Big Fun at ORU

Well I finally got my lights and remotes set just like I want them at ORU and the results are turning out to be fantastic. Now if the team can just get healthy and back on track it will really be a great season. If you are here in Tulsa, come out and watch the guys and gals hustle.

On Bread... and the wonders of self-employment

It's been nearly a year now since I was thrust headlong into the world of self-employment. At first I went reluctantly, but soon I realized all that the world had to offer someone with the talent and drive to work for themselves. It really is an amazing thing.

Today, I woke slow and early. I stood at the back door, drank my coffee and watched as the first real chill of late fall lifted from the yard. The blood red leaves of the japanese maple slowly floated to the ground one by one, signifying the end of the fall show. Then I cleaned up from a lighting test the night before and decided to make bread.

I got out all the vital ingredients, laid them out on the counter, rechecked the scrawling notes on the recipe card and then started. In silence I measured, mixed and kneaded and when the bread was put to rest, I sat back and began to start my work day.

Of course it's not a fairytale world. There are times I wonder when the next job is coming, and here in a few weeks I'll really start sweating the tax bill. And I'll do my fair share of work today. I have grading to do, and a class to teach tonight. Later this week I have to reset lights for the ORU basketball season and then I have two games to photograph. And there will be weeks like the U.S. Amateur Championship when I will work seven 12 hour or longer days.

But no man in a downtown high rise apartment, nor a midtown mansion will hold my fate in his hands. I will lose clients and I will gain them, but I will always be in control. There is always a job to be found and always a new client that needs work. So the rough times are never behind us, but for now I sit on the front porch as the sweet smell of fresh bread and self-reliance wafts out the front door and seeps lazily down the empty street I call home.

Recipe for bread below. Figure out the self-reliance on your own.

1 package of yeast
3 cups of lukewarm water
1 tablespoon of salt
1/4 cup of rye flour
1/4 cup of wheat flour
3 cups of regular flour

Dissolve the salt and yeast into the water. mix all ingredients except 1 cup of flour into the water (use a mixer if you have it) turn the dough out on a floured board and knead in the last cup of flour. Divide the dough into two loafs. Let rise (covered in a greased bowl) for an hour or until doubled. Shape into round loafs and place on top of sprinkled cornmeal on a baking sheet, sprinkle liberally with flour. With a serrated bread knife cut a cross or hash into the top of the crust. Place a cup of water in a pan on the bottom rack. Bread goes on the center rack. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes.

Old School/New School

Playing again with a process to digitally capture images from an old 4x5 field camera. Interesting so far. The look of the 4x5 wide open is just beautiful, especially photographing people. Where/when will I use it? Who knows....

The New Lust

OK, So this machine deserves it's own post. I spent Saturday afternoon chasing my buddy Rich, who owns Sonic Springs, across the ridges and through the valley's of the Ozarks. I was aboard my first generation SV650, a good friend who got me back into riding and has carried me thousands of miles on mountain roads with [relatively] few problems. But as glided across the pristine asphalt of Newton County, I realized... there is more to life than just function.

Rich's new Ducati 848 (with less than 1k miles on the clock) is as much a piece of performance art as it is a motorcycle. I have seen them in person, I have seen videos, I have seen thousands of photos.... but until you ride near one, you can't really understand just what the Italians are able to do with a little plastic and metal.
There is something about motorcycles that people either get... or they don't. Some folks run away in fear, others rush forward with an unparalleled passion. And different motorbikes yield different results. Rich for instance usually rides a V-Strom 650, a very utilitarian bike. Often referred to as "an appliance," the V-Strom is an amazing ride for the money and is capable of more than most people are. For instance, Rich took his and rode from Midwest City, Okla...... to the ARCTIC CIRCLE...... by himself. Now that's one heck of a motorcycle, and aboard it Rich is the safest, most sane rider I have ever known. Always tempered, always checking sight lines, always keeping the right hand under control. But aboard the Duc, Rich is a different man, a monster of the roads, still well in control, but more so with the right hand wrapped tightly around the throttle. When I finally caught him (at a stop sign in the distance) I asked him if that bike got in his head. His response was a big big grin.

A couple hours chasing rich reconnected me with my own bike, but also taught me where the limits of my front suspension are! It's not terribly common to see these bikes around, it's even less common to see them with an owner that it not an uber-rich poser who has more money that talent.

Anyhow, most of us will likely never ride a bike like this, but if you ever get the chance to follow one through the mountains on a 60 degree day in the bright sunshine... I suggest you do. The above picture is all you may see, but it's certainly worth the view.

One Great Weekend

Twice a year I put together a what used to be a little gathering of friends and has grown into a fairly decent little weekend ride. This year we had about 35 riders gather and ride the roads near Jasper, Arkansas. It's really a blast to be able to go and chase some of the best riders I know though the amazing ribbons of asphalt that weave through the Ozarks. I always ride more than I shoot, but I usually haul out the cameras and make at least a few decent images.

As I edit (and wish I was back aboard my trusty SV650 in the mountains) Here are a few of my favorite images.

