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  • Archive for September, 2010

    Yesterday Zoe got to play in her pool, she is such a water baby.

    While jumping up and down to give me some big splashes she tells me that she’s swimming in the ocean.

    The girl has imagination! She’s swimming in a teeny tiny kids pool and think she’s in the ocean!

    And I started thinking, what if we all turned our pools into oceans?

    If we turned our city houses into farm houses?

    If our neighborhood walks became ridge walks in the woods?

    Or if we became so excited about seeing the moon in the middle of the day we grab the nearest person to share it with? I loved when she yelled “THE MOON, THE MOON!”.

    When you are too busy to breathe, stop and find something tiny to marvel out, or maybe just marvel at the moon. I’m always amazed at how fast it changes. Last week it was full and now it is waning.

    Behind the scenes at Goose Island State Park, on the pier.

    Discussing the morning’s catch….

    Friends drop by to say hello and see where lunch may be at…

    Hey Bob, how’s life treating you?

    Just fine Jim, just fine. Loving the weather, aren’t you?

    Guess I’ll go now, see you later!

    Ah, sea turtles. I love ’em! I think the first time I saw a sea turtle was when one popped its head up for some air while I was swimming in the Gulf of Mexico off of Port Aransas growing up. At first I thought it was a sea snake, but upon closer examination I realized it was a turtle. I had no idea turtles lived in the ocean, moreoever in the murky Texas coastal waters. Then I did my internship in college and fell in love with them. Unfortunately I didn’t make an effort to get a job working with them when I graduated but I at least started volunteering with them at the Sea Turtle Preservation Society in Melbourne, FL doing turtle walks in the summer of ’03. Then we moved down to Miami and my only interactions with sea turtles were at hatchling releases coordinated by the City of Miami. I’ve seen my first and only leatherback at those releases, a tiny little baby that will grow up to be a giant seafaring animal. Someday I hope to see a living giant, either at sea or nesting on a beach somewhere. The only other times I’ve seen them in the wild were snorkeling in the Keys, a juvenile hawksbill hung around us for awhile and while at Blowing Rocks in Jupiter where some green turtles entertained us for an afternoon (also where I saw my first manatee on the beach side of things and not in a lagoon or estuary).

    When we went to Mustang Island State Park for our road trip the park rangers told us we could see greens at the jetty in the park or she had heard there was a ‘family’ of Kemp’s ridleys down at another jetty outside of the park. After looking at my photos I’ve determined that they are greens and not ridleys and am a smidge disappointed, but not too much because it was pretty freaking cool to sit on the jetty and watch them gnawing at the algae and invertebrates on the side of the rocks.

    A series, coming up for air:
    My creation

    My creation

    And then gone! They are incredibly fast, up only for maybe a second or two.




    There’s the turtle! The first one we spotted on the night we got there.


    Hello! I got some shots that looked good in the camera only to be blurry; that’s how fast these suckers are!

    Ooh, sargassum makes a pretty necklace! Really, just good food.


    Information for those in Texas.

    I was browsing on Flickr for turtle photos and found this one from NOAA, an oiled turtle from the spill. You can sort through the rest of NOAA’s photos and see more. Sad stuff.

    Still bummed Texas doesn’t have a sea turtle license plate yet.

    Mom and I took Zoe to the park yesterday morning so she could feed the ducks and to play at the playground. The Fall air is so glorious that I wanted to be outside in it. Zoe is certainly growing up and she’s so fun to be around, unless she’s throwing a fit for some reason. I went back and found some photos I took in March of ’09 to compare to today.





    I can’t wait to see what she’s like in a few more years! Maybe she’ll get some hair to put into ponytails!

    Leading up to the Autumnal Equinox it really felt like summer was going to keep on going. The heat was stifling, the flowers that bloom this time of year seemed to be stalled and the leaves on the trees were holding back. Then it seemed like, BOOM! And everything is like Fall, complete with the lighting changes.

    The other day we met my brother, SIL and Zoe at the Dallas Farmers Market and held back on taking photos until I saw an enormous pumpkin patch. All I wanted to do was save seeds from the wacky ones!








    Aren’t they divine? I’ve never been able to grow any gourds or pumpkins because south Florida’s climate didn’t really appreciate growing the vines unless you layered them in pesticides. Since I don’t like to douse my plants in lots of chemicals I just decided not to grow them. Usually something would nibble through the vine and what flowers or small fruits started would then die.

    Just enjoying this beautiful, beautiful fall weather!

