Tag Archives: Photography

History on Every Street in Jefferson, Texas

The Jefferson, Texas, General Store beckons travelers, tourists and residents with refreshments, clothing and all sorts of other enticements.

Whenever I visit my sister in Tyler, Texas, we go on tours of the many historic towns in her corner of Texas, called the Piney Woods.  On my recent visit, my sister took us (my mother and niece, too) to Jefferson, in the northeast corner of the state.

We happened to go when the city was preparing for its annual re-enactment of the Battle for Jefferson, a Civil War battle.  The re-enactment is reported to be the largest in Texas.  We didn’t see this re-enactment, but we saw many of its participants in town before it began.  You can check out the links below to find out more about this fascinating town, where there is an historic plaque or marker on almost every public building and on many residences. Shortly after the Civil War, which ended in 1865, Jefferson was the six largest town in Texas. Now, although it’s a small town, it retains its historic grandeur. The town, which is in Marion County, was named after Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States.

Click on the thumbnails at the bottom of the post to see full-size versions of the collages.

Jefferson General Store

In the upper left, a cat leaves empty pawed from the Jefferson General Store, Jefferson, Texas. Shoppers in Civil War era clothing examine the goods in the general store.

Re-enactors in Jefferson, Texas

Re-enactors in Jefferson, Texas, for the Battle for Jefferson, a U.S. Civil war re-enactment, which takes place the first weekend in May. Some of the many historical buildings are visible in this collage: The Old Post Office, the Marion County Courthouse, Excelsior House hotel; and Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

Civil War re-enactors

Participants in the U.S. Civil War re-enactment of the Battle for Jefferson relax and shop in Jefferson, Texas.

History is on Every Corner in Jefferson, Texas

History is on every corner and every street in Jefferson Texas. From the upper left is the Old Post Office, now the historical society; The Excelsior House hotel; The Jefferson Carnegie Library, still operating as a library; and the Sterne Fountain.

Jefferson, Texas.

History on every corner, including old gasoline stations turned into antique stores, markers dedicated to residents who got famous and even old clawfoot bathtubs featured at an antique store.

Jefferson, Texas

Jefferson, Texas, offers tourists a variety of destinations to explore, including the Museum of Measurement and Time and the Jay Gould Railroad Car.

About Jefferson, Texas.

Visit Jefferson, Texas.

Jefferson Carnegie Library.

About the Battle for Jefferson.

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Filed under History, Photography, Presidents, Thomas Jefferson, Travel

Passion for Photography

You can see my “Valentine Diner” photograph in the center of this ten-second video of Art Gras 2017, a juried art show in Leawood, Kansas.  The action is at 4x normal speed, I’m guessing.  After I watched the video several times looking for people I know, I saw myself in the first aisle closest to the camera.  My daughter appeared briefly later.  It’s our ten seconds of fame.

When you read a photographer’s biography on a website, you will often find the phrase “passion for photography.” It might seem trite, especially when you read it over and over. But it’s absolutely true. How else can you describe the overwhelming need to take photographs. The reason for the passion differs, perhaps, but the drive is the same. Many photographers describe this urge, mania or whatever it is as beginning as soon as they knew what a camera was. The evolution of photography with a camera built into a phone makes it easier to feed this passion.

A different passion is showing your art in galleries and art shows, which I’ve done the last few years.  I’ve included a few photographs of my adventures in the Kansas City art show world.  I’m not as enthusiastic about entering art shows as some are.  I only enter local shows.  Some people enter shows throughout the country, which means shipping your work, not an easy task.  That’s dedication.

One of the best parts of being in this art world is the many wonderful friends that you make. They are also very inspiring.

Here are some quotes from famous and not so famous photographers, who will explain this passion better than I can:

“When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.” Alfred Eisenstaedt

My Photographs in 2017 Arti Gras Juried Art Show, Leawood, Kansas. “Valentine Diner” won first place in photography.