Shootin' Hoops

Had a great shoot yesterday. I was in Dallas and got the call to be at the BOK Center that evening. We packed up, rushed back and made it in plenty of time. When I got there I was blessed with stellar light everywhere and a neat guy to photograph.

I met Nolan Richardson last winter when I photographed his grandson in the Lone Star Conference basketball tournament in Bartlesville, Okla. But it was brief and yesterday I got to talk with him whole we worked to shoot photos for an ad for the WNBA investors group in Tulsa. What a neat guy with a great story. His most recent gig was with the Mexican National team. Folks everywhere seem to love him and I sure hope they get the team here in Tulsa so I can keep making his photo.

Beautiful Days of Summer

It has been way to long since I updated something here and for that I apologize. It has been a crazy summer, long and a bit drawn out, but here we are nearing the end. As fall approaches I have wrapped up one of my big projects this summer. A simple website and lots of photo work for client and friend Wade Jones at Greenstreet Landscapes here in Tulsa.

Wade's work has an unbelievable feel to it. Anytime I walk into one of his projects I can instantly feel his touch on it. Soft, lush, organic, natural. Landscaping may not always be thought of as an art, but Wade's work belongs in a gallery!

Check out the site when you get a chance and if you have any projects coming up, give Wade a call!

New Digs

Hey guys, check out the new site! It's up and running at We were dragged kicking and screaming out of the 640x480 format of yesteryear and you can now actually see some detail in the photos! HA! Multimedia is gone from the site for now, but is replaced by a leaner, meaner portfolio with just four categories: Reportage, Portraits, Sports/Outdoors and Architecture/Industrial work. There is also a place for me to show work that might not make the portfolio, but is important to me, you'll find it under Personal Projects.

The format is clean and simple, but allows easy access to the images, which are the most important part. Websites for me are a living breathing being and I try to keep mine fresh (though sometimes I fail completely) I am sure there will be tweaks over the next days/weeks/years so I would appreciate any input here or at

Enjoy and pass it along!

P.S. The cover image is one of my favorite from our time in El Salvador, an impromptu futbol game on the construction site. Somehow almost all the workers produced a pair of cleats. Those who didn't played barefoot.


Got a letter in the mail today... one I have been waiting on for a while. It's a letter from Dr. Derina Holtzhausen offering me a position as a visiting lecturer starting this fall at Oklahoma State in Stillwater. A handful of my former colleagues from the Tulsa World are teaching there currently and I feel like the school is on the verge of an upward trend much like UNT during my days there. I look forward to riding that wave again.

Teaching is something I have done before and something I really enjoy. So to get to do it at this level, even as a once a week adjunct, is pretty dang cool. I always had great respect for the professionals who took time from their busy schedule to come and teach us at the University of North Texas. Our careers would not have been the same without them, and they should all find great satisfaction in the level of success their students achieved.

Now I hope to pass that on to my students. To embed in them the passion of visual storytelling that was given to me. The journalism world is a much different place than it was when I was in school, but despite the uncertainty and the massive changes, it should be an exciting place for students with the drive to be storytellers.


..... and no, not by my congressman. One of my goals when I went freelance was to find an agency that I thought could help me pursue and sell my personal projects. Stories that otherwise might not see the light of day.

As of today, I have accomplished that goal. I am proudly represented by Zuma Press. Zuma has actually represented my work in the past as a staffer of the Shreveport Times and now represents the body of my work as a freelancer as well as future projects or essays I might undertake on my own.

Now this certainly doesn't mean my clients won't contact me directly for their needs, just that I have an outlet for stock photography and self assignments.

NCAA Softball Championships

Just got done shooting the division one Women's Softball World Series for the NCAA and wanted to post a few images up here. I always enjoy shooting sports, but sports at this level are just even more fun. These girls can really play ball. 

Did a story earlier this week for a new client called Education Week. Good assignment, great editor. A win win for all! Here are a few of my images from a story about Western Heights School District in Oklahoma City using data, numbers and analytics to track everything from student mobility to dropout rate to numbers of kids on free and reduced lunches in the cafeteria. The extra chairs in the graduation photos are for kids who dropped out. Power visual to represent a 29% dropout rate.

Great Transformations

One of the great things about my job is the people that I meet along the way. This last week I was able to shoot an assignment for Prison Fellowship, a non-profit that helps inmates transform their lives.

So I travelled to Wichita, KS to spend time with Butch Beckwith and his family. Butch was sentenced to prison for seven years for drug charges. I won't tell his entire story here, but through God and the help of Prison Fellowship he has truly transformed himself. My time hanging out with him and his kids and wife was some of the most rewarding I have had in some time.

Butch's relationship with his kids is great, his career is growing and his faith is rock solid. It's impressive to say the least considering where he was 10 years ago. It's nice to be able to help organizations like Prison Fellowship spread the word about their good work.

Memorial Day....

In the waning moments of today's holiday I am sitting here in bed, thinking about this day. Fran and I blew off a lot of things that needed to be done, and instead did a lot of things we wanted to do. Mostly we worked in the yard. Did a little maintenance and then proceeded to finish a lot of projects that we have been working on.

