Peanut died on March 23, 2011. Peanut was Jeff Daniel’s chihuahua. Our family was also Peanut’s God parents. At least that is the easiest way to describe the relationship. When Jeff went out of town we kept Pea. She was also the reason we got our chihuahua, Jasmin. We loved Pea so much our daughter wanted her own dog and she only wanted a chihuahua. Peanut and Jasmin were from the same father so Pea played the mom role with Jasmin.
The way I got to know Peanut was quite special. Jeff was the neighbor across the street. We would see him every once in awhile with Peanut. My daughter who was about seven started asking Jeff to bring Peanut over so she could play with her. She would dress Pea up in outfits and then put her in a baby buggy and take her around the neighborhood. It was amazing how patient Peanut was with this. She didn’t really come over every day though until I blew out a disc in my back. I really wanted to avoid surgery so I ended up in bed for six months in a lot of pain. Almost from the first day Peanut would make Jeff bring her across the street so she could jump in bed with me and nestle up to the precise spot on my spine where the ruptured disc was. Needless to say we bonded quickly. It was the worst time of my life and Peanut helped make it much less horrible than if I had not had her with me.
By the time I had successful surgery we were best friends. She would come over almost every day and since Jeff did a lot of out of town sales Peanut would often stay with us. After a couple of years we got Jasmin who Pea treated as her daughter. It was bliss for us all.
After several years we decided we want to move so we sold our house. Jeff would drive the seven miles to our new house to bring Pea over several times a week and we would keep her anytime he was out of town. Let me say right now that Peanut could not have had a more loving owner, Jeff did more for that dog than many people do for their children. He went out of his way time and time again to make her life as full as possible.
Then Pea started coughing and starting to lose her sight. Jeff took her to every specialist in town and then to Texas A&M one of the finest veterinary schools in the country. Collapsed trachea, cancer, pneumonia, brain problems… So many different diagnoses. Nothing any of us could do seemed to make much difference. We gave her herbs, antibiotics, used a humidifier, used a nebulizer, on and on with trying everything we could. Finally she went completely blind but she had so much love and help from us all it was manageable.
We had her last weekend and she was not good. She wasn’t so bad we rushed her to the pet hospital though. Kowecha, my wife, sat with her outside one night and she went to sleep with her head in her hand and she thought she might pass away then. It did happen a few days later. Jeff called my from the pet hospital and told me they had had Pea on oxygen all day but when he tried to take her home that night she was having trouble breathing. You must understand this was a dog that never spent a night without Jeff, our family or his family with her. He said he thought he was going to have to put her to sleep and wanted me to know. Both Jeff and I were crying. He put the phone down to her ear and I told her how much I loved her and what a wonderful dog she was. I told her I hoped she went on to have another great life. I could hear her labored breathing. We got off the phone. I cried.
About ten minutes later he called to tell me he had gone back into the hospital – they had kept it open past closing and he had talked to the vet about how to put her to sleep. They made a decision and the vet went into the back to prepare. Jeff said Peanut was laying in his lap cradled in his hands. She then got quiet, seemed to look at him and her eyes rolled up in her head and she died.
She was a magical dog right to the end. I hope that when I die the first thing I see is Peanut running over to me.
A few photos…
Almost all work is good but some are better than others. Shooting a VA hospital in San Juan, Puerto Rico for Heery turned out to be lots of fun. Along with clients who are among my short list of favorites, I had a hospital decorated in the colors of the Caribbean – strong corals, blues and greens. Not exactly your standard VA hospital. Now all I need to do is figure out how to specialize in architectural photography on tropical islands.
I loved the look of the New High School building in Texarkana and the school district was kind enough to help arrange for me to get the mascot and cheerleaders in front.
The flags of Texarkana – Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, & the US flags.
The interior of the Texas Travel Information Center in Texarkana.
Finally two young twins in their Texas shirts across from the water tower.
Thank you to all the kind people of Texarkana who made my stay such a pleasure.
A few more of the shots from the Texarkana shoot for Texas Highways.
Richard Lawrence, co-owner of Bryce’s Cafeteria in Texarkana TX. Family owned since 1931, Bryce’s is famous as being one of the finest cafeteria’s in the US.
While we are on the places to eat, I highly suggest Shorty’s for breakfast. Here we have Danny Whitt, with Renee Sexton and Debi Richards.
