Oh Danny Boy

Our newest grandchild, Daniel Robert, came into the world on March 19, 2014. He missed being being born on St. Patrick’s Day by just less than 48 hours. Nevertheless, many of us have already taken a liking to thinking of him as “Danny Boy.”

Daniel Robert Gilstrap

Daniel Robert Gilstrap

Daniel came for a great little visit–and photoremedy–to our house today. It started out as a bit of a snoozer. The sweet smell of our beloved sunflowers, however, quickly opened his big, dark eyes. Bucket of Blankets A1 (1 of 1) Before long, it became obvious that more than sunflowers were needed on this day. A Good Cry (1 of 1)Big brother Emmett (who I like to call “Dude”) was able to briefly help turn the tears around. Big Brother Standing By 1 (1 of 1)Emmett is only two years older than Daniel, but he is already a big boy and showing promise that he will be a kind and gentle big brother. Emmett 1 (1 of 1)

In the end, Mary (who I like to call Granny Long Legs) displayed her wisdom. She quickly concluded that all our little partially-Irish man needed was a good drink.Collage

We so enjoyed our visit with Daniel, Emmett, Grandma Debby, and our daughter-in-law Katie (the latter two wouldn’t allow photographs today). And, all will get even better when the boys’ get to spend considerable time with all of their entertaining relatives like cousin Isabella (featured below).

Bath time 2014 3 (1 of 1)

Yes, Danny Boy and Emmett Dude, things are looking up on the road ahead!

Things looking Up With M (1 of 1)I have previously posted the Old Welsh proverb, “Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild.” Well if that’s true, I have to say that around our house we have concluded, “Exponentially perfect love cannot be known until there’s a whole bunch of grandchildren!”


Garden of the Gods

During a January trip to Colorado, I was able to travel to Garden of the Gods near Colorado Springs and Pike’s Peak.Garden of Gods-1j

As best I can recall, we took a family vacation here when I was quite young, although I didn’t have any specific memory of the red rock wonderland. Thanks to a few hours of photoremedy, however, I’m quite certain I won’t soon forget this impressive destination; it is an awesome setting for both traditional and fine art landscape photography.

Garden of Gods fap j

Garden of the Gods – Fine Art Photography

GOG's Three Pics

Pike's Peak - Fine Art Photography

Pike’s Peak – Fine Art Photography

Note: The photoremedy mission is to encourage those fighting chronic pain and other afflictions to consider using photography as a powerful tool to move their focus away from the pain. In the process, we strive to enhance readers’ ability to see beauty and experience elevated joy in their lives. There are many gifts that can accompany health challenges; one of the greatest offerings is it frequently forces sufferers to set better priorities for their lives and assists them in seeing the world in new and more meaningful ways. 



Heavenly Focus

Additional back issues and managing a small home improvement project at our house has kept me off of the PC for perhaps my longest stretch since the early 1990s, but I’m happy to report that I have been able to partake in a bit of photoremedy this year.

Granddaughter Isabella just before she turned one

Granddaughter Isabella just before she turned one

Deacon Paul Louderman

Deacon Paul Louderman

I’m hopeful that I’ll be back to sharing the fruits of my photoremedy efforts regularly this month. And, stay tuned for new grandson photos on, or around, St. Patrick’s Day! One of the highlights for me this year was to be able to travel to Denver’s Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception to see our longtime friend Paul Louderman ordained as a Catholic Christian Deacon. It was a beautiful experience; we are so proud of Paul and his family.

The trip then allowed me to partake in some much needed Christ-centered photography.

Denver’s Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception

Collage From Denver Basilica j

Mother Cabrini Shrine

Collage from Mother Cabrini Shrine j

For me, photoremedy at religious places that speak to (and calm) my soul is the perfect combination. As a result, I recommend that others who have a similar orientation give it a try the next time you are focused on pain or feeling blue. Why not give it a shot? You too may find that a greater focus on heavenly matters–with your mind and, occasionally, your camera–is a great step towards bringing a little more heaven to earth.

