Thomas Haynes Photoshoot: Blog en-us (C) Thomas Haynes Photoshoot (Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Sat, 31 Aug 2013 15:18:00 GMT Sat, 31 Aug 2013 15:18:00 GMT Thomas Haynes Photoshoot: Blog 113 120 Gettysburg, Civil War, 150th Commemoration Reenactment We post one image, that of the end of this terrible battle.  In keeping with the times, the photo should be an older method but this duplicates it fairly well, done as a platinum/palladium print.  I will not criticize the last event, this death laden charge and failure of the Confederates to gain the high ground.  Many factors contributed to it.  If anything is to be learned from events such as this reenactment, beyond and deeper than the camp life and fighting methods, it is a touch more truth of the history which is not always parallel with unfortunate revisionists history now in the text books of some schools.

Weather for the several days was quite close to that recorded at the original fight in 1863, even to the end of it all when rain came down.  That happened in 2013, the rain at the end of the hot and heart rending day.Pickett

(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) 1863 Gettysburg charge civil war pickett reenactment Sat, 13 Jul 2013 00:14:52 GMT
Fireworks Show by Pyro Shows does well in Oak Ridge, Tennessee with happy viewers The company presenting the fireworks is located in La Follette, Tennessee, an easy 40 minute drive from the city where these photographs were shot.   Pyro Shows  presents smaller shows like the one we saw and huge spectacular pyrotechnic events in major cities across the USA.  Many shows are custom designed to suit the event and may contain custom made pyrotechnic display explosives. I wonder how a person becomes a fireworks designer or engineer?


Each fireworks photograph has a caption with the camera shutter settings. These are settings you may use as a photo guide line or rule of thumb. Read the previous blog post for settings used last year: This year exposure was longer. The same remote(bulb) shutter trigger method was used but more time was spent trying to get the best photo image. What was different? The fireworks show was different, at least it seemed different. This year many more multiple fireworks shots were done with overlapping blasts. Taking a photograph of a single shot and blast was difficult, indeed.


All photos were taken with manual settings: ISO 100, f/9, shutter controlled with a remote release(bulb). Times are given with each fireworks photo posted.  The photo below was shot using the settings shown but with the remote shutter control (bulb setting), each photo was timed as the action took place. This photograph had a shutter open for 2.6 seconds. 

.Pyro technic chaos, multiple firework bombs shot same time

The fireworks display was well received by viewers.  However, for the photographer this was more difficult than last year because it seemed many shells were shot at very close timing.  This made many overlaps of the bright and colorful pyro technic blasts. As pretty to the eye, overlapped bursts made for extreme difficulty in shooting photos of single blasts.  The photo above has been named "Pyro Chaos"!  A few of the single blasts were photographed and the best of that lot are below..

Single green pyro technic blast, July 4, 2012

2.1 Seconds Shutter


3.9 Seconds Shutter 

Notice how fortunate timing avoided the second blast...see the tail from the shell?  A split second later and the beauktiful form above would have been obscured by an overlapping spray of firey color

1.4 Seconds Shutter


See my complete blog back to March, 2011 :  here

(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) 4th July fire works fireworks fireworks how to night photos photo settings pyro Shows pyrotechnics Mon, 09 Jul 2012 19:57:03 GMT
How To Photograph Fireworks Displays on July 4, with camera settings FIREWORKS PHOTOGRAPHY, CAMERA SETTINGS


The great American holiday of The Fourth of July is next week. The Declaration of Independence was adopted July 4, 1776.  The Revolutionary War dated from 1775 to 1783. Celebrations abound and much food is grilled outside while families and friends play, act-up and eat. Fireworks are always part of this National holiday. 

Everyone is taking pictures! At the local fireworks show, you will see people taking photos with whatever they have including flip phones, smart phones, iPADs and point and shoot cameras(turn off the flash). A few photographers will have cameras set on tripods and will look seriously ready for the show to begin. A few actually will be ready. Others will be fumbling with the tripod, fumbling with camera settings and like they have nervous feet moving around to find the best place to stand. A few might embarrassingly trip in the dark. I know how easy that is to do 

This is a short tutorial how-to on taking photos of fireworks displays at night.  If you have a camera with manual settings you will do much better than using settings such as “P” or automatic program which lets the camera choose what to do.  Bright light against a dark background will often confuse the camera’s control and you will not get the photos you want.  This tutorial on taking photographs of fireworks tells the methods and camera settings which worked for me last year.  Other photographers will use different settings that  add up to about the same overall exposure.
First, use manual on the camera.  This means you set the shutter speed and set the aperture (the lens opening also called “f stop”) and go with that for most of the photos.  You definitely need a tripod or very sturdy support.
If your camera has a “bulb” or “manual shutter” setting, use that.  What this does is allow you to open the shutter and close it when you decide enough time has passed. The camera must be very, very steady for this procedure.  With more advanced cameras, there will be a means for using a remote switch for opening and closing the shutter, making it much easier to do without concern that you will shake the camera.  If you do not have bulb or manual shutter controls, then set the camera to manual using one of the settings shown with the photos in this fireworks tutorial.  Go easy when you push the shutter and you should get good photographs of the fiery display.
Here are photographs from July 4, 2011.  The information is in the caption to each photo. Note how more or less of the tail and blast of the firework device shows in the shot, depending on the shutter time.   Since I had a remote shutter control, the times were what I wanted right then and I did play with the time somewhat.  I suggest without a remote shutter control that you pick a shutter time from the sort of photo you like from the fireworks shots shown. That will put you in a fairly small ballpark with a great chance of getting good ones.

Camera Settings:  These settings were used for all the fireworks photographs shown. The only setting changed was shutter speed. See shutter speed with each photo caption and notice how it affects each photos. 

  • ISO(considered digital film speed):  ISO 100
  • F Stop, the lens aperture: f/9
  • For ISO higher than 100, such as 200, try f/16 and experiment

Fireworks, July 4, 2011, Oak Ridge, TN, Thomas Hayne Photo

This is a relatively long exposure with a shutter speed of 3.6 seconds.  You will notice how the smoke shows in the light and some of the local terrain is lit enough to barely show up.

My monitor is calibrated and I see what I see. Your view may be different depending on brightness and contrast for the screen you are viewing.


Fireworks, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 2011 Thomas Haynes photo

As with all the photographs of fireworks display, the ISO was 100

and the f stop was f/9.  Shutter exposure time: 1.6 seconds


Fireworks, Oak Ridge, Tennessee 2011, Thomas Haynes photo

Fireworks Shutter exposure time:  1.4 seconds


Firework Closeup of Display, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Thomas Haynes Photo

Fireworks Shutter exposure time:  1.2 seconds


Firework Colors, Spray, Oak Ridge, Tenn., Thomas Haynes Photo

Fireworks Shutter exposure time:  1.0 seconds


Fireworks spray display, lower exposure hides tail from shell. Thomas Haynes Photo

Fireworks Shutter exposure time:  0.8 seconds

You will easily see how the relatively short shutter speed of 0.8 seconds(above) does not show the tail of fire from the fireworks shell prior to the blast of color.  I will likely be using a shutter opening time of 1 second to 1.5 seconds on the night of July 4 to take fireworks photos.  Try what you like and experiment during the show!  Best results wished for you with your photos of July 4 fireworks displays.

Visit the Blog photo galleries to see these images in a full screen slide show.

For everyone, I wish a wonderful and safe Fourth of July.  For my British friends, you do not need to celebrate this holiday with us but if you are here, please do join in!





(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Firework camera settings Fireworks photography July 4 celebration Oak Ridge fireworks pictures of fireworks Wed, 27 Jun 2012 19:06:19 GMT
More News With Alpha House, Service to Others in Oak Ridge-Oliver Springs Area


Alpha House is happy with their new home in Oliver Springs, Tennessee. It is an older home and fixed up well to suit the needs of the transitional home.  Several women have now completed their time in the new home and have gone on to what is hopefully a better life. They leave equipped as can be for the final transition into the normal world but this is a difficult change and takes all the fortitude and suooprt they can get to be reestablished in normal, sober life.

