Tupelo Christmas Parade 2011

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to any Christmas parade, and it’s been about forty years since I’ve been to the one in Tupelo.  The last time I went to the Tupelo Christmas parade, it was still a nighttime event, and my parents would park our car in front of the Firestone store on Main Street so we could see the Shriners drive their little cars around in circles–that was my favorite part, better even than Santa Claus!

There were no Shriners this year, and the parade was held at 10:00 in the morning, but it was a beautiful day and we thoroughly enjoyed soaking up some of the local flavor.  I carried my Nikon D700 and the 28-300mm lens.  I used a very wide aperture, not only to get a high shutter speed but also to practice some depth-of-field techniques.  I wanted to see if I could focus on particular faces in the crowd, or on certain features of the parade floats.

I wound up taking 447 frames, so I have a lot of images to go through.  Of course, most aren’t worth mentioning, but I did capture a few that I really like.  Here are the first two that I’ve spent some time on this evening.  I’m using Paintshop Photo Pro X4 and Topaz Adjust 5 for my processing:

Tupelo Christmas Parade 002

Tupelo Christmas Parade 001

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Meter in the Alley

Continuing my series from last Sunday’s photowalk around downtown Tupelo:

I love exploring alleyways in urban areas, because you never get to see these narrow passages from your car as you drive by, and there’s always something interesting hidden in the recessed doorways, utility hookups and shuttered (or not!) windows.

Today I have a pair of electric meters to share with you.  Each one was part of a visually interesting composition just the way I found them, and each one seemed to ask more questions than it answered.

Whose drink was this, and did they mean to come back and finish it?

Meter in the Alley No. 2

What were the missing letters, and what did they spell?

Meter in the Alley No. 1

Both of these were shot with my Nikon D700 and my 50mm 1.8 prime lens, and then processed in PaintShop Photo Pro X4, with Topaz Adjust for good measure.

If you like my work, please subscribe to this blog and feel free to offer comments. You can also find me on:

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Magnolia at First Methodist

The more I process in black and white, the more I enjoy the way the images emphasize the textures and form of the subject rather than the color.  It’s so deceptively simple–shades of black, gray and white–but within those shades are shadows and highlights that help you feel the picture, rather than just see it.

I love this shot of the huge, spreading magnolia tree that sits on the lawn of the First Methodist Church in downtown Tupelo.  I started out trying to process the image in color, but I was so distracted by the red brick of the building that it was drawing my attention away from the tree.  So I decided to try the black and white approach, and voila!  It’s exactly what I wanted:

Magnolia at First Methodist

I used Paintshop Photo Pro X4, along with Topaz B&W Effects to process the image.  I wish the large window had not gotten blown out so much, but overall I’m still pleased with the shot.

I’m trying to build a collection of black and white photos to have mounted and hung in my home office, and I think this one will make the cut.  Very Zen.

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Main Street Vintage Guitars

One thing that I’m learning to love about downtown Tupelo is the emphasis on restoring and re-using old historical buildings for shops, restaurants, bars, and offices.

Today’s image definitely has an urbex feel, but there’s a great story behind the surface.  This is the Main Street Vintage Guitar shop, located at the corner of Main and Spring streets.  This is actually the side of the building, facing Spring Street, but I just had to shoot this side because of the great Coca-Cola mural painted on the wall which has been preserved along with the building.

Main Street Vintage Guitars

I found their website that has a ton of information about the building, including pictures from its past as well as the restoration process that turned it into its modern-day incarnation as a vintage guitar shop. I found out that this building was originally the First National Bank, and it was constructed in 1890.  The store is visited by musicians from everywhere, most recently by Keith Urban when he was in Tupelo for a recent concert.  Be sure to check out http://www.pwogs.com/msvg_history_building.html for the full story.

This image is a single image taken with my Nikon D700 and 50mm 1.8 prime lens, hand-held.  This was about 3:45 PM, and the setting sun was casting some pretty good shadows on this side of the building.  I used Paintshop Photo Pro X4 and Topaz Adjust to process the image and bring out the detail in the brick and morter, as well as the mural on the wall.

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Dinner Interrupted

Finally! I finally got the Nikon out of the house for a few hours of shooting this afternoon. We spent some time exploring the alleys and side streets of downtown Tupelo, our new home. Today was the first day after daylight savings time ended, so I wasn’t exactly sure what the lighting would be like in the late afternoon in this part of the country. I decided to just shoot with the 50mm prime lens and concentrate on architectural and urbex details.

Downtown Tupelo has some wonderful old buildings with the original brick and mortar, some with old advertisements that were painted there years and years ago. We have been pleasantly surprised at the number of restaurants, bars and coffee shops that have been opened in these old buildings, preserving the architectural details of the brick and the wood. Lots of ambiance and good food to be had here in downtown Tupelo!

While exploring one of the alleys, we came across this table behind one of the newer restaurants, Nautical Whimsey, where it was apparent that one of the restaurant staff had been dining before he or she was interrupted. The pasta, salad and drink looked so good that we were enticed to check out their wine bar, and ended up spending two hours there.

Dinner Interrupted

The owners, Dave (bartender) and Amanda (chef and bartender) were friendly, generous and entertaining. We each ordered a beer, and then after checking the menu, decided to try their crab cakes and the bruchetta. We were not disappointed.  They get two thumbs up from us!

This shot was processed in the new version of Paintshop Photo Pro X4, using Topaz Adjust.  I was able to get the upgrade from X3 to X4 for $50, and I still think it’s a heck of a deal compared to Photoshop.  I’ve processed six shots so far from today’s excursion, and I’ll be sharing them over the next few days, so stay tuned!

If you like my work, please subscribe to this blog and feel free to offer comments. You can also find me on:
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