The Outlaws #113C, 23C, 33B, 17B, 36B, 104B, 19C, 82B, 66C, 79B, 45C, 13D, 7C & 124C

The Outlaws are an American southern-rock band first formed in Tampa, Florida in 1967.  Although still performing, the group’s heyday was during the 1970s.  Blending country and rock and roll, the band released their self-titled debut album in 1975, which included a nearly ten minute long closing number, Green Grass & High Tides.  Lady In Waiting followed during 1976 and Hurry Sundown in 1977.

In 1978, the Outlaws released a live double album Bring It Back Alive, which featured a twenty-one minute workhorse of Green Grass & High Tides.  Due to a printing error, early copies of both cassettes and 8-tracks labeled the album as Bring ‘Em Back Alive.  Buying a cassette of this album in the ship’s store aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CV-61) when it was first released, I never knew the correct name of the album until this week.  I saw the band open for the Rolling Stones in Anaheim Stadium, in Los Angeles on July 24, 1978.  The stadium featured a large clock and I remember timing Green Grass & High Tides at a little more than twenty-five minutes.  The price of the ticket was $12.50.  Sadly, original members Hughie Thomasson and Frank O’Keefe, along with long-time member Billy Jones have passed away.

These photographs were shot from the fifth row at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio on February 22, 1980 during the band’s 1980/81 tour in support of their 1980 album Ghost Riders.  The lineup for this show was: Hughie Thomasson, Billy Jones and Freddie Salem on guitar & vocals, Rick Cua on bass & vocals and David Dix on drums.  The price of the ticket was $8.00.  One wonders if Mr. Thomasson was really an Ohio State fan, or was he merely just pandering to the Buckeye faithful?

One thing I learned how to do during this concert was to load four or five rolls of film into my camera standing on the arm rests of my seat, in the dark all the while the row of seats and probably the entire auditorium was swaying to the beat of the Florida Guitar Army, which when one thinks about it is probably not exactly an easy feat to accomplish.

Steven H. Spring

Lightning #36C

Lightning #36C

This photograph was shot in the back yard of my old farmhouse one night many years ago as my two brothers were loading up their guitars and amplifiers after an afternoon and evening of hard partying, hearty eating and loud, loud music.   After my divorce, in which I bought my first guitar on the night of my fortieth birthday, Brian and Willie would come out every other weekend for a day and night of good times pickin’ and grinnin’.  Willie wasn’t technically my brother, but an ex-brother-in-law.  However, after playing alongside him all those many afternoons and evenings, I consider and refer to him as one.  Sadly, Willie passed away two years ago after being electrocuted at work.  He never sounded better the last time we jammed!

Every other weekend was party time down on the farm since they too, were divorced and had visitation with their kids every other weekend.  This did not affect me as after my son moved back home with his mother, I never had visitation with my two children.  Wesley lived with me for six months until his mother bought him three bicycles over a four-week period that Christmas, when she finally bought the expensive one he really wanted.  Even though I wrote the Common Pleas Court judge who presided over my divorce three or four times begging for help in getting visitation with my kids, not once did I receive any response to my request.  I guess the court system did not see any reason to legally enforce their own court appointed visitation schedule.  Thinking back, I went more than five years in which I never saw my children.  As a horrific example of how long I went without any visitation, several years ago, one Sunday afternoon a young man knocked on my door.  He knew who I was but I did not know him.  It took me several minutes to realize that this young man was my son.  I am still haunted to this day by the thought of not recognizing my own child.  I will never forgive my ex-wife for having stolen my two precious children from me.

Enough of my soapbox ranting…lets get back to the story behind this photograph.  After getting a glance of this magnificent display of lightning off in the distance, I quickly went back inside to grab my camera and tripod and went back out and started shooting.  If memory serves me right, I believe I shot a whole roll of film that night.  This particular picture was the last shot on that roll of film.  I must admit, however, that this very large bolt of lightning spooked me, as the farmhouse sat up on a small hill and I was standing out in the middle of the yard holding onto a metal camera sitting high up on a metal tripod.  This particular bolt of lightning seemed to stretch from the horizon to well over my head.

This coming week, I will be posting several more photographs that were shot during this same storm.

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #6E, 6D, 8D & 8F

Although not a true lily, daylilies, whose scientific name is Hemerocallis, is so named as its flower typically lasts for only twenty-four hours.  There are more than thirty-five thousand named and officially registered species in its family.  Native to China, Korea and Japan, daylilies can thrive in many types of climates.  Called the perfect perennial because of their stunning colors, ability to withstand drought and requiring very little if any care, daylilies come in almost every color except pure blue and pure white.

Daylilies thrive best with a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight, though darker flowering plants such as purple and red need some shade as the darker colors soak up too much heat.  These plants adapt to a wide range of soil and light conditions, however they do best in slightly acidic, moist but well-drained soil.  Some daylilies bloom in early spring, some in summer and some even in the fall.  The blooms come in many different shapes.  Depending on type, each plant should bloom for thirty to forty days.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #11G, 11H & 11I

Hostas, sometimes called a plantain lily, are of a genus of flowering plants that is made up with as many as forty-five different species.  Native to China, Korea and Japan, Hostas were first imported to Europe in the late 1700s and to America by the mid 1800s.  These plants come in all shapes and sizes and many colors, ranging from four inches wide and three inches tall to four feet wide and six feet high.  Leaves range from bright green, yellow and even blue tones with a texture ranging from smooth to crinkled, dull to glossy.  The flowers are trumpet-like in shape and come in white, lavender, blue and purple.