It all turned out beautifully and when we were done instead of jumping in the shower and kicking back to look out at our work, we went next door and helped the neighbors who are leaving fora big trip and trying to get everything done before they leave. All four of us knocked the work out and then kicked back for pizza and beers as the last bit of light left the sky.

Lots of people do lots of different things on this holiday. Most don't understand it's meaning. Sure, they are aware of the holiday, aware of why celebrate it and even vaguely aware of the sacrifice of young men and women. For most of my life, I was the same. Then two years ago, late at night in mid-April I received a call telling me that Cpl Ray Michael Bevel had been killed in action in Iraq. Ray, my cousin on my father's side, was a sweet boy, soft-spoken and kind-hearted. Even though I saw him just months before his death, I mostly remember him as the goofy kid with the big ears. A boy my father called Ray-Bird. I boy who loved to help others.

When I look back to his funeral I remember the thousands upon thousands of people lining the streets of small town West Texas as we brought his body home from the airport. Some had small
flags, some stood stoic and watched at the line of dark sedans and limos passed them by. Others were awash in tears and emotion. I would guess that very few of them knew Ray personally. It was a hard thing to go through for our family and of course for Ray's parents and siblings.

I could go on for a long time about that weekend. It was an amazing show of support. The most amazing thing was the outpouring of support from my uncle's neighbors there in Andrews. The way they cared for him and his family when they needed it was uplifting in more ways than I can say.

So when I look back on today, I can't imagine a more fitting way to celebrate this holiday than to take a few hours to help out a neighbor.

Life is Work. Work is a Blast.

This weekend I made my semi annual trip to Jasper, AR to ride motorcycles with a few friends. Actually it has grown to a bit more than that. It's really a full blown rally these days, but it still has a close knit group of folks who enjoy riding some beautiful roads, tossing back a few by the campfire at night and tell stories old and new.

In years past I have blogged about the bacon and french toast at the Ozark Cafe or the scenic views or the amazing roads. But this go round I have a little different perspective: I have an amazing life.

As I sat on the side of the road an old Pontiac came by carrying a canoe on a few old rolls of carpet. I laughed as it meandered around the blind corner. It reminded me of a buffalo rambling through a forest filled with nimble deer. Not belonging at all but not bothered by it at all either. As the car came nearer the sound of the 455 filled my ears and I saw behind the steering wheel a man late in years, grey of hair, long of beard with a grin that warmed my heart. I imagined him arriving at the river and plunging into the river head first the cold water soaking his worn white v-neck shirt and cut off Levis before even unloading the canoe and floating away alone. Windows down on the Bonneville, keys under the seat, a brown wrinkled paper sack with lunch stowed in the boat.

I have always admired people who give off that feeling of freedom. Those who live life on their terms. Those who can do as they choose. But the more I live this life of a freelancer, the more I realize I am closer to that dream than I know.

No doubt there will be times when I am scared about money or security or buying new gear or fixing old gear or whatever. But the fact is I can now really be who I have always been; a photographer, an adventurer, a motorbike rider and yes... even a bit of a writer.

So here's to the road in front of us all. Enjoy it while you can. We can only hope that the pavement is smooth, the curves plenty, the sky blue and at the end of it all.... the river cool and clear.

Ten years....

Lately I have been sending out a lot of emails touting my experience as a photojournalist, the time I have put into my craft, the things I have seen, the variety of assignments I have taken. 

In almost every one, I round out my experience in the field to "nearly a decade." Up until this morning I didn't spend much time thinking about what that past decade meant. I have certainly covered some pretty amazing stories in my relatively short career, and I expect to cover just as many in the future. 

But today, as I walked into a gas station along the turnpike, a grainy, dark image of a massive tornado caught my eye on the front cover of one of the state's daily papers. It took me a minute to really catch the drift of the headline and then it hit me. 

One decade ago today I was a student at the University of North Texas and I was scrambling around campus trying to find someone to skip class and go with me to Moore, Okla. to cover the massive damage inflicted by a series of tornadoes that sprung up across the state. 

I couldn't find anyone to go with me, so I fueled up my truck (a 1979 Ford F100) and headed north on Interstate 35. When I got there I hit the streets, found ways to sneak into the damaged areas and went to work covering what was the biggest story of my then very short career as a college journalist. I spent three days in Moore, camping in my truck alongside the giant broadcast rigs and rented camper buses of the major papers. I slept in the front seat of that old Ford and, as with all the other major disasters I have covered since, lived on water, peanut butter and granola bars. 

I wasn't nearly the journalist then as I am now, and the photos show that. But the things I saw, the stories I heard and the journalists I watched set in stone for me my path for the next ten years of my life. It was a great ten years.
So many things have changed. I am looking across my dining room now and marveling at the camera that I used to make the images. Yes, I still have it, it's on the "antique" shelf, along with the rest of my film cameras. Which is why the first photo has text on it. The only digital copy I have was used as a cover image for my portfolio for years afterwards. I still have the negatives somewhere with the rest of my college stuff. It makes me wonder what I would find if I dusted off an old loupe and looked through them. Who knows what I have already forgotten.