ALPHA BITZ  is a recently opened thrift shop operated in part by ladies from Alpha House and volunteers. Located on Harriman Highway just out of Oliver Springs, the store will help provide  a small part of operating expensed for Alpha House and provide work experience for ladies from the home.

An event in the previous lodation... Saturday, June 30, 2012 was a day for volunteers and residents to fix-up, paint, landscape, shine and repair the home occupied by the Alpha House organization and ladies in transition.  This event like others since that time with the new location show the strength of support this transitional home receives.

Christian Band from a recent "block party" at the  Alpha House Transitional Home
prior to the move to a new house in Oliver Springs, Tennessee.
This band is a special story of healing from addiction within itself.
Fun at the party at Alpha House.
Find it here:  Alpha House     This is a transitional home for women who are recently out of incarceration. If you are not sure what that means, they are now freed from jail and are trying their best to make a transition to a normal and straight life.  Hear a testimonial and you will quickly realize the transition for most is a daunting task and often more difficult once they are back fully in society. Will the old "friends", and for some their own dysfunctional families pull them right back down that hill?  These girls pray for endurance and strength. Alpha House is God based, Faith based, Jesus Christ based.  The strength of faith and prayer has been proven in these women.  It works.  Yes, some do not do well after a time facing life all over again.  Those who share faith and closely support them may be far away.  Believe me, these women will give it all they have to stay well and faithful to their God and to the new life they intend to accomplish.  When this story is written about "one day of volunteer work" at the Alpha House home, I believe it is to be read and shared.
Now, believing Internet technology will work, this post should show on the blog feed from here to there on the new website, ThomasHaynesPhotoshoot, our new commercial blog and photography for businesses and individuals.
(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Humanity and Life Mon, 25 Jun 2012 15:50:00 GMT
Fledgling Eastern Screech Owls..Real Cuties

Screech Owls are the quite small owls with a baneful screech, a sound that has frightened many visitors to unfamiliar night woods. To imagine what creature was calling out would not bring thoughts of the small Eastern Screech Owl.  Once heard and recognized, there is no fear in the sound but rather an appreciation of nature around you. Follow the link to  hear sounds of the screech owl.

There is a new group of fledgling screeches at the Clinch River Raptor Center and also a group of young Kestrel falcons.  The owls came from different places and vary slightly in growth and development of feathers. In these photos, you may see a reddish coloration.  Otherwise, the color is mostly gray.  In the wild the owls are seen in both red and gray versions. Full color will develop as the owls mature.

 Notice the talons: Owls have four toes, with three front toes and one in the back just as do hawks. However, when owls perch they put two toes forward and move one to the back.
Is this owl saying you almost deserve a wink?

Fledgling birds are those old enough to leave the nest but still developing their feathers. They fly but not easily or with expertise and generally would be under the watchful eye of parents for a while longer. They are not really grown enough to be out on their own.  The birds shown will be cared for and assisted in learning to hunt for food.  All of this must be done without allowing the birds to become trusting of humans.  They must remain owls in all aspects and know they are wild and not closely associated with people.  If all goes well, when ready and able the screech owls will be released into the wild.

I was with these owls about a minute, not longer. With five youngsters in the area they each had found a place to perch and did not try to fly with me present. They made soft little owl sounds and no screeches. 


Thomas Haynes is a photographer working out of Clinton, Tennessee, a city just north of Knoxville. His photography is often of a fine arts direction but as in this post, his love of nature takes him again to the Clinch River Raptor Center, a rehabilitation and educational not-for-profit organization.. Visit Thomas and see more of his photography at  Facebook

 Contact Thomas to discuss photography you want done. 

(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Raptors and Raptor Rehab baby screech owls eastern owl Fri, 01 Jun 2012 11:42:00 GMT
Amicalola Falls State Park, Snakes, Moonshine Whisky and Appalachian Trail This post is about two short hikes in Amicalola Falls State Park and the interesting critters and objects seen along the way. One interesting object spotted in the woods is said to be a remnant of the moonshine business in the north Georgia mountains. Photos of that are at the end of the post. Amicalola Falls State Park is near the southern start of the Appalachian Trail in the state of Georgia, USA.
The AT (as hikers call it) is the 2,184 mile trail mostly through wilderness areas of the Appalachian Mountain System from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine. Springer Mountain and the southern end of the AT is just outside the state park. The Wiki link below goes to a sketch of the Appalachians on a map of the United States and the second link shows the Appalachian Trail as a line along the mountains. At the bottom end of the trail line is Springer Mountain. Go 8.1 miles (13km) south and you will be at Amicalola Falls, the ending point of the two hikes combined in this post.

Appalachian Mountains System

Appalachian Trail, Wiki

Amicalola Falls, top two thirds

Top of waterfall as seen from vantage
point of the previous photograph
While every trail in these mountains has a particular character, much is seen in common where altitudes and general weather conditions are close to the same. Hikers moving northward into the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina would notice the higher altitudes bring different conditions and other forms of plant and animal life. While mostly deciduous trees such as Tulip Poplar fill the area around Amicalola Falls, the higher Smoky Mountains graduate into evergreens and mountain laurel shaded streams. Going to lower altitudes the evergreens are again replaced with hardwood deciduous trees.
This post does not venture north of Amicalola Falls but does provide a lot to see without going deeply into the woods.
 Steps were constructed fairly recently from the falls top to the level shown in first photograph, 426 steps down and slightly over 200 more to the fall base.
Warming up is recommended prior to going up.
The hike into Amicalola Falls at the level shown is more of a short walk than a hike. Approximately 0.3 mile long, the trail gently descends and is paved with recycled rubber from tires.  This very gentle pathway makes the falls accessible to most everyone. Still, the woods surrounding the walkway is the same woods found on the moderate and strenuous trails and will allow you to see many of the same features if you look around at the large and small provisions of nature.  We had seen the falls and did enjoy that. We went up the steps to the top and back down again. On the walk out other visitors stepped quickly passed us as we looked for surprises and found a few.

 Can you identify this egg case?

The most damp part of the trail edge revealed a lot of snails almost hidden in the foliage. A granddaddy long legs walked across
this snail and stopped to "take a drink" from the wet back of the snail's head.  At least, it appeared to take a drink...

Its web under an outcrop at the woods edge, this spider has a tunnel web.  It would sit in the doorway and wait for insects to be caught in the web away from the tunnel.
The Appalachian Approach Trail begins at the park visitor center then to the base of the falls.  At the onset and along this trail we saw the snakes.  Following the trail on and upward past the falls is the trail to Springer Mountain and the official southern end of the Appalachian Trail.  Those hiking the AT would generally begin at the trail access above the waterfall.  We took the trail toward the base. 
The trail passed a developed pond where visitors fished for trout.
Sunning on the pond edge was this stout water snake. Keep in mind, killing snakes or capturing for pets is illegal in most states. Georgia imposes a $1000 fine for killing snakes.
Copperhead! It is amazing how seeing a snake in the wild and only getting a partial view will lead to a mistaken identification.  This was on the trail edge in downed trees and bramble  We could not see its head clearly at the time. The back pattern should have been enough to tell us it was not a copperhead.
Copperhead and timber rattler are the two venomous snakes in northern Georgia. This snake was neither. The pattern on the back is that of a water snake. The darker markings are the opposite of the copperhead: Copperhead  darker markings become narrow along the back and not wide as in this snake. It took seeing this photo to know what we had really seen. The head appeared clearly only for a split second and we did not see it neatly while on the trail.  Still, the practice is not to approach the snake or ever reach for it, even if you think you know what it is. Thinking back, we were fairly close to water at the time.  Who knows, I believe it to be a water snake but may yet be wrong. I do know it is not a copperhead.
All in all, Amicalola State Park in northern Georgia makes for a fun and  pleasing long weekend. This is not a large park with trail after trail after trail. It does offer trails enough for the weekender and is quite pretty and resting to the eyes and spirit.  
 From our accommodations in the park lodge, this is an evening view of foggy clouds coming over the mountains nearby.  
The Secret seen by those who take the time to look into the woods, something most folks did not do and simply missed seeing...
Those familiar with old time history of moonshine know the mountains of North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia were home to a few inventive folks who made white lightning.  This illegal "whisky" was almost pure alcohol.  How did it get to town? Sometimes the transportation was tanker trucks or cars, ordinary vehicles with hidden tanks or storage areas to carry the moonshine.
Most of us have heard of moonshiners in souped up cars running from the law. As I was told by the locals, this truck we spied in the woods was a tanker truck.  To be where it was meant a long drop..a crunching roll down several hundred feet of very steep mountain side.  The photos do not do justice to the steep grade of the mountain.  The road runs on up to above the falls but at this point we were on a trail below the falls.  What happened really? Was anyone in the truck when it tumbled down the mountain? No one knew the full story but all said it was a moonshiner's tanker.
Notice in this closer view how the poplar tree has grown 
around the front of the truck.  That is the hood against the tree
and the smashed remains of the roof bent down and onto the hood.
The end of this post

