Memphis curves

This week’s photo challenge is all about curves.  There’s rarely a bad angle when trying to grab a picture of the “M” bridge that carries Interstate 40 over the Mississippi to connect Arkansas and Tennessee. The image below is in downtown Memphis looking west.

6-6-16 M Bridge Downtown.jpg

Weekly photo challenge: Dreaming III

Dreaming of stardom.

STARMAKER MACHINERY — How many dreams of stardom were made or broken in the Memphis offices and studios of Sam Phillips, the man who launched Elvis and discovered Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash? The other, more well-known name associated with Phillips is the world-famous Sun Studio, just a stone’s throw away from this Madison Avenue building on Union Avenue.

See the Dreaming mother page.

Birds of prey

The fall-denuded trees along I-40 and U.S. 70 between Little Rock and Memphis were full of big, beefy red-tailed hawks, keen for any prey making a living below in the chaff left after the harvest of rice, soybeans and sorghum. The hawks paid little heed to traffic whizzing past at highway speeds. However, rolling slowly or coming to a halt too close made the big birds spring off in a hurry. It took us several tries to get our “lazy naturalist” photography choreographed, figuring how close we could roll the car; how long it takes to frame the shot; how to push the distance to catch the bird up close and in flight. The trial and error we practiced from St. Francis County all the way to the edge of Pulaski County produced some amusing and wonderfully imperfect shots. When we finally got the driving/shooting duet coordinated, we ran out of highway, hawks and open fields.

We were privileged, during one of our roadside stops, to have a red-tailed hawk make a successful strike just feet in front of the roadster. No photos, but an unforgettable closeup we’ll always have in our heads.

PREY DAY -- Red-tailed hawk scans the surrounding fields for a meal. Grains left in harvested fields are highly attractive to prey.
LEAVING HIS PERCH -- Wary of the people below, the hawk moves off.
IN FLIGHT -- Red-tailed hawk in flight. Beautiful, powerful birds.
ALMOST -- Another blooper.

Funny, National Geographic hasn’t called yet …

Memphis for Thanksgiving

The two-hour  drive to Memphis yielded some interesting sights. The most  interesting Thanksgiving day sighting  was a flock of wild turkeys on the roadside east of Biscoe. Must’ve been about 10 of them just doodling around on the verge between the bottomland and the roadbed of  U.S. 70.  Rather risky business on the biggest turkey-eating day of the year. (and did we have the camera ready? nooooo.)

Another great image was that of a large hawk sitting in the shoulder of I-240, the loop road around Memphis. It was just sitting there watching the holiday weekend traffic whiz by. (did we have the camera ready? noooooo.)

Still, we did manage to pull the camera out for some of what Memphis had to offer (with a little help from Photoshop and apologies to film purists.)

Memphis sklyline in black and white
The Memphis skyline captured from the Hernando de Soto bridge that carries I-40 across the Mississippi River.
I-40 bridge over the Mississippi.
One of the two beautiful steel arches that make up the Interstate 40 bridge connecting Arkansas and Tennessee.

UPDATE: Spirit of Christmas (near) Future


The tree has arrived in Washington! See:

Thanks for the update, Bill!

Our brother-in-law Bill, a former TV station photographer, is still  newsman through and through. While driving home from work last week, he spotted something unusual on the interstate in Memphis and maneuvered for a closer view. His instincts were right on. This was no ordinary wide load. This was the 2010 National Christmas Tree en route from Wyoming to its placement in the nation’s capitol. Oh — and kids, don’t try this at home.

Long bed truck carries the National Christmas tree to Washington. (iPhone photo)
Signatures of anyone who had anything to do with the National Christmas tree adorn the tarp protecting the tree en route to Washington, D.C. (iPhone photo)

Peabody duck

The Peabody Hotels in Memphis, Tenn., and Little Rock, both have resident ducks as something of a trademark. This mallard lives at the Little Rock hotel.

This lady was resting on one of the platforms in their lobby pool. While I detest cheesy digital filters, the flatness of the lighting lent itself to Photoshop’s watercolor filter.

Peabody duck
Duck at the Peabody Hotel