Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Pictures Worth 5,000 Words

January 26, 2011

A Rocky Mountain High ... As Close as Your Eye

If a picture is worth a thousand words, these five panoramas, at least, should be worth five thousand units and probably more. Using your cursor as you very slowly circumnavigate these 360 degree perspectives of some beautiful western nature scenes, you will be able to view each vantage point almost as totally as you would in person. You won’t have 3-D vision with these photos, nor will you feel the heat of the sun, the rustle of the wayward western wind, the babbling sound of slowly rolling waters, or the varied aromas of prairie dust and mountainside wildflowers, but you will have just about everything else you need to simulate the journey. And that includes both your memory and your imagination.

Simply click on any of the five links below for a different trip. And, of course, kick back with your cursor ad enjoy.

America in Color: 1939-1943

December 4, 2010

Faro and Doris Caudill, homesteaders. Pie Town, New Mexico, October 1940. Reproduction from color slide. Photo by Russell Lee. Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress

We have my old friend and St. Thomas High School classmate Pat Callahan to thank for these beautiful photographs making their appearance in The Pecan Park Eagle today. Patrick, my man, thank you for all of us.

Today’s column is a visual feast. Just click on the link below and be whisked away to the Denver Post collection of rare Library of Congress photos depicting everyday American life in color during the latter years of the Great Depression-Early World War II era, from 1939 into 1943. Their beauty is in their full color depiction of an America that used to be, but no longer is. In some ways, that’s good. Poverty and racism are never pretty – and both need to be fought commonly as depredations of the human spirit that they each are.

Poverty is not the absence of money. It is the absence of opportunity. Racism simply guarantees that the absence of opportunity for some people over time will not lead to a crying out for same, but as a calling out for entitlement and rescue with money, If granted as living subsistence relief only through publicly funded social programs, the suffering new political constituency group gets to keep the spiritual poverty that came with the racist limitations of their previous mental or legal slavery to a prejudicially suppressed life without any real opportunity. In other words, remove opportunity long enough – and people don’t stop being hungry – it’s just that many of them forget what they are really hungry for. They grow up settling for rescue and relief from the public soup kitchen because that’s all they ever known or been taught to know.

But there’s something else here too in these photos. – To me, it’s an America still bonding close to the ground on family, shared labor, and community connection to others – and not to selfish consumerism
or addiction to technological distractions, like texting devices, or this one I’m using now, the Internet. Even in color, the people are not living at the brim of frilly material things that surround most of us in 2010, but they are not impoverished either by the absence of money.
Check out the photos. Get lost in another world of America’s yesteryears. Enjoy. Reflect. Connect with what you see in the images that follow. Then, here’s a game you can play that may be both helpful and kind of fun: Pick out a photo that might help you with your own perspective on life in 2010, if you could magically go back and personally experience the 24 hours of that particular photo day with the subjects, scenery, or activity that unfolds in that particular picture. Have fun. Here’s the Library of Congress collection link now hosted by the Denver Post:

Kodak Moments in Post WWII Baseball

November 9, 2010

The following five photos have these traits in common: (1) They are each photos of big moments in baseball history; (2) They each were taken during the widely agreed upon post World War II Era of 1946 to 1960; and (3) each were the figurative fulfillment of that magical expression about “catching lightning in a bottle;” and (4) all you need is magic to make something memorable – and a rarified photograph of the moment simply makes it harder to forget.

Here are my favorite examples from the post-World War II period:

October 15, 1946: Enos Slaughter's Mad Dash from First to Home.

October 15, 1946: Slaughter’s Mad Dash: It’s Game Seven of the World Series at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis. The Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox are tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning. Enos Slaughter is at first base with two outs and Harry Walker is the batter.

Walker takes off for second base on the hit and run when Walker follows through with a lazy, looping single to left center. As BoSox center fielder Leon Culberson lumbers after the ball, Slaughter hits second and rounds the base for third. Culberson makes the cutoff throw to shortstop Johnny Pesky as third base coach Mike Gonzalez puts up the stop sign for the dashing Slaughter.

The mad man runner ignores the halt sign and rounds third base, heading for home. The pivoting Pesky takes a halting look at the action and then let’s go a not even close throw to the plate.

Slaughter slides home safe for a 4-3 lead that holds up for a St. Louis final winning score in Game Seven, delivering the World Series to the Cardinals on a late-in-the game mad dash from first to home by Enos Slaughter on a Harry Walker dumping hit that should’ve never been anything more than a single.

October 5, 1947: Gionfriddo's Catch.

October 5, 1947: Al Gionfriddo’s Catch: It’s the World Series again, the Yankees are losing 8-5 to the Brooklyn Dodgers in the bottom of the sixth of Game Six when Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio comes to the plate with two runners on base and a chance to tie it all up with the long ball.

