Posted on 28 July 2012
I had the honor of getting to shoot inside the Wonderland Cave this morning during Clean Up Day at the historic Bella Vista cave. A team of more than 50 volunteers, including students from Rogers HIgh School, descended into The Wonderland Cave wearing protective suits to clean up trash and debris from 20 years of neglect. The cave has been a magnet for vandals since its closure. Broken glass bottles, beer cans and graffiti can be found throughout the cave.
Originally opened as a nightclub on Feb. 28, 1930, the Wonderland Cave was the largest underground club of its kind in the United States. New owners Jan Edwards and Mary Miller of Los Angeles plan to reopen the cave in a year or two as a tourist attraction.
I have shot inside of caves before and it can be very difficult. I don’t like to use direct flash in these situations, instead opting to preserve the mood and ambient light vs. darkness feel. All of these photos were shot using remote flashes or by taking advantage of the ambient light from the headlamps worn by the volunteers. I even used my own headlamp to light the people and items before me in a few of the shots.
Posted on 28 May 2012
I find that it is often very easy to get caught up in the daily activities, stresses, ambition, and politics of life that we forget what is really important to us. This is why, at least for me, Memorial Day and similar holidays are so very special. Coming from a family of servicemen, including a brother who is currently active in the U.S. military, I get emotionally caught up in events such as these. They not only remind me of the great sacrifice our servicemen and women and their family have given for the rest of us, but event such as these remind me of how strong the brotherhood of the U.S. military is and how special it is to live in the United States of America. There really is a sense of family amongst strangers here. There is also a great sense of love for anyone and everyone who choose to come.
There were two people that were gracious enough to share their stories with me today, and I am forever grateful. Photographing patrons of a cemetery is never something I look forward to doing, but both James Collins and Carole Ashcraft opened up to me about why they were there decorating graves. Collins served with the man he was visiting. Since learning the man was buried in Bella Vista, and despite not knowing the man too well except that he was a fellow Arkansan, Collins has made it a ritual to visit on Memorial Day and Veterans Day for the last three years. Ashcraft was still in mourning of the recent loss of her husband, a World War II veteran, who died May 2. She was thankful to have her husband close by in the Bella Vista Memorial Garden Cemetery so she could visit. She said when she saw the bluebirds in the area on Sunday night, she knew that this was a place God was at, and she was happy her husband was there.
So a happy Memorial Day to all and a very special “thank you” to those who have or are currently serving our country!
Photo from this gallery can be purchase here, after May 29.
Posted on 15 April 2009
Today I had an assignment to photograph the Tax Day Tea Party in Bella Vista. This was a group of people coming together to protest high government spending. Some of the people at the event had reasons for being there, like Archie Birkner, of Bella Vista.
“I don’t like the direction the president and Congress are taking the country,” Birkner said.
He added that he didn’t like the probable taxes that would come from impending programs.
Several hundred protesters showed up at the Fayetteville square to protest taxes.
I was responsible for photographing the economic protest in downtown Rogers today. The event drew several hundred people to Frisco Park. I can not recall having seen a crowd that large in Rogers for a political event during my almost ten years as a photographer here. It was good to see people exercising their rights. Being citizens of the United States means we have great freedoms, such as those exercised today. I believe that with those rights come great responsibilities not only to exercise those freedoms wisely but to defend them from those who would take them or twist them for their own political or monetary gain.
Posted on 22 February 2009
While Bella Vista’s Mardi Gras celebration is modest, the costumes look great and make for colorful photographs. Children and adults alike were clearly having a great time. If participants have a good time the size of the event becomes somewhat irrelevant.
Posted on 21 January 2009
Today, Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009, I ventured to Riordan Hall in Bella Vista to photograph a painting class. I am always amazed at the talent of painters and how talented many of the residents are in Bella Vista. Over the past eight years working for the Morning News in Northwest Arkansas I have met many of these artists but I know there are still many out there with their stories. If you know some of these people with interesting stories or hobbies, send me an email at email@example.com
This painting class has been meeting since 1982 and one instructor, Melissa Bokker, drives from Cherokee Village every other week to teach the students. For more information on the class call Beverly Wescott at (479) 855-0095.
From woodcarvers to yoga, all types of activities and clubs meet at Riordan Hall in Bella Vista. Check out http://www.bellavistapoa.com/recreation/riordanhall.asp for more information.