(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Amicalola Earth Things Living Things Flowers and Nature Georgia Park Waterfall moonshine truck in woods Mon, 28 May 2012 18:11:00 GMT
Cats at Screen Door...Specializing in Pet Photography My business as a pet photographer is in the early stages. I have been a photographer for a while but as a business effort will now specialize more in pet and animal photography.  Prior to the publication of my photographers website, I will upload a few photos of pets and animals to the Landing Heron blog.  You will notice a wide range of styles in the photographs yet one common thread will run through most all:  The animals will be photographed in their own settings, their homes, their places to play and live with their family.

There is a move away from the formal posed image in many types of personal photography. Whether a couple in love, a graduating senior, your family or your animals, there is a preference for natural and outdoor photos. The photos we take are intended to show your  pet as you recognize and know it.   Whether curled on your lap or running to you in yard or field, I want your pet to be as you know it everyday. After all, these are the memories and mental images we have of the animals in our lives. (Formal photos may be arranged as the client desires.)
The apparent starkness of the photo below speaks strongly to the family where these cats reside. Yes, we have beauty shots of these kitties and we have them as seen here...wanting to go outside knowing they must wait for another day.  Standing in a sun beam, they breath the air following a rain that left the screen littered with debris. They soak in a taste of the woods behind their home.

I plan to have my website up fairly soon.  There you may see much more of  my work, purchase images or schedule a time for me to visit, meet your animals and plan a session of photography in familiar settings.  Of course, photos may include you with your pets and photos of family members in natural settings. One secret to great pet and family photos is to walk around, sit down and talk with the photographer about what you have in mind. By taking this time with the photographer, you see if  there is a good match of your ideas and his/her styles and techniques. Pets are not expected to pose, quite the opposite is generally true!  We take the time, work with you and your animals to get the photos you will call "keepers" now and treasures later.

This is a photo of Molly, the same cat at the right in the previous photograph.  I did both shots in monotone for easier comparison.  The two photos show examples of different moods and moments. 
You may see Molly elsewhere in this blog. I am writing her story, tiny piece by tiny piece.

The kitties shown live in my house.  When the website is up and running, you will see a variety of pets and animals, including horses and perhaps a llama or two.  While cats and dogs are the family pets most seen, other animals are certainly included in what we do with photography.

Capturing the essence of personality with a still photograph is very difficult and often calls for a little good fortune. For example, this Great Pyrenees mix is a quite large dog but its personality instills calm and brings forth smiles.  

As part of  H.A.B.I.T. , the Human Animal Bond in Tennessee organization out of the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine,  this dog visits residents in a nursing and personal care facility. The face you see is the face seen by the residents.  Of course, they run their hands on the thick fur and spend time with this "friend".  A kind volunteer allowed us to take the photo.  That face does catch some of the personality and the intent was achieved.


Thomas Haynes is a photographer working out of Clinton, Tennessee, a city just north of Knoxville. His photography is often of a fine arts direction but as in this post, his love of nature takes him again to the Clinch River Raptor Center, a rehabilitation and educational not-for-profit organization.. Visit Thomas and see more of his photography at  Facebook

 Contact Thomas to discuss photography you want done. 

(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Animals and Photography Wed, 16 May 2012 12:35:00 GMT
Tulip Poplar Flower, Art in Nature Photos and Mini Tutorial High above me tulip poplar trees reach for the sun and hide a beauty not seen until it the wind comes. Then a  flower  may break loose and tumble to the ground.  From the trees where I stood, the flower may fall from 50 to 70 feet. Often the tulip poplar flower will break into parts and leave incomplete flowers as shown.  These two sections were in different areas of the woods.  Did you know these straight, tall trees have flowers?  Scarcely will the flowers be noticed by a passerby.

I found art in nature with these flower sections and a pebble  nearby.  My interpretations came from making arrangements of the flowers and the pebble then taking the photographs.  This as with other forms of art will find favor with some viewers. Others may wonder why I think this is art and believe I wasted my time.  

A very good thing about art:  Art comes in all varieties and so does human taste and preferences in such.

I believe the images became more appealing as the arrangement was altered.  The one below has better balance to the eye than the one above.

The final image is next.  Read further to see how the photography was done.  More than that, enjoy this simple view of natural things forming a unique still life composition.


For anyone interested, I will tell exactly what I did to take these photographs. I looked for a backdrop and the flower was placed  first on a wood railing near where I was standing. That did not show the flower well enough. I decided a white background was wanted  and for that got a piece of white foam core board. The flower sections and pebble were arranged.  The sunlight was quite spotty and I had to be certain the light was on the subject and at an angle to best show the tiny treasures from nature.  
Exposure needed to show the poplar flower clearly and give a white background.  To do this, I used spot metering. What is that?  Some cameras have a setting to allow a portion of the view to be used to set the exposure. Normally the camera will average the light for the entire field of view, however, for these photos averaged exposure would put too much white in the mix and the camera would lower the exposure to accomodate the bright white. The white would be less than white and the flower would be too dark. To get what was wanted,  I set the camera to figure the exposure using a small portion or "spot" of the view and that portion was the flower and pebble.  Exposure  determined this way would allow the proper exposure and the white would be even whiter.   If your camera does not have spot metering, the exposure should be set manually.  Using manual exposure, find a shutter speed where you can hold the camera steady enough to get a clear photo and set the aperture (lens opening) to get a decent exposure of the flower.  Using a digital camers allows a peek at the viewing screen to see if the exposure is close to what you want. Adjust as needed. Keep in mind that shutter speed and aperture work together: If one is adjusted, so must the other to keep the same exposure. To alter the exposure to darker or brighter, use either aperture or shutter speed alone.

The lens used was a 105mm macro lens, standing back far enough to get all in focus. I used manual focus.  Close shots with a macro lens would make part of the image in focus and part fuzzy.  A higher number aperture will help expand the depth of field  ( range of focus) but will require adjusting the shutter speed to keep the exposure you want. That in a nutshell is how the photos were shot.  E-mail me if you have questions. For now, I am content to look at the photos and see the little details in the flower parts. Isn't nature grand!

(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Small treasures in Nature..Photography tulip poplar bloom Sun, 06 May 2012 20:28:00 GMT
Azalea Blossom and Design for Life These flowers are part of a celebration of Spring. As Passover season begins and Christian Easter is observed, beauty in creation is seen in tiny and large ways.  As for Easter, there will be more rabbits and colored eggs for the fun Easter than thanksgiving for the Messiah. I wish the children knew of both Easter games and the hope given all through the Christ crucified and risen. We will smile as children play and thank our Creator for our blessings.  With the sound of happy children there will be eyes blessed with beauty...the fortunate ones.  For those suffering now, there will be no Easter eggs but the hope of the Christ can be in their hearts. We pray for peace.
This close view of an Azalea blossom is for all who visit here. Do you see the pistil  surrounded by the stamens with pollen showing there?  Bumblebees visited these blossoms today and with each visit for a taste of nectar, the bee carried with it a touch of pollen. That pollen when touched to the pistil of another bloom will pollinate the flower, the process leading to creation of seed.

