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2016-010-0066A couple of years ago, I discovered Magnolia trees and their beautiful white blooms. I have long been a lover of flowers, but somehow magnolia blooms had escaped my attention. I don’t know if I actually created the hashtag MagnoliaMonday or if I had just never seen it before, but it was my way of rebellion against the then popular mancrushmonday, womancrushwednesday, throwbackthursday and so on. Don’t get me wrong — themes can be good but sometimes are overused. My kids thought I was being ridiculous and that was a good enough reason to continue the theme. I haven’t counted, but there are dozens of Magnolia trees on campus so I have plenty of good opportunities for photos with these sweet smelling blooms all summer. Have a good week and happy #MagnoliaMonday.

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Jeff Montgomery/photographer

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I really love taking photos of the campus as it blooms out in the spring. Several years ago we started using the hashtag #springatharding so we could see all the beautiful photos that people take of the campus. I hope you enjoy these photos that I took last week.04-01-2016-9106 03-28-2016-7257 03-28-2016-7357 03-28-2016-7392 03-28-2016-7411 03-28-2016-7521 04-01-2016-903904-01-2016-9052
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Jeff Montgomery/photographer

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Last night upon leaving the basketball games I found the campus was enshrouded in fog. Here’s a taste of the beauty it created.

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Jeff Montgomery/photographer

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My favorite photo this week came this morning on the way to chapel.

Jeff Montgomery/photographer

If I was shooting an event and could only have one photo app on my iPhone, I would definitely choose the free Google app called Snapseed. Here are a few tips on how to edit photos on your phone to make them look great.

IMG_87871. Get closer to your subject. When it comes to taking a photo, don’t just zoom in close — get physically close with your phone. I mean walk yourself over closer to your subject. Taking more than one photo is also a good idea in case one is blurry, someone blinks, or another minor photo mishap occurs. Also, it is never a bad idea to make sure you don’t have a smudge or fingerprint on your camera lens, which is not hard to do on a phone.

2. Import the photo into Snapseed. Phone photos these days are really good, but it is amazing how a little touch up with an app can make a decent photo outstanding. Snapseed breaks the editing process down into two basic areas called “tools” and “filters.”

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3. Give the photo some structure. I always start with the detail tab in tools and give my photos a little increase in structure, which is a cross between adding contrast and sharpness to the photo.

4. Tune the image. My next step is always to use the “Tune Image” tool  in the top left corner, and I make any needed exposure, contrast, and saturation adjustments that I need. After this step, I am usually done with the photo.

You can also select a filter where you can apply artistic effects such as making your photos look more like art or just simply turning them black and white. For the sunset below, I used the drama filter and also added a little extra saturation to make the colors pop.

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Jeff Montgomery/photographer

 

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Winter 1993

My first Harding magazine was the first Harding magazine, and oh, how things have changed.

I remember meetings where we discussed whether or not we were going to use computer layout or continue using the old paste-up method. A color cover on a glossy magazine was going to be a big deal especially coming from a black and white newsprint publication.

05-28-2015-3749Back in the early nineties, we shot a lot of black and white and not very much color. We shot this first cover with a Bronica 645 camera using 100 speed Fuji slide film. Back then, we had to get color separations made for each color image, and if you started with a slide or a positive image, your separation was only one generation away from the original. That was important because every generation away from the original art caused some loss of quality. We used the 645 camera because the negative was six by four and half centimeters which is almost four times bigger than a 35 millimeter frame, and that bigger image area gave better detail than a small frame.

Back then I also developed the film myself in my own darkroom. Typing the previous sentence scares me to death now. I was only 23 years old back then, and I guess I wasn’t smart enough to appreciate how serious of a job I was doing. Thankfully, the film turned out.

I have been blessed to have worked on Harding magazine for all of these years with a really wonderful group of people. I still have a great sense of pride when I see my name listed under the word photographer on page two of the magazine. I really do have the best job on campus!

Jeff Montgomery, photographer

 

 

04-14-2015-5634Today I was reminded once again that I don’t just work at an institution of higher education. I work at a place of deep faith and community, and I am thankful!

On Monday, March 23, I received a call from my college roommate and dear friend, Kirk Workman (’98). Kirk had just left a doctor appointment in the Dallas metroplex in which he learned he had brain cancer with the possibility of the cancer being present in other areas of the body as well. As you can imagine, the news was devastating, especially for his wife, Dana, and their three young children.

