A Nashville Collage of Images

I was putting together a collage of images for a friend recently and at first I didn’t really have a theme or direction. There was a great reason to celebrate him so I thought why not use Nashville as the theme? It’s where he and I met and the city has been a big part of his adulthood (and mine), and it’s definitely related to this big thing he’s celebrating. I settled on the skyline because, if you’ve been to Nashville you know this, the skyline is really pretty. It’s got the “batman” building as the centerpiece but also the football stadium, river, and all the lights of Broadway. Too bad you can’t really see some of the iconic buildings anymore, unless you’re right next to them (*ahem* Ryman Auditorium) but the way Nashville has changed is a topic for another post. Anywho, at first just the skyline was enough for me to move forward with the project. But as time went by I wasn’t quite satisfied. I needed something to make it stand out, to make it a Ben Wilder original. So I started scouring my photos for other images I could use. I came up with the ones below. Part of each of these photos is represented in the final image. Can you pick out the concrete facade from the image below?


With a little time using Affinity Photo, I combined those 4 images into one and now it’s ready for my friend! Take a look and I hope you enjoy the final product as much as I do…


Thanks for dropping in…

-Out of the Wilderness

The Amazon Snow Globe Holiday Ad – The Actors, Music, and More!

Amazon is churning out holiday ads like it’s 1999 so they’re back with another one! This commercial features a song that immediately caught my attention. Take a look at the full-length commercial then scroll down for more info…


The Ads So Far. I’d expect Publix to put out a few ads for Thanksgiving and Christmas but Amazon is coming in fast and furious this holiday season. Not all of them are heartwarming. Well, actually none of them are heartwarming, except for this one we’re discussing today. Here’s a list of Amazon commercials produced this season, so far…

The Amazon Yeti Commercial (maybe this one is heartwarming?)

Amazon Wants Us to Hoard “Stuff”?

Amazon Little Red Riding Hood Commercial


The Actors. Turning in fine performances in this cozy commercial are “Dad” Jared Turner and playing the daughter, Anouk Christiansen. You can find a list of Jared’s work on IMDb and be sure to follow him on Instagram. Anouk’s list of credits can be found on her IMDb page.


The Music. The soundtrack for this ad is a folky/singer-songwritery song called “You Hold Me Up” by The Bones of J.R. Jones. Once (and if!) the song is posted online I’ll include it below. For now, here’s a favorite of mine from this artist, who you can follow on Instagram here or check out all the music on Spotify here.


How do you feel about the holiday commercial? Certainly this is one of Amazon’s best. Thanks for dropping in!

-Out of the Wilderness

Publix Thanksgiving Commercial – Smile, You’re On Camera

Nobody smiles all the time. Even in the movie called “Smile,” no one was always smiling. In fact, smiling is why I don’t like this Dish Network commercial and now it’s on full display in a new Thanksgiving ad from Publix. Take a look…


All Smiles. In this Publix ad the mom, daughter, and father are smiling in virtually every shot. It’s definitely not realistic and, in fact, it’s creepy when someone smiles that much. Why do you think the Joker was such a great villain? His constant smile was ultra freaky.

Screen Time. If we’re going to be mad at younger generations for always being on their phone, then the same rule needs to apply to these adult women. Think about the dad for a second. All the poor man has is his wife, confirmed when the mother says, “It’s a little quiet, just me and Dad.” So the Dad is in the background setting the table and the only person he can talk to or enjoy the holiday with isn’t even talking to him. Talk about a lonely holiday. Good job, Mom!

The Virus. I know it’s been popular since 2020 to show families and loved ones celebrating holidays separately because of COVID, but there are a couple of problems in the ad if the pandemic is the reason this family isn’t together for Thanksgiving. First of all, no one who has COVID would be as happy as the mom, dad, or daughter (did I mention the smiling yet?). The next thing, if one of them DOES have the virus, they probably can’t taste anything so why are they eating this big meal?


Final Thoughts. Publix is great about putting together heart-warming ads each holiday season. Heck, they even have one of my favorite commercials ever when they aired a Valentine’s Day commercial. But this Thanksgiving ad comes up short. The sentiment is admirable, I guess. The mom and daughter still connecting even though they’re apart but when we break down the why’s and the how’s, it simply falls apart.

How do you feel about the commercial? What could they have done better to pull on our heart strings a little more?

Thanks for dropping in…

-Out of the Wilderness

The abandoned graffiti skate park

I was pretty pumped to go to the local fair to take photos of rides, lights, and colorful things all around me. Unfortunately I learned when I arrived that it wasn’t open till about 4 hours later. Bummer! It was time to make a new plan so in order to not have a worthless trip, I took a few photos of the fair from outside the fence.


There’s a nice area nearby called Cascades Park so I drove over there for photo potential. I walked around the little lake and found a pedestrian bridge.


After that, a nice fellow asked if I was looking for places to photograph and then told me about a DIY Skate Park, as he called it. It was just a couple of blocks away so I walked up there, having no idea what I was about to see. So much color. So much abandonment. It was incredible.


The area wasn’t fenced off so I walked through the old skate park, who knows how long it’s been there. So much graffiti with artwork, phrases, designs, and color.


I got a few close-ups, too, appreciating the rich and bright colors as well as the extraordinary, no no, the extraTERRESTRIAL things I was seeing.


This was a real treat to see. If you’re the guy who told me about it, thanks! I still need to check out another place he recommended but I’ll keep it to myself until I can get over there for more photos. I’ll leave you with a collage of graffiti images which you can download or purchase on my SmugMug page.


Thanks for dropping in!

-Out of the Wilderness

college football and Texas forever

Do you remember that line from Tim Riggins on the TV show “Friday Night Lights”?


Today there’s an in-state matchup between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Texas Longhorns. Both teams are ranked in the top 25, TCU in the top 4! So there is a lot riding on the game for them. I’m supporting the Longhorns for two reasons: they’re the underdog and if they win, the Tennessee Volunteers will most likely move up to #4 and I would just jump right out of my britches if my old home state had a team win the championship. I didn’t suspect that I’d feel a connection to the Volunteers after moving from Tennessee last year. But because I no longer fear the spear, my loyalties are up for grabs. Let’s focus on Texas though, before I go on a rant! Actually, I was camping through Texas a couple of months ago and it was pretty incredible. I had no idea I’d see such amazing things. First of all, there were wind turbines EVERYWHERE. Look to the left, there they are. Look to the right, as far as the eye can see.

And then there’s the wildlife. A couple of things I didn’t get a picture of… an armadillo, a horned frog. But I know they exist. I saw a lot of armadillos but never when I had my camera. And another camper said horned frogs DO exist. The first longhorn I saw was on the way to check-in at Village Creek State Park. I passed a small, fenced yard where there was a steer with the longest horns I’ve ever seen. Pardon the low quality of my phone camera…


The wildlife only got better and better from there. Everything from a roadrunner and deer, to bison and prairie dogs. I camped in 7 parks throughout Texas and my favorite was Caprock Canyons State Park. That’s where I snagged my favorite photo of all time. A couple of mule deer resting on the side of a canyon. It was such a special moment. Take a look at the pics below and I hope you enjoy them. Hook ’em horns!

deer at Village Creek State Park
jack rabbit at Mother Neff State Park
tiny dinosaur at Dinosaur Valley State Park
bison at Caprock Canyons State Park
prairie dog at Caprock
deer at Caprock

Thanks for dropping in…

-Out of the Wilderness

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