to a consistent walk with Christ, growing in faith little by little, builds up piece by piece to collectively make something far larger than the size of its pieces. The problem with that, and the great challenge to us today in our immediate satisfaction culture, is that it takes time to build something of value, and we don’t want to take the time, or invest the time, to accomplish this. It can’t be done overnight or immediately, it is only achieved through building up over an extended period of time.]

So over time, within the 1,000 blog posts, there was over 1 million spam messages blocked, almost 500,000 words written, over 397,200 individual click-throughs using 3,197 tags, and 2,731 comments made. The busiest day over the past 10 years was October 11th, 2011 when I posted The Challenge of Being Salt and Light in the Darkness from one of the toughest days in Uganda, and the most viewed post ever over the 1,000 posts was (and still is) a review on a damaged kindle screenI wrote years ago. The most commented and heated conversations on this blog came from, what I thought at the time was a rather mild posting of the lyrics to U2’s Hawkmoon, Jesus, I need Your Love, Hawkmoon, which launched into a debate about God, atheism, and homosexuality, which really had nothing to do with the original post in the first place.

With all that said, I would love to know which category is your favorite between the 4 plus 1 of Faith, Photography, Journal, Tech, and then Sidenotes. Just from the traffic I pretty much understand which category the most viewed, but I am always trying to learn more about my beloved blog readers, so I would love for you to chose your favorite category from the poll below.

Even though I have been blogging for 10 years, I am still continually trying to learn how to create the best unique, genuine, and fresh spot on the web I can from my own personal experiences. Thanks to my readers, and everyone who has encouraged me along the way, I put on this shirt today just for you!

Aviation Photography Spotting at Las Vegas McCarran Airport :: Throwback Thursday

Las Vegas Departure of America West Cactus

Early this morning I was looking through some previous photo shoots from about 10 years ago, which today is my next edition of Throwback Thursday. In one respect, I can’t believe this was 10 years ago, it sounds so long ago when you say it like that, but when I look at the images, I can remember each day, each image, like I just drove over to the KLAS observation area yesterday.

Ten years ago, in my “off” time from work, I was all about aviation photography, and aviation spotting at whatever airport I could get to that week. I shot aviation photography for years until it just became too much of a hassle with local police and the FBI, who harassed me constantly about taking photos of planes in a post-911 world with big glass (most of the time the Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 zoom). Most of my aviation images were posted over on and more specifically mine are still at These in particular were shot at the Las Vegas McCarran Airport observation deck. Back then, Deb and I lived in Las Vegas for a while, long enough to know Vegas as well any city I know, so I found every angle possible to shoot at KLAS, including when Air Force One showed up one afternoon.

One of the many things I loved about shooting in Las Vegas was the smog and dust from the desert of Nevada made for some incredible sunset photos, both aviation and the Las Vegas strip buildings. I probably took thousands of sunset and night images in Las Vegas but the one above was always one of my favorite, simplicity in flight.

Southwest Airlines in Las Vegas Departs Over Excalibur

Frontier Airlines Lands in Rain at Las Vegas Airport

Scott Fillmer Shooting in Las Vegas

Singapore Airlines in Las Vegas Strip

The View from Estes Park Colorado in September

Our view from the cabin in Estes Park looks out over Longs Peak, which just got a dusting of snow over the last night or two. The temps are above freezing at around 8,000 feet where we are, barely, but it’s cold enough. I don’t get a chance to do self-portraits very often but I did this one below this morning as Deborah and I spent some nice quiet time, me reading and Deb knitting. These two shots pretty much show what we like to do when we are not scheduled to be somewhere doing something. It’s great because our location can change but we can pretty much take a few things with us and enjoy spending the day together on the beach, or in the mountains, or at home in the living room for that matter.

This self portrait was pretty neat to me since I was able to combine the two things I’m passionate about in one moment, studying God’s word and photography (meta data here). Self portraits are really much more difficult than one might think, it just isn’t as easy as pushing the button and your done, to me it’s about telling a story as always. I love looking at different ways to do self portraits since it tells so much about the photographer and the person. One of my favorite is this one my grandfather did, which I posted a few years ago.

Only one day left of our mountain view and it’s back to the heat and humidity. Something I’m actually looking forward to since it’s a whole lot easier to breathe in Alabama than it is in Colorado. Tomorrow we have the baby Luke photo shoot and I’m wishing I had all the cute little baby hats, baskets, and cups that Heather Carson in Auburn uses but we do have several Deborah knitting originals to use.

Blue Sky and Warmer Weather is Coming, and Spring?

Photo of the day today comes from my walk around the property yesterday. The sun is out, sky is blue, and it is so beautiful outside right now but Spring just isn’t quite here yet. I love these tall long needle pines. They don’t care what the season is, no matter if it’s freezing cold or 100*F in August, they stretch out their limbs dressed in green all year long.

