Monday, October 24, 2011


Okay, so I'm promoting another of my websites here...PAUL MASHBURN - FINE ART, but if I don't who will?!

I have been accumulating photos for years, and have finally got to the place in my life where I have the time to spend outside at different times of the day and night to capture the images I see in my mind's eye, and the money for the kind of equipment one needs to do the job right. 

Photography has always been a passion of mine, or at least from the time, back in 1964, when a friend, Frank Boyce, gave me an old "Mamiya rangefinder" 35mm.  I used that little wonder all through the Air Force, including documenting my tour in Vietnam, and up until the time I started working for the Roane County NEWS as advertising manager.

Man, did I have fun working in advertising.  Naturally, it involved great accounts with the boutiques in our little county, and pretty high school girls (who weren't that much younger than me then), and beautiful clothes!  What more could a creative mind and a love for photography ask for?!

Of course, I spent my time on the sidelines, nearly getting creamed by running backs, just to get that one great shot for the sports page!  I think the anticipation of the darkroom experience after the game was almost as exciting as the game itself.  I loved the smell and feel of the darkroom, but most of all what you could do with a negative.  All the while, looking forward to surprising my owner/editor with a great shot!

Today my darkroom consist or software called Photoshop!  No smell, no feel, just greater control.  However, I miss the isolation and the yellow light glowing up in the dusty corner of a musty little curtained off room.

Another chance meeting that spurred my interest and knowledge in photography was working with Bill Hall, who was a renowned, yet mischievous, photographer, and the paper's chief camera man.  He used a Hasselblad, a "Hackeyblad" as he called it, which in my mind elevated him to great photographic stature!  I was almost ashamed to stand by him with my little Minolta 35mm!

I learned a lot about the art of photography, and the darkroom from Bill.  I owe him for pushing me on to be the best I could be with what I had.

In this old newspaper clipping (above), you can see that I did all the work (a day teaching), while Bill flirted with the college gals and got the photo credit at the bottom. 

However, I soon began getting my own "credit line", as the clipping above shows.  I was just Paul then...the "J" came later!

I even spent my time sweating, literally, over a 39, plus 1 double exposure, wedding shoot so I could thrill some newly wed with a cheap (cost wise) wedding album.  Thirty-nine 8X10 photos in a tufted and monogrammed album all for $200!  No one could beat it...except maybe with a little more quality that multiple lights offered, but hey, I couldn't afford all the extras at the time.  I was just trying to supplement my $150 a week income, and possibly save enough for a better camera, or another Mustang!

I ended up with a 2 1/4X2 3/4 format camera called a Rapid Omega 200.  It was really nice and gave me some of the finest color negatives I ever got from a film camera.  I still have it...if anyone's interested!

So, back to today...I decided to offer my best photos (solely judged by me) for sale.  I get request all the time from my Flickr site from people wanting this or that, but never had a way of really selling to the public.  After getting request for my night shot from Buzzard's Bluff recently, I started researching in earnest.

I found Fine Art America while Googling and comparing companies, and I think I like what they offer.  There is no commission to be paid...I just list base price I want out of a sale, and they add on shipping, handling, tax, framing, and take credit card payment from the buyers.  I simply get a check for what they've sold for me every two weeks.

Well, don't get excited, I haven't made any money yet, and I probably will never get rich, but at least when someone asks how they can get a copy of a photo of mine I have somewhere to send them, and I just stay out of the negotiation.  They can take it or leave it...I just want to take pictures!

Oh, did I ever give you the website?  JUST CLICK HERE, and check it out!  Check back often too...I'll be posting new ones there frequently.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Nope, I don't stop here often myself anymore...just like you! 
It seems there is just more important stuff to do, and mostly, these days, photography has first priority. No, not over family, but in things I really want to do. Oh, I may still want to go on a hike, but the primary reason is the chance to capture a few photos. These days, in East Tennessee, the leaves are turning, and the squirrels are busy putting on fat and storing up food for the long winter ahead.

We can see it all play out from the "screened porch", our little "tree house" overlooking the backyard. 

If I'm not up to a long hike, then I'll just travel around looking for something to catch my eye, and if it isn't in my town, I'll run up the road 10 or 20 miles and look for things I don't normally see in my circle of life. Like this old 1956 International Howe fire truck in Oliver Springs. Which reminds me, there the "October Sky" festival is going on there in a couple weeks. Lots of photo opportunities then I bet!

