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The Cell Block

The wind whistled through the empty corridor. Plastic covering the windows flapped as the wind blew. Footsteps echoed the length of the building. One would say it was the consequence of an old building; others would say that it was the sound of ghosts from prisoners gone, walking the hall and whistling to pass the time.



I have to admit that I loved wandering this old prison. Mind you, if you go during the winter, take gloves. The woman inside recommended I grab my coat if I had one. I had a shacket (which I’m pretty sure is just a fancy way of saying flannel shirt) on, which isn’t as heavy as my winter coat but was surprisingly warm so at first I wasn’t worried about it. Yeah, about that. My issue ended up being my hands and the lack of gloves, those I never even thought to grab before making the four hour trip to Ohio. I regretted it within an hour. Thankfully, I had also forgotten to grab a backup battery and ended up having to run back out to my car before finishing my tour. I went ahead and grabbed my heavy coat because the pockets are better.

For those wondering, it was a self-guided tour (masks required) and it took me about two hours. There is the option to add a audio thing to your tour. Like a little wireless speaker that tells you the history, I opted out of it. I liked making up my own stories as I shuffled around.

I hope you enjoy the photograph.

Live, laugh, love, and let it ride.
SMH, Montana Rose Photography

Stairway to Redemption

The stairway to redemption starts with knowledge. Maybe. Hopefully.

I know that I have posted like one picture (maybe two or three) over the last year; if you have stuck around-I cannot thank you enough for that.

The weight of the world has been heavier than usual. I’m sure many of us have felt that, but it has gotten a bit of the best of me. I began to feel like there were too many irons in the fire. Between jobs and school and just trying not to lose my mind, well, as I’m sure you can imagine, it has been a lot.

With the weight of 2020 behind us and the future weight comes with uncertainty, I’ve decided to make some changes. I don’t know what this means for my photography. I still want it to be one of those things that I do, but there are so many photographers, and I’m not entirely sure where I fit in the mix business wise. I’ve decided to get back to some of the basics and focus on my strengths. I plan to produce new pictures every few weeks (I’ve got some day trips lined up), so I will be doing a “series” type thing, I guess. Of course, this is dependent on me staying caught up on school.

This first series will be from the Ohio State Reformatory. It is a historic prison, for those that do not know, that has hosted numerous movies, videos, and shows since its historical inception. The famous movie filmed here was The Shawshank Redemption. The reformatory lost its right to be a functioning prison in 1990 after a court ruling.

I know to most this facility will appear bleak and whatnot, but I found it peaceful and beautiful, but those who have followed me for a while know my fondness of the old and “abandoned.” I hope that you enjoy this series as much as I do.

Live, Laugh, Love, and let it ride.
SMH, Montana Rose Photography

The Roc

Roc, A Caisson Ceremonial Unit Percheron of the National Guard
**All photos from this shoot were done on volunteered time and donated to the National Guard**

The Squirrel

DSC_7984-3It’s my fault really.  That this has become acceptable behavior.  I’ve really condoned his behavior, but he’s an inner-city squirrel so it was probably already there anyway.

I knew when I put my bird feeder up that the squirrels would indulge in its offerings. I had accepted this.  I’ve also seen the videos that prove that no amount of squirrel proofing would actually work.  I honestly do not mind, they have to eat too. I am just starting to wish I hadn’t bought such a cute bird feeder.

It took a while before they realized that it was there.  The bird feeder.  Then once they did, the bird seed goes quickly.  So very, very quickly.  Sometimes twice a day it runs out.  That’s on me for filling it everyday, some times twice a day.

I can sit on my patio and they will just shimmy by me.  They try to pretend that they are part of the concrete or to act as if they are spiderman, but I always see them.  This guy, he no longer cares.  I’ve yet to think of a good name for him, but he’s a cocky one.  Moments ago he was behind my chair trying to decide if he was going to jump up on it or not.  He doesn’t know I saw him, but his reflection was in my glass patio door.  He decided not to.  I’m not sure what either one of us would have done had that gone the other way.

Once he got his fill of what was on the ground, he shimmied up the shepherd’s hook and then jumped on the feeder.  I feel that there may have been a more graceful way for him to do that, but he clearly did not.  He almost fell off a couple of times trying to get his footing right, I laughed…he ignored, this is our relationship now.

As I watched him eventually grab some food and then stretch off the bird feeder with his front half, while hanging on with his back half, all I could think was, “this is why I can’t have nice things.”

