camera

Imagine, if you can these days, a world without photography. Cameras are almost always at our fingertips now. We don’t need to carry a camera with us, we have our phones, and we are able to take all the pictures we want. We can document everything from the birth of our children, to a pretty sunset in the back yard. We document our smiles, frowns, and totally shocked looks. In so many ways, personal photography has changed our lives, but one way in particular is in documenting history. Most people don’t think our what they are doing as documenting history exactly, but it certainly can be. People have captured plane crashes, rocket launches, car accidents, forest fires, volcano eruptions, and earthquakes…just to name a few. Those things might not be history today, but in a couple of years, they are, and in many cases, one person had the only picture of the historic event.

Would history be documented without photography? Of course, but it would happen by word of mouth, and later the written word…newspapers, books and such. The problem with that is that those accounts can only tell the part of history that someone saw or was a part of. But, what if they missed something? Humans so often miss the small details, but a camera or video camera, doesn’t miss as much. Once a picture is taken, an event is documented…and every small detail can be re-examined at will. Pictures have made the difference between knowing the cause and never knowing the cause. Pictures have proven fault without a doubt. They have been the difference between an innocent person being falsely accused, and getting to the truth.

These days, with a camera built into our phone, we can, and do, document many events of our lives. And we document history…some of it amazing, and some of it devastating. It’s all part of the ability to capture things in real time. You have to take the bad with the good, because unfortunately, not all of history is beautiful. Some of it is completely ugly, but it still needs to be documented. Pictures have become necessary, because without photography, much of the full documentation of history would be lost.

Sometimes we see a picture that looks so far-fetched that we assume that we are looking at a picture that has been photoshopped, and sometimes we are. Nevertheless, some pictures, unbelievable as they may seem, are the real deal. A while back, I stumbled upon an unbelievable photo of a plane crash, or rather the moment before the plane crashed. I was instantly intrigued. Could this be real? Or was it just a big ruse?

At the end of World War II, the English Electric Aviation Company received a contract to develop a jet bomber. The resulting bomber was the English Electric Lightning F1. The ER103 design study was sufficiently impressive for English Electric to be awarded the contract for two prototypes and a structural-test airframe. The early prototypes evolved into the Lightning, an airplane which was to span the time from when the Spitfire was our primary front-line fighter to the end of the Cold War. The Lightning was the only British designed and built fighter capable of speeds in excess of Mach 2 to serve with the Royal Air Force. The aircraft in the photograph was XG332. It was built in 1959, one of 20 pre-production Lightnings. Alan Sinfield took a photograph of XG332 in 1960 at Farnborough. However, it was the very last photograph taken of XG332, in 1962, that became the famous one, and deservedly so. How does someone manage to take a photograph like this? Jim Meads is the man who took the picture, but this was not the picture he expected to take that day. He was a professional photographer who lived near the airfield. In fact, he lived next door to de Havilland test pilot Bob Sowray.

Meads says that Bob Sowray mentioned that he was going to fly the Lightning that day. An excited Meads took his kids for a walk, taking his camera along, hoping to get a shot of the plane, and give his kids something amazing to remember. Well, that part of the walk went according to plan. It was a walk his kids would not soon forget. He had planned to take a photograph of the children with the airfield in the background, just as the Lightning came in to land. They found a good view of the final approach path and waited for the Lightning to return. As it turned out, Bob Sowray didn’t fly the Lightning that day. The pilot was George Aird, another test pilot working for De Havilland. George Aird was involved in the Red Top Air-to-Air Missile program. He was a well-respected test pilot.

The flight was to take place on September 19, 1962. The day did not go as planned in any way. George Aird was in the Lightning doing a demonstration flight off of the south coast. As he approached Hatfield from the north east, he realized that he had trouble. During the flight there was a fire in the aircraft’s reheat zone. “Un-burnt fuel in the rear fuselage had been ignited by a small crack in the jet pipe and had weakened the tailplane actuator anchorage. This weakened the tailplane control system which failed with the aircraft at 100 feet on final approach.” The plane suddenly pitched up, quite violently…just as Aird was coming in to land. Aird lost control of the aircraft and ejected. Had the nose of the plane not pitched up suddenly, Aird would not have had enough time to eject.

