Lou and Bonnie Janelle (LBJ) Photography | Blog

LBJ Photography Blog 

This blog features notes on image creation sessions, photographic lighting, and image editing techniques. Our main website can be found at:  http://lbjphotography.com    


Thunder Eggs

March 12, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Thunder Eggs

March 1, 2018

From Bonnie:

It all started when David brought turquoise rocks into Woodcarvers and made them available to anyone present. Israel took a hammer to one big piece, and I became the recipient of a topper for my wizard walking stick. The problem was that the piece I took was too big to fit into the carved-out hole atop the stick. “Our grandson has a tumbler”, says I. Many warnings came after that statement--with a suggestion that I take the turquoise to the main senior center, the Munson Center, where it could be ground down by someone in the lapidary lab. That is where I met Jim.

“Oh no,” said Jim. “If you put this turquoise into a tumbler, it will be mud when you take it out. Thus began a lesson on rocks. He showed me a thunder egg. “A thunder egg?,” said I. “Yes,” replied Jim, “it got that name from the Native Americans. After a heavy thunderstorm and rain, the Native Americans would find these rocks in the desert, and believed that that gods had thrown them down from the sky.”

Enthralled by the story and his explanation of the rock's contents, I immediately thought of Jake and his rock collection. “Would you be willing to sell that rock to me so that that I can give it to our grandson?”, said I. He handed it to me and told me it was mine.

“We don't do money here,” said he. We trade. I owe him a wood carving next year.

Lapidary JimLapidary Jim

A Living Museum

March 08, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

March 8, 2018

David's Living Museum

It's his home, but it is a museum. There is a story behind every treasure in David's house, and the story is as treasured as the piece he shows us. “The children came here—from the school—the bus brought them,” he told us. Why? His home is a living heritage which comes alive through his telling.

One story is as follows: David received a cold call from a Native American who discovered that David had accumulated over the years quite a collection of arrowheads from the desert; David accomplished this by looking for their sheen on the walls of arroyos after a wind storm. This Native American's objective was to obtain an arrowhead for a deceased loved one. Inside the coffin would be placed 2 jars—one for drink and one for meal as nourishment for the journey to the hereafter. The arrowhead would be placed in the folded hands of the deceased for use on the hunt along his journey.

As a result of the phone call, three Native American strangers knocked on David's door. As he welcomed them into his home, two of the men took interest in viewing the arrowheads right away, but one sat quietly not saying a word but visibly agitated. Time passed, and David kept glancing at the solemn, seated gentleman becoming increasingly aware of the discomfort he displayed. Finally, the man approached David with an inquiry about his house. He was particularly interested in a feeling he was experiencing from the back portion of it—an area unbeknownst to the visitor which can be considered David's display room. Giving the man permission to go into the back room, David waited with the others in the living room. After quite some time, the stranger emerged from the back room and approached David asking David permission to bless his house. Sure. The man moved from room to room bestowing a blessing upon each, and then ended by blessing David. David was honored.

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March 05, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

March 5, 2018


On Tuesday, March 6, Roxanna presents her 7 ft + rattlesnake carving to the local high school. Her offer to the school was, “In return for foraging the school grounds for wood, I'll do a carving and donate it to the school for its display case.” One piece was the perfect size to carve as a rattlesnake, the school's mascot.

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Border Patrol

March 03, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

February 27, 2018

Border Patrol

“Illegals from Mexico” immediately comes to mind when the term “Border Patrol” is used, but every state in the union has a Border Patrol region which has agents working within it—a fact shocking to us. What is also striking is that per the Bracero Program initiated in 1942 and ending in the late '60's, the US warmly welcomed Mexicans into this country as laborers. This information and much more is housed in the Border Patrol Museum, a stop we made on a personalized tour by hiking buddies, Pat and Susan. They spent the day showing us the sights of El Paso and sharing first-hand stories told by their son who is a Border Patrol agent. At a look-out point at the southern tip of the Franklin Mountains, El Paso and adjacent Juarez, Mexico, span as far as the eye can see. However, what stands out on the near horizon of Juarez is a huge red, red, red “X” or “La Equis” sculpture designed by Sebastian. It is a symbol using two intersecting towers merging in an “X” shape to represent the merging of 2 cultures of Mexico: the indigenous Aztecs and the Spanish. After a full day of sight seeing, Lou and Susan agreed that the rellenos (stuffed Mexican peppers) were the best at the Sabertooth restaurant in El Paso. Bonnie and Pat stuck with milder fares. A fantastically informative day spent with friends!

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Border Wall

February 26, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

A Field Trip to the Wall

hosted by the Southwest Environmental Center

A 40-minute drive to the border wall between Mexico and the US on a windy, winter day initiated a feeling of desolation in about 20 of us huddled around Kevin Bixby, our leader, as we absorbed the magnitude of initiating the building of a border wall spanning the entire border. We witnessed both vehicle walls and mesh and bollard pedestrian walls. We learned of the hazards regarding migration amongst the myriads of animals which roam the desert landscape (including jaguars, deer, long-horned sheep to name only a few). New Mexicans are staunchly opposed to the wall for that reason and for the disregard of all of the protectionist legislations which are waived in order to build this wall; they are not opposed to ending illegal crossings but are in favor of a stronger Border Patrol presence and other methods of detecting illegals from entering. Presently, Congress has funding to build 20 miles of new wall—a site we visited where its construction is slated to begin March, 2018, but the present administration wants $25 billion to complete the wall along the entire border. If granted more funding, the first construction will be a 3-mile stretch which spans the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, a bird sanctuary. Pedestrian walls are now 18 ft tall, but the proposed new walls will be 30 ft high. “One injustice does not justify another”, Kevin Bixby said as he related how Washington is holding hostage the “dreamers” in return for a border wall.

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Lou and Bonnie Janelle (LBJ) are career professionals who are currently pursuing life-long interests in photography and digital imaging techniques, respectively. 




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