IMG_8556On Wednesday of that week, I was in a meeting with Chancellor Burks when I learned he would be traveling on the Harding plane with a few others to Austin, Texas, for a meeting that Friday. Now, I learned a long time ago that it never hurts to ask for a favor if you can accept that you might be told no, so I asked Dr. Burks if he thought the plane could stop in Dallas on its way to Austin and drop Dean Chad Joice and me off there so that we could be with Kirk at his follow-up visit on Friday. At first it looked like that wasn’t a possibility, but thanks to the help of a number of people, we were able to fly to Dallas that Friday.

The following was Kirk’s Facebook post that Friday: “So, it’s true. Sitting in freshman orientation 21 years ago at Harding University, they said, ‘Look around this room; it’s filled with the people that will be your lifelong friends; they’ll be standing with you at weddings, etc…’ It meant so much for me to see my brothers Andrew Baker and Chad Joice. We met up with Lathan Watts for lunch. I needed these guys today, and without me knowing they were coming, they showed up early this morning to wait with me for my tests and spend the day with me.”

Since our time in Dallas, things have not moved in the direction we had all hoped. I have shared with my classes all along about Kirk, Dana, and their children, asking them to join me in praying for a miracle. On Monday, April 13, this part of a message was posted by Kirk on his Carebridge page: “They also did a CT scan Friday afternoon focusing on the orbits (eye sockets) to develop a definitive plan for the treatment of the tumors there. The eyes and their surrounding structures are delicate, and they are trying to preserve as much function as possible with the ultimate goal of eradicating the cancer. I am wearing an eye patch daily now due primarily to double vision. My right eye is the one most affected with tumors, and it can be painful for my eyes to constantly be adjusting to find the same image. I’m hopeful that after we’ve treated the tumors, I’ll be able to find eye correction to help. The kids have all joined me today by going to get their own eye patches at Party City.”

After reading that update and dropping my children off at school, I stopped by Walgreens to buy an eye patch to wear that day in support of Kirk. I wore it to class and, through tears, read Kirk’s full Carebridge post to my freshman class. Later Monday night, I received a message from one of the students asking how many people were in the class. Because another student had purchased chicken biscuits for the entire class the week before, I thought this student might be going for chocolate chip cookies or something like that and didn’t think much about it.

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Instead, to my surprise I walked into class on Tuesday, April 14, to see every single student wearing an eye patch that read, “You Are Not Alone.” After calling every possible place in Searcy, two students in the class had made a special trip to Little Rock to buy patches. I have had the great honor of teaching at Harding for 15 years, and I have never had an experience like that in a classroom. The men and women in the room were no longer merely students, they were friends willing to walk faithfully alongside my friend as he battles for his life. If you look in the dictionary for the word “dad,” I think you will find Kirk Workman’s picture. But you if you looked under “faithful witness,” you would find it there as well.

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As the end to his Carebridge post shows: “I honestly can’t be happier about our life. I still wouldn’t trade with anyone. It is easy for us to see how God has prepared me and Dana for this specific journey since before we knew one another. While optimistic, we’re starting to see reality creeping in, and we believe we’re as ready as we can be. For that, we’re thankful.”

I ask that you join us in #kwprayingforamiracle and let the Workman family know #youarenotalone. Many are praying, and please keep those prayers coming. If you would be willing to help financially, you can go to http://www.gofundme.com/rxzxrw.

I am grateful not only to work at a place of higher education but to be a part of an amazing community of faith!

Andrew Baker, director of the Mitchell Center

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With the theme “Famous For Fifteen,” Spring Sing was a wonderful show.

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I love athletic celebration photos, and Spring Sing celebration photos are no different. TNT and Zeta Rho and friends won the John H. Ryan Award this years with their show “Charlie and the Chocolate Tragedy.”

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Each club picks a charity to support with their winnings and “Charlie and the Chocolate Tragedy” won $2000 for Jacob’s Place, a homeless shelter in Searcy.

Jeff Montgomery, photographer

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One of my jobs at Harding is being responsible for the content that goes on the Harding Instagram page. Last week we started using the #SpringatHarding hashtag on our photos to promote community and hopefully get students involved in sharing their photos. I love shooting the campus flowers in the spring. The pansies like the red one above have been here all winter, but after the snow and ice, they can look a little sad. As the temperatures warm up, they revive, and the colors of the blooms are just amazing.

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I have to admit that the photography teacher in me took this photo. Nothing like some warm-cool color contrast to make an image jump off the screen. Visually speaking the bright warm color of the daffodil seems to come forward in the image while the cool dark colors recede even deeper into the background.

enhanceThe weeping cherry tree blooms only for a few days but what an amazing show it puts on.
Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 9.07.45 AMThe Bradford Pear trees are all around the campus.

04-01-2015-Dogwood trees are my favorite spring bloomer on campus. and they seem to bloom overnight.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 9.18.12 AMHannah Owens used this dogwood photo for this week’s Friday photo verse that we put out on Facebook and Twitter.

