Don Morris is a sculptor and carver and is one of the first people I met for a story when I moved down to Flora a little more than a year ago. Don is originally from Clay County, Xenia to be exact, but he lives in Rock Falls now. This is important because the town next to Rock Falls is Sterling, where my Dad grew up. So during my first week of work, my Uncle John calls me up and introduces me to Don, who comes down to Flora a short time later. I did a story on Don and I now catch up with him every time he comes back to town, which is at least once a year.
The reason Don is in the newspaper is that he’s the artist who made the statue of George Rogers Clark, a revolutionary war hero. Clark fought the Revolutionary War on its western front when he and a small group of soldiers (I think that there were about 100 of them) marched from Kaskaskia all the way across 18th Century Illinois to take the British Fort at Vincennes unaware. George also had a more famous younger brother, William Clark, who was famous due to his his expedition with Merriwether Lewis at the beginning of the 19th Century.
Don carved Clark’s form out of basswood and then had it cast in bronze using a lost wax process. The result is displayed in front of Flora’s newly rehabbed Old Depot. It is one of eight full-sized bronze statues Don has done. Since George, Don has been working with clay or synthetic carving materials instead of wood.
I’ve taken shots of Don by his creation before, but I have been on a bit of a kick to do some photo work for myself rather than for the newspaper and I thought to take a new picture of Don as a little project. This weekend, Don is in town for the Flora Academic Foundation’s Appleknocker festival. I had a him meet me at the statue at about 3 in the afternoon. It was a pretty overcast day.Previously, I did this photo with available light and this time I lit it how I wanted to.
Here’s the picture I chose:
Exposure was f8 at 1/500 of a second at iso 200 on the Nikon D70. I did adjust and spot the image in Lightroom too. Lighting Don was a 750 w/s Travelite with a 16 by 20 inch softbox set at 1/16 poser about 45-degrees of camera axis to the right. George is lit with the same light unit with a grid reflector. No grid for this shot, but I did some with a 10 degree grid spot. That light is directly to my left, about 8 to 10 feet away. That head is at full power, but it’s a much further away from George than the other is from Don and that bronze eats light.
I thank Don for letting me take the picture and I hop to see more of his bronzes in person in the future. Don retired relatively recently, after years of owning a septic tank business. Funny thing is, with all the statues and such, it almost sounds like he’s busier now than when he was a worker bee.