Category: Travel

Gear | One Prime Lens Challenge

Seaweed on the beach in Destin, Florida.
Nikon D500, 24mm f1.8 Nikkor, 1/400th, f5.6, 100 ISO, Crystal Beach, Destin, FL  ©Rick Lewis

The Challenge | The Gear

I read a lot.  Well, I read a lot of other photographer’s blogs and I’m a gear head.  One of the professionals I like to follow is a chap by the name of Sean Tucker. (Website)  In his blog post, “Island of Gozo”, (watch his video), he talks about pairing down his camera equipment for a trip to the island of Gozo, where he was to meet up with an old friend.  He talked about the “challenge” of using just one prime lens, his camera, his feet, and his imagination to create beautiful images.  I thought, hmmmm….  I had been thinking of this same “challenge” for some time and thought his video was very timely.

I had a couple of photo opportunities coming up.  The time was right to embark on this challenge. Now, I have been a zoom guy since I can remember.  Back in the day, I shot hundreds, if not thousands of prints and slides using a 43-86mm f3.5 Nikkor, and an 80-200mm f4.5 Nikkor.  By the way, that 43-86mm Nikkor was pure crap, but, it made it so I didn’t have to change lenses a lot, and I liked that.  I’ve just always had zoom lenses.  You name it, I’ve probably shot it.

So, I challenged myself to shoot exclusively with a 24mm f1.8 Nikkor on my Nikon D500, crop sensor camera.  That would give me as close as I could get to my favorite single focal length of 35mm, (FX sensor equiv).  On my D500 I would have a 36mm lens and that would be it.  I would leave my 17-55mm f2.8 Nikkor home.  Now all I needed to do was dial up Lens Rentals and rent the 24mm Nikkor for a week.  About three clicks with the computer mouse and it was ordered.

The Venues

Stacked muskets with bayonets stand next to Civil War soldier actors.
Nikon D500, 24mm f1.8 Nikkor, 1/640th, f4, 100 ISO, Confederate Memorial Park, Marbury, AL  ©Rick Lewis

My first shooting opportunity came at a Civil War reenactment encampment at the Confederate Memorial Park in Marbury, Alabama.  It is an annual event that draws a fairly large local crowd.  They have static displays and educational seminars for students and the grand finale; the battle.  There are plenty of authentically clad actors that stroll about and provide photo opportunities in formation.

Civil War actors stand in formation with their muskets standing ready.
Nikon D500, 24mm f1.8 Nikkor, 1/1600th, f2.8, 100 ISO  ©Rick Lewis
A Civil War era covered wagon on display with barrels and boxes.
Nikon D500, 24mm f1.8 Nikkor, 1/1250th, f2.8, 100 ISO  ©Rick Lewis
Civil War reenactment actor in a seated pose.
Nikon D500, 24mm f1.8 Nikkor, 1/320th, f1.8, 1250 ISO  ©Rick Lewis

Shooting this type of event is a lot of fun.  Normally I would have been using my 17-55mm (26mm-83mm equiv).  Using just one focal length did provide some challenges.  Space was tight in some areas, so getting far enough back was sometimes difficult.  In some cases I had to move in very close to my subject which definitely gathered attention.  Did I miss some interesting angles?  Yup, sure did. And, I found I really had to work harder to get what I wanted, but, that’s not a bad thing.

The second location for my challenge was the Destin area in the Florida panhandle, as is represented in the opening image.  My wife and I spent a few days there eating a bunch of seafood!  We travel there several times a year and I’ve photographed most of the sights several times over so I thought this would be quite a nice little diversion.

Orange Adirondack deck chairs on a front porch in a seaside town in Seaside Florida.
Nikon D500, 24mm f1.8 Nikkor, 1/400th, f7.1, 640 ISO  Seaside, Florida  ©Rick Lewis

Most of our time is spent either walking on the beach, shopping, or eating.  Just normal stuff, right? While my wife shopped, I looked around for anything that looked interesting to shoot.  The fact I only had one prime lens (36mm equiv), was not as limiting in this environment.  There were a few occasions I wish I had a little longer reach but rarely did I feel I needed a much wider view.  Gear is important, but, imagination can make up for lack of gear in many cases.