Screen Shot 2015-04-03 at 9.08.25 AMLots of other things happen in spring beside flowers blooming. This week we had several home baseball and softball games and those events also fall under #SpringatHarding.

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This weekend we add #SpringSing15  to the hashtag list.  I have already seen the show twice, and it is outstanding.

I hope you will come to campus and enjoy the spring flowers and Spring Sing and also that you will use the hashtags and share your photos with us.

Jeff Montgomery, photographer

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03-18-2015-7240 Every coach who has ever recruited has searched for that one special class to come along and change everything. I was lucky because for me that class was my first. A class like The Triumvirate — defined as a group of three people who share a position of power — of 2011 comes along once upon a program. I know this because history tells me so. Sure other great players have come before them, and great players are sure to follow, but only one class gets to be the first — the first to radically transform culture; the first to break the glass ceiling; the first to get the Rowdies to show up at 5:30 p.m.; the first to win a championship, be ranked in the Top 10, and make the NCAA Tournament; the first to come back the next year and do it all again; the first to be ranked in the top 25 for 435 consecutive days; and the first to win three rings, bring home five trophies, cut down three nets, and hang five banners. They are history makers. The Triumvirate came in to make a difference together, and they‘ve done just that. When their final season began, the theme was Legacy. Posters were made. A video was produced. (Watch Legacy video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8swRpk2O-5Q) Expectations were raised. The team, led by these three seniors, delivered. They delivered in the form of a back-to-back GAC regular season title, the program’s first ever GAC Tournament Championship, 23 wins, and a return trip to March Madness. They wanted to leave a legacy to be proud of. With a combined 2,919 points, 2,000 rebounds, 729 assists, 312 steals, 319 starts, and an 89-30 record, their legacy is complete. Tabitha HaneyTabitha Haney was the first of the fabled trio to commit to be a Lady Bison, and she has been a rock for the program throughout her career — a constant presence of grit, determination and burning desire to win. Tab was a ferocious competitor but often flew under the radar due to her willingness to make the extra pass and sacrifice for the good of the team. Yet she still finished fifth all-time in threes, sixth all-time in minutes played, and sixth all-time in starts with 87. Tab was the glue and a crucial ingredient of the championship core. Simply put, Tab is a winner. Montana LewisMontana Lewis was our “Iron Mon,” a relentless warrior who, every game of her career, played multiple offensive positions and guarded the opposition’s best scorer. She started 113 consecutive games (second all-time) and played more minutes than anyone to ever wear a Lady Bison jersey while making double zero an iconic number at Harding. She finished fourth all-time in offensive rebounds, seventh all-time in defensive rebounds, and 12th all-time in scoring. For four years, Mon was the heartbeat of the program. She also was its voice as she was able to relate to any teammate, all the while carrying herself with a grace and class that was respected by all. Arielle SaundersArielle Saunders has been the cornerstone from her first day on campus. Unwavering in her consistency, she earned an immediate starting spot as the center of the offense and the anchor of the defense, going on to start a program-record 119 games. Physically, A was seemingly invincible, never missing a start, never out with injury, and never missing time on the track. (Including running a 6:00 minute mile all 4 years, with a personal best 5:52.) Mentally, she was above reproach. From hitting game-winning free throws to a perfect 4.0 GPA that helped her earn First Team Academic All-American, A was the epitome of mental toughness. Her numbers have been astounding. She holds every Harding blocked shot record, is the all-time leader in double-doubles with 44, all-time leader in both offensive and defensive rebounds, second all-time in minutes played, and eighth all-time in both scoring and assists. Above all, she knew that being a Lady Bison was about more than her impressive stat line. (Link to Arielle’s reflections on her career https://medium.com/@asaunders32/forever-a-bison-d81ba0717de) The TriumvirateTab, Mon and A are the foundation. They stayed the course and steadied the ship in difficult times. They led the way great leaders lead with love, strength and resolve. It was a pleasure to recruit them, a joy to watch them grow through the years, and an absolute honor to coach them. I can assure you that as great as they were on the floor, they’ve always been far better off of it. As individuals, their accolades are impressive, but what has catapulted this group into legendary status is the sum of their parts. Their greatest glory lies in the winning. They put Lady Bison basketball on the national map and took it to unprecedented heights. (GAC Championship highlight link: http://goo.gl/BfVzqH ). The Triumvirate never settled. They never bought into the idea of a glass ceiling and always pushed for new levels of greatness. At the end of their journey, they landed in the stars. This is their legacy.

David Walker, assistant women’s basketball coach

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