Carlinville, Illinois


If you drive southbound on Illinois I-55 headed toward St. Louis and there are very dark clouds ahead of you at 3:30 pm and purple is apparent on your radar, it’s best to avoid it and to turn on the 108 and head west toward Carlinville.  Perhaps there are other options but this was one of my last.  But you find the most beautiful little towns on spontaneous drives.  

Macoupin County Courthouse is what you see in the image in this post.  Records show that Abraham Lincoln represented many of his clients on this property in the courthouse but not in this actual building.  Over time, a larger courthouse was needed thus resulting in The Million Dollar Courthouse.   When there is money involved in costly endeavors such as this there is no doubt going to be rumors of misappropriations, scandal, and so on. 

There is quite a story behind the walls of this gorgeous structure.   A few raindrops felt on my arm when I rolled down the window to capture this image.  I took a sip of sweet tea and turned right onto the square to head out of town. 

Remember, if you’re governor, you can get a town named after you. 


Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Uncategorized


Winter Likes and Dislikes


Many where I live long for the Winter months.  I’m really unsure why.  Perhaps its the enjoyment of being warm and snug inside home with family, the joy of the holidays, comfort food, hot chocolate.  I have no use for Winter but it is inevitable so I make the most of it.   I’ll share my likes and dislikes here.


1.  See the above photo taken in town after a snow/rain/pellet day.  Does that look like a lovely morning to you?  Of course not!

2.  Snow and ice.  It’s pretty to look at from the window for a few hours.

3.  Cold wind.  It’s just terrible for your complexion.

4.  Being snowed in.  Who on earth lives for that?  Not a single soul benefits from being snowed in.  There are people in need in the world and if you can’t leave your house, you cannot help them.

5.  Gray winter skies.

6.  Short days.  At least the sun is now coming up at 7 am end of January.

7.  Seasonal affect disorder.  Results from short days.

8.  The flu.

9.  Heavy winter clothes

10.  Not so many good IR photography opportunities.


1 . On clear days, the sky is a deeper blue.

2.  Orion is visible all Winter long.

3.  The geese at the wildlife refuge are abundant.

4.  A good cold frozen winter reduces many of the summers insects (for a while).

5.  Many more yellow finches at the bird feeders.

6.  Valentine’s Day.

7.  Planning for the Spring planting.

8.  Butternut squash.

9.  Comfort food.

10.  All things leather.


Posted by on February 1, 2014 in Black and White, list, Photography, Texas


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Oak Glen, CA


This is an old picture.  I’m guessing it was taken in 1999.  This was a Civil War reenactment in Oak Glen, California, the first I had ever attended.  I’d go again if the opportunity presented itself.  I shot it with a Minolta X370 50 mm lens, 200 ISO Kodachrome film.

Not much has changed over the years, friends tell me.  There remains the working apple orchard. Visitors can buy apples, make apple cider, enjoy everything apple.  It also has a variety of activities such as the Colonial Chesterfield  Civil War program, a packing shed operation, Riley’s Log Cabin Farm and Frontier Events.

Frequently these days I have considered returning to Southern California. I’ve had no desire in the past ten years although I have been back a number of times over a year while working for a company that subjected me to the Orange County freeway system.  The time of year matters for there are many things to do year round, I don’t want to miss the apple festival in Oak Glen or the way the sun dips below the San Jacinto mountains while golfing in the desert.  Palm Springs is so hot in the summer.

Yes, I think I will start planning.

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Posted by on January 15, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Kinmundy, Illinois


The Illinois Central Railroad Water Tower and Pump House

Every town has a story.  History.  If you think there isn’t much in Kinmundy, drive right on in and take a look around.  If you are going to cruise through this town of about 900 as a passenger and be on your mobile phone, the least you can do is log into the city webpage to find out what is there.  Don’t waste your time with meaningless texts. 

I’ve been through Kinmundy twice on way from Mt. Vernon to Decatur and I stopped both times at this water tower to call family and take a look at the map to find a road I had not been on before.  There are many.  Unfortunately I did not have time to spend here to explore Ingram’s Pioneer Log Cabin Village or drive around town.   Sadly I won’t be making these Illinois drives much in the future. 

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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Also known as “The Castle In The Cornfields” this gorgeous building dates back to 1930.  I have driven past it for years and in 2012 I finally stopped in front but only briefly to take this shot.  This section of Decatur is where corn processing takes place and it smells of it too.  It is now called Tate and Lyle, one of the largest processors of corn in the United States. 

As with most buildings I post on this blog, there lurks a ghost story, conspiracy or some sort of mystery that I rarely write about for I don’t take enough time to get all the facts.  This is drive-by shooting and not ghost mystery-1000.  Perhaps I start a new blog when I have time to interview locals and sneak down into the basement to collect information.  If you google E.A. Staley there you will find stories of the building and business over the past 84 years.

If you are ever in Decatur, stop and look around.  It’s all about farming out there.  Don’t get lost amongst the cornfields.


A.E. Staley Building, Decatur, Illinois


Posted by on January 9, 2014 in Illinois, Photography, small towns


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Dexter, Texas


If it weren’t for this church and a stop sign at the 678 and the 106 I’d never know I was in Dexter.  Are there even a hundred people there?  Ranches are scattered throughout the region just south of the Red River.  According to historical data, Dexter was named after a race horse.  Not surprising really since one will pass many horse ranches to get to Dexter regardless of what route taken.  Let me not forget to mention the cemeteries, two I believe dating back to the beginning of Dexter’s history.  Many of the original business including a hotel and barber shop have since decayed and been carried off in memory.  But the church remains and fortunately is still in use.  As it should be.


Go to church!

I want to know about this race horse named Dexter.


Posted by on January 8, 2014 in Uncategorized


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Refinery Road, Gainesville, TX


If you are running late, the likelihood of your getting stuck in a long line of stock trailers is high.  It’s even higher when the heaviness of morning moisture grips the smell of livestock and manure until about noon when the gloom burns off.  I am used to this for I lived for a few years in Ontario California.  If at that time (prior to 2000) you lived anywhere near the 60 freeway you could guarantee in the June gloom the smell of the local dairies. 

Every so often as I head down the 82 westbound, I find myself behind a trailer loaded with cows or horses.  Mostly cows.  Sometimes goats.  No sense in passing for I’d get stuck behind another trailer just ahead.  We are all going to the same vicinity anyway so I might as well get a good look at the Charolais cattle ahead. 

The photo is of The Gainesville Livestock Market. 

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Posted by on January 7, 2014 in Uncategorized


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