2013 Photo of the Year

If our 2013 photo contest were a horse race, everyone would say, “The number 11 horse–Cannon Beach–won in a near wire to wire contest.” Yes, Charleston Boardwalk and A Walk  in the (Ecola State) Park fought the good fight and briefly contended. In the end, however, Cannon Beach finished with more than 40 percent of the votes. The results are listed at the bottom of this post, and are based on 1,099 votes.

Cannon Beach (top), Ecola State Park Walk (middle), and Charleston Boardwalk

Cannon Beach, OR (top), Ecola State Park ,OR Walk (middle), and Charleston Boardwalk

Of the thousands of pictures I took in the last year, it is interesting to note that two of the top three photos were taken about 100 yards from one another in Oregon’s magnificent Ecola State Park. To me this suggests a couple of points:

1) A photographer can take good photos in dark alleys or even barren fields, but it is a lot easier to move people when you slow down enough to truly see and capture the beauty of the works of our loving creator. I am so grateful that God put a camera in my hands; sometimes, I look through the view finder and say to myself, “Now, I’m seeing the world as God sees it. Creation is filled with soulful beauty – in places and people.”

2) Taking photos from the heart is the first step towards producing marvelous images. Our Oregon Coast trip was very special to me because it was, perhaps, my father and late mother’s favorite trip that they took together. They both came home from their Oregon journey enthusiastically gushing with stories of the state’s unbridled beauty. Mary and I both thought a lot about my parents during the trip. We’d stumble from one gem to another and, inevitably, one of us would say, “Mom and Dad would have loved this. I now know what they were talking about”

Cheers to all of us enthusiastically gushing about our encounters with beauty in the New Year. Let’s try and more frequently look through God’s lens and see our world’s overwhelming beauty– in places and, most importantly, people.


Greg in Astoria, OR

- Greg

Photoremedy Photo of the Year: 2013 Poll

Photos and article by Greg W. Gilstrap –With time barrelling towards a new year, it’s once again time for our Photoremedy Photo of the Year contest. As with our previous two efforts, we are offering a Chicago-style approach to voting; that means you can ‘vote early and vote often.’ If you love a photo, follow the poll progress results and don’t be afraid to share it with your friends or to come back to register extra votes for good measure. Over 1,000 votes were registered last year.

Veterans Memorial - Anthem, Arizona

Veterans Memorial – Anthem, Arizona (2012 Photo of the Year)

Our baker’s dozen 2013 list features South Carolina shots, a heart-wrenching procession, a black and white of one of America’s most famous farmers’ markets, and several pictures from a Seattle to Arizona summer tour. All of the pics were taken while pursuing photoremedy. Click on the ‘Background and Initial Post’ tab above for our working ‘photoremedy’ definition.

So, let’s get to it. Check out the options below, and then select the photograph that you feel is worthy of being crowned ‘Photoremedy Photo of the Year.’ The polling mechanism is offered at the bottom of this post. The contest closes at midnight MST, New Year’s Eve.

1. Man and the Birds  My brother-in-law, Chris, spent time teaching me how to feed southern shore birds in early 2013. The only thing he forgot to teach me was how to do it without getting nailed by massive amounts of bird droppings (see May 2013 post). Since I’m the one that got nailed, this more aesthetically-pleasing photo is the shot that made our final list.

Man and the Birds

Man and the Birds

2. Charleston Boardwalk  Charleston, SC’s Waterfront Park is one of the area’s most visited attractions. And, as I discovered in 2013, it offers spectacular sunrise and sunset photoremedy.

View from Charleston's Riverfront Park

Charleston Boardwalk

3. Honoring Our Heroes  In July, thousands of Arizonans flocked to the streets, highways, and overpasses that lined the way home for the 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot Unit. The 19 perished when a wicked wind suddenly changed directions, and ferociously fanned the flames of a massive wildfire and left the Arizona heroes with no way out. The long line of white hearses begins in the top left hand corner of this photo.