Garden art work on display in Seaside Florida.
Nikon D500, 24mm f1.8 Nikkor, 1/250th, f4, 320 ISO  Seaside Florida  ©Rick Lewis
Parked bicycle on display in front of a store in Seaside Florida.
Nikon D500, 24mm f1.8 Nikkor, 1/250th, f4, 900 ISO  Seaside Florida  ©Rick Lewis

Trying to get what I wanted in the area of landscape photography was where I found myself a little limited.  This is where I wished I had a little longer lens available. I had no option of getting closer to my intended subject, in this case the iconic long leaf pines of Draper Lake near Grayton Beach. Draper Lake is one of the many coastal dune lakes found along Scenic Hwy 30a.  A true gem of the Florida panhandle.

Coastal dune lake, Draper Lake, on Highway 30a, Florida.
Nikon D500, 24mm f1.8 Nikkor, 1/320th, f8, 720 ISO Draper Lake  ©Rick Lewis
Coastal dune lake, Draper Lake, on Highway 30a, Florida.
Nikon D500, 24mm f1.8 Nikkor, 1/640th, f7.1, 100 ISO Draper Lake  ©Rick Lewis

Thoughts & Observations

I had fun!  The lens was superb.  I am currently shooting with the new crop sensor D500 powerhouse. The lens was magnificent on this body.  This isn’t a lens review and I’m hardly competent enough to evaluate a lens, on a technical level, but, this is a great lens on a crop sensor camera.  I really don’t see why it wouldn’t perform very well on an FX body.

The experience was interesting.  I found myself thinking more about what I could get out of an image, knowing I only had the one focal length available.  But it really wasn’t all that limiting.  I may, in fact, do this again.  I was thinking maybe next time I’ll rent a 35mm Nikkor (50mm equiv), and see what I can get.  I believe anytime you take the time to think through a shot, it’s a good thing.  Sometimes I seem to be on auto pilot.  I needed a change.  This was fun and challenging.

Finally, if you find yourself in a photographic rut, find a way to get yourself thinking.  This may be one way to get a new perspective, (pun intended), on your craft.  Now, go to the link I provided in the first paragraph and listen to what Sean Tucker has to say.  Maybe it will inspire you too.

Nikon D500 – Not Just for Birding – Alabama Editorial Photography

It’s been a while since my last post.  I’ve been meaning to do this for some time.  It seems every time I see an article about the new Nikon D500 it is about birds in flight, wildlife, or sports photography.  It almost seems as though this camera is only suited for these genres of photography.  Not so; and I’ll attempt to prove that in this post.

When the Nikon D500 was announced, I could not believe my eyes.  This camera was a long time coming and many think, too long!  (Myself included in this group.)  In 2013, after retiring from my professional career, I switched from my extensive Nikon gear (D3, D4 & a bunch of pro glass), to all Fuji APS-C gear.  I wanted to go smaller and lighter with good quality lenses and great image quality.  It seemed a no brainer.  The D500 was still just a dream.

I soon learned after investing in a Fuji X-T1, X-E2, and X-Pro2, and many lenses, that the cameras were just too small and light for me.  They produced great images but I had a very difficult time using them.  Along came the D500.  I did not want the bulk of the D810 nor did I want to spend that kind of money on a body again, so the D500 looked perfect.

I bought it, along with a used (9+) 17-55mm f2.8G ED Nikkor lens.  I later added the MB-D17 battery grip.  It’s a brick, I know, but still, a smaller brick than my beloved D4!  I paid $1995 for the D500 and only $730 for the lens off Ebay, through a trusted store.  Not a bad deal.

Most everything I was reading about the camera pertained to using long lenses, along with the incredible D5 focusing module.  These articles hit mostly on the focusing ability and really didn’t get into image quality and the real versatility of the camera.

I found the camera to be very well suited for travel, editorial and any general assignment photography a pro would come up against and certainly what any non-pro would need. From the images you’ll see it is superb at higher ISO’s and has a very wide dynamic range for an APS-C CMOS sensor.

Nikon D500, 17-55mm f2.8, 23mm, 1/250th, f5.6, -⅔ EV, 3200 ISO, ©Rick Lewis

I was able to try out the fantastic focusing abilities of the D500 at the 2016 International Firefighters Combat Challenge.  It takes a little practice but it worked flawlessly and will make any non-pro photographing their active children quite happy, not to mention the pro that needs the speed, and reach, for sports or wildlife photography.