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it.” Ansel Adams

“The quickest way to make money from your camera is to sell it.” anonymous

“A good photograph is knowing where to stand.” Ansel Adams

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” Dorothea Lange

“Every viewer is going to get a different thing. That’s the thing about painting, photography, cinema.” David Lynch

“Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.” Edward Steichen

“Landscape photography is the supreme test of the photographer – and often the supreme disappointment.” Ansel Adams

“I’ve always believed that photography is a way to shape human perception.” James Balog

“Traditionally, photography is supposed to capture an event that has passed; but that is not what I’m looking for. Photography brings the past into the present when you look at it.” Julian Schnabel

“Photography is the easiest medium with which to be merely competent. Almost anybody can be competent. It’s the hardest medium in which to have some sort of personal vision and to have a signature style.” Chuck Close

Here a man enjoys reading a book in a quiet corner of Corinth Library where my photographs are on display. A photography group I belong to displayed some of the member photographs in the library, which is a branch of the Johnson County Library. The Johnson County Library displays a wide range of art in changing exhibitions.

Here a man enjoys reading a book in a quiet corner of Corinth Library where my photographs are on display. A photography group I belong to displayed some of the member photographs in the library, which is a branch of the Johnson County Library. The Johnson County Library displays a wide range of art in changing exhibitions.

“People think because it’s photography it’s not worth as much, and because it’s a woman artist, you’re still not getting as much – there’s still definitely that happening. I’m still really competitive when it comes to, I guess, the male painters and male artists. I still think that’s really unfair.” Cindy Sherman

“In a world and a life that moves so fast, photography just makes the sound go out and it makes you stop and take a pause. Photography calms me.” Drew Barrymore

“I never shot on sets, but if I was traveling somewhere or on location, I would always have my camera, and I’d always be – it’s that kind of fly on the wall approach to photography, though. I don’t engage the subject. I like to sneak around, skulk about in the dark.” Jessica Lange

“Photography, alone of the arts, seems perfected to serve the desire humans have for a moment – this very moment – to stay.” Sam Abell

“There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” Ansel Adams

Many art shows give patrons the opportunity to vote for their favorite artwork. My photograph of a “Rancher Starting a Controlled Burn” is on the left at the Buttonwood Art Space in Kansas City, Missouri. Perhaps being displayed over the ballots gave my photograph an advantage, because it won the “Patrons Choice” award in 2015 for “Visions of the Flint Hills.” Buttonwood Art Space has supported the Flint Hills area of Kansas and its through an annual art benefit featuring art of this essential grassland prairie.

My photography has been accepted in several local art shows, including Arti Gras, Leawood, Kansas; the “Visions of the Flint Hills” exhibit at Buttonwood Art Space, Kansas City, Missouri; “Art at the Center’s National Juried Exhibition” in Overland Park, Kansas; and “State of the Arts” juried art show in Prairie Village, Kansas.  My work has been featured at the Overland Park galleries of  InterUrban ArtHouse and Images Art Gallery, where I was a member and now continue as an associate.  My photography was part of an exhibition in 2016 at the Corinth branch of the Johnson County Public Library.  Additionally, I have art piled up all over my house!

The first time I entered “Valentine Diner” was the 2016 annual juried “State of the Arts” show in Prairie Village, Kansas. Only one artwork from each artist is accepted and it must have been produced within the two previous years. The juried exhibit is on display in the R.G. Endres Gallery every October. The photograph of the “Blue Swallow Motel” on the left is by my friend Marla Craven.

Some of my worst photos — fuzzy, overexposed, etc — I’ve taken at art shows. It’s hard to take photos when you’re holding a glass of wine and clutching a program. But I still want to document the event. Here, William Rose, a fantastic artist, announces the winners of the 2016 “Art at the Center” annual juried art show. Rose was the juror for the show.

I also exhibit online, where I’ve “met” and discovered thousands of brilliant artists and photographers.  One of my favorites is Fine Art America.  My website is  Catherine Sherman on Fine Art America. Another favorite is RedBubble, where I can found at Catherine Sherman on RedBubble.  You can find all of my work, including greeting cards and products on such sites as Zazzle and Greeting Card Universe gathered on my website: Catherine Sherman Website.

Part of my featured artist exhibit at Images Art Gallery in Overland Park, Kansas, in June 2016.

Part of my featured artist exhibit at Images Art Gallery in Overland Park, Kansas, in June 2016.

