After reading this post, please see the update at bottom.
For this image, I was driving around San Angelo State Park, and I spotted the Pyrrhuloxia singing away in the top of a tree. He appeared as a silhouette against the sky. I propped my Canon EOS 7D with 500mm lens and 1.4 tele-converter on the windowsill of the car, cushioning it with a Puffin’ Pad. Exposure was 1/1250 sec. @ f8, -0.3EV, ISO 100. Spot metering and aperture priority. Post editing in Photoshop CS5 aided by DeNoise and Focus Magic.
In other news, you have probably read in my “About Me” page about my past career in music. In the early 1960s I played with the Cavaliers, a band from here in San Angelo, Texas for a short period. They recorded the famous song “Last Kiss” written by Wayne Cochran and sang by J. Frank Wilson. Because of another commitment, I didn’t play sax on the record as no sax part was needed in the song. Anyway, the band, me included, have been inducted into the West Texas Music Hall of Fame. Sid Holmes, the leader, has written a book, “Rockabilly Heaven”. It is the untold story of the Cavaliers, and also tells about the music scene of the 50s and 60s in west Texas. It is available from Ft. Phantom Lake Publishing, 6204 S. Parkway, Ft. Worth, TX 76134. Or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. On page 95 there is a handsome photo of yours truly.
I was instrumental in the hiring of J. Frank Wilson to the band. We needed a lead vocalist and we heard about this young man that was stationed at the nearby air base, and was near the end of his enlistment. We auditioned him. Our drummer, our bass player, and I all thought that he couldn’t sing a lick. However, Sid Holmes, the leader thought otherwise and the rest is history. It turned out that with the band backing him up he could blend in easier. The record sold millions, topped the charts for many months and repeated in later years when it was re-corded by Pearl Jam in 1995.
J. Frank Wilson was a one-hit wonder. He left the Cavaliers in 1964, deciding to go single. He never made another hit record. He died a pauper, a few short years ago, in south Texas, where he was working as a janitor in a nursing home. But, the song he made famous, “Last Kiss”, a song about a girl dying in a car crash, lives on. I am proud that I was part of the legacy.
IMPORTANT UPDATE – 3/15/2012 – In conversation with Sid Holmes, the leader of the Cavaliers, I have found that only J. Frank Wilson was elected to the West Texas Music Hall of Fame. That was because his name was on the record, “Last Kiss” with the Cavaliers backing him up. However, the Cavaliers band, including me, was inducted into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame. That puts us in stellar company with Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Roy Orbison and the many others of that era.