DiMaggio launches a blast that seems destined to reach the stands at the 415 feet mark, but late inning substitute left fielder Al Gionfriddo, all 5’6″ of him, races far across the field to reach over the fence and make the catch, denying Joe and the Yankees a game-tying homer at the 415 feet sign. The Dogers go on to win Game Six by 8-6, but lose in Game Seven to the dynastic Yankees.

Not just by the way, the Gionfriddo photo is every inch covered in fame by another photo of this moment I like, but did not have available for this article. That’s the photo of Joe DiMaggio kicking the sand near second base when he realizes that Gionfriddo has just robbed him of the game-tying home run.

October 3, 1951: The Shot Heard Round the World.

October 3, 1951: The Shot Heard Round the World: If you’ve read this far, you probably already know the story by heart. The 1951 New York Giants were already a team powered by miracles when they reached the great cliff threat of their pennant-driving season. Coming from 13.5 games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers in August, the Giants had fought back to tie the Dodgers for first place on the last day of the regular season.

Now, here they were in the bottom of the 9th of the third and deciding game of a playoff contest with the Dodgers at the Polo Grounds. With two runners on base and one man out, Bobby Thomson was coming to bat to face reliever Ralph Branca.

At 3:57 PM, Eastern time, Bobby Thomson unloaded a line drive home run that just shot its way into the left field stands like a Revolutionary War cannonball. For even larger reasons, the firing of that baseball oFf the bat of Thomson would be remembered to this day and forever as “The Shot Heard Round The World.” The Giants won the game and the in the biggest roaring walk-off victory of all time.


September 29, 1954: The Catch.

September 29, 1954: The Catch: It is arguably the most famous baseball photograph of all time. Running hard to the afr distant stands in deepest center field of the Polo Grounds in Game One of the 1954 World Series, Willie Mays of the New York Giants brings home the catch of Vic Wertz’s long drive in the very inning of play, setting a downward tone that the heavily favored Cleveland Indians will never escape.

The New York Giants sweep the Cleveland Indians in the 1954 World Series, four games to none. Willie sweeps defensive baseball history with “The Catch,” bar none.

October 13, 1960: Maz's Homer Beats Yankees!

October 13, 1960: Maz’s Homer Beats Yankees! In one of the most exciting Game Sevens of all time, little Bill Mazeroski came to bat for Pittsburgh in the bottom of the ninth at Forbes Field to face Ralph Terry of the Yankees with the score tied at 9-9.

Then “Maz” did something he wasn’t famous for doing. He poked a hard liner drive to left field that just kept on climbing. Left fielder Yogi Berra first started backing up as though he would have a play. Then we see Berra turn to watch. He is watching the ball sail over the wall and out of the park. Bill Mazeroski has just unloaded a World Series winning walk-off home run for a 10-9 Pirates win and joyous bedlam in the Land of Three Rivers.

Not so joyous in The Bronx or the home of their manager. Because of the loss, the Yankees fire manager Casey Stengel in spite of the fact that he had won ten pennants and seven previous World Series titles in his twelve seasons (1949-60) as the Yankee mentor.

In one more sidebar of mindless action, a 14 year old Pirates fan named Andy Jerpe retrieves the World Series winning homer ball outside the Forbes Field wall and he takes it to Bill Mazeroski for an autograph. The kid apparently never thinks to give it to Mazeroski or make a trade and the celebrating Pirates never think about a way to save the ball either. And who knows where the Hall of Fame representatives were on this day. They sure weren’t on hand back in that era trying to obtain and preserve historical artifacts.

The short of it is this: The Jerpe kid takes the signed Mazeroski major artifact baseball home with him. Some time later, an effort is made to locate the kid and the ball. The searchers learn the worst. The kid needed a ball for sandlot games at some point and put it in play. The magic Mazeroski home run ball was then worn down and finally lost.

Oh well, At least we aren’t likely to lose our famous photos – not once they are digitalized, anyway.

Have a nice day, everybody. And take care of what’s valuable to history.


Pictures Don’t Lie, Not Much!

October 26, 2010

This apparent scene from the 1950s is actually a picture of model cars in a model town.

Remember the old adage that screamed “pictures don’t lie!” Wow! Especially with all the advances we’ve experienced in recent years with digital photography and computer software picture assimilation and enhancement programs, like Adobe Photoshop, almost anyone with an IQ rising above that of a flea and the interest to learn the technical ropes may now create a picture that has nothing to do with the truth from a factual standpoint.