My photographs of night views of Kansas City iconic features, which was on display at Images Art Gallery, Overland Park, Kansas, in 2016.

My photographs of night views of Kansas City iconic features, which was on display at Images Art Gallery, Overland Park, Kansas, in 2016.

Some of my greeting cards available for sale at Images Art Gallery, 7320 W. 80th Street, Overland, Park, Kansas.

Some of my greeting cards available for sale at Images Art Gallery, 7320 W. 80th Street, Overland, Park, Kansas.

A tour of Images Art Gallery when I was featured artist June to July 2016.

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Filed under Art, Kansas City, Personal, Photography

Donate Old Towels for Cats and Dogs

This cute tabby cat is enjoying a pile of towels in her kennel.

This cute tabby cat is enjoying a pile of towels in her kennel.

In January, to start out the New Year, stores often discount bedding and towels.  It’s a marketing strategy called a “White Sale,” when bedding used to be all white, to jump start sales after the Christmas shopping season is over.  I don’t remember ever buying bedding or towels in January, but it is a good time to do an inventory of your old towels and sheets.  I keep a lot of old towels for cleaning rags, more than I need, so I donate some to Wayside Waifs, the animal shelter, where I volunteer. Animal shelters have a constant need for towels that are still in good condition. The towels are placed in the kennels to give the animals soft, cozy bedding. Old blankets and sheets are also needed. Contact your local animal shelter to see how you can donate. Wayside Waifs has a large bin in its entryway for donations, for example.

An old towel is also wonderful for people. In “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” author Douglas Adams championed the importance of always having a towel with you when you travel the galaxy. I always carry at least one towel in my car on my earthly travels. It’s been very useful many times.

Towel Day is May 25, a tribute to Douglas Adams, author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

White Sale Marketing Strategy.

A dog enjoys a large sheet. Beyond is a blanket. In the next kennel, blankets cover a dog bed. Most of the bedding at the animal shelter is donated.

A dog enjoys a large sheet. Beyond is a blanket. In the next kennel, blankets cover a dog bed. Most of the bedding at the animal shelter is donated.

Towels can also provide privacy in a kennel. Here, two cats can hide behind the hanging towel, if they feel like having some privacy.

Towels can also provide privacy in a kennel. Here, two cats can hide behind the hanging towel, if they feel like having some privacy.

This animal shelter room, enjoyed by two cats, is furnished with many towels to make it very comfy.

This animal shelter room, enjoyed by two cats, is furnished with many towels to make it very comfy.

Towels of every size are available throughout the animal shelter. On the lower left, a dog bed is made up with a couple of towels, ready for the next occupant.

Towels of every size are available throughout the animal shelter. On the lower left, a dog bed is made up with a couple of towels, ready for the next occupant.

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Filed under Animals, Cats, Dogs, Kansas City, Photography

Webster House in Kansas City

The historic Webster House has been transformed from a school to a beautiful shopping and dining destination. It stands next to the modern Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, Missouri.

The historic Webster House has been transformed from a school to a beautiful shopping and dining destination. It stands next to the modern Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, Missouri.

One of my favorite buildings to photograph is the Webster House, formerly the Webster School. It’s in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City, Missouri. 

Nutcrackers for sale at the Webster House

Nutcrackers for sale at the Webster House

It’s a beautiful work of art, designed in the “Richardson Romanesque” style.  What a grand place it must have been to attend school there! It’s lovely inside and out with fabulous interior wood woodwork. The school officially opened in 1886 and then closed in 1932. It was restored, opening in 2002, as a beautiful dining and shopping location. The Webster House has a beautiful bell tower, which is a reconstruction. The original was removed after another school’s bell tower fell during a tornado and caused the death of fifteen students.  I like to meet friends and family at the Webster House for lunch or dinner, served in a couple of lovely dining rooms, which were once school rooms.

Behind the Webster House are the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Bartle Hall Pylons, architectural icons and modern additions to the Downtown Kansas City landscape.

The Webster School was designed by the Kansas City School Board’s architect, Manuel Diaz. Webster House is one of the oldest remaining public school buildings in Kansas City and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The Webster School was the last area school built with a bell tower on top. In 1886 a tornado caused the bell tower on the Lathrop School at Ninth and Broadway to crash into the school, collapsing the third and second floors into the basement and burying children in the debris.  Bell towers were no longer permitted on top of schools after this tragedy.