The tractor in the photograph was a Fordson Super Major. Upon close inspection of the grill, one can see that it reads D H Goblin, which is the name of another de Havilland jet engine…the Goblin. The tractor driver was 15-year-old Mick Sutterby, who spent that summer working on the airfield. He would play an amazing, but unexpected part in the amazing picture. He wasn’t posing for the camera, but rather, was telling the photographer, Jim Mead, to move on, because he shouldn’t be there. Mead saw the plane coming in and the nose pitch up. Then Aird ejected and Mead says he had just enough time to line up the shot as the Lightning came down nose first.

Sutterby recalls, “I followed my father into work at de Havilland, Hatfield in 1954 when I was 15. My father was the foreman in charge of the aerodrome and gardens. My job in the summer was gang-mowing the airfield and at the time of the crash in 1962 the grass had stopped growing and we were trimming round the ‘overshoot’ of the runway with a ‘side-mower’. I stopped to talk to a chap with a camera who was walking up a ditch to the overshoot. I stopped to tell him that he shouldn’t be here, I heard a roar and turned round and he took the picture! He turned out to be a friend of the pilot and had walked up the ditch to photograph his friend in the Lightning. I saw some bits fly off the plane before it crashed, but it was the photographer who told me he had ejected. There was not a big explosion when it crashed, just a loud ‘whhooooof’.”

“I was about 200 yards from the crash scene. I saw men running out of the greenhouses and checking the scene of the crash. The works fire brigade were on the scene within a minute. Somewhere at home I have a picture of it burning. Although the picture shows it nose diving to the ground, in fact it was slowly turning over and it hit the ground upside down nose first. I was later told that if the pilot had ejected a split second later he would have ejected himself into the ground. I was very lucky. If I had known he was coming into land, I would have been positioned near the ILS (Instrument Landing System) aerial which was only 20 yards or so from the crash site! I believe the photographer had his photo restricted by the Air Ministry for – I think – about 3 months because the plane was secret,” Sutterby said, almost as if in thought.

“He then took it to the Daily Mail who said it was a fake. The photo was eventually published by the Daily Mirror. From there it went round the world, and I remember seeing a copy in the RAF museum at Hendon. I recollect the photographer usually photographed hunting scenes for magazines like The Field. I recollect that the pilot broke his legs but really was very lucky. I hope this is interesting. All from memory,” finished Sutterby.

George Aird didn’t have an easy landing, and in fact, landed on a greenhouse and fell through the roof. The fall broke both of his legs, and he landed on the ground, unconscious. The water from the sprinkler system for the tomatoes woke him up and he reportedly said that his first thought was that he must be in heaven. In the end no one was killed, but the resulting picture by Jim Meads is nothing short of spectacular!!

When I asked my sister, Caryl Reed to get me some “dirt” on her husband, Mike for his birthday story, she laughed and said it would have to be ranch dirt. Of course, I knew exactly what she meant, because there really isn’t much “dirt” to get on Mike, who is very busy being a supervisor at the Sinclair Oil Refinery in Sinclair, Wyoming, during the week; and working on their retirement ranch outside Casper, Wyoming on the weekends. Working on the ranch isn’t Mike’s only pastime, however. He like to golf, and he and Caryl took a recent trip to salt Lake City to golf on a really nice course there. It was a much needed vacation, because they haven’t taken many vacations lately that didn’t involve work on their ranch…not that either of them were sorry about that really.

Mike enjoys his golfing, and hunting too, and has taken several trips to go hunting, including Africa, Canada, and Alaska. He had a great time on all those trips, and the meat from those he got to bring home was used for a number of things, including jerky for the family. The meat from the Africa trip was not allowed to be shipped home, but rather was given to the surrounding villages, where it fed a good many people. Mike was allowed to have some of it and said it was really good too. While golf, hunting, fishing, and other sports are a big part of Mike’s life, Caryl thinks that the ranch may have just topped them in the priority line. He wants to have everything ready for their retirement, when they will move to the ranch, in less than five years. Being an entrepreneur, Mike has decided to plant hay on the ranch to use as an income source. It isn’t an unusual idea for Mike, who was the one that suggested that they buy apartments buildings for extra income. Caryl has been very pleased with his wise financial decisions for their family, and trusts his instincts completely.