Take another look at that lead photo of the old cars on the Main Street scene from Anytown, USA back in the 1950s. The skies are even drafted into the landscape with a differential smattering of blues skies and cloudiness that we expect to find in any realistic picture. The photo is one of about thirty and it is only when the human creator appears later in normal size among them that we fully realize as viewers that he is the first person we’ve seen in this little idyllic small town. (I will send all of that material to each of you as Fwd: Model 1950s Town. The original e-mail was sent to me by former classmate and good friend Vito Schlabra.)

Aside from mental photos we now all have as Astros fans of realities that include Lance Berkman as a Yankee, Roy Oswalt as a Phillie, and the Texas Rangers headed for San Francisco and the World Series, here is one of Derek Jeter that I find interesting. It shows what may prove out as the future of Mr. Jeter if he now holds out with the Yankees for a new five-year contract at this point in his career.

Joe DiMaggio once donned a Red Sox jersey and cap, but he was just clowning around.

That’s it for now. Look for that “Fwd: Model 1950s Town” e-mail shortly after you receive this one. It’s really quite impressive,

Have a pleasant Tuesday, everybody, and try to be true to whatever picture you’re attempting to create.

My Webshots Hobby

May 4, 2010

Architectural Art at the UH College of Optometry.

Sometimes I take a break from baseball history to pursue some of my other hobbies. Photography tops that list – although it most often only takes me into baseball from a perspective beyond words.

Yesterday I took Norma to the UH campus for some follow-up neurological evaluation on her 2009 brain surgery. She’s doing well, but the time on campus gave me an opportunity to roam around again and do a little freehand shooting of whatever struck me. Although it doesn’t always work out this way, yesterday I couldn’t get past an intriguing sculpture in front of the College of Optometry where my wife’s doctor offices. In the bright clear light of Monday, May 3rd, the lines and shadows of the thing just grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let it go.

I got started with a Brownie box camera like the one in the photo. (As a point of reference, that's Herb Pennock of the '27 Yankees holding the large American flag.)

I don’t why my parents turned me loose with a camera when I was only about ten, but I will be forever grateful that they did. I’ll also forever regret that we “forgot” to get film before going to see that great game at Buff Stadium in April 1951 between the New Yank Yankees and the Houston Buffs. Those pictures I could have taken from our “on the ropes” standing room only position in left center remain in my mind like film I cannot take to Walgreens for development.  With a film-loaded Brownie Box, I could have captured Joe DiMaggio up close in center – and gotten a pretty good distant shot of 18-year old Mickey Mantle in right.

Oh well, the experience taught me a lesson: Never go anywhere without a camera. You never know what opportunities you may miss.

About ten years ago, I started posting all my baseball and other photo albums on Webshots.Com. Now, almost a million hits later, I’m still plugging away at it, although I do not generate as many new albums as I once did because of other time devotions, but I will get around to it a little more often in the near future. Photography is an old habit with me. It will be around for me as long as I’m around to enjoy doing it.

If you would like to check out my Webshots collection, cut and paste the link site here as follows:

Have a nice day, Everybody!

1948 Buffs Photo: Many Pictures in One.

April 19, 2010

1948 Houston Buffs: Zooming In, A Photo May Raise More Questions than it Answers.

The 1948 Houston  Buffs had a tough act to follow. They had to take the baseball stage on the heels of the 1947 Buffs, a tenacious club that won both the Texas League pennant and the Dixie Series championship. As it turned out, the ’48 Buffs, also playing under ’47 Manager Johnny Keane and with several players from their championship year, could only make it to third place and a full ten games back of the first place and eventual pennant-winning Fort Worth Cats. The ’48 Buffs lost to Tulsa in the first round of the Shaughnessy Playoffs.

I used the featured team photo of the ’48 Buffs to crop and display an individual picture of Jim Basso in yesterday’s article on the Buff who knew Hemingway. Remember this one? It shows up pretty darn crisp and clear:

Jim Basso Never Came To Bat for the '48 Buffs.

Before Jim Basso ever came to bat for the 1948 Houston Buffs, he was dealt away, ending his three season status (1946-48) as a member of the club. Based upon his length of time with five other clubs in 1948, it is fairly safe to assume that this photo of Basso in the team photo of the Buffs was taken in the spring or very early part of the season.

What else is in the photo, however unintentional it may have been?

The fan isn't smoking; it's a print negative scratch.

When I first saw the fan second from right in the photo, I thought we had a live photo of someone actually smoking in the grandstands, which many fans did in wild abandon back in 1948. It turns out that it was simply a scratch on the negative that had created this illusion.