Haven’t thought of a good name for him yet, but I suspect he’ll be back.  Gutter cleaning people scared him off.  Oh, wait, I was wrong…he has returned, or it is one of the other 4 squirrels that has decided my patio is their patio.  This one doesn’t seem to care that I’m here, so I’m sure it is Mr. Bird Feeder yogi.

Hope you like the picture.  Live, laugh, love, and let it ride.
~SMH, Montana Rose Photography~

The Goose Brigade

DSC_7840-3That is what I’m going to call them anyway.  I’m pretty sure that I’ve used this title before, but it was much nicer than what I want to call them.

I’ve seen them before.  They are regulars around my patio.  I’m really realizing that I have way too much time on my hands and that I’ve spent way too much time with geese here of late.  Seriously, though, he’s not hard to forget.  He’s one of the only geese around here with a spot on his forehead.  There is only one other one, but his spot is more of a triangle and it is more grey.  He’s also not as vocal.  He’s in the same flock as this guy, whom I’ve name Whittey.

Whittey is an ***.  There is just no other word for it and he’s not a typical goose jerk either.  He’s viscous, demanding, and thinks that he is just the king of all that in which he touches.  He has a very white mark between his eyes on what I assume is forehead.  He’s very recognizable.  So, as I’ve said, I’ve seen him around the patio.

Whittey sounds like a mob name.  Not really, but in an act to not get brow beaten by call him something that would offend someone, I’m going with Whittey.  He who keeps coming around as I type.  He just ran off my buddy, a lone goose that comes when he sees me out.  That little guy is even brave enough to come up to my little table.  They’ve all come to learn that the coffee mug that sits next to me does not actually contain coffee.  Anyway, back to Whittey.

He and his flock, they’re a bunch of jerks.  Demanding, bullying little jerks.  He’s staring at me now from a distance.  I told him that they were getting anything and that they better hope the squirrel comes back around.   Whittey goes out of his way to chase off any goose, or duck, that is not in his flock.  He seems to have some kind of arrangement with the squirrels.  Probably because those cheeky little monkeys will drop seed on the ground….on purpose.

A goose can be a good yard away, but apparently that is just too close for this guy.  He will run full speed with head slithering around as he goes after them to chase them off.  My little buddy made the mistake of making a u-turn and heading back in my direction.  Whittey was on his tail, pun intended.  Such an angry little goose that one is.

The other day, I was out on my patio.  I’ve been trying to do that daily.  Anyway, I was on my patio and there some duckies trying to get in on the food action.  Whittey was trying to horn in on their pile.  I had tossed some behind me, because the **** brigade was on the other side of the patio.  Whittey would start to walk towards them so I would turn and point at him, telling him to stay on his own side (did I mention that I clearly have too much time on my hands?)  He’d take a few steps back and just watch me, quietly to my surprise.  I thought for sure that he would issue some kind of hissing protest, he did not.

We did this several times, before he went to chase off another goose.  Without my realizing, his flock had maneuvered their way into the ducky area and the little guys gave up.  Whittey and his crew were cut-off.  When the food runs out, they get bored and wonder off.  They always come back, much like now.  He’s waiting in wake, I can feel his eyes on me.  It’s fine.  I’m sure that my neighbors get a kick out of watching me talk to the animals.

I’m actually a bit surprised no one has complained, but the geese don’t stick around and it keeps them off of everyone else’s patio.  Anyway,  I really don’t mind.  It’s not like there’s anything else to do right now.  Talking to the geese is sometimes the most conversation that I get in a day.  Speaking of which, I better wrap it up…the **** brigade is back and it requires me attention.

Live, laugh, love, and let it ride.
~SMH, Montana Rose Photography~

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Style….

DSC_7748-9I have wondered a lot about my blog.  What I should write and what I shouldn’t write.  The more I write, sometimes, the more a good picture gets overlooked.  It could simply be the curse of WordPress, lack of posting, and what not…honestly, I do not know.  But I wonder about it.

I also wonder about my photography style and the fact that I don’t really seem to have one.  For those that have followed faithfully, I’m sure that this is a topic that I have touched on before.  It feels different now.  I don’t know if it is the COVID quarantine curse, or my age. Either way, this feels different.   It could be my current perspective on life, my life.

