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Category Archives: Travel
As I’ve shared before in the last 5 things post, we did an extended vacation to visit family in the northeast. One of our stops was at Niagara Falls because Bill had never seen it in the summer (it’s a completely different experience in the winter). I always take vacations as a time to play with different photography shots. Luckily it was sunset which was a great time of day for some interesting shots with incredible lighting. So this is what we came up with…
Can I please make an announcement, people still go over the falls and die, about 20-25 people per year. If you haven’t been there you’d imagine that every dangerous area is kept from people by railings and signs and guards. The thing is, it isn’t. If you walk over the bridge (the top photo on the right) onto Goat Island there are all kinds of wooded areas and trails that just lead right to the edge of the water just before the falls (seen in the bottom photo on the right). Niagara Falls are actually made of three separate waterfalls, American Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Canadian (or Horseshoe) Falls and you can go over any of them quite easily.
While walking one of the trails we saw this man and his young son IN THE WATER! They were picking up change that people had thrown into the water in probably the calmest area right before the falls (the picture on the right was taken just a few feet from where these people were in the water). There are signs posted everywhere about being fined for getting in the water but these people didn’t care. The mother was just standing there watching them. They spoke very little English but when we said THEY WILL DIE she quickly collected her family. Amazing.
And that was Niagara Falls.
1. Cleaning - Last night I got the fry bug, ie. the insatiable urge to fry everything I could find. I should note that I don’t fry things. Well not often. The last thing I fried was tostones, and I think the time before that was two Christmas’s ago when I made Struffoli. There are two reasons I don’t fry things. 1. Fried food isn’t good for you. and 2. It makes my house smell like fried food and I hate it.
That said in 90+ degree weather we turned off the AC, opened up all the windows and put a box fan in front of the open back door, and I fried for a good two hours. I asked Bill to turn up the living room ceiling fan which usually remains on in the low setting. As soon as he turned it on our living room, Bill, myself and our poor Sam dog were covered in a light, puffy layer of dust. This is my cue that we need to deep clean our house, soon.
Also if you’re curious about what I fried, I made these “Chick-Fil-A” style nuggets, which were less like Chick-Fil-A than I had hoped, still good though. I also fried up some okra (slightly failed at this one) and french fries.
2. Niagara Falls - I’ve been slowly going through our photos from our tour of the Northeast. We did a short evening trip to Niagara Falls since Bill had only ever seen it in the winter. I’ve gone countless times but it never ceases to amaze me. It also proves for some very quality people watching. I shot tons of photos, but this one makes me very happy.
It reminded me of this photo which was taken in the winter, the last time we were in Buffalo together, before we were married, a completely different season.
3. Quilts - I am finally starting a new quilt. I’ve been collecting fabrics for it, most of them are from Paper Thread Fabrics, who I just love buying fabric from. It’s another strip quilt, like the grey one I’ve been working on, but smaller strips, more fabrics, and more colors. I’ll post pictures soon.
4. Fall Garden - Our tomatoes are just about done producing for the year, so I’ll be pulling them out soon. The peppers will probably continue to produce through the fall so they’ll stay put. In the mean time I’ve been trying to figure out what to plant. I really like this website, you can put in your zip code, it’ll tell you your planting zone and then it will tell you what you can plant and when. Amazing.
5. Life is kinda boring right now so I don’t have a number five.
I should have a card board sign that states “Have Camera, Will Travel”. I love what I do and I love to travel so when a bride and groom ask me to travel (anywhere) to do their wedding photography, or an engagement photo session, or pretty much whatever I jump at the opportunity. There is nothing more challenging and exciting than having to shoot in a completely unfamiliar location. Luckily I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma for six years so when Laura and Michael asked me to shoot their wedding I was a little familiar with the territory.
A few months ago I traveled to Tulsa to shoot their engagement session and Laura’s bridals (more on that later). Two weeks ago Bill got to go with me to shoot their wedding. They’re a fabulous little couple and they had a fairy tale wedding. Here’s part one of their pictures.
Every photographer has their bucket list of things they’d like to shoot. I got to check off several at Michael & Laura’s wedding: freaking amazing old church, wonderfully huge bridal room with makeup mirrors, and horse drawn carriage. As with any wedding I totally wish I had more time to explore the church with the bride and groom, those are my favorite to shoot. BUT…there are more to come so stay tuned…
1. Sun Tans – A few months back my doctor told me my vitamin D levels were low and that I should take supplements. I thought it would be more efficient if I just relaxed out in the sun. And that is exactly what I did this weekend, at the lake, on the lake, and in the lake. It’s become a family tradition to kick off the summer at the lake on Memorial Day weekend. We spend tons of time on the water, eating, and hanging out. It’s quite possible that I ate half a watermelon over the course of the weekend. One of my favorite things about the lake is no cell phones. It’s not a rule or anything and we get service, but we just don’t use them. No one texts constantly, or checks e-mail, or answer random phone calls. The most we use them for is to check in and see when we’re going to go out on the water and when we’re going to come back in. It’s glorious. I wish there were more situations in life that were no cell phone zones.