These parts of a beautiful flower blossom are intriguing in design.  Still, what do I see with my eyes and not the close lens of the camera?  We see the flower..its form and color and beauty.  This welcome to a new season is what truly catches emotion and joy.
(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Flowers and Nature azalea fuscia azalea white azalea Sat, 07 Apr 2012 18:16:00 GMT
Spring: New Life and Beautiful Blossoms- Hyacinth and Redbud  
Winter almost did not happen here this year. It slipped in for a few cold days and a taste of snow flakes then  skipped away with a smile and spring on its heels. All the trees and plants are telling us it really is spring time.  This is the time of new life and beauty when nature takes off the winter garb and steps out in fresh spring fashion.  For spring fragrances, it is the sweet and familiar smell of the hyacinths.  Sensitive noses take note, as nice as is the fragrance, it is quite powerful and one in the home may be too much for anyone sensitive to aroma.  I enjoy a whiff  of the sweet fragrance but do not keep a hyacinth in my room. Growing free in the flower bed is my best choice.   This blue hyacinth has been given a special artistic touch in the photograph.

Blue Hyacinth, survived the recent rain and hail 
A dependable and favorite of this time of the year is the Eastern Redbud tree.  This would be a perfect tree for Valentine's Day...but we all know the timing is off for that.  Let's make it a tree for love in general and a signal of the new life around us.  Do you like that idea?  Personally, I like it better than the Bradford Pear trees which even if pretty have unfortunately been over planted as architectural elements.
Redbud is also my top choice of an Easter tree.  New life, love and transformation are symbolized in the new buds and the heart shaped leaves. The events of Easter are symbolic to Christians of the transformation of Christ and the promise of a new life to come, all based in the love of the Creator for mankind. 

In the photo do you see the transformation hiding in open sight?   The cocoon is an example of amazing metamorphosis we may personally watch.  If the cocoon on the branch has not been robbed, quite soon a moth will emerge.  Who knows when that will happen and will anyone be there to see?  I have not identified the cocoon; if for a bag-worm moth, people will not think the new moth is very pretty.  Regardless of its looks, the transformation is one of the remarkable events of creation.
New life and a metamorphosis...
. Click image for larger view
(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Flowers and Nature blue hyacinth photo art photoshop selective color Wed, 21 Mar 2012 08:56:00 GMT
Red-tailed Hawk, Flying Hunting
This is another Red-tailed hawk without a red tail.  The other one is in a previous post and lives at the Clinch River Raptor Center. The hawk in this post lives in the wild, hunting and living and raising its family in nature. Why no red tail?  It is too young for that.  Read the other post to learn more about that bit of growing up for these hawks. The one at the center now has a full red tail.
Now, here is the tale of the photos you will see here.
My wife was driving and she said a hawk just dove into a field.  Of course, this means it was hunting lunch and might have caught it.  We went back and parked at the edge of the field which was bordered on the far side with a woods line.  Soon enough I saw the hawk flying over the field.  Did it get lunch?  We do not know but it was certainly hunting as we watched.  It went back and forth high above the field and into the woods line. Then it reappeared and was coming our way. I hoped it would get close enough for a photo or two.  It did, not close enough for a really sharp photo but the best in-flight raptor photos in a long year.
We were leaving lunch on a Sunday when it all happened.  The lens in the camera was a zoom, 18mm to 200mm.  You can figure 1x (one magnification) for each 50mm with a 35mm camera and with the digital camera I had with me.  At 200mm, that meant the magnification was about 4x, not as strong as a pair of 7x binoculars.  That lens was not long enough to get closer photos!   Also, as the lens was zoomed to the maximum length of 200mm, the aperture (opening for light) would go down. The widest opening was f/5.6 but that was ok…the day was bright and sunny. 
The light going into the camera would determine how fast a shutter could be used. My concern was having enough light to get a fast shutter speed to stop the flight of the hawk.  All was just about perfect as anyone could hope for, except for having the wrong lens on the camera.  I cannot complain at all; with nature you take what good she offers and do not complain about it.  All in all, the settings were mostly like this: ISO 400, f/5.6, shutter 1/3200 of a second. The camera controlled the shutter speed and that was plenty fast enough.  The primary concern once I knew the light was sufficient was how would the bird look on the photos? Generally, a bright sky is going to dominate everything and the hawk would be a silhouette (thank you, spell check).   The answer is to set the camera to “spot metering”.  All cameras do not have this setting  but it will often make the difference in getting a photo or not. Set to spot metering, the camera sets its exposure based on the light where the camera is focused.  I focused on the hawk and it came out with the sky also ok. Lighting was very even that day and  exposure might have been acceptable with normal settings but why take a chance with a rare opportunity. 
Getting some fairly decent photos is the blessing. Had there been no camera, the sight of seeing that bird fly so gracefully and determined was an opportunity to peek at nature in action. That the hawk stayed long over the field and close enough to watch it search for food was quite unusual and very appreciated.
(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Raptors and Raptor Rehab haqwk flying hawk red-tailed Thu, 15 Mar 2012 17:57:00 GMT
SET UP FOR SINGLE PRIMARY LIGHT PHOTOGRAPHY USING A FLASHLIGHT THE POST ON JANUARY 9, 2012 showed photos taken with a  single primary light source.  The post today shows the set up, a quick and hasty way to shoot simple objects and give your creative  lighting talents a chance to shine.  The set up consists of these items:

  • White matte window shade used as the infinity curve backdrop
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Light Source- we used a Surefire™ tactical flashlight, a very bright hand torch
  • Objects to Photograph

A tripod to hold the camera is recommended. Although exposure did not require a really slow shutter, the tripod ensured a steady shot and freed me to move around with the light source. My arms will not reach like Plastic Man and it was comical enough  bobbling around in the crowded space and not tripping on the tripod or the legs of the ironing board  used to support the backdrop. I maneuvered around with the flashlight and used the camera timer to click off the photo.

Typical exposures use ISO 400, F/2.8 to F/7, somewhere around 1/40 sec to 1/60 sec shutter.  I recommend manual focus and manual exposure, fiddling with exposure to get the look you want.

A PERMANENT PHOTO SET UP: The best way to use the window shade backdrop is on a permanent photo table.  The shade should be mounted a foot or so up at the back of the table then pulled out along the table when needed. Add various arrangements of light tents, diffusers and multiple lighting methods to do macro and product photography.  The key is in the set up of the item and lighting. Take time with that.

A window shade makes an easy infinity curve backdrop for photography of small items.
This is the basic set up. An older camera fills in as model.
The room was darkened for photos taken with the single primary light.

The single source light and items to photograph
Play with lighting and discover the effect you want.

The set up for this photo of a Wacom™ graphics pen and mouse is seen in the first photo. Lighting was the Surefire™ hand-torch with a tad of ambient light leaking in from a hallway.
(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Photography single light Wed, 01 Feb 2012 06:29:00 GMT
BROAD-WINGED HAWK, a bird to teach a class
The Broad-Winged Hawk is one of the more plentiful hawks in the United States, a soaring hawk which is about the size of an overweight crow. These birds find it most comfortable to stay near forest areas and away from people while they spend spring and summer seasons in the eastern United States and southern Canada. When fall season arrives, the adults are ready and the babies have now grown into strong fliers, ready for migration. The time arrives to leave and all the hawks know it, no alarm clock or calendar needed.  As these hawks start flying from Canada and the northern United States, they flock together and more and more companions join along the way.  The migration is spectacular!  In certain areas you may watch as thousands of these raptors pass by together.  Like a kettle full of birds, the flying groups are called "kettles", a word for groups of raptors together.  Check the Internet for photos and videos of Broad-Winged Hawk migration. 
See the Migration Map at this Cornell website:

Where are they headed and why do they leave when fall arrives?  Would you want to be where you have plenty of food?  So do the hawks. They eat small critters like toads, lizards and insects. During the winter months this food is very scarce and not plentiful enough to feed the birds.  The hawks take off on a trip south, to where it is summer time while we go through winter here.  Can you imagine flying from the northern USA to Central America and north western South America?  These hawks do it every year then come back for spring and summer here and raise their new families.