I have realized that there are two ways of looking at life.  We either see our years as wasted and that we are running out of time, or we view it has we all these years left to live.  That was worded better, three hours ago when I originally thought of it.  The point is, I’ve found that instead of seeing my life as I have all these years left to live….I find myself focusing more on the fact that I’ve wasted so many year and now they are winding away-faster and faster each day.  I know, that is a negative thing to say.

Here’s a shocker, I’ve seen taken a break and forgot where I was going with that.  Style.  Someone I have done photos for in the past put out on FB that they were looking for recommendations for a photographer.  I tried not to take this personally, but it did hurt a bit that I wasn’t their first though; especially, since both of us are still local.  I know that I do not necessarily have experience in this particular area they are needing, but that is because occasion has never risen to give me the opportunity.  I just don’t get that many chances to actually photograph people.  And as previously discussed, multiple times, people skills is an area that I need improvement in.  I get it, I do but when satisfied customers look elsewhere-it makes you wonder what you did wrong (when you know they have chosen to go elsewhere).

That is what made me start thinking about my style, and seriously lack of people skills.  I kind of realize that I don’t really have a style.  I don’t have one particular thing that I really focus on and how the picture turns out…well, that depends on the picture and what it says to me at the time.  That sounds a little unrefined.  Cheesy.  I just really couldn’t think of a better word for it.

It’s a little funny now, thinking about my photography.  The business side has always rusted my spurs.  I’ve never really considered myself an actual photographer, people keep telling me that I am and so I just kind of go with it.  I have really always thought that I’m just a girl with a camera that gets lucky with shots every now and then.  Then I get sad about something someone said, or that they want to go with a different photographer for whatever reason, and I think that I should just hang up my cameras.  Apparently, this is where my not following through with things is kind of a good thing.  I keep at it.  Even when I’m more than ready to just say the hell with it.

I don’t really know why I stick with it.  I don’t know that it will ever be the success that I envision, there are countless photographers (even in a town that isn’t really all that big at the end of the day).  I don’t have any particular style and I definitely do not have one that will make me standout above others.  I just don’t have that gift in photography or personable.  I’m coming to terms with it.  I’m a minnow in a lake full of catfish and have just managed to fly far enough under the radar that I don’t get caught, or eaten.  It is what it is.  So, why do I keep doing it?

Probably the same reason that I keep writing even though it never goes anywhere.  I always hold out for that hope and I really just like doing it.  I guess, in the end, that is really all that matters.  My very expensive hobby and my very rusty hobby that sometimes results in a moment that makes me think I can do this.  Probably foolish, but I am always and forever a dreamer.

The picture I played with.  It was a semi-focused picture of the only flowers that I’ve managed to buy that the geese and squirrels have not torn apart.  I have some presets that I played around and this is the result of me being bored and editing the mess out of it.  This is the version that I was most satisfied with.  I hope that you like it just a bit too.

Live, laugh, love, and let it ride.
~SMH, Montana Rose Photography~

Slowly….

DSC_71062Once again I’ve been horrible about blogging.  Even though I do not even have to write, just post a picture, I’ve found it hard to do.   I could list the reasons why, but honestly at this point they just feel like excuses.  I post on Facebook, I’m not sure why it has been so difficult for me to do that here.

I think part of me feels like Facebook requires less brain capacity.   I usually do it in those moments that I need not to think or use too much of my memory.  My brain runs about as fast as my computer these days, which is not a good thing; especially, since my computer is literally falling apart.  Popped a hinge a few months back and thanks to COVID, wasn’t able to get it fixed.  It is now held together with E600 and a lot of determination.  Even duck tape wasn’t strong enough for this fix.

Anyway, as I typed that paragraph out-it made me realize, that might be part of my problem.  I was talking to my brother-in-law the other day and struggled to say the word shoulder.  I do not use my brain nearly enough these days.  Even my new job hasn’t required the brain utilization that I thought that it would.  I’m thankful that I have it, it is much better than having been laid off and having to struggle to find a new job…but still. No complaints, just sayin.

I think, like the majority, Covid and quarantine (and other social issues) have taken their toll.  I know that they have taken their toll and being someone who is very into mental health, I’ve not been doing good about taking care of my own.  I’m working on that.

Even as I type I am sitting outside on my patio.  Geese and duckies about, eating up the birdseed scattered on the ground.   There is this one goose, I’ve named him Whittey (you’ll meet him later), he and his flock have returned for the second time this morning.  He tolerates me, figured out I’m the one with the food.  He and flock are jerks, though. Bullies and not in the normal jack*** goose kind of way.  More on them later.

