I like to wake up and photograph places before sunrise. I enjoy being there when the world wakes up. It’s peaceful, and lets me

My most recent trip took me to Kenton, Tennessee. Home of the white squirrels. I didn’t see any of the white rodents, if you’re curious.

My plan was to photograph the grainery behind the downtown shops. It was going to be a beautiful sunrise image. I planned it out in my head on the way there.

When I got to Kenton, I found the 

vantage point I wanted to shoot from. I started setting up my gear. While digging in my 

camera bag I found my son’s Hot Wheels truck, one of many. He thought my camera bag was the ideal place to park it. I instantly missed my little 

buddy, who was at home, asleep in his race-car bed. I tucked the truck in my pocket and got shooting.

After a few shots I knew the photos I planned for my Kenton shoot weren’t panning out. There is a magic tingle when you know you’ve photographed something special. The tingle just wasn’t there. The harder I tried, the worse photos became.

Giving up, I gave the Hot Wheels Jungle Jeep a tour of the small town. We walked down the main street, placing it in front of various store fronts. I parked the jeep at different signs. We even visited the cannon in front of City Hall.

Walking around any small town with a camera will get you some strange looks. Imagine the looks I got while photographing a Hot Wheels car at a stop sign in the middle of the road.

The truck allowed me to add a focal point to a lot of images. It also gave me the chance to add a bit of interest to what were some very ordinary scenes. The little Hot Wheels truck allowed me something else. After what was becoming a wasted morning, I had something new to turn my attention on. Like a reset button. It gave me focus.

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