The hawks mouth and tongue is clearly visible
Amigo is a Broad-Winged hawk at the Clinch River Raptor Center.  Why is he in the rehabilitation center?  Unfortunately, this beautiful hawk was found with wing damage and could not fly. There is no repair possible for the wing and in the wild woods Amigo would not be able to fly and live.  Still, this hawk has a chance to live a long life even if not in the wild.  Once rescued, the hawk has a chance at another life.  Because this Broad-Winged can help the wild birds through education of people, we see this as better than dying from starvation or being food for another animal.  The real plus for Amigo is shelter, food and good care for life.
These photos are part of a Resume for Amigo.  This raptor is ready to be trained as an educational bird who will travel to schools, campgrounds, club meetings and other gatherings where caretakers will teach about hawks and owls. Amigo will sit on a gloved hand and people will be able to see a beautiful little hawk up close. For the resume, selected photos and information will be sent to other raptor rehab and educational centers so that Amigo may be placed in a new home and trained for this new job.

We all wish Amigo could have been repaired and released back into the wild. If so, the hawk would have been given only a temporary name and kept as wild as possible while healing. Human interaction for releasable birds is kept to a minimum while providing essentials for healing and preparation for release. A day for release would come and we would smile as the little hawk flew away, finding a renewed life in nature where the wild critters are meant to be. Had that been the case, the hawk would still need to stay at the center and wait for spring to arrive. Do you know why?  Migration time has passed and there is not food enough during the winter season.

Typical perch materials include artificial turf.  Improper perch material may lead to "bumble foot", a disease of the pads of the foot bottom from injury or pressure sores followed with infection. Proper perching material is essential as is activity away from the perch when possible. Falconers, licensed rehabilitators and zoo personnel must be well aware of proper foot care for captive birds.
Note the yellow cere of the beak
Make comments as you wish. E-mail if interested in more or to ask about photo purchases (without the watermark).
I always thank God for this earth and the care He gives us in getting through it.  That thanksgiving includes the creatures, large and small, beautiful or strange.
(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Raptors and Raptor Rehab Wed, 25 Jan 2012 08:51:00 GMT
What is Awkward Beauty? Grab some kettle corn and take a short walk with me. Landing Heron.. awkward beauty---As plain as the web page in front of me are these words in the page header. Awkward beauty? What is that? We all have definitions of beauty. There is a huge range in the world of human emotion and points of view, covering images, events and memories. With a special flower, an entire crowd may agree it is beautiful and lovely to see. Move away from the obviously lovely and the the label beauty is somewhat awkwardly taped on the corner like an afterthought. An image of dead hostas in winter was beautiful to me and when uploaded to a photography website a commentator expressed surprise. Every year she was compelled to rake up the dead and fallen foliage at her home because it was dead and fallen. To the eye of the beholder the label of beauty may be awkwardly affixed with a piece of torn and soiled tape. Possibly she took a moment to look again at her fallen hostas and saw more than an automatic chore of raking up the dead. I suspect hers went quickly and were long gone when I uploaded the photo.  That photo resides somewhere on this blog.

The title awkward beauty came to mind when the heron in the header photo was landing in the tree.. The entire maneuver appeared so awkward with long legs at all angles and large wings trying to maintain balance and gain a secure hold in the branches. I thought the bird picked the wrong place to land but it knew better and the end was a different sort of gracefulness well adapted to the heron.

This post will tell tiny stories with photos to illustrate. Cart before the horse or the other way, the stories came and so did the photos. Do enjoy the points of view presented here. Or, consider me mad, mad, mad and someone who if running naked in the street would make more sense…maybe to you. To me, that would be very awkward and anything but beauty. I do have a full length closet mirror. A roll of tape would not fix the label to stay on out of the starting block. Mothers would cover the eyes of young children, like at the zoo.  The rest would laugh and cheer it on!  Run, Run! Ask them through their laughter, "That sure was funny. Was it beautiful?" ..."NO". 


I think you might see  a sort of beauty in this post...take a look and find no need to cover any eyes..


The King House..abandoned today but prior to 1956 it was cheerful and home to school teachers on snowbound I was told.

Photo taken just in front of the Green McAdoo Cultural Center in Clinton, Tennessee.
The center is now a museum and reminder of the events leading up to and following
integration of the local high school in 1956. 
 We went to the town and visited the center several years ago. The abandoned house
caught my eye and I asked about its story.

The governor of Tennessee was wise when he said, "Go ahead and get it done. Integrate the schools," In 1956 it happened in Clinton, Tennessee, said to be the first school integrated likely anywhere in this country.  There was at least one which was integrated earlier but that distinction is not important. 

If you don't know what integration was or is, think of black kids not being allowed to attend the city high school and being bused instead to an all black student school in another city. The opposite of integration is segregation, a divide of people "justified" by race or other reason and which generally favors the ruling class. Some folks knew better and others did not give it much thought. Believe it, when the judge said we are moving on this now to get it done in Clinton, ears perked up and people reacted.  They say outsiders came in to stir the tempers and subdue supporters of the integration. Were some local folks involved? Of course...someone and the culture was wanting those black kids kept out of the white high school long before the governor spoke in his determined words and local law listened and decided to move on it. Some like a local white Baptist minister knew it was time to move on to better values and acceptance of fellow man. Others along with outside instigators believed big sticks and violence was justified to maintain status quo,  leaving things alone and no change tolerated.

The integration problems did happen but that is not the story or the beauty of the King house, shown here much later after more recent owners left it,  apparently abandoned and in disrepair.

Up the hill is a school building, an old one.  That is where the black kids in town went to school up to when they were old enough for high school. The home owners saw a need for education and for the teachers to be comfortable.  Maybe there was more snow back then because I am told when the teachers were snowed in or would be taking a risk driving home and returning to school the next day, they were offered congenial lodging at the old house.  Of course, the house was not old back then but a nice home with room for the teachers to spend the evening.  My first thought was that nowadays school would have been closed for even the threat of snow.  Back then, I reckon it stayed open and the kids walked to school.  The now caved porch would be a fine place to sit and visit on a summer evening, too. There is beauty in this old house, more than I first thought.

A view from an old hotel on Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio

The hotel is real and so is the view. It is different at night when with
little else to do, one looks around at the buildings and
sees someone else looking from their window.
What follows is fiction.

"I saw you look out of your window last night. Are you there now? Is everyone gone, are you in the dark alone or with others? You are there. I saw you last night...did you see me when you looked up? My building is higher than yours; yours is only a few levels. I am on the 13th floor with more above me. I feel those floors pressing down on me tonight. I suspect we will never meet, well, no consequence. I have been in this room too, too long. When will you look out your window!"

It might be a stretch to find the beauty in this one, even in a awkward sense.  I saw it in the daytime working hours of the city along this street and all the view from the hotel window. Nighttime was not the same, yes, people on the streets and in clubs but with too many dark corners to suit me. 

This photo was arranged to portray an idea and the  beauty of getting beyond this image.

Tea parties in her mind: This a fictional depiction of reality.
I ask you look beyond a bleak scene to see a woman who once sat in this chair, in poverty on the streets and in the mission shelters..
With assistance of specially able people who understand how to help, she now has a little home and and is employed. She now has
a lovely tea party and all her friends are there to share the scones.
The photographs shown are older ones picked from stored files.  Editing technique was less sophisticated than today
  but with the same eye behind the shutter. 
The point of view has changed in several ways over a few years.