Nikon D500, 17-55mm f2.8, 55mm, 1/500th, f5.6, 100 ISO, ©Rick Lewis

I took the camera to Old Alabama Town to see how the camera would perform at a little editorial travel photography.  Even though this is an outdoor museum, most of the interesting imagery is inside and in very dark and challenging settings.  I shot for a couple of hours and doubt I got much below 2000 ISO except for a few outdoor images.

Nikon D500, 17-55mm f2.8, 32mm, 1/250th, f6.3, 125 ISO, ©Rick Lewis

I am really impressed with the color depth and the workability of the files in post.  I processed all of these images using Adobe Lightroom CC ®.  I use VSCO presets most of the time, as a starting point, and work from there.  I tend to like high contrast, saturated, images, as you will see.  This does tend to bring out the digital “noise” in any image but I really don’t care.  I think you will see the Nikon D500 noise pattern is exceptional and, to me, looks more like film grain.  I actually like this look on my images.

Nikon D500, 17-55mm f2.8, 19mm, 1/250th, f3.2, 2200 ISO, ©Rick Lewis
Nikon D500, 17-55mm f2.8, 24mm, 1/250th, f2.8, 2200 ISO, ©Rick Lewis

Now, I know there is a lot of marketing hype by “Canikon” pushing the so called “full frame” cameras.  They do this because those cameras have a higher profit margin.  Can’t blame them for that, I guess.  But, don’t think for a minute you have to have one to get good quality images, even in very low light.  It just isn’t so any longer.  There are other reasons to own that full frame camera, of course.  But for my current needs, this D500 will be quite enough.

Nikon D500, 17-55mm f2.8, 38mm, 1/100th, f5.6, 160 ISO, ©Rick Lewis

One thing that really impressed me about this camera was the Auto ISO function.  I tend to  use this setting when not shooting in a studio.  In the early days, it was hit or miss on getting the right exposure.  Not so now.  I shoot either in manual mode, controlling both my shutter speed and aperture depending on the subject or in aperture priority, both in Auto ISO.  Shooting in RAW (NEF), I rarely have to adjust the exposure value more than a half stop.

Nikon D500, 17-55mm f2.8, 34mm, 1/50th, f4, 2200 ISO, ©Rick Lewis
Nikon D500, 17-55mm f2.8, 17mm, 1/50th, f5.6, 3200 ISO, ©Rick Lewis

The bottom line; the D500 is not just for birding. 🙂  The only real drawback that I can see is Nikon’s pathetic DX lens line up.  They are pushing the FX concept to the point that I really don’t see a follow-up to the D500.  Maybe I’m too cynical.  This camera can be a lot of things to a lot of people with just a little more attention to producing quality, fast, DX lenses, especially on the wide end.

Don’t get me wrong.  I wouldn’t turn down a Nikon D810 and a couple of pro lenses, but until someone is in a generous mood, I’ll stick with my D500 and 17-55mm f2.8G ED.

Fuji X Cameras | JPEG or RAW ?

This post is mostly for amateurs / enthusiasts that continue to struggle with post processing or simply don’t like it.  This is not about whether it is better to shoot in RAW or Jpeg.  That’s like asking which camera is better, Nikon or Canon?  And, we all know the answer is Fuji. 😉

But, I think there is a big misconception out there that the only way to get a good picture is to shoot in RAW and then spend the afternoon in front of the computer fiddling with the tremendous latitude a RAW file affords one.  I have found that with Fuji X Jpegs, most of the time that is just not necessary.

I shoot in RAW + Jpeg (Fine) mode.  That way I get the best of both worlds, if needed. There are, of course, some draw backs with Jpegs, i.e., a little less dynamic range, unable to change White Balance, a little more noise, and generally less information in the file to manipulate.  There are some compelling reasons to shoot Jpeg though.  Fuji X cameras correct for lens distortions such as chromatic aberrations (purple fringing), lens diffraction at small apertures through the Lens Modulation Optimizer option, oh, and no mushy OOF foliage issues with Lightroom;  🙂  not to mention great Fuji colors SOOC!

Of course one has to understand the limitations of shooting / using Jpegs.  Single images with high dynamic range values are usually best left for RAW.  But know how to best shoot / use a Jpeg and wonderful images can happen.  In other words, watch that live view histogram!