Hostas are considered shade plants, though too much shade can lead to a slower rate of growth.  These plants do best in gardens with filtered shade available much of the day and prefer rich, moist soil but also well-drained.  Plants with yellow foliage are usually more tolerant of sun while blue foliage Hostas prefers shade.  In my limited garden space, filtered shade is at a premium, and having twenty-five to thirty of these plants in all sizes, I violate the shade rule of thumb often.  Direct sunlight during much of the summer is definitely not ideal for these plants, but it can be done with plenty of watering, although by late summer, the direct sun will take its toll on these shade-loving plants.

Note: The first two photos in this post have been posted before.  However, do to the fact that having recently discovered how to mat and frame my digital photographs, I decided to posted them once again as this particular photograph is one of my favorites.

Steven H. Spring




UFO #1E, 42F, 42G, 37C, 23C, 24C, 51D, 58C, 71D, 79D, 96B, 11E & 4A

UFO is a rock band first formed in London in 1969 by Phil Mogg on vocals, Mick Bolton on guitar, Pete Way on bass and Andy Parker on drums.  Eighteen year old Michael Schenker, younger brother of Rudolf Schenker of The Scorpions, replaced Bolton in June of 1973.  It would be during Schenker’s five-year run as lead guitarist that the band would hit their creative peak, releasing if not their best stuff at least my favorite albums by the band; Phenomenon in May 1974, Force It in July 1975, No Heavy Petting in May 1976, Lights Out in May 1977, Obsession in June 1978 and finally a double live album, Strangers In The Night, recorded during shows in Chicago and Louisville during 1978, but not released until January 1980.  Paul Raymond joined the band for Lights Out on both keyboards and rhythm guitar.  Paul Chapman replaced Schenker on guitar in October of 1978.

These photographs were shot at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in Columbus, Ohio, USA on March 5, 1980 during the band’s No Place To Run tour.  I must admit though, it has been a very long time since I’ve played an UFO album and know nothing of their later material.

Steven H. Spring

Can You Teach An Old Photographer New Tricks?

The patron saint of photography has blessed me twice during the past several weeks.  First, there was the discovery of five or six packages of photographs that I do not remember taking or ever seeing.  Most of the pictures were shots of my then teenage children and the girls, Dakota and Arizona, red Doberman Pinschers.  There were also maybe a dozen neat Christmas photos of my old farmhouse lit up for the holidays.  What was different about them was that they were shot around sunset.  Every other time I have shot Christmas lights; I waited until it was very dark out, why I now question the wisdom of.  I will post several of these this coming December.

I always knew about those packages of pictures, because even though I have many thousand photos, slides and negatives, thanks to being the neat freak/perfectionist/obsessive compulsive person I have grown to be, I know where all of them are.  These photos, located in one of four boxes that contain every picture that does not make the cut for album placement, and negatives were right beside several concerts worth of pictures of the Chris Duarte Group, for which I was searching and were all in same photo/negative folder they came back from the store in, neatly arranged though not alphabetical.  I grabbed them all because there was also one folder marked Farm 360 Degrees that I wanted to look at.  Those were shot probably that same Christmas season, while either hanging or taking down lights on the roof of the farmhouse.  A 360-degree panoramic view of a life I no longer live.  These too, will one day be posted.

Why I never bothered looking through those folders of photographs is that one of my obsessive-compulsive traits was to go through a new package of pictures separating the good from all the rest.  The good would almost immediately be placed in a photo album; the rest along with the negatives would go back into the package, marked as to what they are.  My thinking was that the sooner photos are placed in an album, the fewer the fingerprints.  Every time I would see these photos marked Kids and Girls, I never thought anything about them because if there were any good, they would already be in an album.  These photos were a gift!  The development date on the back of the photos indicates that they were taken at the height of the lowest point in my life, during much turmoil, in the mist of a severe mid-life crisis in which nearly everything was lost, in which one life ended and another begun.

While looking for something to turn a color photograph into an old-looking black & white, a photographic epiphany was experienced last week after discovering Picasa, a free software program I downloaded.  I have yet to get the desired results I was hoping for with Picasa regarding black & white photos, but that’s not to say it doesn’t, as there are many more features that I have yet to experiment.  However, what it did to my color photographs was truly amazing.  The first thing I found was that it would frame and mat a photo, one that I could then post online.  Being color-blind, this is always a problem for me, but I thought lets see what I can do, then get my neighbor, my eyes whenever I need to order mats for actual frames, to grade my effort.  Picasa provided a color rainbow to choose from by pointing the mouse at the desired color.  Then, probably by accident, I noticed that if I pointed the mouse at the flower in the photo, the mat changed colors to match.  WOW!!!

This however, was not all that impressed me with Picasa.  It also has a feature called Boost that does just that, it boosts the colors in the photograph on a sliding scale from a little to a lot.  With just some tweaking of fill lighting, highlights and shadows, and maybe just a touch of color temperature adjustment and Picasa takes an average looking photograph and turns it into a work of art.  Flowers #321A is the original scan of my 4×6 print, with some tweaking as well using only the scanner software.  Flowers #321F is the finished project via Picasa.  Can you teach an old photographer new tricks?  Thankfully, yes!

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring