As much as my personal preference is towards nature photography, sometimes I do enjoy the freedom of experimentation that comes when I decide to take items that represent manufacturing and engineering, that are gritty from rust, or left abandoned to decay. The freedom to play with them can be fun, as it’s trickier to find lines, and composition that still speaks in the colors, textures, shapes, and found objects.
I’ve had the worst luck this year when it comes to my wildflower photography. I either miss peak bloom and arrive as the flowers have gone to seed, or the flowers have been mowed/harvested. I just missed most of the sunflowers in the Waxahachie to Ennis area in Texas by a couple of days this year. By the time I arrived the heat had doomed the agriculturally grown sunflowers into a drooping slump with the exception of a handful of blooms that were still upright. But at least the field had some wild sunflowers still thriving amongst the done for commercial cousins.
How can you tell the difference between wild sunflowers, and commercial ones? Easy: commercial ones have a flower that’s about the size of a human head, and wild ones are about the size of a human palm to hand.
These were taken in a multi-acre field adjacent to the Texas Motorway in Ennis, Texas on June 14, 2017.
Happy little bee.
This bee was dead, it had gotten tangled in a spiderweb, if you look carefully you can see some of the web’s filaments between the lower petals.
Looking for some color to enliven your walls? These will be available for sale in my booth at the Foust Event Center during Main Street Days (May 19-21) in Grapevine, Texas. While I have variations of these at different sizes, these large format 16×16 inch prints on Fuji Pearl Paper are luminescent and presented in a 20×20 inch mat. They can be framed as a stand alone piece, or can be hung in a grouping together.
I hope you’ll swing on by. Admission is free on Friday until 5pm, afterwards while admission is required to come out to the Festival, there’s live music, a wide arrange of food and drink (including all sorts of craft beers!) and there’s a ton of fun things to do. There’s free parking and a shuttle offered as well. For more details, check out the city’s official page here for the 33rd Annual Main Street Days.
The complete Texas Longhorn series will be available as 16×16 inch prints on Fuji Deep Matte Paper, presented in a 20×20 inch mat. And you can find variations of these images at other sizes too this weekend at my booth in Grapevine’s Main Street Days. Please be sure to check me out inside the Foust Event Center.
Art is exponential: from the original inspiration works are created, which in turn inspire both more works and move both the hearts and minds of its admirers. Art grows from a seed, it blooms, it spawns new tangents, it branches.
A couple of years ago I took this photo at a powwow in the Dallas / Fort Worth area, which in turn inspired this painting by Galina Krasskova that she sold at an artist in residency program. I was there trying to play around with photographing movement, while also celebrating another culture. I tried to capture the expression of movement, and also the artisanal craftsmanship that went into the outfit from the meticulous beading.
I’ve been slowly recovering from a knee injury, which has suspended a great deal of my plans for wildflower photography this Spring. Unfortunately, I missed peak bloom down in the Ennis area, but I decided to go there today and try my luck hoping there be a few small vignettes I could work with. More than 95% of the Bluebonnets have gone to seed or have been overtaken by the grass. While there were a few lovely spots with primroses, they were in locations where there was no naturally flattering composition available at that spot. And fields of flowers don’t look like field of flowers unless you can compose them just right.
One of the spots I did have luck, was a small fenced in private pasture on Mach Road, the Bluebonnets there were thick, lush, and tall. If not at peak, they’re just a bit past peak and they were surrounded with some sprinklings of pink, yellow, and even a touch of white from some other wildflowers which intensified the blue of the bluebonnets themselves.
I was working on a composition, when suddenly I noticed a mule/donkey walking towards me. I was like, ok I can work with this. But that meant I was changing from a landscape shot, to a wildlife shot, so I switched out my camera lens accordingly. So I was trying to line up a shot testing my setting on my camera with the new lens, snapping some shots, when I noticed what I had captured. I was just photobombed by a pair of exhibitionists.
This year I made Castroville, Texas a must-see destination for my annual wildflower photography road trip. This is colloquially known as the Castroville Poppy House (located at 606 Florence Street) which is a private residence, that during select days and hours in early Spring is open to the public. This labor of love by the homeowners, is a gorgeous spot to visit, and it’s a photographer’s dream as there are so many vignettes. They have some old structures on the property including buildings from the 1800s and 1940s.
Many of the locals go there for family photos with their kids, and others make appointments for shooting: brides, engagement, graduation, prom photos and more! The homeowners ask for nothing in return except donations to the local VFW and American Legion chapters. The homeowners even collect the seeds, and in addition to re-seeding their own property, to distribute to others in Castroville in their attempt to paint the town red. This year they were doing a World War II theme, so they even found an old 48 Star American Flag to fly tacked up to the old barn.
I loved shooting here, and only wish that I was able to hit this location under better lighting conditions. Afternoon sun on a cloudless day in Texas is very harsh and hard to work with, even with a UV filter and lens hood the grass and flowers aren’t quite true to what I saw, and trying to tweak it in post-editing hasn’t been incredibly successful for me without it looking incredibly fake.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place, and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
What has slowly become tradition is trekking across the Texas Hillcountry every Spring and Summer, in hopes of finding magical vistas, flora and fauna to snap in my viewfinder. On one of the legs of my recent photography trip, I got lost somewhere between San Saba, Cherokee, and Lampasas on April 6, 2017. So there I was in the Texas Hillcountry near sunset when I came across a large herd of deer. I caught this image of a very pregnant doe, and I adore the painterly effect of this photograph.
Tired of seeing my images on your computer screen? Those in the Dallas/Fort Worth area can head on down to the Grapevine Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (636 S Main Street in Grapevine, Texas) to see my work as well as many other talented artists (painters, photographers, jewelry, ceramics and more) at the GAP at the Grand Gallery Exhibit. Peruse the art, and if you’re so inclined you’ll find loads of lovelies for sale.
Don’t forget, that Saturday April 8th there’s New Vintage Wine Trail will be taking place on Saturday, April 8th from 11am – 5pm and it looks like members of the Grapevine Art Project will be planning on some artist demos on this day. It only costs money if you decide to purchase a ticket so you can drink while you peruse the historic downtown area, the exhibit area is always free admission during the show.
While I may not enjoy all the camera gear I pack up with me when I travel, I relish the opportunity to take pictures while I am out and about. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend nearly 2 weeks in London a few winters back (December 2012 – January 2013).
One of the challenges is in both trying to capture those items that are seemingly, quintessentially, the local flavor, but also trying to find fresh, new takes on it too. Sometimes I’m just happy to take a shot of the landmark, but then I always try to challenge myself. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail.
These are shots I took in the Westminster Area, I’m particularly proud of my close-up of the Westminster Bridge Lamp, as well as the shot from the bridge that includes both the Westminster Bridge Lamp and the London Eye. While I like the shot I took of the London Eye through the fence and branches, my friend who I was traveling with had opted for a landscape shot here, and it really elevated that shot and won her recognition in a photography contest.
New Year’s Fire Works on the Thames, from the back of the Savoy Hotel. I like the odd effect of the long exposure I gave the shot with the silhouette of a man, and some branches, with fireworks reflecting off the Thames behind him.