By the beat of the drums…

The spice of life is variety, and to that end I love things that celebrate our different cultures. My complexion is so pale even pale makeup is too dark. I never grew up labeled as a Native American, but I am descended of so-many-time great grandmothers from both my maternal and paternal lines that survived the Cherokee (Tsalagi) Trail of Tears. While Western Expansion greatly undermined the traditional cultures and way of life, whenever we have remnants, it’s a special thing. Each drumbeat, each dancer, the colorful outfits full of painstaking labor and artisan craftsmanship is a celebration of the ancestors that came before, and acts as a reminder of that echoing origin.

I enjoy going to these gatherings and each one provides an opportunity for me to continue to work on my photography skills as I challenge myself to capture the motion of dance, work on finding compositions that work at crowded events, and attempt to ever refine my candid photography.

Here’s some of my best shots I’ve taken in the last 3 years…

This grouping of images below was taken September 20, 2014 at Trader’s Village Powwow hosted in Grand Prairie, Texas.


This grouping of images below was taken June 8, 2015 at the University of Texas at Arlington’s Annual Charity Powwow hosted by NASA (Native American Student Association) on the UTA campus in Arlington, Texas. I was playing around with my shutter speed, and kind of liked the blurred effect of the one picture in pastels.


This grouping of images below was taken September 24, 2016 at the Trader’s Village Powwow hosted in Grand Prairie, Texas.

Up, Up and Away

While I tend to focus on nature photography, I’m always looking for new ways to flex my photography muscles, so I opted to attend this year’s Balloon Festival in Plano, Texas. This was my first time having an opportunity to shoot hot air balloons, and I also used this as an exercise in how to frame vignettes at an event.

Unfortunately with the weather we had, it was just too windy for any of the balloons to ever take off, and only a few were inflated while tethered to the field. There was a very brief window of opportunity where there was a sky diving team. Capturing pictures of them at rapid acceleration while trying to focus was quite a challenge. I did manage some halfway decent shots as a first for me. Later, after dark a few grounded balloons were inflated for the ‘glow’ when just after dark they allow the flame that helps to keep the air hot to set the balloons aglow from within. The challenge as a photographer is it is both dark, you have a range of balloons around you flickering light at unpredictable intervals, so getting things in focus is quite the challenge (or at least it was for me) because you go from very dark to very light with great randomness rapidly. It is much easier to content with steady light, even if it’s just steady low-light then to keep bouncing back between extremes.