Clear Wing Moth, also called Sphinx and Hummingbird Moth
This beautiful moth got my attention, flying very close to my face as it passed quickly to land on a brick wall.  At first look was a pretty but unknown insect with all the warning colors of a huge, huge bee or wasp of some sort.  With a side view, I recognized a moth-like face and body structure.  The awkward introduction and trepidation turned to curiosity at seeing a beautiful creature for the first time. It sat a while then flew away, boasting extra long legs for a moth.

These photos were taken with an old Minolta point and shoot in 2005. Modern point and shoot cameras with a macro capability will do better.  Be certain to keep unedited original files and only edit copies of your digital photos.  The moth photos had been edited and the originals were not available. Today I would have done better in processing the photos had the originals been saved properly. I have seen only one moth like this since 2005.

Can a large crawling bug be beautiful?
I believe so but many folks will want to get away
or even squash this harmless millipede.
This creature makes for an awkward encounter and
by all appearances is dangerous..
red and black and 3 inches long.
People jump and back away, women scream,
 men pretend to be brave and are tempted to step on it...
watching for it to attack or swing up and get them.
The Tennessee Flat Back Millipede is not dangerous;
the warning looks are possibly for self protection.
The flat back millipede lives in southern states where weather is suitable, You will see these large bugs in garden mulch, under decaying leaves and in areas of downed vegetation. They prefer to be under cover.  Beautiful..depending on the eye of the beholder!   Here is scientific link with better photos:
Cedar Waxwings
The beauty of these social birds is well known and appreciated.
The body feathers appear like a soft velvet, smoothed and fresh.
Red tips on the wings look like a fine sealing wax. There is nothing to deny this beauty. "Awkward" was standing beneath branches of a tree full of these migrating birds.  I looked up and saw bird bottoms, everywhere. 
(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Awkward Beauty Tue, 17 Jan 2012 16:43:00 GMT
Single Primary Light Photography, Still Life and Portraits, Evening in Paris Lighting is an utmost essential ingredient to a good photograph. Beyond the very basic need of enough light to take a photo in the first place, lighting contributes to color, mood, atmosphere, ambiance and drama of a photograph.  Certainly, you need a suitable subject, composition and technical skill to form the basis of any photograph: The better each of these areas the better is the photograph you produce. Yet, with the same subject matter and composition, changing the light will often dramatically alter the photograph from ordinary to very good, from snapshot to excellent.  This is true whether the subject matter stirs smiles, tears, joy, revulsion or basic curiosity in the person looking. 
 Please, No more!
Of course, I have learned that some people simply have no interest in any photos anyway, anyhow unless possibly of their kids.  And, everyone with a camera and able to put on a Thanksgiving Dinner has a photo of the table, a photo always a must to take but never seen again. If you love photography, this is a "to live with".  Some people simply would always rather do something else than see your photos! I know that is nuts but is reality.
Obviously, outdoor shots are single source that single source we call the Sun.  That light is quite varied depending on surroundings and nature of the sky at the moment.  In an open wide expanse of flat land the sun would seem more single source. In a city it is still a single light but reflections abound from built up surroundings.  This is natural light and is not what I am concerned with in this post. We are at the mercy of weather and time of day when shooting outdoor photographs, even if we do help it along in some ways. Timing and a good eye are needed for truly fine outdoor photographs.
A night in Paris no one remembers


Today, the single source primary light is a single artificial light.  For the photos shown, the light was a tactical flashlight by Surefire™, a very bright little light designed to hold next to a defensive handgun in target acquisition or used in emergency to temporarily fog the vision of an adversary.  I use the light because it is bright enough to cover a long distance in the woods and able to illuminate the deepest shadows easily.  The price paid is quite short battery life.  Why do I have only these photos to show today?  I used the Surefire™ flashlight to play with light bright enough to allow photos with only a sparse amount of ambient light sneaking into the hastily rigged up "studio".The next day I got out of bed all excited(it doesn't take much...and yes, I do have a life) to try more photos. I set up the studio again and put out expertly selected subjects  Camera ready...all set, turn on the light!  It was yellowish. A pack of new lithium 123's should arrive at the door any day now.
A flashlight? What camera settings did you use?
The bright flashlight made it possible to rather easily take photos inside with a tripod to prevent shake from a slow shutter.  Settings were based on ISO 400 (digital equivalent film speed) and that meant all I had to be concerned with was how open was the lens(F stop) and how quick was the shutter.  The  general settings were in the range of F/4.5 to F/8 at shutter speeds of 1/30 second to 1/50 second. Surprisingly, the faster shutter speed was at  F/8.  Remember, light power goes up or down very quickly depending on the distance the light is from the subject.  The 1/50 second shot had the light quite close to the subject.  The camera was set to aperture priority and I chose that to start.. If my choice of aperture did not give a good start for a particular artistic effect, I switched to manual and varied the aperture or shutter as desired. With digital, the viewer gives a quick idea of the ballpark where you are playing.  Film? Now I have a clue how to shoot the same photos using film. Had I started that way a lot..yikes..I do mean a lot of film would have been wasted trying for different effects. I won't be shooting film, anyway.
Whitehorse Turquoise and Tabasco for the Bowl of Beans

The photos are only a few examples of things to do with a single source primary light.  When the batteries arrive I will likely do more. Then we move on to single studio strobe if space permits, including basic but neat portrait work.
Set-up for these photos:
  • 1 White matte finish pull down windowshade
  • Camera (a digital slr in these shots)
  • Sturdy tripod
  • Tactical or other bright small light
  • Subject matter to photograph

Thomas Haynes is a photographer working out of Clinton, Tennessee, a city just north of Knoxville. His photography is often of a fine arts direction but as in this post, his love of nature takes him again to the Clinch River Raptor Center, a rehabilitation and educational not-for-profit organization.. Visit Thomas and see more of his photography at  Facebook

 Contact Thomas to discuss photography you want done. 

(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Photography Tools Tuts Mon, 09 Jan 2012 13:02:00 GMT
Gingerbread Cake and Sauce in Pictures..Photos of the Recipe at Work The previous post told first of this attempt to bake a gingerbread cake for the Christmas dinner. All was successful and only waits for the herd of in-laws to dig in.   The ladies will bring so many tasty dishes I feared being pummeled by old Brussels Sprouts for attempting to enter their cooking world...again...following the bread pudding of Thanksgiving which was also cooked secretly.  The safe course is to stay out of the kitchen while the ladies cook or prepare the dinner to serve. It depends on the woman but you should take the warning to heart and if she is really busy in the kitchen and talking to herself as she works, you better stay far, far away. If you NEED to be in the kitchen, feel your way carefully and with stealth. 

The safe course for me was to claim the kitchen on Thursday, while my wife was at her job, cooking to my own delight and cleaning up so all was better than when I started.  If the cake totally messed up, no one really needed to know about it. I remember a chocolate cake that fell so flat it looked like brownies...and was served as sticky brownies...successfully. If the gingerbread failed, what happened here would stay intention of serving gingerbread brownies.

Finally cooking a cake again after 20 years was not really the challenge expected.  The recipe was easy to follow and the cake promises to be delicious. (See previous post for a link to the official recipe.) The Gingerbread Cake and zesty lemon sauce will be a surprise at the dinner.


Recipe comments will be added to the photos as rereading reveals a need.

Ingredients for the Gingerbread are below. Note the light corn syrup which was bought to thin the black strap molasses if needed. A dark golden molasses was used instead and the corn syrup was not needed. The jar is now in a corner cupboard with two other jars of corn syrup. The ingredients are: 
  • 1 cup Dark Brown Sugar 
  • 3/4 cup Flavorful Honey(this was dark wildflower) 
  • 3/4 cup Molasses 
  • 2 tsp each Cinnamon and ground Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Allspice
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Cloves
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda  
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 3 large Eggs(I like brown free range)
  • 1/2 cup 2% milk
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 cups all purpose Flour
  • 1 packed tablespoon grated fresh Ginger Root
  • Enough time on your hands to bake the cake
  • Bake for 45 minutes at 325ºf or until tester inserted into cake comes out dry. (I used a broom straw in three places)

Ginger Root is peeled prior to grating.1 Tablespoon of grated ginger is needed.  The heavy plastic cutting board works very  well as a general work surface and cleans up easily.