2. Puppies – Speaking of the lake Sam was reunited with her chocolate friend at the lake this weekend. For close to two weeks we puppy sat a little chocolate lab named Dexter. He was a lot of work but a blast to have around and Sam and he (or is it him) played CONSTANTLY. Sam went through a little withdrawal I think, so it was good for her to see him again this weekend.
3. Weekend Trips – Last weekend we were at the lake, we’ll soon be spending a long weekend in Tulsa. Later this summer we’re headed to Philadelphia, Maryland, and Buffalo to do a few photo sessions and hang out with family. I’ve never had so many airline flights booked at one time. All this traveling has got me really appreciating weekends at home. I’ve got a garden that needs tending, a list of home projects, DIYs and crafty things about a mile long. There is a stack of sewing projects that are all cut and pinned and ready for me to run through the machine. Plus time at home is just good. Joni over at LayBabyLay, who I just love btw, created this great little graphic from a She & Him song quote, “I want to be where your heart is home.” It pretty much sums up my thoughts right there. And yes, I had it printed, it’s going in our bedroom.
(You can download the image above by clicking it which will take you to her website or going to the blog post at LayBabyLay and clicking the link to the right.)
4. First Fruits – In Proverbs chapter three it says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.” Yesterday we picked our first tomatoes of the season (we’re in Texas, our season starts rather early). Out loud in the back yard I proclaimed, “Our First Fruits!” Then Bill asked if I thought God wanted our first tomatoes. I told him I was pretty sure he didn’t. I posted a posted a picture of them on facebook and a friend told me if I wanted to sell any that she would be interested. I never once thought about selling what we’ve grown/are growing. We’ll eat what we can and give the rest away. I’m pretty sure God would like that, I mean, what would He do with a tomato anyway?
5. New Things – I’ve been blessed with a whole bunch of new things lately. Some things are brand spanking new, others are old to some and new to me and some are just new ideas that are making me insanely excited. My favorite old new thing we’ve gotten recently is the rocking chair we picked up at a garage sale in-the-middle-of-no-where, Texas. When I went to pay for it the woman sighed a little and told me how she rocked her babies and her grandbabies in that rocking chair. I could tell there were a lot of memories and emotion attached to it. I assured her that I planned on rocking my own children in it and it was the perfect rocking chair for us and that it would be equally loved in our family. She seemed very happy/satisfied that I would love it as much as she had. It feels so cool to know that I’m giving new life to such a cherished piece of furniture.
I was pulling together a few photos from Vermont for a friend and stumbled upon this one. I realize I was supposed to share more from my Vermont Trip this February, but it just hasn’t happened yet. I’m sorry. I’ve failed.
When I ran across this image, as I was digitally shuffling through so many of them, I was instantly reminded of the peacefulness I felt in Vermont. Since I got back from that trip I’ve been going non-stop with photo sessions, graphic design work, etsy sales, events for family and friends, birthdays, anniversaries, more photo shoots, travel, and just life. It’s gotten really really busy. And I’m not complaining at all, I enjoy it, but I’d lost sight of the clarity I found in Vermont.
We’ve got a few more trips planned in the coming weeks and I’m hoping to find that clarity again, to escape for a bit and refocus. To breathe again.
Also, I want to do a photo session in the snow. It’s on the bucket list.
Bill and I have been a tad under the weather but on Saturday we loaded up with some allergy medication and spent close to 10 hours at the 2012 Houston Live Stock Show & Rodeo World’s Annual Championship Bar-B-Que Contest. (You can read more about the cookoff from last year’s post.) A total of 431 barbecue entries from 263 teams across the state and the nation competed. More than 255,000 people showed up this year and boy was it packed!
My dad has been part of the More or Less Cookers team for years and we have enjoyed their delicious food each year. This year a bunch of our close friends all ended up going on the same day. It was like family reunion with bar-b-que and beer topped off with cowboy hats and boots. The cookoff is everything Texas and I love it.
And the More or Less Cookers must be making a name for themselves because the booth was PACKED. They started serving food at 5pm and the line continued until closing time at 9pm. The line trailed far outside the booth and down the walkway. I even saw a post on craigslist recently where someone was trying to buy tickets for the More or Less Cookers booth. For those who aren’t familiar with the Cook off, you can only get into the booths if you know someone or are a sponsor, and each booth is a party fully stocked with delicious BBQ, a bar (or two or three) and a DJ.
It’s like the Mardi Gras of Houston (there’s even beads). The food is outstanding; shrimp diablo (shrimp with a jalapeno stuffed with cream cheese and cilantro and wrapped in bacon and then tossed on the grill), bacon wrapped stuffed quail, fried ribs, bar-b-que beans, potato salad, and every kind of meat you could imagine. (I’m sorry we didn’t get more pictures of the food, we were hungry and it was delicious, it didn’t stay on our plates long.)
My favorite part about the cook off is that we get to hang out for hours with close friends and family. There’s nothing better than sitting outside with your friends on a cool Texas night. Nothing.
This year by Dad was awarded his very own More or Less Cookers Team Jacket. It’s a pretty big deal and after he got it he was glowing!
