Cropping, Comments, and Church Window…

Recently, one of my photo buddies used Facebook to discuss cropping – specifically, cropping the crap out of your life. Part of the subsequent discussion with my friend was about why we friend people on FB and whether those friends add value to not only the FB experience but to one’s photography. This discussion gave me a lot to think about, especially in light of the way social media is used these days.

Shortly after I read this, my lovely bride gave me a wonderful book, Zen Camera by David Ulrich. In this book, Ulrich “…draws on the principles of Zen practice as well as forty years of teaching photography to offer six profound lessons for developing your self-expression.” (From the back cover.)

I began reading the book and found the following in the chapter on Basic Principles and Methods. “I am careful about indiscriminately sharing all my photographs on…social media platforms,” Ulrich says. He continues, “I find that too many or not enough social media “likes” can either falsely encourage or discourage my search for clarity and strength of expression…One of the tools we use in the classroom is to avoid responding merely from “like” or “dislike” of an image. Always say why you respond positively or critically by noting the reasons you think a photograph is successful or could be improved. In any learning environment, we owe each other genuine and honest responses.”

Holy cow! Even more to think about! Why am I on FB and what is my purpose in sharing images there? More to follow on that one, but I’ve decided that when I ‘like’ an image on social media, I will always leave a comment. Hopefully, the comment will be encouraging and helpful to the photographer. This may result in fewer ‘likes’ from me, and also in fewer ‘likes’ for me. I’m prepared to accept that.

Well, that covers cropping and comments. Here’s a new church window:

The main Chancel Window, dedicated April 7, 1946. This window is on the south wall which means it’s lit up whenever the sun is shining. The Choir sits underneath this magnificent creation (I sat in the top row, on the left looking at the window. And no, I was never a good singer.). In a future blog, I’ll provide closer images of the window with an explanation of what it represents.



FPC Sanctuary Windows, part 2…

Today’s featured windows are located on the main floor of the Sanctuary, along the north wall. There are 4 small alcoves at the back of the Sanctuary. While I can’t say for certain, they were likely used as small group meeting or Sunday School rooms, but could handle overflow seating for the Sanctuary. These windows were dedicated in May 2003, and tell a story of Presbyterians in Wyoming and Cheyenne.

The panel on the left depicts Dr. and Mrs. Marcus Whitman and the Reverend and Mrs. Henry H. Spalding, Presbyterian missionaries who traveled through Wyoming in 1836 on their way to establish a mission near present-day Walla Walla WA. Mrs. Spalding and Mrs. Whitman are recognized as the first American women to cross the Rocky Mountains and reach Oregon by the overland route. The panel on the right shows Presbyterian missionaries Reverend Sheldon Jackson and Reverence John Gage, who formally organized the First Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne in 1869. Nine men and women signed the organizing petition.


Prior to constructing their first house of worship, the Presbyterian congregation met in a school house and the office of a lumber yard. The first church building (right panel) was built in 1870 on land donated by the Union Pacific Railroad located at 18th Street and Ferguson (now Carey Avenue). The prefabricated building was shipped to Cheyenne via the UPRR. The Rutgers Church of New York City donated $7,000 for this building, Apparently a member of that church had a son living in Cheyenne and wanted him to have a Presbyterian Church to attend.


The third window (left panel) shows the second church building, built in 1884 and located at the 18th and Ferguson site, and was known as the ‘Red Brick Church.’ The clock on the tower of this building was a painted facsimile. The hands always pointed to 11:20, the hour and minute when Abraham Lincoln was shot. The right panel shows the Wyoming State Capitol building, built in 1888. Wyoming became a state in 1890, the 44th state in the union. The Reverend Dr. John Y. Cowhick, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, gave the invocation. Church member and women’s rights activist Theresa Jenkins gave the first speech. (Note that Wyoming was the first state to give women the right to vote, earning the nickname ‘The Equality State.’) Church member Moses P. Keefe was given the contract for the first set of east and west wing additions on the Capitol Building, completed in April 1890. Church member William R. Dubois designed a second set of wings, completed in 1917.


The 4th window shows the current church building at 22nd and Carey, built in 1924, and designed by church member Frederick H. Porter. The Memorial Chapel was dedicated in 1948 (my favorite room in the church), and the Education Building was dedicated in 1961. Mr. Porter served as Head Usher for many years, and taught the Boy Scouts to usher and collect the offering on Scout Sundays. The right panel shows the official seal of the church denomination, adopted by the General Assembly in 1985.

I hope you have an idea of why I love this building, and are enjoying my photographic exploration of the stained glass windows. All information about the windows comes from the Church’s well written and informative book about these beautiful windows.


FPC Sanctuary Windows…

Continuing my exploration of the stained glass windows in the First Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne WY, today’s featured windows are in the balcony of the Sanctuary. These windows were dedicated in May 23, 2004, Heritage Sunday. There are 4 windows and each has 2 panels. Each panel has the same design and colors, except for the circle near the top of the window holding a specific symbol.

This window features an Anchor, a form of the cross symbolic of Christ, hope and steadfastness on the left, and a Ship, symbolic of the Church of Christ on the right. The Nave is the central part of a church building, intended to accommodate most of the congregation. In traditional Western churches, it is rectangular and is separated from the Chancel by a step or rail. The word Nave comes from the Latin word for ship.

On the left is a Harp, symbolic of music in honor of God. A Vine occupies the right panel, symbolizing the relationship between God and His People.