I’ve been trying to make it a habit to sit outside everyday.  Part of my routine.  I read somewhere that routines are good for the health.  I’ve started a “when I get out of bed routine”  and an outside routine.  I sit outside and read a chapter of my book (This one is about Johnny Cash-one of the only musicians that I fan girl over) and then I do some work on my computer.  Provided both probably take me longer than they should…I get distracted by the ducks, geese, birds, and squirrels.  I’m also sure the neighbors are quite entertained by watching me interact with them.  Whitey and I have quite the exchange.  Did I mention that he’s kind of a d***?  I’m beginning to think that I might have way too much time on my hands.

I forgot where I was going with all that.  Shocker.  I’ve grown bored with most of the pictures that I took a year ago, or even the ones that I took at the zoo just months ago.  It may be the lack of new vacation photos.  I should have had a new batch.  Outside of the “wildlife” that has been gracing my patio, there hasn’t been a lot of  photographic opportunity.  Haven’t felt like going anywhere.  Not a lot going on around here.  I am need of a break, so I have decided to take a trip.

I know that some will frown upon it.  Emphasize all the risk, but the truth is…I need a rest.  My brain needs a rest.  My body needs a rest.  That is something that I will not get around here, so I’ve decided to tuck away in a cabin in the mountains (more like steep hills) away from the population.  I’m good at avoiding people, so I’m not really all that worried about exposure; especially, since so many places have contactless options these days.  There is always going to be a risk at this point.  Mask and clean hands, I’ve listened to the memos and the chants, I’ve got it.  It’s not even half a day’s drive from me, so I consider it a day trip…that will last a week.

It will be nice to get some fresh pictures and be able to use my new camera on something other than the same old subjects.  The picture posted is my newest set, it was a paid job.  Mr. Legs, or as he is actually named “Crown Royal”.  He was a boarder at the farm.  He and his owner have since moved to another barn that is better suited for their needs.  It happens, but he is a beautiful boy and extremely photogenic.

He’s also just a baby.  A five-year-old off the track thoroughbred.  There is something about OTTBs, I don’t know what it is.  It was also nice to be able to photograph a horse that just kind of did his own thing.  He’s got some power and if you are not on top it, he will get over on you (as displayed during our shoot).

It may sound strange, to say that he did his own thing, but sometimes (depending on the person holding the horse) the shoots seem to be more structured and the horse doesn’t really get the freedom to be a horse.  Stand still, head up, ears up….I get tired of structured.  Some of the other shoots, I wouldn’t have been able to get shots like this.

This is my all time favorite shot.  It is also the shot that has stressed me out the most, because I’m afraid that I won’t be able to match its popularity.  It has been one of the most liked photos that I’ve posted.  That makes me happy and worried at the same time.  I try not to stress about it.  I am sure that I will have other great shots, but only time will tell.

Live, laugh, love, and let it ride.

~SMH, Montana Rose Photography~

 

The Sands…

DSC_6738Not really.  Kind of.  It was sandy, this is near the dunes.  These guys roam at this particular nature preserve.  Eh…kind of.

I will never pass up buffalo (yes, for those that are new, I know they are actually bison.  I grew up knowing them as buffalo and I like that better.)  Anyway, I will never pass up these beauties, but once you’ve been to somewhere like The Badlands, Custer State Park, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, or somewhere like that….seeing guys like this is not really the same.

These guys were back behind a fence.  They’re dangerous and unpredictable, so yeah.  They have lots of acreage to roam on, but would I say that they “roam” the preserve?  Not really.  It is better than the last park I went to, though.  The last one, they had a much smaller area to roam around in.  This is a healthier environment in my opinion.

That is not putting it down. It is nice to be able to drive and hour to see these beautiful beast, but I like the hiking the mountains and hills to stumble across one or two (often more).  Watching them in their element as they watch me to ensure that I do not get to close.  I also like the curious ones that do not fear me and chase me around my car trying to figure me out.  Not in a dangerous way, he was curious but there were other people around so I had to “behave” and not be one of those people.  Of course, in theory, I probably shouldn’t have been out of my car in the first place.  Do not do what I do.

I know that they are dangerous.  I never press my luck. I watch them, I listen to them, and I respect them.  I am always a good fancy RV and half away, at least.  I know my limits and I know that no matter how fast, how far away I am….if I’ve crossed their comfort zone, they’re going to let me know it and I’m going down.

