Sunday, November 22, 2009


I've not updated this blog, nor have I shot much lately. It's been a lost summer and fall, with many questions, and damned few answers. Hopefully I'll have answers soon. Regardless, here are a few point and shoot images (my trusty, outdated G9) from the past few weeks.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Exiting the big blue ball

I was riding back from Wichita on the Kansas Turnpike on Monday with my boss. It was rainy. Everything seemed fine. In fact, it was fine, except for about 30 seconds of terror. Suddenly, we started hydroplaning. This went on for what seemed like an eternity, but in reality was probably 10 seconds. Even 10 seconds at 70mph means we likely traveled about a quarter mile, out of control and at the mercy of whatever. We were in both lanes of the turnpike, yet we avoided hitting the median barrier and then spun into the ditch.

Amazingly, we avoided colliding with any other vehicles or anything else along the highway. I figured that we were either going to roll or get t-boned by a truck. I really did believe for a second that my end was near, and I thought that there was no way I thought I would die on the Kansas Turnpike in the middle of the Flint Hills. Especially not today. Damned scary. It's a metaphor for my life the past year.

And I've spent a lot of time thinking about it this week. I'm fortunate to be alive. It's made think a lot about leaving this big blue ball and how I will be remembered when I've checked out. And how I can make the most of it while I am still here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I need cool and green

105 degree plus weather has me hankering for the cool and green of the Rockies.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What a difference a day makes.

Yesterday, I was hiking at 9,000 feet near Avon, Colorado, after spending most of the last week in Summit County, Colorado. Cool temps, low humidity. Just great conditions. This evening, Toto, we're back in Kansas, and sweating like a dog. And I don't like it at all.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Skeletons in my closet, err, I mean doll's head in my basement

We spent this weekend cleaning out our basement after too many years of putting it off. We rented a dumpster and filled it with several tons of worthless junk. Some of the junk was purchased with our own hard-earned money, while a bunch of it was left behind by the previous owners--my wife's parents. Regardless, there was a lot of junk. Mostly worthless except for the memories or guilt that it triggered. I am glad that it is gone.

No doubt basements everywhere are filled with just this sort of crap. Stuff that was once thought to be important, but was really just worthless junk that served no other purpose except to remind us how as a society we are largely superficial consumers of the latest crap. Perhaps the coolest thing I "found" was this creepy little doll's head, mocking me with a knowing, judgmental half smile.

Well, got to get to work refilling it with new crap.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My three daughters

All of my daughters were in town this weekend. That doesn't happen very often anymore. As we gathered to celebrate Kelsey's belated 20th birthday, I paused to consider just how great they are and how much I love all three of these remarkable ladies (and their Mom, too.)

When each one of them was born, I had male relatives ask me if I was disappointed that that particular child wasn't a boy. I was later asked if I regretted that I never had a son. I wasn't and told them so. A lot of guys said, well, I bet you wanted boys so they could be athletes and carry on the family name.

First, did you ever see how many Richardsons there are in the average phonebook? There is no shortage.

Second, I did everything with my girls that a Dad would do with their boys while they were growing up. I coached them. I played games and sports with them. I hung out with them. I didn't miss anything.

Aimee was a three-sport athlete in junior high and a dancer in high school. Mallory played basketball from the time she was five years old up through her freshman year of high school. She became one of the top distance runners in the state of Kansas, was all-state in cross country and ran at KU for a year where she competed in the NCAAs. Kelsey was a competitive gymnast, went to state as a diver in high school and ran cross country. She is a gymnastics coach today. But what's even better is their non-athletics resume:

Aimee: Phi Beta Kappa in English and Sociology from KU, 2005. JD from the KU School of Law in 2008. She's a practicing attorney. Her husband Ryan is an assistant district attorney.

Mallory: Phi Beta Kappa in Psychology from KU, 2007. She just finished her second year of medical school and will graduate from the KU School of Medicine in 2011. Her husband Alan will do the same in 2012.

Kelsey: She just finished her sophomore year at KU and will follow my footsteps and enter the KU School of Journalism in the fall.

Sorry for the bragging, but thinking about this past weekend just reminds me of how proud I am of my three daughters. And I now have great sons in Alan and Ryan.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

redbuds in bloom

I noticed that my friend Doug Stremel likes Redbud trees as much as I do. I walked across campus tonight, and they are in bloom. I shot a few frames. Enjoy. You can almost smell them. I hope this means winter is over and spring is finally here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Can it be spring yet?

Don't know about you, but I'm ready for some spring weather. Here's to hoping that winter grip is loosened by spring.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

March 29, 2009

Thankfully, no blizzard. Just ice, which will be gone in a few hours in a noisy, glistening shower.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March Madness

Watching the NCAA Tournament made me think back to KU B-Ball Media Day 2005. I found a few pictures of the guys who would've been seniors this year. Three are now in the NBA and one is at Gonzaga. Kind of makes me wonder how good this year's team might have been had the class stayed intact for four years. Maybe another Final Four or national championship. Maybe they wouldn't have accomplished as much. Who knows, but it's fun to play "what if."

