The Beauty of History and Tradition in a Church Sanctuary

Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham AL
The inside of the main sanctuary of Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham AL

Yesterday we had the treat of being able to tour the Independent Presbyterian Church in Birmingham on our way home from UAB, and what a gorgeous church it is. If you haven’t been to Birmingham, Alabama before, the Magic City has a ton of things to see, but the skyline around town has several incredible churches that sit nestled into the rolling hillside between downtown skyscrapers and medical buildings. Many of these churches were built around the turn of the 19th to 20th century, and this is one of them, founded in 1915, with the sanctuary being completed in 1926. I absolutely love getting to visit and photograph churches like this, I just rarely get the opportunity to do so.

Unfortunately I did not come prepared to do cathedral-type, stain glass, wide angle vaulted ceiling church photography when I left the house yesterday morning (not sure why, I should always be prepared for anything), but I did have my cell phone with me. The shot above was taken with my iPhone, so it doesn’t quite give you the overall beauty that a super-wide fisheye lens would do (like when I shot this museum in Auburn), but it worked ok yesterday, and I love getting creative with iPhoneography. I know one iPhone photo does not make a photo essay, so call this a preview for “some day.” They say one photo is worth a thousand words, and I could probably do that here, so for now one photo will have to do. Hopefully some day I will be able to go back and do a proper job with tripod in hand.

The Pot of Gold Rainbow Over the Las Vegas Strip?

Rainbow Over the Las Vegas Strip from McCarran Airport
Rainbow Over the Las Vegas Strip from McCarran Airport

I thought I would post something a little different this Thursday for my Throwback Thursday post. Some of you may or may not know that we lived in Las Vegas for a while, and being close to a very accessible airport, photography wise, I shot more images from the Las Vegas McCarran Airport (KLAS) than probably any other single location. Since that was the case, I have several that were my favorites at LAS, but I was also able to get way beyond the normal observation area shot through the fence, which is the standard tourist shot. I was even able to shoot Air Force One when President Bush flew out, and then some just really freak things like this shot, a rainbow opening up right over the Las Vegas Strip. Rain is rare out there, and being in the location where I was in this shot was rare, and the aircraft taking off toward me from this runway was rare as well. They almost always take off and land on the parallels from east to west, so taking off to the south was unique for this day.

This should have been on the cover of any number of Las Vegas Tourism industry publications, but when I took this shot 10 years ago I couldn’t get anyone to even respond to an email, let alone look at a handful of images. Well it’s a different time and a different day. I have a Stories Section where I have some random stories to be told about random images, this is one of those stories. I was told the other day the old adage, a picture is worth a thousand words, well, I’ve never tried that, so next time, I’m going to do a picture, and a thousand words to go along with it. Today it’s only 350.

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.

Greyhound MCI-9 Bus Conversion We Called Home :: Throwback Thursday

MCI Bus Conversion Before Painting

The post for this Throwback Thursday is an “On This Day 10 Years Ago” post (from this point forward OTDTYA), which I now realize is actually getting into a time period that is presented on my blog. The very first posts on my blog were in March 2001, which we posted three articles about our bus conversion in the photos above. I still need to go back and post-date some blog posts for that time period to fill in the gaps, but the two shots above was what Deborah and I were doing on this day 10 years ago. After we picked up our used (former Greyhound) bus from Ocala, Florida, we drove it back to Alabama, stripped it down on the inside, and then “shelled” it with plywood (image on the right side at the top), starting a long long long process of converting it into a motorhome we would use and live in for about 5 years.

It was about 10 years ago when we got our first digital camera, an HP Digital Camera 2MP gem, we used until I bought my first DSLR, the Nikon D100 a few months later. These photos were the very first set of images that were taken in digital form. From this period prior, almost all our images are taken, and still stored, on film. One item on my list is to take 1,000,000 photos, and since I can’t count the film images until at some point I can get them all scanned in, this started a count of digital images that still goes on today. So far I’m up to about 350,000 images taken, and it all started about 10 years ago, just about this time of year.


Sporting the Auburn Gear in 1972 :: Throwback Thursday

As a follow up to my previous post, 2011 Auburn Football Starts My 40th Season, today’s Throwback Thursday is from April of 1972. I’m sure I have an earlier shot with some Auburn gear but this was close enough, me at about 18 months. It’s just about time to get started for the 2011 year and finally there are some consequential games right from the start with Oregon vs LSU and Boise State vs Georgia. Looking forward to Auburn vs Utah State this Saturday, just hope it isn’t 4 hours of full 100* sun. War Eagle.

