Now THAT Is a Steel-Belted Radial!

Wonder What the Trade-In Value Is? | 20mm, f/6.7, 1/60 sec, ISO 1100

I thought I’d see what kind of photographic effects I could use to make these old tools and equipment match the nostalgic feeling I had when looking at them. Wasn’t life during the Depression lived in sepia and black and white? :)

I’ve been wanting to get back to a place of self-sufficiency after reading an interesting book called One Second After. It’s a fictional account of what happened in one small town in North Carolina after a nation-wide attack which renders everything electrical useless. Makes me realize how much has been lost in just two generations of my family… how to preserve food, how to grow enough to live on, how to make butter, etc.

Seeing these tools reminds me of what use to be, and depending on how our world goes, what might be again. As someone credited Einstein as saying, “I don’t know how World War III will be fought, but the one after it will be fought with sticks and stones.”

Happy Tuesday! :)

Reflections of the Past

Henry, 'zat chu? | 300mm, f/8.8, 1/750 sec, ISO 1250

Mrs. House took Sandee and me on a quick tour of Carrollton, Alabama, a small town and county seat of Pickens County. Its claim to fame is the story of Henry Wells, a former slave whose visage is supposedly etched forever into the glass of the courthouse. The article below relates the story better than I can.

The corner across the courthouse even has one of those pay-a-quarter viewers so you can see the “face” better. Fortunately, I had my zoom lens with me, and I got a pretty good photo of it. Whether or not the tale is entirely true, it does make for a good campfire story.

The story below was lifted entirely from this site,, but you can find many variations on the story by googling “Face in the Window, Carrollton, AL.”

One of the more bizarre sights anywhere is the face on the courtroom window — a.k.a. the Lightning Portrait of Henry Wells.

Wells, a former slave, was accused of burning the original Pickens County Courthouse in 1876. He was finally arrested two years later. As there was no jail, Wells was placed in the garret of the new courthouse. A mob of locals gathered outside to lynch him.

As Wells peered out the garret window, a bolt of lightning struck nearby and permanently etched his terrified expression into the windowpane. Wells died less than two months later “of wounds received while attempting to escape.”

The courthouse.

The lightning photo is still visible today, and only from the outside. Up on the third floor, an arrow painted on the outside directs you to the miraculous face.

According to one RA tipster: “Through all the years, in spite of hail and storm, which has destroyed all the windows in the courthouse, this one pane has remained intact. It has been scrubbed with soap and rubbed with gasoline by those who doubt its permanence, but it has met every test and the face remains unchanged. At close range the pane looks clear and flawless, but viewed from the ground where once gathered an angry mob, the fear-distorted face of Henry Wells can be clearly seen!”

Another lightning portrait has been reported in Clay’s Ferry, Kentucky, of a slave’s faceburned into the upper window of a three story house. Also in Kentucky, the lightning portrait of an angry bather supposedly haunts the turret window of an old house on Hwy 79 in Russelville.

Update – January 2008: The 130th anniversary of the Face in the Window passed without fanfare in Carrollton. “I don’t think anybody took the time to realize that it’s been 130 years,” the town clerk told us. “We just know it’s there.” The clerk also said that the Courthouse was never threatened with demolition; Carrollton would never tear down its most famous building, even if it carries Henry Well’s curse. The Courthouse was just being restored to tip-top condition.

These ladies were scaring each other with tales of “The Face in the Window.”

"You go first..." "No, you go first!"

So, what do you think? Something supernatural? Do you believe in ghosts?

Hummingbird, Don’t Fly Away, Fly Away

Oh, Hum-ming-bird... | 105mm, f/6.7, 1/350, ISO 640

This weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing a couple dozen hummingbirds going nuts over sugar-water feeders. I’ve never seen more than one or two at a time, but they were all over the place off Sandee’s sister’s back porch. This picture is not necessarily the best in terms of clarity, but it is my favorite because the blurring of the wings and the color of the bird make it look almost angelic. And I just love its tiny little bird feet!

(Update) For those who don’t recognize the title, it’s a line from one of my favorite Seals & Crofts song, Hummingbird.

I will be posting more bird and butterfly pictures from this weekend in Gordo, not as the primary photo, but as secondary ones… just because I want to share them.

Are You Nuts?!

Dug Would be Pleased | 200mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec, ISO 200

I was at McDaniel Farm Park yesterday when I saw a squirrel jump from a tree onto the tin roof of the house. It made quite the *smack* when he landed, but he scurried off to the other side. As I rounded the corner of the house, I heard a rustling above me. The squirrel was busily doing something at the downspout of the gutter. I whistled, and he looked up at me, startled, as if I’d discovered his big secret… and he was NOT pleased about it either.

On the Porcupine Farm

Ouch! | 112mm, f/5.6, 1/180 sec, ISO 200

I was walking around McDaniel Farm Park today when I saw this fruit/flower on a large tree. Does anyone know what this is? I feel like I should know it, but I don’t. The spiny things are a bit larger than a golf ball. Is this where porcupines come from?

Building, a Mystery

It's a Brick.... House | 18mm, f/8.0, 1/8 sec, ISO 3200

I have no idea what building this is. I was on the way home from the Fox Theater last night after seeing a great production of The Sound of Music. I wasn’t driving, for a change, and I had my camera with me. Somewhere  along East Ponce, I looked up and saw this apartment building, its floodlights glowing brightly. I swung my camera up and snapped off one shot before we had to move on.

I like the sort-of-ghostly look it has in the darkness.

Feline Groovy

Don't Mess with my Woobie | 270mm, f/8.0, 1/30 sec, ISO 1600

There’s really no story here. Tigger had been trying to disembowel the towel with his back feet, then suddenly started looking all precious and innocent.