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Is it just me, or has the world lost its everloving mind?

Wordle: earl
As I sat watching CNN news Friday evening, I was struck by CNN's coverage of the Michael Phelps bong saga. As the world appears to be collapsing around us, CNN spent a fairly hefty chunk of time on this absolutely friggin' meaningless story. His talent? He swims fast. Big deal. I'd be more impressed if he swam all of those races and at the same time outswam a Great White Shark about to make a meal of his waterlogged arse. My first responses were (1) who cares, and (2) I sure hope the folks at Doritos recognize the endorsement goldmine that the "World's Greatest Athlete" provides. Then, in considering all of this, I came up with a theory.

My theory is this: because TV and websites have a 24-hour news cycle, and it takes a lot of (meaningless and otherwise) stuff to fill all that time (and, that also means telling the same story, over and over again, just to fill air time), it has two effects: (1) it trivializes "real" news (most news organizations have no news judgment--they're just pandering to people's ignorance and stupidity), and (2) the effects of any bad news are multiplied dramatically.

While I fully realize that our economy is tanking, I can't help but wonder if at least part of what is going on is a psychological reaction and is stoked by news organizations beating the same end-of-the-world drum, every fifteen minutes, ad nauseum. People have quit spending because they are scared shitless, which then triggers layoffs, etc., driving people to an even higher level of scared shitlessness, precluding them from spending because they now are unemployed. It becomes a cyclical downward spiral of fear which just makes things perhaps worse than they would've been if we only had Walter Cronkite telling us the numbers every night at 5:30 p.m. I'm certainly not making an argument for ignorance of our current economic situation, but at least it's food for thought.

This just in . . .Doritos has made Michael Phelps a 7-figure endorsement offer, which will drive up the cost of Doritos, making them more expensive, which people won't buy because they're too scared to spend, throwing Dorito workers out of work. Stay tuned for the full story.

Friday, February 6, 2009

The show is up

I got an email that my "retrospective" is now hanging, and allegedly, the folks in the J-School like it. A pity that I didn't have more to really go back and look at neagtives from the last century. Oh well, next time. My daughter stopped by to look and said it looked good. It's a good thing she is totally objective. I'll go by soon and see it. When I don't get to make the prints, I get nervous. So, if you're in the neighborhood of KU's Stauffer-Flint Hall sometime this spring, go to the second floor and take a look. One caveat: I didn't print or choose the framing, so if you don't like it, don't blame me.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


I received an email from the KU School of Journalism last week. The person wanted to know if I was interested in displaying 20-30 photos of my photos at the J-School. I was flattered and I immediately said yes. Who wouldn't want to show their work at their alma mater? Then, I really began thinking about it.

First, I wondered who the hell backed out on such short notice. After all, they want these images framed and on the wall by February 6th, so being local, well, you do the math.

Second, I quickly discovered just how much of my work was inaccessible to me, given the short time frame. Anything I shot on film before the advent of digital would need to be scanned and printed, or negatives sent out for printing immediately. No time for that, so a lot of my favorites from the '80s and '90s are out by default.

Third, a lot of the digital I shot in 2001-2003 just really won't hold up in 16 x 20 enlargements. Or at least something I want to have my name associated with.

Fourth, my archiving efforts have been absolutely abysmal. It's as if I have a big digital shoe box and I have thrown most of my images into--at least since I went to law school in 2005. Note to self: I need to catalog the cabinet full of DVDs. Need to investigate better archiving software. If I sent down for one solid week of 12 hour days, I MIGHT get a handle on it. MAYBE.

Fifth, I need to rededicate myself to some sort of long term photographic project to keep my eye sharp and to bring a little joy and creative energy into my life.

Finally, and most importantly, it is truly humbling to look back at what you've shot and what you thought was good. Much of it doesn't strike me the same way it did when I first shot it. As a matter of fact, much of what I've shot in my career as a photographer seems quite vapid in retrospect. I'd classify a lot of it as a kind of visual elevator Musak. Certainly not Wagner or even the Partridge Family. I spent the better part of the yesterday looking for photos, editing, and lamenting that I've spent almost 30 years shooting professionally, and my impression of my work is that I produced a plethora of incredibly average images. They paid the bills, but most of them do not nourish the soul or deserve to be hung on a wall for all to see. Maybe I'm overthinking all of this, but I sure hope that the the poor journalism students who are subjected to viewing my work on a daily basis for the next 4 months don't think I've wasted my time, because that's exactly how I feel as I edit my "retrospective." I know I'll likely be remembered for other more important things, but I am going to make it a goal to produce some images that I would be proud of when my final retrospective is hung.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Feeling blue

When I went outside Saturday afternoon to try out a new camera (yes, I still buy cameras), it was spring. A few minutes later, it was winter again. Weird. Kind of like life right now--I'm not sure what end is up most of the time. But I like the what I found. Now, if only I could say that about the rest of my life. I'm working on it.