Can’t wait to start seeing some leaves on the trees around here, Spring is one of the most beautiful times of the year in Auburn where the streets are lined with flowers. Both of these shots were taken with my iPhone and basically taken right off the phone with a little crop.

Man’s Best Friend Helps a Self Portrait

I hardly ever do the classic self-portrait but I just happen to need one today.  They always seem so bland to me, (I really like something like Brian or Rob I shot a while back, those were two of my favorites). So what else can you do to spice up a portrait if you aren’t a musician like those guys?  Add the small furry friend of course.

Man’s Best Friend Helps a Self Portrait.

I hardly ever do the classic self-portrait but I just happen to need one today.  They always seem so bland to me, (I really like something like Brian or Rob I shot a while back, those were two of my favorites). So what else can you do to spice up a portrait if you aren’t a musician like those guys?  Add the small furry friend of course.

Son of a Son of a Photographer?

James Donald Fillmer Self Portrait

Father’s Day is an interesting day in the U.S. calendar (see my rant on Father’s Day called Why I Don’t Like Father’s Day // Top 10 if you are so inclined). To me, as I am sure with others, it is a day of reflection as well as one to honor the father.

We are told to honor thy father and mother, so today, I would like to honor my dad and my granddad as well. Not because the calendar says I should, but because I want to take a small moment in time for two people that have meant a lot to my life.

Time With Dad is Time Well Spent

I spent yesterday with my dad helping to wash the outside of their house and other general tasks we normally do on the weekend. I am lucky, I live within walking distance of my dad and at this point in my life I actually do get to spend quite a bit of time with my dad on a weekly basis.

So, happy Father’s Day dad, I hope you enjoyed spending the day “working” together yesterday, I’ll be over to watch Tiger Woods try to win the U.S. Open in just a little bit. It is a day of reflection too, and that is simply because the calendar says its Father’s Day. I think about my dad, my son, his son, but also my granddad whom I know only through conversations with my dad. He died when I was to young to remember him, but I have a fondness for him through my own dad.

Through the time I have spent with my own dad, I have learned everything my dad knew about his dad. As time goes by though, we are able to go deeper into what his life was like and I am always learning something new about who Don Fillmer was. I think he is much of what makes my dad who he is today, and some of who I am today as well.

Time To Relax and Take a Self Portrait

James Donald (Don) Fillmer worked at ACIPCO (American Cast Iron Pipe Company) most of his adult life (I believe around 30 years but that is an estimate), and died in the mid-1970’s while going back to work in Birmingham. As I mentioned above, I have since learned over the years about his work ethics, his faith, his love of family, and yes, his love for photography.

I like to think in some small way that the photography skills I have were in some way passed down from my dad’s dad to me. My uncle, Les Fillmer, was also a photographer of sorts, but better known as a musician and conductor with the Alabama School of Fine Arts. The only image I have that Don took that was not work related (or a family snap shot) is a self-portrait he took in 1938.

The Mysterious Dark Room in the Basement

I started taking college level photography courses long before I ever found out that my granddad was even remotely interested in photography. Don’s wife, my grandmother, Martha Fillmer, lived in the same house for many many years and I can clearly remember the dark room Don had built in the basement.

My dad, aunt, uncle, mother all probably know more about it than I do or did. I was probably somewhere between the ages of 7 and 12, but the dark room in their basement was something mysterious to me, only used by my uncle, and rarely when I was around. Full of very large equipment, weird lighting, chemicals, and paper, but it was not something I really ever saw being used. Although there are the usual family snap shots of Don, this self portrait is one of my favorite photos I have seen that he has taken.

He setup the shot, probably developed the negatives in his dark room, and used a large format camera to do it. The Large Format camera is almost a lost art form today with cheap digital SLR’s, but was and is still used by some great photographers like Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, and Paul Strand.

A Day in the Life of Don Fillmer

The shot shows him in what I think of as a normal day in his house. Sitting in a favorite chair, reading the newspaper. The fixtures and items around him reflect a more simple time, no electronics, no cell phone, just a hard working man at the end of the day relaxing with his paper, still in his suit and work shoes.

The detail in this self-portrait is amazing to me. I have tried a few self portraits and they are not easy to do, well. Anyone can setup a timer and put their face in front of the camera, but a self portrait should tell a story of the person behind the camera who is rarely seen in front of the camera. Although I was not around when this was taken, don’t know any of the circumstances involved, or what kind of a day or week he was having, it tells a story to me. I sometimes wonder if he thought this self portrait taken in 1938 would have meaning to his grandson, to be born 32 years later.

So happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there, especially to my dad, and his. I hope you enjoy one of my favorite self portraits, A Day in the Life of Don Fillmer.