I wish more people would listen, observe, and be cautious.  A 72 year old woman got gored the other day by pushing a beauty’s boundaries.  She approached him numerous times to get a good picture….that is one time too many.   If he was already warning her, the first time was too close.  From my understanding, she got way closer than I ever would have… intentionally.  She also survived, as far as I know.    Thankfully, so did he.  This doesn’t always end well for the animals.

Anyway, Kankakee Sands is good for a quick fix.  If one is going solely for the intention of seeing the bison, they could end up disappointed.  Had I not decided to give it one more shot before heading home, I would not have seen them.  The “viewing” area was closed, but they had come up closer to the trails.  I’m not sure how close they are when the “viewing” area is open.  Not even sure even what exactly the viewing “area” is.  I cannot guarantee that I was walking where I should have been, but I also others and it was a trail, so I ventured.

I’m also not sure how large the herd actually is.  It appeared to be only a handful, but there could have been more out in the field.  They are still super cute, though, and I’ll probably go back.

I hope that you enjoy the pictures.

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Live, laugh, love, and let it ride.
~SMH, Montana Rose Photography~

An Old Wooden Cross

DSC_6590It sat alone.  Far in the back of the cemetery.  Just an old wooden cross warn by time.  An old wooden cross with nothing more than a broken vase gracing its base.  An old wooden cross in a long forgotten cemetery hidden in the middle of nowhere.

She wondered about its occupant.  Was it an animal?  It was a human cemetery, or appeared to be.  Had they had a good life?  Did a loved one bury them?  Or had they grown forgotten and the marker was just a thoughtful gesture by someone who felt all graves should be marked?  She then began to wonder about herself.

Was this her fate?  Would this be all that was left of her?  She had grown tired.  More alone than ever before.  Some she had pushed away, some needed to go, and some were never there to begin with.  She wanted change.  She needed change.  Alas, the more she searched, the farther lost she became.  Was this her future to path?  A lonely life with tears no one would see.  She prayed daily for it be not, but her hope slowly faded with each passing day.

She took a deep breath and looked to the sky.  Praying for time to ensure that there was more to her journey.  That her life would not end with what it had become.  That she would be more than a nameless grave in a forgotten cemetery with just an old wooden cross marking where she laid.
DSC_6601I had pondered often what to write for these pictures.  This cemetery was interesting.  This was one of two very makeshift headstones.  There were only five graves total.  Lost in an old cemetery down some long forgotten road unless you are a hunter.  A cemetery long forgotten by time.

It also comes on a day of sadness for many.  For me, it was the loss of another musician that I loved.  Charlie Daniels, mostly known to non-country folk for The Devil Went Down to Georgia.  He was more than that.  He had many songs and he was a man of many words that didn’t hold his tongue.  Someone I would have loved to have met, but missed my chance…in small part thanks to money (Those are tickets that are not cheap) and then COVID and now his passing.  He did not die of COVID, he died of complications from a stroke.  He was 83.

He is not a man that will soon be forgotten.  His grave will not go nameless.

This post went on a sadder note than I had intended, but it is a sad day.  Between deaths, Covid cases, racial debates, political debates, mask debates….it is too much for a lot of us.  That is all I will say on the matter.   They are all heated topics and we still do not listen.  That is a huge part of our problem.  We are all guilty, because both sides are so passionate about their stance.  It is what drives, but right now-it is also what could destroy us.

I am refusing to fade to deep into the negative, though.  I believe that things can get better.  At least, I want to believe that things can get better.  I hope you are keeping your heads up as best you can as well.  DSC_6609Live, laugh, love, and let it ride.
~SMH, Montana Rose Photography~

No Fear

DSC_6472This is the kind of shot that you get when the squirrels no longer fear you.  Or at least care more about the food on your patio than the fact that you are on your patio.  It could also have been that their were four of them and so he had no fear because he had his buddies with him.

It is not often that they stick around once I open the door, but here we are.  If only the geese were as fearful as the squirrels.  The geese don’t care, they are ready to fight me in a heartbeat.

Geese, so many of them.  I don’t mind.  They’re ungrateful little monkeys, though. Hissing as I fill the bird feeder.  Some days they are lucky I don’t harm animals….or at the very least that the Zone no longer cares about them.

I hope that you enjoy the picture.

Live, laugh, love, and let it ride.
~SMH, Montana Rose Photography~