What’s not an illusion is that all these young guys were there early to see a game, we presume. It could be that fans or family members were allowed into Buff Stadium just to watch the team photo shooting, but that isn’t likely. The issue that throws e off here is the casual attire of team President Allen Russell. He usually went suit and tie on game days so we can’t really be sure if maybe it was an off-day or just early enough in the day for Russell to change later. Still, if Russell dressed formally for games, you would think he would have done the same for the team picture. It’s possible to think ourselves into a corner on mysteries at this level.

Sporty Allen Russell in 1948 Team Photo Corner.

The sporty shot of Buffs President Allen Russell also reveals more seated civilians over each shoulder. Based on their youthful appearance and body language, I’m guessing they are “kids from the ‘hood” who came early for Knothole Gang seating who got to roam the better seats prior to the start of each game. We did that all the time back in the day.

It must be a long while prior to game time. Otherwise, Allen Russell wouldn’t be smiling that broadly with all those empty seats lurking behind him.

Somebody had a game date this day.

Way back there in the stands, we see a young couple seated, with a lonely lurking twerp seated sort of glumly behind them. The couple’s presence adds more weight to the possibility that this photo was taken early on a game date. As I recall our culture in that era, one didn’t usually get a date to simply go watch  practice or a team photo shoot at Buff Stadium.

The silhouette of these buffalo medallions confirm that Buff Stadium, indeed, is the site of our 1948 Houston Buffs team photo.

A total of eighty 36″ in diameter steel buffalo medallions once rimmed the exterior walls of Buff Stadium from 1928 to 1961. Two of these medallions hang today in the Houston Sports Museum at Finger Furniture. A few others are scattered among individual owners and I have one that was given to me by former Buff Jerry Witte and his family for historical safekeeping. It will eventually go to a place yet to be determined which can guarantee its preservation and display for history in perpetuity.

For now, here’s how this unmistakable symbol of Buff Stadium looks this morning in the space above my head where I write each day:

Eighty of these beautiful medallions once rimmed the exterior walls of Buff Stadium.

There is much in a photo. This one starts out showing us the faces of a team. It then ends up raising the question we all have to answer for ourselves: How much part are we each willing to play in the preservation of history.

Think about it. Then get out there and give the world your answer. No contribution can be too large or too small. If you do nothing more than join SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research, you will be helping all the rest of us take a giant leap forward – and this is not a commercial. It’s simply a fact. SABR works for baseball.

For more information about SABR in general, check out the national organization:

For more information about the Houston-based Larry Dierker Chapter of SABR, contact group leader Bob Dorrill at




Meanwhile, enjoy your old photos even more. And have a nice day.

“Houston in the 1920s and 1930s” Book is Great!

October 23, 2009

Sloane HoustonSome of you know about the Sloane Family. Their photographc gallery at 7616 Fondren in Houston has been offering the visual history of early 20th century Houston for quite a few years through singular prints and now – Story Sloane III has put together, in words and pictures, and through Arcadia Publishing Company, one of the finest quick views of life in Houston during the 1920s and 1930s that’s ever been produced.

The book is available at Brazos Bookstore on Bissonnet in the Rice University area and most probably at the other local chain bookstores too. If you wish to order a signed copy, give Sloane’s a call (713-782-5011) or check them out at their website, .

The book offers many photos I’ve never seen anywhere else, and on such chaptered subjects as Main Street; Home Life; Working for a Living; Houstonians at Play; Community Life; Getting Around Town; and Oil.

Oil? Yeah! Remember? We used to be an oil town, but this book isn’t simply another glorification of the oil capitol of the world days. This book features the work of Calvin Wheat and other professional photographers on all aspects of  Houston life. As an amateur photographer, I am figuratively blown away by the composition and high technical quality of these works.

I won’t attempt to show you any of the interior shots here due to copyright considerations, but this cover photo of all these school children standing in front of the old Metropolitan Theatre on Main near Lamar will give you a peek at what’s inside – where it simply gets better and better. Sloane even features some photos of our old Houston Buffs Texas League baseball club that even I, a relentless Buffs artifact collector,  have never seen. For me, finding any new view on the old Buffs is sort of like finding a new time warp crack trail into full escape into the era depicted. I just love the heck out of that experience of the soul – and I’m also mindful of the fact that old photographs are our time machine into history. – Wouldn’t it have been great if, at least one spirited citizen had been able to take and use a digital camera at San Jacinto in 1836 – or, say,  at Gettysburg in 1863? How about a small digital video camera too? While we’re lost in that dream doorway of what might have been, let’s not forget the history of sound, either.

Fortunately, the Sloanes were collecting photos and valuing the history of “our town” for most of the “coming of age” era  in 20th century visual-image-capture technology.  If you also like this sort of thing, this little book will light up the sky in the park areas of your imagination too. At $21.99, I think  it’s well worth the price.