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Posts from the ‘photography’ Category

Driving Home

unloading20from20trip20to20wisconsin-mWhile work is satisfying in its own way, driving through parts of this country has its own appeal.

Del Rio is located on the Rio Grande not as far west as El Paso but still a long drive from the most eastern part of Texas. The town is a border town with Spanish being spoken, many are bilingual but many still depend upon an interpreter–usually a younger member of the family.

My work there is always on a Saturday and frequently leaves me large parts of Saturday afternoon to explore the area. I’ve visited Amistad Resevoir, Seminole Canyon State park, Whitehead Museum featuring Judge Roy Bean the Hanging Judge, and driven past the Brinkley mansion–home of the famous goat testicle implant doctor.

Agriculture seems to consist of large fields of cotton. Last month I watched them harvest the cotton, with flurries of cotton plants blowing around like dirty brown snowflakes. The cotton was put into bales, many of which are still on the edge of the fields. Now some of them are numbered. I tried to get a good photo of them, but the best opportunity was near a sign warning me not to pick up hitchhikers as they may be escaping inmates.img_9052-mimg_9053-m

There are three bladed windmills absorbing power and windmills pumping water.

There is a border patrol station complete with a K-9 and cameras to look under vehicles.

And yesterday there was one of the most spectacular sunrises I have seen in a long time. If I hadn’t been so concerned regarding driving through San Antonio (traffic was very light) and then Houston (traffic very heavy) I would have stopped just to enjoy.img_9041-mimg_9031-m



Old Paint

Last week’s photo assignment was ‘old paint’. I had visions of  a poor old horse missing most of its teeth, a sagging middle, missing hair and an Eeyore expression on its face.

I could draw such a beast but  decided to look for actual paint that might be peeling or otherwise distressed or fading.

old20paint203-mAn old falling down house with a ladder on the porch reaching to the roof–no means of accessing the top of the porch had some lovely yellow paint with scraped places–I think they might have been mildew /rotting part.

And then there was the curb.old20paint-m


Sunday Morning in San Antonio

img_7945-mThe end of summer is here with school buses stopping awkwardly in the streets, students standing eagerly dressed in new clothes and shoes next to their parents in designated bus stops and I am cleaning.

After digging through boxes and bags for a project–more on that later, I set myself the project of consolidating and tossing–glue bottles with solid glue, paintbrushes that no longer brushed, and pens that no longer wrote.

And now I am tackling one of my SD cards.

Sorting photos several weeks or months afterwards tends to take away the preciousness of each image–making it far easy to delete those duplicates. I do have a fair number of works in progress photos for that day when I am famous and everyone will want to know how I worked through creating a piece.

For now here is San Antonio on an early Sunday morning when the streets were empty and a few people gathered at the church in the square.img_7950-mimg_7952-m


Sylvia Weir UnderstatedI’ve missed several photo challenges over the past few weeks–chalk it up to lots of time spent in the dentist’s chair and quite a bit of money. I did manage to get this photo done and uploaded.

I found this bird’s egg in the backyard driveway. This driveway is covered by a canopy of crepe myrtle trees that are over 100 years old. They drip flowers constantly for several months as well as their leaves. During a rain storm–of which we have many, the trunks expand and the bark peels off in huge strips.

Squirrels and pigeons and sometimes an owl and four nesting pairs of cardinals inhabit those trees. Sometimes I see a blue jay as well–and there are some tiny wrens in the front yard. My dogs can spot these creatures even though they are sitting quite still–and jumping up and barking attempt to chase them out of the yard.

Was this egg a hatchling? I could not see a nest overhead but then the canopy is thick creating shade in my backyard. Was it dropped by a squirrel as it enjoyed an after dinner snack?

I’ll never know–but I took the photo poised on a silver plated spoon in my breakfast room.

Why Fly when you can Ride?


A routine followup visit to a specialist in Galveston means a ferry ride from Bolivar Peninsula to Galveston. I’m sure the many people who make this a daily trip for work don’t find it as intriguing as those of us who do it on rare occasions.

The ferry line was quite long and I was in the line for over an hour before boarding. Once aboard, nearly everyone gets out and stands at the sides to watch for dolphins–I spied four dorsal fins–it would be fun to capture them as they play but I  always manage to get a wonderful photo of just the water. It is too hot this time of year to wait in your vehicle and the engines==therefore air conditioning –must be turned off.

Gulls follow the ferries hoping for bread to be thrown to them; large swooping bands of them but a few prefer to ride along. Some are quite careful and choose the lifeboat boom.gulls20on20the20lifeboat-m


Pink Snow Season

peony20snow-mEvery year around this time I see pink snow.