Now that they are having their house built on the land, Mike can hardly stand to be away from the construction site. He put cameras up so he could watch the building of their house from their current home in Rawlins. Their vacations are all about working on the ranch. They’ve started to get to know many of their neighbors, and have many new friends. They all look out for each other, and of course we’re all there for each other. Mike is very well liked out there, as is Caryl. Their retirement plans are shaping up quite nicely. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

11167992_1023182441026687_1480521992843607678_nWhen we think of a cosmetologist, we think of someone who cuts and styles hair, probably dyes it too, as well as doing make up and nails a lot of the time. It is a profession that caters to a lot of people, but few really give it much thought after the appointment is over. I don’t go to a cosmetologist, but my niece, Lacey Stevens is one, and if I did go, she would be the one I would go to. Lacey is very dedicated to her career and to her clients. When I look at Lacey’s Facebook page, I see several people who have posted their gratitude for her work. One post in particular comes to mind. Her client posted, “Thank you for making me so pretty for my birthday! I love you!” Lacey and her expertise helped this girl have a wonderful birthday because she felt beautiful, which made her day extra special.

Lacey takes a special interest in makeup, and watches tutorials all the time on the latest look and how to apply 12208777_1104716806206583_2823102096553446044_nit correctly. Eventually, it is her dream to make her own makeup tutorials. That dream was actually in the works at Christmastime, but was waylaid when her boyfriend, Michael Tanner’s car was broken into and his Christmas presents to her, stolen. Now that makes me mad. A camera and a lighted makeup mirror for the purpose of creating her own YouTube videos showing makeup techniques. So, as soon as the insurance is settled, they will purchase those things again and she will be on her way. I am very excited about that. Some of the new makeup techniques, like contouring, a technique which seems to escape me, are so great. Maybe that can be Lacey’s first tutorial.

Michael is a very giving person, and for Lacey’s birthday, he has planned a trip to Boston and New York City in February to see a comedian they both like. The trip is to Lacey Louise Stevens_editedinclude a luxury train ride from Boston to New York City. Lacey is very excited. Trains are great, so that will certainly be major highlight of the trip.

Lacey is one of the up and coming hair stylists. She is one of the most requested hair technicians at Supercuts, where she works. Her personality and her love of beauty glows from her face, and people are naturally drawn to her. Then, they are never disappointed in the results. She is also a top seller of the products that the store sells, because if Lacey recommends it, her clients know it is a great product. Today is Lacey’s birthday. You’ve come a long way, baby, but the best is yet to be!! Happy birthday Lacey!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

First Camerascan0027_editedI remember getting my first camera. I was probably 6 years old at the time. Once I got it, I was almost never without it. I can’t say that I took the greatest pictures in those days, but what I can say is that I was often behind the camera rather than in the pictures. That had its good and bad points to it. The good thing was that I took pictures of the things that held an interest to me. The bad part was that often, I wasn’t in the pictures. I had never really given much thought to that until we began looking for pictures to use in the slide show for my dad’s funeral. It was hard to find some of me with my dad. I felt quite sorry about that. in the end, we found enough pictures, but I started thinking about the years ahead. I knew that I needed to do something different.