A hand held "plane" grater  is used to prepare the ginger root. Enough ginger was grated enough to tightly fill a 1 TBS measure.

Liquid ingredients of molasses, honey and water are stirred in a sauce pan with 1 cup dark brown sugar.  This is heated on low to melt the butter and blend all into the rich mixture it is.  Eggs and milk are added after this mixture has cooled.

Once heat was reached, the butter melted fairly quickly. All was stirred regularly  In the meantime, the dry ingredients were gently sifted, blended and sat aside until called for.

Poured into a mixing bowl to cool, the golden molasses, honey, dark brown sugar and butter mixture  took the appearance of dichroic glass with deep reflective layers to play with the light. This was distracting play for a moment and I understand better why the women don't want me in the kitchen.  The mix should be just warm to the touch prior to adding eggs and milk.  While this cools, turn on the oven to bake at 325ºF.


The recipe calls for 3 large eggs and 1/2 cup of  2% milk.The eggs are added first, one at a time, followed with the milk.  The mixer was used to stir all neatly together but it may be done just as well by hand.

If using an electric mixer, run at a slow speed to blend and not froth the mixture. The ginger root was added in separated portions to prevent clumping and allow even distribution.

Add the flour mix in 4 parts, gently blending.  You may prefer to fold the flour into the liquid by hand; if so, use long strokes and fold until mixed nicely. It is not necessary to remove every lump to the very end.


This time a bundt pan was used ( the kind with a stem in the middle).  Grease the pan lightly with vegetable shortening and fully sprinkle with flour.  Turn the pan upside down and tap to remove excess flour.  Now you are ready to pour the batter into the pan.  The oven should be close to the right temperature at this point. Oh, I do wish we had a gas range and oven!

The pan goes on a rack in the center of the oven.  It will bake for 45 minutes and in the meantime, there is something to...


This is clean up...a necessary part of the baking task and reality in the kitchen.



The oven timer went off just now. I have a prepared piece of broom straw to test the cake...inserted here, and there, and there and, yes, it comes out clean. 
The Gingerbread cake cooled in the pan for about 20 minutes.  Placing the plate atop it, all was turned over with hope the cake would release from the pan and gently take its place on the serving plate. Success and the cats only wander in and out; no one is stopping to hear my speech.  Yet deep in me reflects a joy, like that dichroic glass reflection of the molasses, honey and butter.  Happy for the moment!  This is a very good thing.  "Thank you, Lord!"
The post of Gingerbread in Pictures is now done.  As for sauce or icing, so many ways are there for different tastes. Please pick your own, whether a spooned on warm sauce, whipped cream, a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a pour on sugar glaze icing suitable for little petit fours. For the warmed lemon sauce I used, here are the ingredients for 1 1/2 cups of sauce:
  • 1/2 cup fine ground sugar(not powdered sugar)
  • 1 TBS cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg(fresh if you have it)
  • a pinch of salt
 To be added last:
  • 1 TBS butter
  • 1 tsp finely grated Lemon Zest (this took 2 lemons, grating only the yellow part of the peel)
  • juice of one lemon
Prepare lemon zest and juice first and set aside. Whisk the dry ingredients together while 1 cup of water comes to a boil, then add to boiling water, stir well and lower heat to a simmer until all thickens.  (The sauce thickens slightly, not so thick as table syrup and pours from a spoon with out drips.)
Add butter, zest and lemon juice, stir to blend  well, remove from heat.  
This sauce may be served to spoon on the gingerbread immediately or rewarmed in a microwave.

The end.


Thomas Haynes is a photographer working out of Clinton, Tennessee, a city just north of Knoxville. His photography is often of a fine arts direction but as in this post, his love of nature takes him again to the Clinch River Raptor Center, a rehabilitation and educational not-for-profit organization.. Visit Thomas and see more of his photography at  Facebook

 Contact Thomas to discuss photography you want done. 

(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Cooking Sat, 24 Dec 2011 10:32:00 GMT
Gingerbread Cake of the Tastiest Sort, Dark and Sticky, In Time for Christmas Today I found no job opportunities to pursue and in celebration of life baked a cake, the first one since I married a wonderful lady over 20 years ago. Almost a year out of work deserves a cake and she will have the chance to see if I truly can bake a tasty one. With attention to the recipe  most anyone blessed with the ingredients, a cake pan, an oven and the time can very, very likely make this cake.

Following instructions is the key and the weak link in the chain. You will find this recipe easy to follow.
 Straight from the oven, the surface is delightful and the aroma is quite rich.

Had I known how inviting the gingerbread would look on top when baked, I might have used a rectangular pan instead of the bundt.  This would allow the appealing texture to show.  When turned over and out of the pan, the bundt shape is there but the wonderful crust texture does not glisten as much. If you want to dress up the bundt cake, a poured on thin icing will do nicely. In my case, the choice is no icing and a warmed lemon sauce spooned on each slice served.

The original recipe called for  unsulfured black strap molasses but a dark golden variety was substituted. The stronger flavored and darker blackstrap mollasses would possibly yield the darker gingerbread after which the recipe is named. If you prefer a less intense flavor, the lighter mollasses as used will do very well.

Would a seasoned baker or even candle stick maker know better than to use a quiche dish for a cake plate?  Getting the knife in there to serve the gingerbread will take a special maneuver! 
This dish adds a festive accent to the traditional Christmas desert. 

Baking Gingerbread in photographs with comments will be next on this blog...from ingredients to stirring, mixing, pouring and even the clean and shiny dishes and measuring cups all washed and ready for the next cooking adventure. Come back in a few days and see the gingerbread rise from a few disinterested ingredients to become a super cake!  That is a cheer for teamwork.
Thanks to Heidi Swinson and her wonderful recipes:   A December 11,2011 post of her revised recipe is here:

My hero and my salvation is always Christ. At this time of the year we think more of the family of Joseph and Mary, making the best of very simple surroundings for the birth of their child. Employed or not, I say thanksgiving for all the blessings in my family. I see many  people in more unpleasant situations and in dire straits. For those, there is special prayer this Christmas season.


(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Cooking Thu, 22 Dec 2011 13:39:00 GMT
The Clinch River Raptor Center is Exceptional This post is for new readers who may not have seen the photos and read the stories of birds of prey contained in this blog. Postings carry subject titles: Look for "Raptors and Raptor Rehab" in the categories list a short scroll down the right column. Click there to open links to several posts about the birds. You will see photos of owls, hawks and even vultures.  The long term resident hawks and owls are pictured and you should find those photographs for the most part beautiful, entertaining and educational. 
 This Barn Owl had a broken wing and was very weak
when first brought to the center. The caretaker and veterinarian 
did not think it would live.