The Fillmer Birthday Party from October 1953 :: Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday today is from October 1955 and would be Larry Fillmer’s 7th birthday party. I just love these old black and whites. Apparently back in the mid-50’s you dressed up for a birthday party since one of them is wearing a suit and bow-tie and I love the card table, which was probably literally used as a card table. I’m not too sure about any of the history behind this photo, and the only reason I am saying the date is 1953 is because there are 7 candles on the cake, otherwise, there was no date or anything else on the photo. I’m sure someone in the family will tell me a little more about the image, but I’m almost 100% sure that’s my dad as the birthday boy from the way he is dressed, watch and all… always a snappy dresser. Pretty sure that is his brother Les Fillmer standing to the right of Larry.

So it seems, I’ve now been told, the photo was taken in Birmingham in an area called Oak Hills in Central Park, the puppets were Howdy Doody Puppets, and yes, they apparently played cards on that card table.

Old Fashion Film from Expired Kodak BW400CN :: Throwback Thursday

My Throwback Thursday post today isn’t really from all that far back, though it looks like it. I happened to have found a missing roll of black and white last week that I shot back on Thanksgiving 2008. It was expired when I shot it, so these two shots above were really far gone, but they still have a pretty neat look to them even with all the grain. The second shot actually came from this photo shoot Thanksgiving Photo Shoot for a Christmas Card and was shot with a Nikon F5 I no longer own. For some reason my luck with Kodak BW400CN isn’t all that great because I keep misplacing various rolls, but I love the look of film, and keep going back to film over and over. I just ordered some medium and large format film to shoot with my grandfather’s Graflex camera (a Speed Graphic) I received a few years ago, can’t wait to see how those turn out. It’s amazing to me that we can still shoot with a camera built in the 1940’s and end up with perfectly acceptable results, even when compared to current DSLR’s… well maybe I’ll wait and see what my first 4×5 looks like first.

Dressed in a Tie for Christmas 1957 :: Throwback Thursday

My Throwback Thursday post today is from approximately Christmas of 1957. The images just prior to this one in the album had a Christmas tree in the background and all the others have a date of 1957. This particular shot has nothing on the picture itself.

Who wears a tie for Christmas as a 12 year old? That would be my dad, Larry Fillmer, who is coincidentally wearing similar but update attire in his executive photo there too (and is also now on Facebook, yeah!). Yes, always immaculately dressed no matter what the occasion, he must have been patiently waiting to go somewhere, I’m sure someone out there knows. Funny thing is, I swear we still have that chair in the family somewhere, and that table, which I remember well growing up, I think is still in the family too, pretty sure the lampshade is history though.

I love how sharp and detailed some of these photos are from the 1950’s that (I assume) my grandfather, Don Fillmer, took. He was the photographer of the family but the equipment he used back then was nothing compared to the equipment we use today, and many of his black and white shots were sharper than the best digital cameras today. I would loved to have known what equipment he would be using today and how he would have made the transition into digital everything.

The Valedictorian Graduation Speech of 1963 :: Throwback Thursday

In honor of what would have been Georgia Christal’s 65th birthday on March 29th (Deborah’s mom), today’s Throwback Thursday post is a photo of what was her graduation speech, the valedictorian speech of the class of 1963 (even though she is standing at a podium that says class of 1955, is that weird?).

I love these old photos, no computer, no cell phones, almost surprised they had a microphone for her to use. It was certainly a paper world back then.

Deborah with a Little Twang from 1982 :: Throwback Thursday

Today is Thursday so I pulled this gem out of the closet (literally) for Throwback Thursday. I love the expression in Deborah’s face in this shot, it has always been one of my favorites. It was taken back in 1982 when she was 16 years old. This photo was sitting right next to all the pictures from “punk day” where they all seemed to go to school wearing what seems like normal clothes to us now (although Deborah had on a “RUSH” shirt, and I’m pretty sure that was for the band, not sorority week).

I hope somewhere in this Lent season you are finding some time to relax, reflect, and rejoice, it always seems like there is so much going on… the earth must be spinning twice as fast now as it was back in 1982.