Being a photographer is a wonderful thing, and I will always love to be a photographer, but I have learned that the photographer sometimes has to relinquish the camera and be in the picture. If you never do that, it’s hard for anyone to know that you belong to the group being photographed. While that isn’t always a problem, there are times in life when it is a problem…such as the time I mentioned before. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it is great fun to be the photographer. When I see the pictures taken by other photographers, I get great ideas for shots I want to take myself. Of course, there are just pictures that happen, and no planning could make them any better than the shot you got almost by accident. Personally, I love taking wildlife pictures, with birds in flight being at the top of my list. Those are among the most difficult to take. The birds are moving so fast that by the time you get the camera ready and focused, the birds are long gone. It is a type of shot that takes lots of practice, but one that is very rewarding once you succeed.Annual Picnic 3John Seagull

It’s strange to think that the hardest lesson for a photographer to learn can be to make sure you get in a few of the pictures yourself. You would think that would just be second nature to someone who knows the value of pictures. I’ve never felt like I am very photogenic, and maybe that is why I don’t feel such a need to be in the pictures, but after many years as an amateur photographer I realize what a folly that is. Good, bad, or ugly, I needed to be in a few of those shots.

10527326_10202299152067747_6858961738343546900_nAt this time of year, many people turn their attention to the fine art of…hunting. And my nephew, Ryan Hadlock is no exception to that rule. This year, Ryan’s interest has turned to duck hunting. While any kind of hunting is a challenge, I think it would be especially difficult to shoot a flying target. I love to take pictures of birds, especially in flight, but they are hard to capture. The camera gives me far more chances to capture a bird in flight than someone with one bullet at a time. For that reason, I have to respect someone who can shoot a bird in flight. I don’t think that is such an easy thing to do.

Ryan is a great husband to his wife, Chelsea, and a great dad to his children, Ethan and Aurora. Those are the most important jobs of his life, even if they don’t feel like work. Ryan and Chelsea have always had a lot in common, and that made them compatable from the very start. Sharing your life with someone is easy, when you are both going the same direction. Then, when they had their children, they both showed everyone what great parents they are. Ethan and Aurora are wonderful kids with good manners and sweet personalities, even if they do take after their dad in the teasing department.11986937_10207241894556588_5179927847889566122_n

Of course, it could be all in the way Ryan was raised…and I don’t mean by his parents. Ryan is the only boy in a family of four children. His sisters have picked on him unmercifully. Not in a mean way, of course, it’s just the way that family functioned. And don’t get the idea that Ryan couldn’t dish it out, because he could. One time he told his youngest sister, Kellie not to dance with boys at the prom. Needless to say, her date was…you guessed it…a boy!! Everyone in this family teased everyone else. Ryan was slightly outnumbered, however. I’m not so sure that really mattered, but the girls did try to gang up on him some. And, even when it comes to his birthday card, which his sisters, Jessi and Kellie laughed about uncontrollably for the entire day. The card read, “Once upon a time, a very special person was born, who was destined to change the world.” And inside it said, “Calm down, it’s not you, it’s Jesus. I think he’d want you to have a happy birthday though.” You have to admit…it was funny!!

As to the serious side of Ryan, if there is one, he loves his job and works very hard at it. Ryan is a compression operator for FDL Energy, LLC. FDL Energy bought Anadarko which is where my brother-in-law, Mike Stevens and also Ryan work. In fact, Mike is Ryan’s supervisor, and they both get along very well. Gas compressor 10396299_10202299151787740_4098311407718402878_noperators follow a schedule provided by petroleum engineers or production supervisors to operate compressor engines, pumps and auxiliary equipment in a way that allows for appropriate flows of gas. They are responsible for adjusting controls and valves, regulating pressures and monitoring meters. Gas compressor operators keep records of meter and gauge readings to determine the temperature, amounts of gas received and dispensed, pressure and consumption rate variations. They may also collect gas samples for laboratory testing. I’m not sure how much of that Ryan does, but it was interesting to learn about his job. Ryan is a man of many skills. He can learn just about anything he sets his mind to. That’s what makes him a great employee. Today is Ryan’s birthday. Happy birthday Ryan!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

11428037_718872361573482_8491856488591969902_na10404391_708408122619906_1085418213807494381_naSome babies are able to capture your heart with their funny little ways. They are always smiley and always up to something. They seem to have the ability to do things that make people laugh, and it all seems to be instinct to them. No amount of planning on the part of their parents, is needed. My cousins, Chris and Annie Beadle have just such a baby. His name is Kasen, and he reminds me a lot of my oldest grandson, Chris, who was just such a baby too. Kasen has great big, expressive eyes, and an almost shy look about him, although he certainly isn’t shy around the camera, and in fact, he will steal your heart in an instant. That’s just the kind of baby Kasen is.