The old Webster School is now a restaurant and store. Here beautifully decorated trees display Christmas ornaments for sale.

The old Webster School is now a restaurant and store. Here beautifully decorated trees display Christmas ornaments for sale.

Beautiful cabinets that match the original woodwork of the old Webster School display jewelry for sale.

Beautiful cabinets that match the original woodwork of the old Webster School display jewelry for sale.

History of the Webster House.

History of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Crossroads Arts District.

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Filed under Education, Kansas City, Personal, Photography

Vermont Church Before and After Photoshop

 

“Is this the real life?
Is this just fantasy?”

(“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen)

island-pond-church

This is my photograph of the Episcopal Church in Island Pond, Vermont, after removing electrical wires and poles and adding a watercolor filter in Photoshop. Click on the photo to see it in a larger size.

On a recent trip to Vermont, my fantasy was to find a quintessential New England church that was surrounded by trees glowing with brilliant Autumn colors.  I found the tree in the Northern Kingdom of Vermont, but it was also surrounded by more than a dozen strings of electrical wires and one large utility pole.

As a long-time journalist, I hesitate to change reality in a photograph, even though the camera does lie somewhat with lens distortion, not capturing true color and other defects,  but as an artist I didn’t hesitate one second to remove all of the electrical debris.  Easier said than done, though.  When you remove an element from a photograph, the deleted spots must be replaced by pixels that look natural. I used the clone brush to make the changes.  I didn’t do it all at once, but in about half-hour increments over a series of weeks, because the work was incredibly tedious. I also straightened the photo a little to fix lens distortion.

After many hours, I’m happy with the result. Hope my fantasy looks real!  And thanks to my husband Mike and friend Phil who were very patient while I wandered around Island Pond with my camera. There was a gorgeous shot everywhere I looked! I posted these photographs on a couple of websites.

Be sure to click on my post “Fauxtography” Altering reality in a photograph, linked below.

dsc_0372-002

This is my original photograph of the Episcopal Church in Island Pond, Vermont, before I did any editing. Note all of the wires and the guardrail of the street in front of the church. I removed all of that with Photoshop.

Island Pond, Vermont, Church, Autumn Poster

This is a version of the church without the Watercolor Filter.

Island Pond, Vermont, Church, Autumn Poster

“Fauxtography” Altering reality in a photograph.

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Filed under Journalism, Personal, Photography, Travel

Falconer and His Hawk in Mexico

A Harris's Hawk stands on a falconer's fist at a Cancun, Mexico, resort.

A Harris’s Hawk stands on a falconer’s gloved fist at a Cancun, Mexico, resort.

I’ve been reading “H is for Hawk” by Helen MacDonald, about a woman training a goshawk, and I took the book to a resort in Cancun, Mexico, where my husband and I were attending a wedding. So with falconry on my mind, I was excited to see a man with hawk at the resort. My husband spotted the bird first. He trained his own hawk many years ago.

I rushed over and asked the man many questions and took some photos (lucky to have my camera with me.)

The bird, a Harris’s Hawk, named Runner, was two years old and had been bred by the man’s family, which has been in the bird breeding and training business for five generations (now including his son.) It took three months to train the bird to return to the fist. “He thinks of us as his parents,” he said.

He calls the bird back to his fist with a click and then feeds it. The bird is gentle (except with food) and good with children.  I was able to pet it a little.

The man brings Runner to the resort about three times a week to discourage smaller birds from taking up residence in the trees and around the pool, where they would leave bird droppings, and at outdoor restaurants.

The man said that Harris’s Hawks were very smart and were some of the few birds of prey that hunted in groups.

“They are called the wolf of the desert,” he said. “They live in Sonora and Chihuahua.”

The Harris’s hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) formerly known as the bay-winged hawk or dusky hawk, is a medium-large bird of prey that breeds from the southwestern United States south to Chile, central Argentina, and Brazil

Runner lives in the man’s house, along with 18 other birds. “They live like kings.” In all, the family business owns 300 birds that they have bred, including eagles and macaws in addition to hawks.