Below are four images all shot with the Fujifilm X-E2 and the 18-55mm f2.8-4 OIS Fujinon lens, from a recent trip to the Florida panhandle.  This is my go to combination for travel until my X-Pro2 arrives.  All four Jpeg images have been processed in Adobe Lightroom CC using VSCO presets.  You should know VSCO says it is best to use their software on RAW images not Jpegs!  Tweaks have been made to each image to suit my taste.  In other words, the images have been majorly manipulated, but with minimal effort thanks to VSCO!  One of them was even shot at 5000 ISO!

Bottom line, watch your light, shoot within Jpeg boundaries and enjoy your photography more.  You don’t have to shoot in RAW to get nice pictures.  It’s always there, if you need it, but, if not, no worries.  Trust me.  Each image is printable.  I hate posting 100% crops!

To view more images go to my Flickr Page or my Website.

X-E2, f8, 1/1000, 400 ISO, -1/3EV ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2, f8, 1/1000, 400 ISO, -1/3EV ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2 f5.6, 1/200, 5000 ISO ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2, f5.6, 1/200, 5000 ISO ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2, f7.1, 1/250, 400 ISO, ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2, f7.1, 1/250, 400 ISO, -2/3EV  ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2, f8, 1/250, 400 ISO, ©2015 Rick Lewis
X-E2, f8, 1/250, 400 ISO, ©2015 Rick Lewis

 

Nikon to Fujifilm X | One Year After the Switch

This Blog post may surprise a few of my friends and colleagues, as I have not made a big deal of switching to a completely new, (for me), camera system.  I had been a Nikon shooter since a teenager in 1967.  I started with a Nikkormat FS in 1967.  It didn’t have a light meter but it was all I could afford at 15 years of age.  Over the years I acquired a Nikkormat FTn, Nikkormat EL, Nikon F2 Photomic, Nikon D70, Nikon D200, Nikon D3, D3s, and finally the D4.

The Seeds Are Planted

During the spring and summer of 2013 I began an email conversation with a very well known commercial photographer and teacher, Will Crockett.  I read or watched a Blog post of his describing the changes he saw coming in photography.  They centered around mirrorless cameras and their ability to capture stills and video.  I was intrigued by his insights so I emailed him.  We corresponded and discussed the pros and cons of Olympus, Panasonic, and Fujifilm cameras.  I told him I was much more interested in still photography and didn’t really care about video.  He recommended I look into Fuji cameras.  He then offered to loan me one of his Fujifilm X-Pro1’s along with the “kit lens”, (18-55mm f2.8-f4, OIS) and the 60mm f2.4 macro.

©2013 Rick Lewis   X-Pro1, ISO 400, 1/900th @ f8, 18-55mm @20.5mm  Shot as Jpeg
©2013 Rick Lewis X-Pro1, ISO 400, 1/900th @ f8, 18-55mm @20.5mm Shot as Jpeg

I shot several hundred images during that week of shooting with the X-Pro1, including the one above.  I only shot jpegs, no RAW, (RAF).  At that time Lightroom 4.7 was just awful converting Fuji RAW images.  Now, I knew of Fujifilm from the wonderful jpeg machines of their early pro digital cameras, the S3 and S5 Pro.  I had no idea they made this new “X” camera.  While I was not in love with the ergonomics and quirks of handling the X-Pro, I loved the end result; and in such a small, light package.  At the end of the week, I mailed the gear back to Will.  I was still shooting with my Nikon D4 but realized I never took it with me when I left the house.  I looked back and remembered that little X-Pro went with me everywhere.  It was fun again, not hefting the brick of a camera and large glass.

The Switch

I began to, over the next several months, miss the X-Pro1 in my hand.  Even with all the faults, and believe me, there are faults.  I realized the camera made me stop and think about what I was photographing.  It was slow, but, it was more like what I remembered in my earlier days.  It was fun again.  I had always said my D3 and D4 were just outrageously expensive point and shoot cameras.  They are FAST, no doubt, and after initial set up you do just mostly point and fire off frames.  At least I did.

My needs had changed.  I moved to Montgomery, Alabama, from Tampa Florida.  My business was virtually non existent and I really did not need the big cameras and big glass that my Nikon system provided.  I was ready to downsize, and slow down.

