When we last wrote, I was headed up to Mississippi to visit the Cypress Swamp along the Natchez Trace Parkway. The Parkway is a really beautiful drive, passing through several states, and is the 8th most visited park in the entire USA. (Number 1 is the Blue Ridge Parkway). The drive up from New Orleans was lovely, as I was practically the only car on the road. Meeting folks at sunrise will tend to do that! =)
Once I arrived, I pulled out my flooding lounge chair, and enjoyed the sounds of the swamp. There is so much life in places like this, and it is amazing to sit in the stillness and take it all in. Once the Dancer's arrived, we got down to business. You can see the images from Cypress Swamp at this link HERE.
From here, I drove to Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. My plan was to camp at the park, and then do a bit of scouting the next morning to prepare for the session. This plan actually worked! Better than my first wack at using the 12v crock pot I have for #themightybuford. Buford has all the toys. =). Basically, the crock pot has two setting - OFF and Volcano. So I overcooked the ribs by quite a bit. Now knowing that, I'm ready to try my second meal - a pork roast with Veg. I'll let you know how that goes.
The session at Hot Springs went off swimmingly (see those images HERE) and another night camping there was really nice. If you have not camped in a National Park, I highl;y recommend it. It is very peaceful, people are (mostly) nice and on good behavior, and the views are without compare. The next morning, it was off to Oklahoma.
This is where I started to get excited. Watching the scenery change from thick forests to Midwestern plains was amazing, and I felt like I had made a big step. I used to live in Oklahoma and Colorado, and was born in Texas. I really do love this part of the country.
When I arrived at Chickasaw, we were amazing blessed to have two members of the Chickasaw Tribe come out to show me their stomp dance, an important part of their culture and history. They taught us about the meanings of the dance, how it builds up the tribe, and what it means to them individually. You can see the Chickasaw images at this link - CHICKASAW NRA
This is where things got rough. After having gotten up early to scout around for locations, and shooting until 9PM, I now had to drive overnight to make it to the Alamo in time for our 5AM session. It was a seven hour drive, and I had a little less than eight hours to make it in. THERE WAS SO MUCH COFFEE. Which does create its own problems.
I made it on time, and the Alamo went off without a hitch. Wanna see? The photos are HERE! Still running on no sleep, I headed out of town, found a truck stop, showered, and went to sleep for a couple hours until it got to over 100 degrees in Buford, and I thought I should get up and start driving. Out in the west Texas town of El Paso, (I love Marty Robbins) I stopped for the night, to get some computer work done.
This is proving to be the most challenging part of the trip, getting things online when I need to. T-Mobile is terrible for coverage in the USA (amazing overseas though), so I got a Verizon Jetpack to help me stay in touch, but that gets expensive. I have yet to do the Starbucks wifi thing, but I'm sure that day will come.
After a good nights sleep (man, I needed that!) I headed up to White Sands. On the way I found out the dancers for that location had all backed out, and my staff was furiously trying to get replacements in less than 24 hours. They came through with flying colors, finding 10 dancers. It was the shotgun approach, and it worked in spades. Some amazing dancers, those folks. You can see the fruits of their labor on the New Mexico page HERE.
Then it was a gorgeous drive up to Colorado Springs, where I went to high school. (GO SPARTANS!!!) It made me wax nostalgic about my high school days, and the impact my teachers had on my life. Hayes Alexander, Karen Reynolds, Trent Ellis, Linda Case, these folks had a profound influence on my life, and very directly help me become the man I am today. I owe them a ginormous debt of gratitude. And perhaps an apology or two... I was a bit of a rambunctious teenager. =)
Now, I am off to shoot in the Garden of the Gods, one of my favorites places on the planet. If you haven't been, and you find yourself in Colorado Springs, make the time. It's a small park that will leave a big mark on you. Have a great day, folks!