I wish I would have thought to ask him his name and the name of his business, but at least I was able to take some photos.

A falconer brings a Harris's Hawk to a Cancun, Mexico, resort to discourage smaller birds from hanging out on the grounds and pool areas, where they might soil the landscape. Clockwise from the upper left, the hawk flies to a palm tree; the hawk sitting in a tree; a little girl petting the hawk; the hawk resting on the man's gloved fist; and the hawk eating some food after being called back from the palm tree with a click.

A falconer brings a Harris’s Hawk to a Cancun, Mexico, resort to discourage smaller birds from hanging out on the grounds and pool areas, where they might soil the landscape. Clockwise from the upper left, the hawk flies to a palm tree; the hawk sitting in a tree; a little girl petting the hawk; the hawk resting on the man’s gloved fist; and the hawk eating some food after being called back from the palm tree with a click.

About the Harris’s Hawk.
“H is for Hawk” by Helen MacDonald

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Filed under Animals, Biology, Bird-watching, Birds, Photography, Travel

The Hottest Little Festival in Texas

Amazingly, the winner James can still speak even after eating a ghost pepper, which is rated at over one million Scoville units in heat.

Amazingly, the winner James can still speak even after eating a ghost pepper, which is rated at over one million Scoville units in heat.

 

There are a lot of festivals in east Texas, celebrating everything from roses, peanuts, yams, trains, pecans, mushrooms, pipe organs, chili making, stew making, duclimers, dogwoods and even feral hogs.

The Hot Pepper Eating Contest trophy with some of the hot peppers in the contest.

The Hot Pepper Eating Contest trophy with some of the hot peppers in the contest.

Palestine, Texas, boasts that it hosts the Hottest Little Festival in Texas every October. My family and I arrived in historic downtown Palestine in time for the hot pepper eating contest on Saturday, October 22, 2016.  Six brave people entered the contest. (Another two were turned away because they weren’t eighteen.)

The master of ceremonies of the Hot Pepper Eating Contest, which was sponsored by Brookshire Grocery Company.

The master of ceremonies of the Hot Pepper Eating Contest, which was sponsored by Brookshire Grocery Company.

Contestants were given a series of peppers in order of heat, beginning with green peppers with a Scovill rating of zero. Next was the banana pepper, the jalapeno, the serrano, the seven-pot and then the ghost pepper. The scorpion and the Carolina reaper were next, but all of the contestants except two had already dropped out when the ghost pepper was presented.  The runner-up declined the ghost pepper, so after James ate the ghost pepper, he was spared any further torture. The Carolina reaper is currently the hottest pepper in the world.

The master of ceremony told each contestant that they had to chew the pepper for a while and not swallow it until he told them to. I would have stopped after the banana pepper. James, the winner, received $150 and a trophy in the shape of a red hot pepper. The two runners up received a cake.  Each contestant got a glass of milk to drink to neutralize the heat.

According to Wikipedia, Palestine is a relatively small town located in the Piney Woods area of Texas,  equidistant from the major airport cities of Dallas, Houston and Shreveport.  It celebrates its natural beauty characterized by a magnificent dogwood floral blooming season with an annual Dogwood Trails festival in April. It’s a small town of about 20,000 people, but it’s big on history, with 1,800 historical sites on the National Register of Historic Places.  It’s the western terminus of the Texas State Railroad, a steam and diesel railroad museum operating between Palestine and Rusk.

All six of the entrants were able to eat the banana peppers.

All six of the entrants were able to eat the banana peppers.

Contest participants prepare to eat their jalapenos.

Contest participants prepare to eat their jalapenos.

The winner James, holding his trophy, drinks milk to neutralize the burning sensation. James has won the contest several times previously.

The winner James, holding his trophy, drinks milk to neutralize the burning sensation. James has won the contest several times.

James, the hot pepper eating contest winner, shows off his $150 check.

James, the hot pepper eating contest winner, shows off his $150 check.

Click on a thumbnail to start the slideshow:

The Scoville Scale measurement of the pungency and heat of chili peppers.

Hot Pepper Festival Facebook Page

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Filed under Entertainment, Photography, Travel