He is a busy little boy, who always has things to do, and you truly don’t know what he will be up to next…until you see his mom’s pictures that is. As I said, Kasen seems to have a shy demeanor, but I don’t think he is 11403226_732647406862644_8923556709457253721_nreally very shy. He plays well with his sister and friends, and really loves just being a big boy…now that he can walk. He loves his big sister, Nevada, and she loves helping out with Kasen. I think Nevada has wanted a little brother or sister for a long time, so she is really enjoying Kasen. Of course, he hasn’t had the chance to get into her things yet, so we will see how she feels about him in the future. I’m sure there will be those horrible years when she wishes they could send him back, but in the end, I think little Kasen will win his sister’s heart, just like he has every other heart he has ever set out to win with his quick smile and his big eyes.

These days, Kasen is content to play with his own toys, and I’m sure that his sister’s big 4th grader things aren’t too interesting. But then, she might have a very different take on that than what I see. I’m also sure that his daddy, Chris can’t wait to be able to get his son out there ad teach him how to play baseball or football, or at the very least watch their favorite Denver Broncos together, because that’s 10423726_733047923489259_2502943782726642415_nNavada Beadlewhat fathers and sons do, after all.

Kasen is a sweetheart, as I said, and I have to admit I am quite a fan of this little cutie. I love how he entertains those around him and I love that his mommy, Annie posts so many pictures to keep me updated. If I ever need something to make me smile, I just go to Annie’s Facebook page and have a look at the pictures she has posted of little Kasen, and then I smile and go on about my day. Today is Kasen’s 1st birthday. Happy birthday Kasen!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

IMG_3718Children are a curious bunch. There is so much in this world that is totally new to them. Things we take for granted as being average, or even boring, they find interesting, and children aren’t alone in this either. Animals can be just as curious about the things that people don’t even think about. Things like taking pictures of seagulls can have them looking at you like you are from outer space. I suppose they have seen enough humans to know what they look like. Then to see one with a camera up to their face, makes them think that this is some new creature. As I scrambled to take this shot of a seagull as it flew over me head, I had no idea that I had snapped a shot of him looking right at me, as if to ask, “What are you doing?”

Dogs are especially curious about things, and since they aren’t afraid to come near humans, they come and Dog and Camerastick their curious little noses right in the camera lens…and they are very likely to lick the camera lens…whether you like it or not. In a way they are like babies. The best way to figure out what something is, is to put it in your mouth…right?? Well, that’s just like a dog. If it’s cool enough for their human to have up to their face, it must taste good. Or maybe it’s a new kind of toy that their human bought for them. Maybe if they lick it and let their human know they want to play, their human with throw it for them. As funny as that sounds, the photographer probably isn’t so thrilled with that dog slobber all over their lens, but their dog is having a great time.

When it comes to kids though, they have a little bit more ability to get their hands on things. A wise parent knows that there is a time to kid proof your house. It doesn’t matter what it is, if their parents think it’s cool, so do the kids. And they don’t understand the concept of something being broken. They just want to see what it is.

My grand nephew, Jake Harman was very much that Curiositycurious little boy, when his mom or grandma was trying to take his picture. I can’t say that the picture turned out the way they had planned, but you must admit that it turned out pretty cute anyway. If I didn’t know what he looked like as a little boy, I suppose this picture could have been a picture of any baby, but it isn’t, it’s Jake. Jake was always a curious little boy, and I suppose that like most kids, that got him into a certain degree of mischief, but he was, in all reality just a normal boy, curiosity and all. And while the picture didn’t turn out as planned, it takes me back to when my first grand nephew was born. It was a new experience, and we were all curious about who he would become. Hmmm…curiosity isn’t just a quirk of children and animals. Even adults have that tendency.