Until this year I thought it was a Southeast Texas phenomenon. Our house is surrounded by hundred year old crepe myrtles in pink and purple. The trees grow rapidly in rainy weather, shedding their bark in huge strips that drape like strangely colored icicles from their branches.

The blossoms drip nectar constantly and fall to the ground creating the illusion of pink snow. Perhaps people raised in the south call it something different—but to me—it is pink snow.

And then I discovered pink snow in Wisconsin.

My mother loved peonies–she pronounced it ‘piney’s’ as rhyming with pine. There are several planted around the farm-house and at my friend’s house–in pink and white. After a hard rain, the petals fall.

Peonies require the assistance of ants to open their blossoms–a requirement that I always found rather odd.pink20peony-mimg_8238-mcreoe20myrtle-mcm20close20up-m


Sweet kiss of the South

magnolia20blossom-mLive oaks line our neighborhood streets; magnolia trees are in many yards. They are tall elegant trees with leathery leaves perfect for arrangements and huge blossoms. Until I lived in this part of Texas and worked for the former Magnolia Oil Company—that became Mobil and now is Exxon-Mobil—and yes there are several large magnolia trees in front of their office building at the refinery,….I never knew that the smell of those blossoms was so pervasive and sweet.

The flowers are short-lived but the tree blooms for several weeks.magnolia20blossom20petal-m

I have a tree in my backyard that was a favorite tree-climber by my three sons—and a tree in front of my shop where my quilting machine and my apiary live. The tree in the backyard has bloomed every year; dropping pine-cone like seed pods. The tree at the shop just started blooming—the blossoms as large as dinner plates but only lasting a day.

And then there’s the wisteria and the honeysuckle—so much nicer than the smell of pulpwood processing.


Governor’s Landing


img_8347-mAfter a full morning of work, I had the afternoon free to explore.

I think I have been to Del Rio four or five times; Seminole Canyon twice and Amistad Reservoir three times. The Reservoir separates Mexico from Texas. There doesn’t seem to be much difference between the two…rocky hills covered with mesquite, sage, prickly pear, and lechugilla and a few other cactus varieties… not the different colors denoting countries on maps. Today, though there was a lot of water in the reservoir.

And plenty of people! Coolers, grills, floaty cushions, canoes, jet-skis, fishing boats, speed boats, and more people. People at the picnic tables, people under the bridge on floaties, people wading,

I wandered down to test the water—and it was the perfect temperature to play in—the outside temperature hot—and I wished I had brought a swimsuit or my water shoes—I have waded through water soaking my pant-legs many times.

I took a few minutes to sit down at a picnic table and do some sketching. There was quite a bit of wind and so I faced away from the wind toward the reservoir. I have wanted to do plein air painting but my cute little water color set is somewhere at home.

But I always have a sketchbook with me. In drawing class many years ago, I got into the habit of drawing with a ball point—with practice and I had to fill a large sketchbook outside of class time for each class every semester. Shading with the side of the pen is possible.

It took a long time for me to realize I could write in them as well—not just dating and naming the place—and so now. They have become a reference to the things I see and do and the events I attend. The pile of sketchbooks has grown but I refer back to them often.

In case you were wanting to see the sketch—that sketchbook is still in my truck. It is raining too hard for me to want to run out to get it.

More photos of the Reservoir are here including the ones from the past organized by most recent to first:




A little bit of Eden

We have had rain for several days now..pouring rain..with water over the driveway up to 8 inches and many places flooding…schools closing due to the rain. So I like to look through my photos and pick out something fun to share.

mf20garden2011-mAbout a block away from my house is the McFadden-Ward House Museum. The house is huge, the carriage house is across the street and then there are several other buildings associated with the Museum. And tucked away behind the building that stores much of the objects not on display is a tiny little garden.mfw20garden205-m

There are several prospering tomato plants, a huge dill plant, marigolds, and zinnias.mfw20garden204-m

Whenever my life seems a bit hectic, I like to stop and wander–all eight feet of it to gaze at the flowers–and sometimes I am greeted but more often I have to content myself with just a glimpse of the guardian of this universe.mfw20garden207-m





I missed the assignment of ‘stripes’ but was able to complete the ‘dreamscape’ assignment.

About a block away from my house is a lovely old home that is now a museum. (McFadden-Ward Museum). The house sits on a full block with a large garden. Behind it on another block is the carriage house and behind that is a modern steel building with the offices of the people who manage the museum plus some of their collection that rotates in and out seasonally. Beside that building is a small garden.

It has large clumps of marigolds, zinnias, and a few garden vegetables–dill weed and tomatoes. There are also two cats patrolling the area.

This photo is of that garden–with a rooftop of a neighboring house erased. I wish I could have a flower garden as vibrant and colorful–but with dogs who wear paths around the fence I must content myself with finding other gardens to view.

Sylvia Weir Week 19 Dreamscape