Friday, November 30, 2012

Purple Passion Flower loves Jesus

Now I was born in Gadsden, Alabama and Amber was born in Greeneville, Tennessee, yes we are a southern born couple but we didn’t meet until after we became transplanted Yankees. However, we both lived in the south long enough for us  to learn that there is two things you (as a southerner) love more than anything else; Bar-B-Q and Jesus. You can’t walk down the street without seeing at least five churches and six BBQ joints, more or less given the street you’re on. Well we were reminded of this again when we met my sister in Gatlinburg a few weeks ago and we three came up with a few comments about a BBQ joint called Christ BBQ or Jesus’ BBQ Chapel or something of the sort, you get the idea. Today I was thumbing through Fleegan’s pictures (  ) and I came across this picture that Fleegan has taken;

In the comment sections she states that she had looked it up and found that it is called a purple passion flower. Curious to know more of these Martian looking flowers I looked it up and in the description I found this;

“This unusual flower is widely distributed in the Southeast, especially from Florida to Texas. The plants were given the name Passionflower or Passion vine because the floral parts were once said to represent aspects of the Christian crucifixion story, sometimes referred to as the Passion. The 10 petal-like parts represent Jesus’ disciples, excluding Peter and Judas; the 5 stamens the wounds Jesus received; the knob-like stigmas the nails; the fringe the crown of thorns.”

Whoa! Even the plants in the south love Jesus. I wonder if there is a BBQ plant?

Oh, quick note; Fleegan is my god sister that I grew up with in Alabama along with her brother Justin and my sister Kelly. All of us kids spent plenty of time together but more to come on that in future post.

For more of Fleegan check her site out All credit to fleegan and her aweome pictures.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

My Job

I know two posts in one week? Yes that’s right kiddies I have written two posts in one week, enjoy. So I was reading up on how to do my nails with a Christmas theme recently… ok I wasn’t, but I did read my wife’s blog ( about it because she is a good writer. While I was looking at her page I noticed that she had a “about me” section on her blog page that included a short blip about herself and a link to click to see her full profile. In her profile, you get to learn a little about her and her email is included if any readers wanted to contact her and that sort of stuff.  I didn’t realize this existed for the blog site we use when I started mine so I added a “about me” section on mine. I included a short blip about myself as well so new readers don’t have to fish through the old posts to see if they can find out something about me and my email address in my profile so anyone can contact me to ask a question, give me some razz, or whatever. Well in my profile portion I added that my occupation/job title is ophthalmic photographer.
Yea say that ten times fast. Ok try three times. Actually just try to say it once. Can’t? Don’t worry, neither can I without sounding like a robot.  The worst is that I have to spell it from time to time. Try that without looking back at it two or three times. Any who, what my job entails is diagnostic testing of the eye, more specifically diagnostic imaging. No, I don’t do x-rays of the eyes or anything like an x-ray. The only way what I do is anything like x-ray is that it is diagnostic imaging of anatomy and that’s it. It’s like saying taking a picture of the outside of your hand with your phone is the same as doing an x-ray.  So I use three main pieces of equipment that do multiple tests each.
My favorite is the fundus camera. All it is, a big fancy looking camera that is highly magnified with multiple filters to do different type of pictures of the outside and inside of the eye. You heard me right, the inside of the eye. You know when you go to the eye doctor and they put drops in your eyes? You become so light sensitive that when you leave you can’t see anything for a few hours and the every light is more blindingly bright than it has ever been? That’s when I take those pictures, when your pupils are dilated huge and you look like you’re on drugs. I use different filters to show different aspects of the different anatomy of the eye one test includes a dye that is injected through a vein in your arm and as the dye runs through the veins in your body and the back of the eye I snap photos using a blue flash. The dye is very similar to the stuff they use on CSI or any other forensic TV shows that is sprayed all over a crime scene then they use a black light and see all the blood. Actually it’s the same thing just a different strength. When the dye enters the veins in the back of the eye the initial pictures show this morbidly beautiful light show. I use the word “morbidly” because if you have nothing wrong with your eye (no disease) then the “light show” isn’t nearly as fantastic.
The next test I like to do the most is ultrasound of the eye or area around the eye (orbit). Yes ultrasound, the same thing that a pregnant woman gets so she can see the baby while it is still in the belly. Except my instruments are smaller and the sound waves they emit don’t penetrate as deep as the prego versions. So the answer is no to the question, “if I was pregnant can you scan my belly and see my baby?” We can look at everything from the very front (cornea), through the middle portions, black hole in the center (pupil) and colored part (iris), to the very back (retina and choroid) and even past into the muscles behind the eye.

The third piece of equipment is called optical coherence tomographer or OCT for short. Easiest way to described what is does is that it conducts a laser scan of the back part of the inside of the eye or as you learned above, the retina. When I say laser I don’t mean “rule the world write my name on the moon using a laser gun” laser more of just using a scanner on your eye laser. It’s kind of like in the movies when the character has to look into an eyepiece and a laser scans their eye and the door unlocks. So that’s what I do in a nut shell and 700 words.
All pictures are just example of what I do but I didn’t take these because that’s HIPPA violation.  I found these on the internet without labels.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thanksgiving and Wooden Boats

