Friday, June 30, 2017

Everyone hanging out in my den

I took these pictures 5 minutes ago, with Ruff and Bess hanging out in my den. Ruff came in to take a nap and when I started scratching his ears he woke up and Bess came in to share what he was getting. I love having them keep me company but I think I need a bigger office. I took these pictures while sitting at the computer and they were literally laying under my chair.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Something old and something new

First off,
Happy Father’s Day to me from all my Rottweilers. The best family I could have ever asked for. In the order of their appearance in my life: 
Mocha Bear (Mo) 1995 photo taken years later
Felony Bear (Felly Girl) 1996
Nikko Bear (Nikki Bear) 1996
Sassy 2003
Ruffin (Ruff) 2006 photo taken years later
Axl 2009
Bessie (Bess) 2014

And now for something new. The old faithful Nikon D40 has been replaced. The used to be best Nikon D3200 has now been relegated to the everyday work camera. The new camera, a Sony full screen, mirrorless, gem was bought for the expressed purpose of going with me to Hopkinsville, Kentucky on August 21st to photograph the total eclipse. 

Long before I was fortunate to find myself living with Rottweilers, I had a passion for photography and astronomy. Way back in 1970 there was an earlier total eclipse that had a path of totality that passed through Virginia and I wanted desperately to see it. I packed up my wife, my three kids and drove 7-hours to Virginia City and set up my tripod and my Honeywell Pentax Spotmatic with its 200mm telephoto lens and took some pictures. The 200mm lens barely captured the majesty and aura of the event and I promised myself I would do better with the next opportunity. 

If you have never seen a total eclipse in person you have no idea what takes place. Many have seen partial eclipses but there is nothing to compare a total eclipse. Back in Virginia City, a few seconds before totality one corner of the sun glares out behind the shadow of the moon to form a Diamond Ring Effect. I was fortunate to capture that moment in spite of one other unexpected occurrence: The temperature suddenly dropped 30 degrees and my fingers felt numb on the camera. Here is one of my photos:

Notice how small the image looks with the 200mm lens. My next attempt will be with a larger telephoto lens that I plan to rent. (too expensive to buy) And these images were enlarged in my computer, as well.

Then the instant the moon passed exactly over the sun several things happened all at once. If you have seen a close up photo of the moon you probably noticed the rugged surface with mountains and valleys. Because those mountains and valleys extend around the edges of the moon at the instant of totality sunlight creeps though the tiny gaps and forms what is called Baily's Beads, a ring of fire around the moon. I almost got it but my image was too small to see it.

Here is a photo taken by someone else with better equipment that shows the Bailey's Beads:
In my opinion a total eclipse of the sun is a once in a lifetime event and even if your not into astronomy it is worth the effort to go an experience it. Hopefully, barring no unforeseen occurrences or bad weather, I will be there. Ruff and Bess will be taken care of at home and I'll be away for just overnight.

Now for something newer. While getting some practice with the new camera I grabbed some pics of Bess laying around the house and one of me working on my Facebook page.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A eulogy to my favorite camera

My 10-year old knock-around Nikon D40, that I always had laying around to take many of my Rottie pics, has finally died. That old faithful camera had gone through three rounds on the memory card from 0001 to 9999 and recorded almost 25,000 pictures. It used to be my best camera until I got my newer Nikon D3200 a few years ago but it just kept on ticking. Now I got to stop pampering the D3200 so I don't have to fetch it from the camera bag whenever I want to use it. I loved the D40 so much I may just dig a hole, put it in a box and bury it with honors.

For the time being the D40 is sitting on my desk while I pondered the remote possibility of finding a place to have it repaired. But that will have to take a low priority for the moment. I am slowly, make that very slowly, fixing some small problems that have been laying dormant for several years. One of those little projects was patching two holes in the hallway wall made by my rambunctious baby Bess two years ago. I fixed that one last week. Did you know that besides roots, rocks and dirt Rottweilers sometimes eat gypsum wall board? 

So bear with me friends, those spontaneous snapshots of Rottweiler activity will take a bit longer to capture. But I do promise there will be more photos coming up.


Thursday, June 1, 2017

The story behind this amazing front page newspaper photo.

This post begins with a photo but it isn't one of my photos, it was published on the front page of the Cincinnati Post on May 22, 2003. And 14-years later, almost to the day, with the help of Facebook, I tracked down the person in the photo because I wanted to know the story behind it all and his three amazing Rottweilers. 

Bob Dickerson, photographer for the Cincinnati Post, happened to be in the parking lot of the Wal-Mart store in Florence, Kentucky and spotted a pickup truck with out of state license plates and in the back of the truck were three huge Rottweilers patiently waiting for their owner. When Jesse Windham came back to his truck the photographer snapped a photo of the excited greeting and wrote down some notes for the photo caption but there was never a story inside the newspaper with more details.

From my perspective, as a Rottweiler owner, the photo jumped right off the page the moment I saw it and I did something I don't usually do. I saved the entire page from the newspaper and every time I looked at it I wanted to know more about a man from Louisiana who drives all the way up to Northern Kentucky with his three Rottweilers looking for work.

Well, a few months ago I started up a page on Facebook, called my page Living With Rottweilers and joined a bunch of groups devoted to this magnificent breed. After sharing several of my own blog photos I posted the photo below and asked if anyone knew Jesse Windham. And within a few weeks of people passing around my request someone came back and told me how to contact him. One interesting side note is that when I wrote to Jesse and told him about the newspaper photo he told me he had never seen it before.
So here is Jesse Windham's story as he just wrote me and the story behind the photo that captured my heart.

Jesse Windham’s story

I am glad you that you have taken the time to find me and for sharing your story. I also am very thankful for sharing the picture with me. Sorry it has taken me so long to write you back.

      Quite a bit has changed since that pic was taken. The company I was working for then declared bankruptcy on the last day of that job. I lost quite a bit of unpaid wages because of it.
      Me, my girlfriend, & the 3 dogs packed our bags & headed home. I ended up getting a job working offshore on a oil production rig in the Gulf of Mexico. I worked out there for 2 yrs.  During this time Cain passed away due to a combination of kidney problems & poisonous snake bite. Shortly after, Ginger passed away (unknown cause).

      It was a few sad days during those 2 years but there was a great deal of good days also during this time.  The best of those days was getting married to the love of life. We had the service outside & Harley was able to attend.

      Harley was diagnosed with hip dysplasia shortly after.  He spent his days sharing the 4 acre estate with his adopted boxer sister Jada Bug & adopted Labrador sister Shelby. They had some good times & adventures.  Eventually, he became demobilized & soon had to be "put to sleep" due to the aggression he displayed due to the pain he developed.

       About the same time, I got a job working on another rig on land for a new company & went back to traveling around the country. Worked my way up from a helper to being a supervisor over my on rig. Was employed with that company for 8 yrs.

       I am currently still in the oil industry & traveling around the country & my wife is a RN. We are proud parents of 4 Great Danes & as of 1/10/2016 we are born again adopted children of God (the best part of the story)!!

       We have been & still are far blessed beyond what we deserve & although, we can't predict the future, we are extremely excited to see where God has in store for us & we are certain that He will always far exceed our expectations!!!! 
Jesse Windham
Downhole Technical Specialist
Delta Oil Tools