Honoring Our Heroes

4. Frontage Road  My hometown, Anthem, AZ, is a great place to experience the Old West meeting the New. This photo, taken just a couple of miles down a frontage road that leads to Anthem, demonstrates this entertaining phenomenon.

AZ_Mail_Boxes-1 (1 of 1)

Frontage Road

5. Cold Beer with a View  My bike riding days may be in the past, but I enjoyed tagging along with my buddy Pete this summer when he made the ride up to the Snow Bowl ski area north of Flagstaff. It offered me a lot of photoremedy. I particularly enjoyed this shot as Pete savored a cold beer at the end of the trail while looking out at storms forming between Snow Bowl and the Grand Canyon.

A Cold Beer with a View

Cold Beer with a View

6. Man Outstanding in His Field  Another Anthem friend, Dave, helped me get desert wild flower shots by allowing me to ride shotgun in his very cool Polaris Razor Jagged X. This photo was taken west of Interstate 17, about 10 miles north of Anthem.

A_Man_Outstanding_In_His_Field-1 (1 of 1)

Man Outstanding in his Field

7. Purple Gazanias  Yes, yes I enjoy photographing flowers. I didn’t have to go any further then my side yard to capture this photograph. A little known fact about this patch of flowers? They are planted, and thriving, in a couple of old toilets that I’ve converted into flower ‘pots.’ They are in the side yard because Mary wouldn’t allow me to put them anywhere else!

Purple Gazanias

Purple Gazanias

8. Cat Nap  Our two cats occasionally get banished to the laundry room. It used to drive Stella nuts, but she has learned to cope if we leave the dryer door open.

Cat Nap

Cat Nap

9. Pike Place Market We have spent a bit of time in Seattle this year, as our youngest son–Will–is now there attending the Academy of Interactive Entertainment. Every time I end up in Seattle, I manage to find a way to get to Pike Place Market. Not only is there great fresh produce and seafood featured, it is an awesome place to enjoy a heaping scoop of photoremedy. I felt like black and white photo development accentuates the fact that Pike Place Market is a timeless treasure.

Pike Place Market - Seattle, WA

Pike Place Market – Seattle, WA

10. Lake Union HDR Will lives just a few blocks from picturesque Lake Union. Not only is this another great Seattle attraction, I’ve found it to be an awesome place for capturing sunset photos for HDR imaging.

Lake Union HDR

Lake Union HDR

11. Cannon Beach Mary and I took a very slow, leisurely drive from Seattle back to Arizona. Every time my back was killing me, we got out and stretched our legs. This provided a whole bunch of photoeremedy opportunities. What a blessing! The Oregon Coast proved to be perfect for this type of travel. I captured so many (of what I felt like were) memorable images. One of my favorites was this shot looking south over famous Cannon Beach.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach

12. A Walk in the (Ecola State) Park The above photo was taken at Ecola State Park, which is also where I captured the touching image below.

Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park

13. Truckee Wine Wall When we left Oregon, our trip took us through a bit of California and Nevada. We spent two nights in eclectic Truckee. The gloriously historic California destination features small town charm and this memorable wine wall.

Truckee Wine Wall

Truckee Wine Wall

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Keep on Truckee-ing

Truckee quote slide

It’s almost time to close out our look at highlights of this summer’s photoremedy tour between Seattle, WA and our home in Arizona. The trip lasted a little over a week but persistent pain continues to limit the time I can spend at the computer – at least that’s my excuse for taking a few months to get trip highlights posted.

The gallery below features one-of-a-kind Truckee, CA, along with a few interesting shots of the North Lake Tahoe area while it was under siege from the Yosemite fires and their resulting, massive smoke plume. Click on any image below to see our Truckee Gallery in slide show mode.

In the event you need words, additional Truckee area information is available at: http://www.truckee.com/.