This is my favorite window. The left panel shows the Insignia of the Boy Scouts of America. The First Presbyterian Church just celebrated 75 years of continuous sponsorship of Troop 116, the longest such relationship in the area. This panel is dedicated to all the Scouts who have gone before and those who will follow. On the right are the Stone Tablets representing the Ten Commandments.

On the left is the Ark, symbolic of the Church, since in the Ark all living creatures found refuge. The Cross of the Rock, right, is a symbol of the Lord.


Happy Easter!

I haven’t posted in a very long time – please accept my apologies. I’ll try to do better.

For my triumphant return, I spent some time in the First Presbyterian Church photographing the stained glass windows. This is my home Church, where I was baptized, attended Sunday School, received the Eagle Scout rank, married, and baptized my children.

I’ve always loved these windows, so I picked up a book about them to be able to share what they represent. While studying for my God and Country Medal, I learned the meanings of the windows but welcomed the book because, well, I earned my God and Country Medal over 45 years ago.

The newest window in the Church is in the Church Parlor, dedicated in 2006. The central theme is taken from Matthew 19:14, ‘Suffer the little children to come unto me.’


This window is in the Foyer. The left panel shows the figure of St. Paul, with several symbols from Ireland. The right panel has the figure of John Knox, with many symbols of Scotland. Across the top (left to right) are the Fish and Anchor (symbol of Christ), the Seal of the Presbyterian Assembly of Ireland, the Seal of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., and the Cross and Orb (symbolic of the world conquest by his gospel). This window was dedicated in 1957.


The Chapel has always been my favorite room in the Church. This is the North Window, in Loving Memory of Lt. Col. Archer S. Freund, killed in Germany in 1946, and was presented by his Mother, Mrs. Edwin P. Taylor. This window is behind the alter table in the Chapel, and is the main focal point of the room.

These images are just the tip of my efforts today. Stay tuned for more and…


Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce 2018 Calendar

I am very excited to have four of my pictures featured in the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce 2018 Calendar. This is the fourth year the Chamber has featured my images in their calendar.

Contact the Chamber at or by calling 775-782-9490 if you want to purchase a copy.

I submitted 12 images this year.

This view of Jobs Peak was taken just south of Mottsville Lane.

I was out one snowy morning and made this image of the historic buildings in Genoa. This image is featured on our Christmas cards this year.

These horses on Waterloo Lane have become a favorite subject. When I arrived the day I made the image, the horses were scattered about their pasture, but these two walked up to each other as if to say, ‘Do you think he has something for us to eat?’

Spring was still young when I made this image along the Carson River Trail.

The main building in Mormon Station State Park on a snowy day.

I shot from a low angle for this view of Jake’s Wetlands in Minden.

A storm was approaching over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in this image made from Foothill Road.

Jobs Peak as seen from the Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park on a summer day.

And the winners are:

JUNE: The Dangberg Home Ranch Historic Park at the end of the rainbow. I checked – no gold!

JULY: the Waterloo Lane horses on a nicer day.

AUGUST: The Carson River as seen from the Carson River Trail.

DECEMBER: I found these four deer along Foothill Road near Jacks Valley and made this wildlife panorama.


The Texas Adventure…Texas State Aquarium!

In my post last week, I showed pictures from the two weeks I spent in Maryland training for my assignment with FEMA. I was assigned to the Corpus Christi Branch Field Office. Corpus Christi suffered wind damage, but nothing like Padre and Mustang Islands and the coastal areas to the north and inland areas to the northwest.

On my first weekend (and day off) in Corpus Christi, I visited the Texas State Aquarium. This is a beautiful facility and well worth the entry fee.

The walk from the parking lot. The former engineer in me loves that bridge on the right!

As is my habit, I started my tour on high ground. This atrium houses the tropical birds and other fun stuff!

Lots of Flamingos. You’d think they would be easy to photograph because they move so slow, but they move enough to screw up any bracketed exposures.

This guy was coy, but enjoyed having his picture taken.

And then there was this guy. I caught him still sleeping, but shooting up and into the light was a bit challenging. I’m told that Sloths have a green tint because they move so slowly that algae can grow in their fur. I haven’t confirmed it, however.

The displays are great, but pictures of fish in tanks have always been a stretch for me.

I tried anyway and made this image.

I enjoyed the Dolphin Show! They were very entertaining, but it was a very hot day and it got a little uncomfortable sitting in the stands.

When I made the decision to take the PowerShot camera, I knew I would be limited in my compositions. With that in mind, I wanted to work on my ‘eye’ to see landscapes. This is a view of the Gulf of Mexico from one of the observation platforms.

The USS Lexington is on display as a floating museum. Here she is, as seen from the Aquarium.

I also enjoyed the 4D Shark Show and picked up a nice t-shirt while I was there. All in all, the Texas State Aquarium gets a big thumbs up as a place to visit!


Thanksgiving Fun!

I fired up the PhotoRanger on a chilly Thanksgiving morning and took a drive to the west side of the Carson Valley.

I found this guy on Foothill Road just south of Centerville Lane. He was in the middle of the road when I first saw him. I waited for him to get out of the road and I pulled off the road for this shot. The 3 cars behind me didn’t see him at first, but they seemed more understanding when they realized why I slowed suddenly.

This Kestrel was on the trail sign on the Carson River Trail, just off Muller Lane. I grabbed this shot and moved for a different angle, but he wasn’t very patient.

There were 2 Great Horned Owls in this pole barn, but only one was accommodating.

I’m not sure what this Hawk was thinking, but it was probably something about an annoying photographer lurking about.

I’m getting back into wildlife mode, as you can see. More to follow!