Some days I hook up with my bud Douglas D. (Danger) Mills and follow him around taking stills of what he's taking movies of, which is for our work on a Princess Production DVD for a lady in Roane County. 
Yes, that's poison ivy in the background!

One morning at 5:30 AM Doug and I were at the highest point above Harriman, Buzzard's Bluff. From there you can see a large part of the Walden Ridge Valley which stretches from here all the way to Chattanooga. A slow moving river of fog drifted below us, making the valley floor, with its street lights, appear like an underwater wonderland! 
Purchase this photo at
It was beautiful and while my stills turned out well, Doug's time-lapse was stunning! The camera was taking a still frame every second or so, and then is played back at a normal 30 frames per second. The river of fog truly progresses down the valley in the scene as an actual river. It's beautiful to watch the fog move and to see the clouds form and move out of frame.

The DVD will show what wonderful things there are to see and do in our area.

More of my Buzzard's Bluff shots, and area photos, can be found in this Flickr set.

Back down the mountain, Doug and I might hang out at the local community college and shoot and film a ballgame, a gathering of children playing flag football, or of people moving between the campus buildings. While Doug might be looking for the money DVD shots, I'm looking for shots of him doing what Doug does best; that's being one of the best videographers ever. His 25-year work on a series unique to East Tennessee, "The Heartland", is proof of his abilities. The series logged around 1900 episodes!

I was doing just this (shooting Doug filming) back in February of 2009 when I stumbled and fell, breaking four ribs. Without letting on how much pain I was in, I calmly drove Doug off Walden's Ridge and back to his car. I drove by the ER in Harriman and plopped in my recliner, where I stayed for about two weeks; not knowing until my cancer scan turned up the fractures and showed where my right kidney actually bleed internally!

There are lots of things going on around Roane County, and they are constantly calling me name, and saying, "...bring your camera!"

Last week there was "Hauntin' In Harriman", which is basically a classic "ghost tour", and every city worth its salt has one. Harriman's is traditionally the second week in October, just as the leaves start their annual color change, and just about the time everyone starts thinking about Halloween.

I tagged along, tripod in tow, sweating up and down "Cornstalk Heights", taking ghostly looking photos of the actors that play out the stories told at several stops along the way. Again, I was doing stills, which will be used in next year's promotion, while David McCarthy shot video for his "Final Cut" class at Roane State

It was very exciting and I was pleased with my results. You can see some of the best by clicking HERE!

Then there was this past weekend. Ol' Herman Cain dropped by Roane State to speak to the area "Tea Party", and I was on hand, armed with a new 70-210mm zoom lens. Thanks to my local connections, I was able to stay very close to Mr. Cain as he met and greeted those welcoming him to the county, to the Fox NEWS team as they prepared and interviewed him for the Mike Huckabee Show, and as he spoke to the faithful! The lens paid off and I had a ball being with close friends and watching a little history go down in our humble county.  See more Herman Cain photos HERE!

Just as I was getting into it and preparing to follow Herman to his campaign bus, my cell rang and it was Judy, back from her "lesbian cruise", as I called it, to Greece. She went with about forty area women on a "women only" tour of the Greek islands.
She apparently had a ball, as evidenced by these select few photos. She did pretty well herself!

So, now we're all back together, safe and sound, and I can get back to doing more of what I like...shooting historical photos of our Princess Theatre. The project is coming along wonderfully, and I have had the privileged of documenting the journey from the inside out! I can't wait to she her in her full "art deco" garb, and see all the smiling faces flowing in and out her doors once again.

So, if you don't hear from me for long spans of time, I'm just busy with Princess business. But, you can keep up with what I'm doing, and how the Princess is doing by CLICKING HERE!

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Yep, the entire Class of '64 turns 65 this year...time to start drawing from the Social Security and Medicare benefits that we've been paying into for all these years!  Some of us have been drawing since 62, but this year we all begin Medicare coverage.  That's the reason for us having a SS & M Party this past weekend.