We stayed until closing time which was a little bit crazy. I texted a cop friend of mind who was working the Rodeo and thanked him for his service and told him I did not envy him that evening. When there is a ton of free beer people tend to over indulge a bit. We skipped out as fast as we could to avoid crazy drivers and headed off to House of Pies with our friends Bradley and Thea for a late night snack and coffee. If you’re ever in Houston go to House of Pies, it’s a Houston icon, eat the Bayou Goo Pie, you won’t be disappointed. (and their red neon lights make it impossible to take a decent picture). And if you’re going to visit Houston, try to come the last weekend in February for the Cook Off, it’s definitely a worth wile experience.
Have you ever been to the Houston Live Stock Show & Rodeo World’s Annual Championship Bar-B-Que Contest? What do you love about it?
It’s taken me a while to get to these photos. I’ve been playing catch up and to be honest partially avoiding them. While in Vermont I really took some time to challenged myself as a photographer. I take pictures of people. I like that I get to interact with them, get to know them, and catch a moment when they are truly themselves. Landscapes and inanimate objects (except for food, food photography and I really click) however, I just don’t have the same connection. But, I think they turned out pretty ok, most of them are raw, unedited and the more time I spend with these images the more pleased I am with them. So, I’ll be sharing the photos from Vermont in two sections.
Vermont Photo Challenge Episode 1
I’m 100% in love with this barn. If I could have packed it up in my suitcase I would have. There is so much color and texture. And what was amazing was that normally I’d say, “that’s a great wall, I’d love to shoot a senior or couple there.” But instead I focused on the wall, the barn, itself. I took about 20 photos of this barn, while standing in snow up to my waist. It’s going to be the main focus of a new painting I’m working on too. Thanks awesome barn.
Just down the road from the amazing barn was an old water run saw mill (at least I think it was a saw mill). I took some wide shots of it, played with long exposures, different lenses, but I think the most successful shot was this close up of the flowing water and the ice. There’s beauty and tension in it and I appreciate that.
I found this place, where the thick wood ends. I’m not sure which image I like more. But I thought the scenery was SO interesting.
Sheep in the snow might be my favorite thing ever. I came across another puffier sheep, who had a lovely amount of snow stuck to it’s wool, but by the time I switched lenses he had run back into the woods. This guy stood, staring at me for a good while. I thanked him with a smile.
We also took a trip to the Cabot factory where I saw how (and where) my favorite cheese is made. If you live close enough to Cabot, Vermont you also get to indulge in Cabot’s greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and veggie dip. It was probably the best greek yogurt I’d ever eaten.
I made several new friends while on the Goddard College campus. One was Becky who was the proud owner of Moo (the cute pup above). While Becky and I became quick friends I also bonded with Moo. I took this image during a leisurely hike through the woods, and it might be my favorite image from the hike.
I took the above two images on that same hike with Moo. I’ve noticed that the most successful images are the ones when I got personal with my subject (just like I would with a client), in this case some moss and fungus (?).
So that’s it for now. I’ll have more photos up shortly.Thanks for checking them out.
Have you every tried to challenge yourself in your own art? What did you do, how did it go?
Vermont has been a bit of a hiatus for me. I’ve been spending a lot of time in reflection and mind sparking conversations about art and theory and life. My brain is reeling with ideas. I’m inspired and thoughtful. I’m driven. I’m loaded with a jumble of notions that I’m going to spend days trying to unravel.
One revelation is laboriously clear.
At some point, I forgot that I am an artist.
I AM an artist.
The “art” within my work has been a whisper.
If not silent.
I’m still trying to figure that one out.
But it’s definitely an issue I am going to quickly amend.
I’m in Vermont for the next few days, my mom is graduating with her MFA and I’m here to celebrate with her. I’ve been to Vermont once before in the fall (AMAZING by the way) and I’m always so intrigued by the way of life here. It is certainly “The Green Mountain State”. Everyone here recycles and buys organic and local and wears wintery hipster/earthy clothing. There’s regulations against billboards across the state so the landscape really shines. People walk places and there are quaint shops in little town squares surrounded by victorian houses and rolling hills. Everything here is in a blanket of white even though I have yet to see a snowflake fall. Pedestrians truly have the right of way as cars will stop in the middle of the street to let you pass, and most pedestrians do not look both ways before crossing (this strokes me smooth out). Everyone is very liberal and democrat and the graffiti is well thought out political art that seems to be screen printed on walls and odds and ends, a far cry from the gang-style tagging I see in Houston. It really feels like I’m in another country.
I’ll be sharing more details of my adventures like the FABULOUS knitting store I visited today and the B&B we’re staying at and the capitol building and more.
In the mean time, I leave you with this thought: Toms shoes in the snow is a bad plan.
Several Christmas’s ago we did a double trip, one week in Philadelphia to visit Bill’s family and one week in Buffalo, NY to visit mine. With snow on the ground and about 12 degree wind chills I took Bill to Anderson’s in Buffalo. There is not a season where I wouldn’t eat their chocolate custard with chocolate jimmies. Not a single season. Its a Buffalo staple and a family tradition.