 I made it through Thanksgiving without dying of overeating and I had a wonderful time as I usually do with the family. We ate lunch with the in-laws at an old inn called Shaw Inn in Lancaster, Ohio then moved onto dinner with my family at their house. Everyone ate too much, of course, took some pictures, chatted about life and what we were thankful for, you know all the typical Thanksgiving day mumbo jumbo.
 Recently my dad has picked up working on old boat motors for people, getting them running or just giving them a tune up or maybe just cleaning them up a bit. Well a few weeks ago he was asked to take a look at an old motor, a 1957 Evinrude 35 to be exact. Being the man he is, he accepted the challenge and went to pick up the motor but ended up bringing home not just the motor but the boat as well. Now he had told me about the boat which I didn’t think too much of until I saw it when I was there for the holiday. The boat, a year older than the motor, is a Lyman wood boat, built in Sandusky Ohio. Now it isn’t pretty by any means, not shiny or smooth, but it is solid. Definitely needs to be refinished. It’s one of those boats you see in movies with the flag waving off the bow, simple colors like red, blue, white, or just a dark wood color like mahogany. Just a classic style, good looking boat, at least it will be after someone cleans it up. I’ve seen wood boats on television or the computer before and I think they are neat but never thought too much about them beyond that. That was until I saw this one up close. I couldn’t stop looking at this boat I even took a ton of pictures of it.  I spent maybe a total of two hours all together admiring this machine. I would envision how it would look all clean and refinished sitting in the water on a cool fall day with the trees on the bank in the background changing colors. I could just see it. Even better it was built here in the United States, a few hours from where I live today. It was a solid, sturdy boat when it was new and still just as solid today, even after it had been sitting in the barn for however long. Plus it is almost sixty years old. It was built to last. They don’t make them like that anymore.
I haven’t had much time to think of a challenge as I have been busy with work, the holidays and I’m still finishing up with the NCAA  men’s soccer tournament so my challenges have been a little slack but hey, I’m a busy guy. Oh, on top of everything else I have about 75lbs of pecans to shell, that’s my challenge, get those done. I’m working on something that I’ll have to tell you about later. So unfortunately that’s it for now, until next time, happy happy happy.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
   -Winston Churchill

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Annie Leibovitz

            We made it to the Annie Leibovitz exhibit but unfortunately there wasn’t as much landscape photos as I had hope. However, the pictures that made her famous were there and they were something else. Its weird how most of her photos seem like they were just taken of the celebs as they were just hanging around, not really posing for photos. I think that’s why they were so good. The people, for the most part, weren’t all dauled up in clothes and makeup. There were quite a few photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger, not that he isn’t a celeb but just didn’t expect it. My favorites were Willie Nelson, Louise Bourgeois, her early Rolling Stones photos, and yes Arnold from the late ‘70’s, basically any of her black and white portraits.
            Now I said there wasn’t much landscape but what there was, was amazing. The one that stuck out the most to me was from Annie’s “pilgrimage”. There was a section of basically random photos of houses, TVs, books, whatever, it looked like pictures I took when I first pulled my camera out of the box of random objects around the house. But during her pilgrimage Leibovitz made it out to Yosemite National Park, basically following the footsteps of one of my favorite photographers Ansel Adams. There were just a few photos but she did an excellent job recreating the beauty that Adams did of the park. Needless to say it was an inspiring event and made me want to run out and take photos of people.
            Quick soccer update; college soccer is coming to an end with the NCAA tournament starting this week. 48 teams are entered and seeded to battle to the end. I have my choices of who I would like to see make it to the College Cup (soccer version of the final four) but out of respect of my audience I’ll keep my predictions to myself so I don’t offend any readers, since I know how much you like soccer.
            So that’s what’s going on for this week, I have a lot of soccer writing to do as I am covering the tournament so that’s basically my challenge, to get that done. If you want to keep up with the tournament;, otherwise, until next time, if we weren’t meant to have a midnight snack, then why is there a light in the fridge?
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”      -Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Well unfortunately I was unable to do my hike to the top of Clingman’s Dome this weekend due to weather conditions caused by Ol’ Super Storm Sandy. I was disappointed to say the least, but with a foot of snow covered by a sheet of ice, hiking along a ridge top somewhere between 5000-6600 feet was deemed a little unsafe. I will return someday and make the hike maybe even start lower than where I had planned and make it a bigger hike. Nevertheless, we were able to drive up to the top of the mountain because they had cleared the roads so we were able to get some photos. Despite the snow and ice covered ground the sky was clear and sunny and when we finally got to the top the wind was howlin’ so hard Amber about blew away.  At Newfound Gap (where we had planned to start our hike) we watched the sunrise which was nothing short of spectacular. Then we drove seven miles to the top of Clingman’s Dome and the sights where awe inspiring. To look out over the valleys with the sun beaming down lighting up one side of the mountains while the other side still covered by darkness made for a peaceful morning at the top, cold, but peaceful. Fog still hung below in the valleys fighting the sun just to hang around for a little longer. We snapped a few photos of the landscape and got a picture or two of us before making our way back down the mountain. The rest of the trip was filled with relaxing, being tourist, and trying to drive the windy mountain roads back and forth to the cabin. And if you are ever down that way, and decide to order a pizza, try calling a few places to see if they deliver to the side of the mountain before just giving up and driving down yourself only to pass two pizza delivery guys on the way. Anyway the trip was a fun trip and even though I didn’t get my hike done at least I made it to the top to see it. Here are a couple of pictures;

Kelly and Amber on the porch at our cabin

On our way to the top we stopped and Amber took this photo.

Sunrise at Newfound Gap

From the top of Clingman's Dome
           Well haven’t had much time to make a challenge, but I do have plans to check out an Annie Leibovitz exhibit here in Columbus. Leibovitz is a famous photographer known for here celebrity photos but has done some landscape shots as well. I’m really interested in seeing the landscapes more than the celebrities but I am excited about seeing here black and grey portraits which remind me of Lee Jeffries’ portraits who I told you about in the post “Chris and Abandoned People”. So, until next time, enjoy the sights as they pass before you.
“Impossible is a word to be found only in the dictionary of fools.”    
-Napoleon Bonaparte