The week, in general, has been a good week, with a couple of visits downtown to see my Princess, and to update my running blog of the restoration project.  That can be found on the Princess Blog!
Note the "funeral" tents in the background (Click to enlarge)
I'll have to say the highlight of the weekend was Friday night at Harriman High School's 2011 Homecoming game.  My son is the Guidance Counselor there and usually coordinates special events at the Friday night games, like who gets on the field and when, Homecoming Queens, and people like us returning alumni.  So, he had some funeral tents set up, almost too appropriate, for us to gather and socialize under during the game.  He even roped-off reserved seating in the stands, but most people elected to stay under the tents and reminisce.
Those that attended lined up along the 45 yard line, opposite the Class of '81, while they announced our class year.  Surprisingly, both classes got a rousing hand and we began to feel special!  Then we (both classes) moved down to the north end of the field and joined the Homecoming Queen and her court in forming a line through which the Blue Devils ran as the game got under way.
The Queen and court, the band, and us old folks, left the field to allow the coin toss.  It was just then that Phil Dawson, the fellow with the whitest hair, which used to be the reddest in the class, had the gumption to walk over and ask if he could toss the coin!  The refs asked if he could catch it, the nerve, and he just said, "We'll see!"  I missed that moment with my camera, but no one, not even Phil, until the last moment, knew he had the cojones to ask!  He was our hero!
So, we talked, watched a little football, that is until Harriman got behind, then some of us got distracted by hunger and thirst.  We reconvened in a corner at Los Premos and began munching chips and salsa; washing it down with Margaritas!
I got to spend some time with my ol' buddy David Arp too, Friday night, and again on Saturday morning during a special tour of the Princess, and then later at the Saturday evening SS & M Party!  It was good to talk to him again, and laugh about our former "Fight Club" and how it bonded our friendship.

My other good, high school best, friend Barry Henderson could not make the event due to loads of work he is doing in a tornado ravaged area of upper East Tennessee.  Maybe in three years he can make our normal, every 5 years, reunion party date.

Like I said, I had sent out an impromptu email inviting classmates to join us at the Princess, but only David, his wife Kathy, his mom, and his brother-in-law Jim Henry, who has been very important to our restoration project, his son John, and Dr. Ahler came to the unplanned tour.  Gary Baker, the important man behind the scenes of the Princess project, and, our very own "Michelangelo" Tim Plemons met us there to show us the recent progress.
David loved the tour, and being able to share with his wife stories of slipping into the balcony back long ago!  I guess I never had the guts to do that, although I did jump out of a tree into the Midtown Drive-in one night, but then again I married assistant manager's daughter and had a free pass!
Morgan's group shot will be better, but this will do for now.
Later, on the Clinch River, near K-25, our party gathered and the music began flowing down the valley, riding on the slow rising fog spreading there.  It's strange how we look at each other today and still see each other seated at school desks, and pay little attention to the passing of time, although we are keenly aware of "the age in my (their) eyes", and the slower way we turn and walk these days.
Party venue at Kay Culton's
But all the senseless ego and pride is gone.  All the pettiness and jealousy, has vanished with time and we just enjoy being in each others company again.  We have already lost nineteen classmates and it's so sad that we can no longer share this special "golden" age with them as well.
Our host - Kay Whitson Culton

We still like our music rather loud, as some kept asking for the music to be turned up, possibly in order to hear it above the many conversations and loud laughter!

We don't need alcohol anymore to give us the courage we once thought we needed to socialize, although we haven't given up on it completely, we just have learned to be more responsible with its use.  Thankfully, it has become a lesser motive to party.  It's seems to be all about the people, their lives, their kids and grand-kids now, and that's so special.  It only comes with age. 
My heart was warmed Saturday evening too, when some that never even had a date in high school, at least as far as anyone knows, were dancing with former "most popular" students.  Who would have ever thought we'd live long enough to see that happen; and how great it was!
Time heals all and gives us the life experience we need to have that kind of confidence...finally, self-assured enough to step out on the dance floor and "cut a rug" like we could only once fantasize!
I'm proud of my age...I'm proud all that small stuff has passed.  I'm also happy to be 65...happy to be alive and feeling well, for a change, and happy to be a 1964 graduate of Harriman High School

Best damn class ever!

Friday, September 23, 2011


2 Chronicles 7:14 in God's Word, He states:
"If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
I am convinced that we (Americans) must pray for our nation and its leaders.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I took my little momma to see her #2 son this week.  It was just from Wednesday afternoon until Friday noon, but it was a good short time!
Wade and his wife have just completed a part of their planned home update, which thus far has included a new pool and remodeled garage, and even though mom had already seen photos, she was anxious to see what they had accomplished in person.  

We had an uneventful 248 mile ride over to Lincolnton, NC from Harriman, except for a little brake rubbing coming down the mountain west of Asheville.  I didn't think I had been using them that much, but apparently it was enough to build up some heat in them. 
Shine on Tennessee moon!