In December of 2013 I made the switch.  I sold all of my Nikon gear and started with the Fuji X-E2 camera.  I bought all the Fujinon XF lenses I thought I would need for the new direction my business was taking me.  I bought the X-E2 because it had an updated 16MP sensor and processor and some other features that made it a little more shooter friendly than the aging X-Pro1.  And, there were rumors of a new, updated X-Pro just around the corner.

©2014 Rick Lewis  X-E2  35mm f1.4 lens, ISO 1600 1/200th @f2.8
©2014 Rick Lewis X-E2 35mm f1.4 lens, ISO 1600 1/200th @f2.8
©2014   X-E2  18-55mm @24mm (35mm equiv), ISO 200  10sec @f8
©2014 X-E2 18-55mm @24mm (35mm equiv), ISO 200 10sec @f8

The new and improved X-Pro never made it but Fuji came out with a real winner, the X-T1. That was my next purchase and my second camera body.  It has the same sensor and processor that my X-E2 has so the images look identical.  This was important to me as a professional. The X-E2 would be my backup camera on professional jobs.  I didn’t want different looks to images if I had to switch out cameras in the middle of a shoot.

My Ending Thoughts

I have no regrets in ditching my Nikon gear for the Fuji X system.  Please understand I loved the quality of my Nikon equipment.  I shot Nikon for 47 years and was a member of Nikon Professional Service (NPS).  I would never discourage anyone from buying and using Nikon professional cameras.  I preferred them over Canon for many reasons.  But, my needs changed.

I switched because I didn’t need the fast cameras and lenses, or the bulk, any longer.  I wanted to slow my photography down a notch.  I wanted photography to be fun again.  I switched to Fuji because of the wonderful image quality, the smaller size and weight, and the lenses.  It is a total package for me.  The bonus with mirrorless, is the WYSIWYG function of the EVF.  Now I can see immediately if I need to make a White Balance adjustment before the shutter fires.  I’m getting things right in the the camera and relying less on post.  In fact, I find I use the jpegs instead of the RAW images more than half the time.

I posted more X-E2 images here to show the quality of this little camera.  It’s small and unassuming but produces spectacular images.  Give the Fuji’s a try and you’ll probably be hooked too.

©2014  X-E2  18-55mm @26.5mm (40mm equiv), ISO 6400, 1/25th @f4, handheld w/OIS
©2014 X-E2 18-55mm @26.5mm (40mm equiv), ISO 6400, 1/25th @f4, handheld w/OIS
©2014  X-T1  60mm Macro lens, ISO 400, 1/200th @f4
©2014 Rick Lewis   X-T1 60mm Macro lens (90mm equiv), ISO 400, 1/200th @f4

 

Montgomery Curb Market – Alabama

A couple of months ago I read a piece in the local paper, Montgomery Advertiser, that was about the oldest farmer’s market in Alabama.  Having only moved to the area one year ago, I had never heard of the place known as the Montgomery Curb Market.  My wife knew of it and had shopped there several times in the past when visiting her folks in Montgomery.  She wanted to go again so I thought I would tag along and get a couple of photographs.

Montomery Curb Market

The market is located at 1004 Madison Ave, Montgomery Alabama.  It got its start in the 1920’s, and moved to this location in 1947.  It has thrived at this location for over 65 years!

Montomery Curb Market

Inside you’ll find a few flowers, and a bunch of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Montomery Curb Market

Everyone is very friendly and if you don’t see what you want, just ask.  They’ll be sure to tell you if another vendor may have it.

Montomery Curb Market

One important thing to remember, bring cash.  Nothing else is accepted.

Montomery Curb Market

If it can be put up in jars, you will probably find it.  This booth had it all!

Montomery Curb Market

Wild honey?  Yup, they have it.

Montomery Curb Market

Clanton peaches?  They have those too, and bunches of them!

Montomery Curb Market

We enjoyed shopping there.  We went on July 5th and there were only about 20 or so vendors there.  It was nice though because it can really get crowded from what I am told.  I had a little more room to get some pictures.  We will definitely be going back.

Montomery Curb Market

Alabama Travel – Aldridge Gardens | Birmingham

I made a trip to Aldridge Gardens in Birmingham Alabama this past weekend.  I really didn’t want to go on a Saturday and I didn’t want to go in the middle of the day, for photographing it, but the opportunity came up and I went.