And a shot of the square with the famous federal courthouse with the Texas/Arkansas state line running right down the middle of it and the requisite Confederate monument.
The last few years I have been doing primarily architectural and corporate work so when the chance came up to shoot a story for Texas Highways I was quite happy to do something different for a week.
Texas Highways is one of the premier state travel magazines in the US with a readership of over a million people for each issue. Their photography is next to none due to a state full of fine photographers and a long line of great photo editors. Griff Smith, the current photo editor, is not only a fine photographer – having been a staff photographer there for over twenty years – but a fine editor pushing for the best from all their contributors. So when Griff suggested I come up with a story idea I wanted it to be something special.
Texarkana is is unique in Texas for having the state border run through the absolute middle of the town actually bisecting the Federal Court House. The Louisiana border is only a few miles south of this spot contributing its part to the Tex Ark Ana name. The city is the hub for this tri state area and possesses the ambiance of East Texas, Northern Louisiana and Southern Arkansas and melds these into its own flavor. The city has two mayors and two sets of city officials but shares a police force, fire department, and other city departments. It really is unique.
After Texas Highways okayed the project I wanted to get there and shoot before summer heat wilted everything so I hit the road in mid May running into the most rain the area had had for fifty years. Thankfully I had a secret weapon that made almost all obstacles disappear from my path – Nita Fran Hutcheson, from the Texarkana Regional Arts & Humanities Council. Nita knows everyone and made the calls that opened the doors to an already friendly city.
So lets start off the images with a shot of the Perot Theater, the gem of the city, rescued from destruction by H. Poss Perot.
A few days after this photo ran in the finished article I got a call from Ross Perot. At first I thought it was a joke as the thought of him calling me personally to tell me, “Park. That’s the best picture I have ever seen of the theater! Can I get a copy?” was so out of the ordinary. I feel good that the print now hangs prominently on his office wall.
Of course the magazine could only include a few of the photos I took in Texarkana. So here is my opportunity to show some of the others.
The first being the the back of the Regional Art Center with some of the art that graces a really wonderful downtown art park.
Here’s the lobby of the building with its antique elevator.
Please remember these images are copyrighted and cannot be taken and used without a license. Contact me if you wish to license them.
I am happy to say my work for HelioVolt – http://www.heliovolt.net – has been recognized in the new ASMP Best of 2009 issue. The American Society of Media Photographers is the leading trade association for photographers who photograph primarily for publication.
You can access the article at http://asmp.org/articles/best-2009-street.html.
Here is the final shot of the Bass Concert Hall renovation series. It was a fun project shooting a beautiful building.
Next week I will be in Texarkana shooting a feature for Texas Highways magazine.
The University of Texas has renovated it main concert hall, the Bass Concert Hall finishing after almost two years of construction. For information on the facility go to http://www.utpac.org/venues/bass_concert_hall. I have been doing the final photography of the renovation over the last few weeks. While we still have a few images left, I thought you might enjoy several I have finished.
I will post the exterior when I finish post processing.
I would like to thank Monica Griffin with the Performing Arts Center for her help and vision.
A week ago I realized that almost 90% of the photos I have taken over the last year have been done with two Canon tilt/shift lenses. This is both because I have been shooting quite a bit of architectural work and with much of my other work I have fallen in love with controlling perspectives and planes of focus. But too much of anything is bad so when my family and I decided to go down to San Antonio for the second Luminaria art festival, I decided I would take one of the lenses that are the true All Stars of the Canon lens family, the 85mm f1.2II. Fast with a great bouquet when shot wide open, I thought it a shame to have used it so little lately. I shot it all day as my only lens and hope you enjoy some of the results.
First is a shot of my daughter in the courtyard in La Villita. This was shot at f1.2 and the depth of field is probably about an inch. I love the background look and of course the subject.
The second shot is off a balcony looking down on a diner at Paisano’s, one of our favorite restaurants on the River Walk. This is I shot at f4 because I wanted the texture of the paving stones.
I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did taking them.
The current Texas edition of Luxe magazine has a renovated Texas schoolhouse outside Fredericksburg that I photographed for them. The project is a really interesting renovation of a one room schoolhouse which has now become the main house.
Pick up a copy of the magazine for more shots. The magazine is one of the best in the country showcasing beautifully designed and decorated homes. They have regional editions and this project is only in the Texas one.