Whether Barred owls,  little Eastern Screech Owls, enticing and fierce appearing Great Horned Owls or the Barn Owls, focused determined hunters with white wings giving an almost angelic appearance... these will be at the Clinch River Raptor Center from time to time.  The birds are there to heal and be returned to the wild after some tragic event could have cost their lives. Fortunate rescued birds have injury or illness which will respond to treatment and the bird can recover and be set free.   The unfortunate are too badly injured, sick or malnourished to survive but do get a chance to live they would not have if left in the wild.  When a bird must be euthanized,  it will go to sleep and pass on in peace with out the suffering inflicted by death in the wild.
The same applies to the day hunters, the hawks rescued and living at the Clinch River Raptor Center.  Hawks and other day hunting raptors within the area served by the center generally include the smallest falcons, Kestrels. A summer ago the center was a nursery for several groups of these small hunters with 8 to 12 kestrels all chirping for food.  These birds were healthy but without parents or a natural home,  Having left their nests for some reason and unable to return, the youngsters were raised, taught to hunt and when ready were released.  The same summer saw a large population of baby screech owls...natural comedians and in a group of 12 the cuteness was almost too much and we all were amused. Still, each would find its own way in the wild once grown enough to release.
This is the same Barn Owl many weeks later.  The bird had  an amazing recovery and gained full use of the broken wing, an unexpected result. The tireless and constant care of dedicated staff
led to one fine day when the bird was released on a farm with much open land.  
The owl made a home in a barn there.
A great many of the raptors brought to the center are healed and set free.  Always it is an exciting and joyful event to see a bird fly to freedom and back to the life nature intended. The rehabilitation worked!   A rare few are injured in a way that will heal but still will not allow the bird to survive in nature. For instance, a bird with damaged eyesight or a broken wing which healed but will not support active flight can not be returned to the place it once claimed  home in nature. These birds are trained to be educational raptors, being part of programs designed to promote knowledge of the raptors and ultimately welfare for the birds in the wilds of nature itself, nature often being forced into coexistence and land sharing with human invasion.  Educational birds have a home for life at the Clinch River Raptor Center.   They receive excellent care and are able to carry on with their particular disability.
 This Osprey was found struggling and almost dead near a lake. Fortunately, the bird responded to treatment and was released to fly free at a lake where it might have less competition.  Sometime previously,  another Osprey was found shot and also near death.  At first it was believed to be the male of a nesting pair then raising chicks.  With only the mother to care for the babies, chances of survival were slim.  The bird gave it all but died from its wound. As for the nesting birds, the male showed up soon after and we realized the bird that died was a different Osprey.  The nesting birds are regular every year, using the same nest atop a power line tower overlooking the lake. A few nest repairs are made and  each year they raise new chicks. That shooter took the life of one magnificent bird. Had that bird been the male from the active nest, the toll would have been one adult and two chicks, all for a "little fun" shooting at illegal act, certainly.
(I must apologize for the poor quality of this photograph.)
The Clinch River Raptor Center sets free the minds of children,  giving them a small glimpse into the real world of nature and birds of prey.  Located in a middle school, volunteer students spend part of a school year after classes visiting the center. There they learn about hawks, owls, occasional vultures and other birds more rarely like the Osprey. 

The students learn how to clean cages and feed the birds. While most birds are fed dead mice, special diets must match the natural food of the particular bird. The Osprey got fish..talapia from a local market! Penguins eat fish and smell like fish. So do Ospreys.

A few of the students are able to take part in educational events, holding a raptor on a gloved hand to be seen and appreciated.   How many middle school students have held an adult Barred Owl, Eastern Screech Owl or Red Tailed Hawk?  Those who have do not forget the experience and carry with them an honest appreciation of nature, an appreciation that remains through future years.

To me, the birds of prey are another of the creations of God, misunderstood by many people but bound to interact some place, some way. I now see the second part of that statement applies to the critters of nature and also to the nature of God.
(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Raptors and Raptor Rehab Wed, 30 Nov 2011 08:10:00 GMT
Bread Pudding,,a Holiday Delight Dessert Style with Nuts and Chocolate This is my first time to cook bread pudding. I chose ingredients for a dessert style. As I understand, this type of pudding came about as a means to use old bread and let none go to waste.  The dish varies greatly from culture to culture. I have found people either like it or absolutely will not even take a bite...the same way some people avoid fine cheesecake and miss a true culinary delight.   This particular recipe is a basic form with my choice of added ingredients.  Feel free to add you own personal touches such as berries, etc., staying aware not to add much excess liquid which could make the dish too wet and the custard not properly cooked. 
Shown below, a dollop of sherbet adorns the pudding. At Thanksgiving dinner, it was served warm topped with fresh whipped cream. 
 Bread Pudding...a fine Holiday Treat
Here is the recipe, serving 4 to 8, depending on 
your spoon and generosity:
  • 2  3/4 cups cubed day old French bread
  • 4 eggs,med (no-cage brown eggs if you have them)
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1 pinch allspice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup nuts, chopped (optional walnuts, pecans)
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate, chips or chopped
  • 8 inch square baking dish
1.    Butter baking dish well.
2.    Place bread cubes in the baking dish, sprinkle on nuts and chocolate holding back some to sprinkle on after liquid is added.
3.    In a medium bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream. Stir in pinch allspice. Pour over the bread. (Taste at this point for spices.) Let set for 25 min while oven heats up.*  (Taste again.) Press bread as needed to keep well into liquid.
4.    Sprinkle with nutmeg, brown sugar, remaining nuts and chocolate. 
5.    Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C)*.
6.    Prepare a water bath for the baking dish by partially filling a larger dish with hot water.
7.    Place the baking dish in the water bath. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean. Serve either hot or chilled. 
French Bread...some call it a Baguette.  The dough style is regulated in France but not particularly the shape.  This is hard bread and wonderful for many uses. Why mention it? Depending on your knives and keenness of edge, you may need a serrated blade to quickly cut the baguette.  Cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick then cut across twice to cube.  As you can see, I was rescued by a Japanese Dozuki saw and made short work of the bread and the cutting board!  (Not wanting anyone without a dozuki to feel left out preparing this dish, use a sharp serrated or very sharp knife of your choice, like I really did.)
 The hard French Bread was cut into cubes the
day before and put into a plastic bag left
open and placed in the refrigerator.
This way it was both day old and pristine.
The Recipe Is Above. Simply follow it along.  The photos below illustrate the steps in making your bread pudding...
Bread with custard liquid added and sprinkled 
with nuts and chocolate
A smaller dish was used to press the bread into the liquid.  Allow to soak about 25 minutes and turn on the
oven to preheat during this time
 The pudding before baking
Water bath used for gentle baking 
of the custard mixture
In the oven, ready to bake
The bread pudding straight from the oven
There it is...  This festive holiday bread pudding is a tasty morsel and really quite easy to prepare
A word to the wise:  I knew the flavors would blend and work to fullness overnight in the refrigerator.  That did happen with one surprise:  Black Walnut Take Over!
English walnuts would not have done it and neither would the pecans.  Those costly black walnuts raised a level of determination to be noticed and when reheated on Thanksgiving Day, it was almost a black walnut takeover.  I had been concerned about using too much problem with any of the spices and the flavor there was wonderful.  As for the black walnuts, lets simply say there was no hiding in the background or in the bouquet to those nuts.  It was delicious and the walnuts tasted bold and fine.  What I learned was not to use any more than I did the next time a holiday bread pudding is to be made.
Reheating:  This must be a gentle process to keep the custard from becoming too thick.  You can use a water bath in the oven at a low temperature, checking often on the warmth of the pudding.  If in a microwave proof dish, simply reheat in the microwave.  I did this one for about 8 minutes at 30% power, checking often and adding a minute as needed.  Low power must be used in reheating. 
Your you have a variation of bread pudding to share? Please e-mail me (link at page top right). 
(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Cooking Fri, 25 Nov 2011 14:02:00 GMT
Where is GOD? The final page is written Posting will continue soon after the American holiday of Thanksgiving is passed. The first post will be BREAD PUDDING, my cooking illustrated.  Certainly chefs of New Orleans and Birmingham or Yorkshire will be thrilled at this take on the old simple dish for using up left over bread...or they will certainly not be thrilled and turn away with a sigh.  For readers here, the photos should be interesting enough on this first attempt at the dish. I will report on the "taste" based on reception by in-laws and outlaws tomorrow at the dinner, each one a critic of sorts.

See the tabs above at header to read strangely different thoughts on a search for God. I got into the subject and twisted about in there. It is now concluded for what it may be worth.  Any thoughts you have will be appreciated.

The page on  "Rescued Pets" and Cats living in this household will be next to fill out.  I have been too concerned of necessity with other events to write effectively as I would like. The stories of the cats deserve to be written and done so to hold interest and provide a touch of humor here and there in the mix. There is joy and stuff to giggle over and with honesty there is sadness and reality.  The photos are being made of the present cats;  those of cats passed on are gathered and being re-edited as needed. The time has come to do that page.
Your Story
E-mail me your rescued pet story if you want. I might find a way to publish it here.
(Thomas Haynes Photoshoot) Announcement Mon, 21 Nov 2011 13:26:00 GMT