Aldridge Gardens has a reputation, in this area, as a photographer’s paradise, especially for family portrait photography, as well as a beautiful wedding venue.  I quickly found out why.  The gardens are so popular with photographers that management has now had to set up a system to manage the many professionals that wish to use this beautiful backdrop.  Go to their website menu under “Photo Guild Gallery”, for all the information on fees and restrictions.

On this day I was there as a tourist.  In late June not much is in bloom so there was some disappointment there.  Also, on this particular day the gardens were hosting their annual art festival.  That wasn’t good for me either as there were people wandering around everywhere!  Photo ops were hard to come by.

One big plus was I met Maurice Cook, a very talented artist.  His art could be described as “Black Americana”.  What ever you call it, it was mesmerizing.  I think like most, I don’t know much about art, except, I know what I like and don’t like.  Maurice Cook’s work definitely had an impact on me.  He is only locally known.  He has no website nor email address.  He told me up until two weeks previous, he didn’t even have a cell phone.  You can see some of his work by Googling “Maurice Cook Artist”, then go to “Images”.  It’s not much but worth the look.  I was able to make two quick portraits of him.

Maurice Cook  ©Rick Lewis
Maurice Cook ©Rick Lewis

 

Maurice can be contacted my snail mailing him at:

Odd Job Art by Maurice Cook, 224 Mill Run Circle, Birmingham Alabama, 35226 or you can reach him at (205) 823-3191.

Maurice Cook, "Artist"  ©Rick Lewis
Maurice Cook, “Artist” ©Rick Lewis

After chatting with Maurice for a good while, I took a stroll through the gardens.

Summer meadow held back by split rail.
© Rick Lewis

The gardens are very diverse with numerous different elements.  This is truly a photographers paradise!

Calming waterfall.
© Rick Lewis

You will find tranquil streams and small waterfalls an, in the Spring, beautiful flowers everywhere.  There is even a small lake for a backdrop.  I found these beautiful blue hydrangeas blooming on this June day.

Blue Hydrangea
© Rick Lewis

If you find yourself in the Birmingham area, take a little side trip to Aldridge Gardens.  The admission is free, (donations appreciated), and in this case, you get much more than you pay for.

For larger versions of each of these images, please go to my Flickr page.  To contact me directly, email me at:  ricklewisphotos@gmail.com

 

 

Alabama Travel Photography

There is a small town, about 30 or so miles south of Montgomery, Alabama, called Fort Deposit.  It sits just a few miles west of I-65.  It’s a little off the beaten path; not much going on.  That’s where I met Kenneth.

Kenneth the Care Taker
“Kenneth”

I was photographing the exterior of the Fort Deposit United Methodist Church when Kenneth drove up.  His small red pick up truck looked as weathered as Kenneth.  In a rather discernible southern accent, Kenneth asked if I would like to tour the inside of the church.  My first thought, when he drove up, was that I would be told to leave.  I guess I’m used to that.  People seem rather sensitive to photographers these days.

Turn of the century church
Fort Deposit United Methodist Church

Kenneth repeated his question and I said I’d love to.  The church is striking from outside, not anything like one would expect to find in a small poor county in Alabama.  The interior was just as beautiful.  Kenneth gave a brief history of the church stating it was originally built prior to the Civil War but subsequently burned down.  The new church, the one we were standing in, was completed in 1899.  I could only get a photograph of the stained glass.  It was just too dark for anything else.  I wish I could share more with you.

Church Stained Glass
Fort Deposit United Methodist Church

Kenneth pointed out the beautiful alter and the magnificent wood clad ceilings.  He spoke very lovingly of his church and his community.  Kenneth lamented that church attendance was now very low.  He said since the interstate highway was built, Fort Deposit had declined.

Gone but not forgotten.
Abandoned downtown Fort Deposit, Alabama, buildings.

I left the beautiful church and drove just one block east and saw what Kenneth was talking about.  A small downtown core that was mostly gone; buildings falling down, abandoned and or empty.

As I left Fort Deposit, I thought of Kenneth, and the pride in his eyes when he was showing me around his community’s church, talking of what once was.  I’m a newcomer to the deep South.  If Kenneth is an example of the human spirit I will find on my travels then I am  looking forward to more miles on the road.