Sleepy AllynWhen my sisters and I were kids, our parents had a movie camera, a projector, and a movie screen. They took a lot of home movies. It was as common then as it is now, but the technology has changed dramatically. Still, I don’t think that the home movies we have today are enjoyed in quite the same way as they were back then. When you have to set up a projector and screen, and then put them away afterward, watching home movies is a big production, and one that doesn’t happen often. It becomes a special occasion that kids will fight to stay awake for. These days, it is often one person watching on a computer screen or a television, and there just isn’t the same crowd to laugh at all the funny things.

That was exactly how it was in our family. When we talked Mom and Dad into watching home movies, we wanted to stay up and watch as many as we could in one night. Asking to watch “just one more” was not unheard of. For our youngest sister, Allyn Hadlock, staying up was a little more difficult than for the rest of us. Nevertheless, on one night in particular, she insisted that she could stay awake for the movie. Mom and Dad put the movie on the projector, and we started watching it. It wasn’t long before Allyn began to doze off. Dad tried to keep her awake, but it was no use. She was just too tired. Before long, Allyn was sound asleep. The movie was just too long. Of course, we all knew that Allyn was sleeping, and in a way it was funny, because she didn’t lay her head down or anything, but rather looked like she was watching the movie.

I’m not sure how much of the movie Allyn missed, but even when it was over, she did not wake up. We turned Startled Allynon the lights, but she didn’t move. Finally, it was time to wake her up, and when we did, she was quite startled. Someone was right there with the camera to record the humorous moment, and I must say that I’m glad they were. Kids do such silly stuff sometimes, and so often we forget to record the silliness. Later on, all we have is the story of the funny event, but nothing to really show how it happened, but in this case, we had the ammunition to tease Allyn for years to come. It is almost all the ammunition we have on her, becaue she never got into trouble..just ask us, we’ll tell you. Sometimes it is the goofy things we do as kids that are the most embarrassing. So, here’s to embarrassing moments. It is impossible to go through life without them, and Allyn just think, at least you didn’t fall asleep in school…that we know of.

FullSizeRender 4FullSizeRender 6I know that many people took their film to get it developed right after finishing the roll, and my parents intended to do that too, but like me, life sometimes got in the way for them, and some things didn’t get done. With five daughters, I can see how that happened. In fact, I only had two daughters, and I still have some film that has never been developed. It is a sad truth, that I hate to admit…but truth it is, nevertheless. My best laid plans, somehow always seemed to get mixed up. I was glad when they came out with the Polaroid camera, because it developed the film instantly. My pictures finally had a chance of being seen by my family. It was a great improvement for me and, I’m sure for many other people too.

Be that as it may, sometimes there are in this world, hidden treasures, that you come across when you least expect it. That is what has happened for my sisters and me. The hidden treasures I am talking about, are not in the form of silver or gold, but rather in pictures. As we have gone through our parents things following our mother’s passing, we have come across many pictures. We have reminisced, laughed, and yes, cried too, as we have looked at these great treasures from our past. It has been a healing time, but there was also a treasure that was so hidden, that it had never been seen by human eyes. We came across roll after roll of undeveloped film…some of it almost sixty years old. When we looked at the rolls of film, we really expected that there would be nothing we could do to save them, and there may indeed be some that are lost forever, but we have been amazed at how many are fine, and in reality they are of really good quality.

We have been having a wonderful time looking over just the few that our sister, Alena Stevens has forwarded to us, until we can get together to see them all. It is such a wonderful gift, to be given a part of our childhood that while we may remember it, we have never seen it in pictures. It’s a trip down Memory Lane, except that many of the “memories” are completely new to us…previously unseen memories. How rare it is to be given such a gift…such a treasure. I suppose that in retrospect, it might have been better to have developed IMG_0774IMG_0780the pictures before, so our parents could have seen them too. Nevertheless, that did not happen, and in this way, it is like a special little present that our parents left us. It is like a secret plan that they had, to leave us something that they knew would make us happy after they were gone, and believe me, we know just how amazing and special it is. And the really good news is that there are more pictures to come. I just hope that the rest of them turn out just as good as these did, so that we will have lots more hidden treasures left to us by our parents in the future. The gift that keeps on giving…forever.

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