    Yesterday we popped into Good Day Coffee & Books in downtown Kilgore after we were done taking photos of Kylen. We’d spotted it the other night after grabbing some local Mexican food and thought it’d be fun to check out. Michelle ordered a Vanilla Chai Latte but she doesn’t think it was a good as the coffee shop in Henderson. I ordered a White Chocolate Macchiato with soy which also had a hint of strawberry in it and I thought it was pretty awesome. This store also has books, mostly literary and popular fiction but also has a super sweet kids section as well, complete with mini-bean bags.









    I definitely loved this place and will hit it up when I come visit Michelle. Prices were reasonable and the coffee wasn’t too strong or bitter. If you are driving around East Texas and need some joe, stop on it and relax a bit!

    I’ve been wanting to take pictures of someone other than my niece for a long time. Not that anything is wrong with taking her photos, but I need to practice on someone else! My opportunity was with one of my bff’s, Michelle and her daughter Kylen. Today I finally got my chance and even though I was not taking money or was it even a ‘professional’ gig, I was nervous as hell as totally screwing up. For one, I don’t have kids. I have no idea how to entertain them very much and two year olds certainly have the audacity to be bored and uninterested one minute and screaming the next. Luckily Michelle stepped in and guided Kylen along and gave me some very important ideas along the way. I certainly have a long way to go before I can even call myself professional with portraits, but I am learning and having a lot of fun! I do know that I am trying to make my own style. I am not fond of some of the styles I see online, styles I see repeated over and over again.

    Here are my favorites:










    This last one reminds me of the Andrew Wyeth painting ‘Christina’s World’.

    My next opportunity is with The Whitlock’s, aka: my brother, SIL and the Zoester. This time we’ll update the ones I did back in March of ’08 which was my first real time doing portraits. After that, who knows! I’m kinda shy about getting people I know to come out, mostly because I’m afraid I’ll look like an idiot. I really just want to practice and then maybe start taking money for it. Who knows…just having fun for now!



    It’s funny, only a few weeks later and she’s already changing. Mom and I were remarking her face is changing again and her attitude is different. She’s also happier to go to her little girl potty for a tinkle than she used to be.

    My brother was cooking up lunch or something when I was sneaking in a few photos. This reminds me of Tori Amos’ “Caught a Light Sneeze”.


    Apparently there is some bee song by the Black Eyed Peas (see how out of date I am?) that Zoe loves to hold up to her ear and she had to share with dad.

    Looking for the balloon that was flying in the air.

    Love the rugrat.


    chris at lighthouse
    I think my favorite state park we went to was to Palo Duro Canyon. It was so beautiful and red! This photo is Chris up on the Lighthouse Peak. It is a 3 mile hike out to the peak and not too rugged in my opinion, but then again I have varying degrees on what ‘hard’ is now with a hiking trail. The only issue is taking enough water since there is not any water along the trail and it can get very hot out there. I highly recommend taking this trail as you will also go by the Capital Peak as well.

    There was a lot of wildlife along the trail, from tiny ants to…

    deer sipping in the only water in the area. There are a series of gullies you have to drive through that can get pretty deep in a flash flood and they warn you not to go further if there is rain coming.

    We found a red headed woodpecker hanging out a few sites down from our campsite. It was not nice enough to let us get a better shot.

    A flock of gobblers rambled through a picnic site.


    collared lizard 2
    We hadn’t set foot too far down the lighthouse trail when we ran into this fun lizard.

    collared lizard
    This collared lizard, Crotaphytus collaris, let us take a lot of photos.

    Collared Lizard (Crotaphytus collaris)
    Here is one of Chris’ shots. He had the macro lens on while I was using the 300mm.

    horned lizard ws
    This one wasn’t actually in the park, a Texas horned lizard, Phrynosoma cornutum, but we did see a very small one in the lighthouse trail parking lot.

    At the park headquarters we saw a tarantula on display but I honestly thought we wouldn’t see one. While driving around the roads in the late evening Chris passed this one and he had to reverse so we could get out and see it. Totally disgusting but equally cool. Chris tried to get it onto the grass but the bugger was too fast and moved back onto the road and crossed. We saw another one a little bit later. I made sure to zip the tent up completely that night.

    I was so excited about this photo while viewing it in the camera but it didn’t come out quite how I wanted it. I had a bit of fun with it in Photoshop and now I like it a bit. I was really hoping for a hard focus somewhere but it totally didn’t work. That’s the problem with the reverse lens sometimes, wind and my own breathing. This was a tiny little seed head and it looks so big but it was very tiny.

    Next time I go out this way I want to go on all of the trails and spend a lot more time roaming. Definitely worth making the long drive out to go to this park.

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