The stretch from the I-81/I-40 split to Canton just seems like forever.  You cannot doze either going up or coming down that Black Mountain stretch, or you'll end up hitting a "jersey" bumper, drive into a tunnel wall, or run under a tractor-trail rig!  It's extremely stressful driving that road, with several sand ramps that stop runaway 18-wheelers to remind you of the inherent dangers.

Finally into Lincolnton, we pulled up, honked the horn, and promptly shouted, "Mountain folk!" like my dad always did when we used to arrive "down home"!
Wade greeted us outside with big hugs and then took us inside past his babies...three rather huge Rottweilers, who immediately checked us out.  Two of the dogs smelled us over, and after offering the back of our hands to smell, they allowed us to pet them on the head.  A third one, Neo, kept his distance after a brief sniff, and he watched us closely the entire visit.  The other two, Ursa, the oldest at 10 years, and Kong, yes, the name of this 147 lb. baby fits him to a tee, soon forgot about us and paid little attention to us unless they wanted some loving!  He would just waddle to any area he wanted, and spread out!  He often pushed the couch out of the way with his weight!

"Where does a 147 pound dog sleep...anywhere he pleases!"
During the construction of the new kitchen, bathrooms, pool, and garage, a couple of unlucky workers got a little squeeze on the thigh between the huge jaws of Kong and Neo!  Once there was some skin broken, but apparently the workers had surprised them and the dogs quickly reminded them who was boss!
I was already somewhat nervous around Neo, and tried not to show it, however, after hearing these stories I made sure I said his name when moving about, or coming into, the room.  His eyes never left me and I made sure I didn't invade his space.
However, the visit was a good one, with homemade tacos and chili, and several libations, including a Sam Adams Black Lager, which I had never tried, and a little sip of some "good ol' Tennessee mountain dew"!
As Wade says, "This is why we call'em broads!"
Mom, bless her heart, stayed with Wade and Lynn, but was afraid to come out of her room at night.  Luckily there was a bathroom just across the hall, but she didn't dare go to the kitchen during the night for water or a snack!  I don't think the dogs would have hurt her, but she was afraid she would make them bark and wake everyone up!  So, even though she got hungry during the night, she waited until morning, and after hearing Wade up, to venture out of her room.
Me...well, I had stayed there once before, sleeping in the living room with eyes on me every time I moved.  So, I got a room in a nearby motel and enjoyed their complementary country breakfast without those watchful eyes around!
Mostly we just sat in the shade by the "cement pond" (actually fiberglass) and talked.  It was a peaceful time in Wade's quiet neighborhood.  The temperatures were decent, for a change, and they actually dropped down into the 50s and 60s Friday.  This was probably the last week their pool will be open until spring.  Soon, as I reminded Wade, all the leaves in the area will drop into his pool! (I've been there...done that!)

So, we came back Friday...also uneventful.  

The next trip mom and I will take will be to the Williams Reunion in Florence, AL.  She and her sister Nell are the last of the elders in our family.  It will soon be up to us second-cousins to carry on the traditions....but I wonder how long that will last when even we are gone.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Sadly, we are through planning our class' 65th Birthday, SS&M (Social Security/Medicare), Party, because we've had so much fun at our "planning meetings".  However, we shall resume when you all you Harriman Class of '64 members get here on September the 24th!  It would be awesome if everyone could be here for the planning sessions, but sadly we have split apart and gone our separate ways.  But, that's the reason for our parties and get us all back together and renew our friendships and relive our high school days.

One good thing though, we won't have to hear Bob reminiscence about each and every one of you as we read the list of class names!  I think he could blackmail just about everyone in the class! Seriously, it was all good fun!  I think it was just his way of stretching out the party time!
I will shut up now and just let you enjoy some of the photos (double click to enlarge) I took Thursday evening at Kay (Whitson) and Bob Culton's home; where the party will take place.  Come dressed as you see us dressed...casually, 'cause someone just might end up in the pool!  So, relax and have fun!

Oh yes, there are between 15 and 20 of us planning on going to the Harriman vs. Wartburg football game on Friday evening the 23rd.  If you plan on attending, let me know so I can get seating reserved!
Who knew Kay was a two fisted drinker!

Ronnie watching his Prez!

Sorry Bob...this one's for me!

Bob and I suck it in!

Donna, Judy, and Regina hug up Bob Culton to thank him to letting us use his home for planning and for the party!