Skip to content

Posts from the ‘photography’ Category

We are the Champions

GRB is located only a block or so away from MinuteMaid Stadium–home of the Astros. Although the Astros were playing in LA while we were there, fans congregated inside MinuteMaid to watch the game on the giant screen. Traffic was incredible–but not as bad as Thursday when there was a celebratory parade through downtown Houston. There was a sea of orange and blue in the streets.

 

img_6701-m1Look at all those baseballs!

img_6765-mWe spent our day with Philippa Naylor learning about fancy seams and insertion of zippers–a fun class and we lined up next to her to have our photo taken. This day we chose to wear pink—actually I wore pink quite reluctantly. It seems a better choice for someone petite and dainty. I am on the left in this photo.

img_6698-mAlthough Houston is recovering from Harvey, there is a lot left to do. Discovery Green’s lawn is yellow–and no-one can walk on it; the sailboat pond is gone with large layers of some sort of plastic being laid down; there were only three pond lilies in the adjoining pond–which was filled with trash–the fish are also gone.

img_6748-mThe World Series was a welcome relief to the sadness of recovery and the championship even more welcome.

Houston Strong

An hour extra in the morning means time for photo editing before getting back to work—-and the unloading and re-sorting and re-organizing of things I bought, things I took, laundry, going through the mail and a few snuggles with the dogs.

We stayed in the Residence Inn on Main Street just south of the Medical Center–a conglomeration of several humongous hospitals. The first floor of all the buildings were under construction due to flooding from the nearby bayou—dry wall dust was everywhere but the staff were cheerful and the Krogers next door was fully stocked–easy to run over and collect something for supper.

img_6729-mI spent an afternoon wandering around downtown photographing buildings—usually the same buildings I have photographed before as they tend to be my favorites. George Brown Convention center has been enlarged immensely; there are now several surrounding huge hotels and several eating places. The front of the building had streamers floating over yellow umbrellas sheltering tables and chairs. On Friday night there was a fabulous gymnastic exhibition with teenage girls wearing sparkling harlequin outfits.

img_6717-mAs it was November 1, I wanted to find a church to spend a few moments in—and that turned out to be Christ Church Cathedral–the second Episcopal Church in the Republic of Texas. The interior of this church is splendid with immense stained glass windows on three sides. And then there was the loose brick with St. Joe on it—I coveted—but did not abscond with it.

img_6753-mI was also pleased to see the old Texaco building on Rusk had been renovated to include luxury apartments and is now named The Star…after Texaco moved to a new building–the building fell into some disrepair and had homeless people sleeping under its veranda–smelled of urine and booze–but now it is sparkling.

img_6733-mA look at the Pennzoil building–my favorite and it was time to head back to the GRB.

img_6689-m

Picnic Point and Hammocks

img_6608-mReunions are always a fun event–even though you have to read everyone’s name tag to remember who they are—and it would have been nice if a larger font would have used for those of us with forty years under our belts.

The Medical School reunion is always scheduled around Homecoming Football game. While we lived in Madison and I went to Medical school there, we lived about three miles from the football stadium–people parked next to our house to walk in to see the game. Tickets were outside of our meager budget even though I got a reduce price and first chance at tickets due to graduate school status.

My wishes for the weekend were to see Vilas Park zoo–a favorite place during our stay there, and to walk out on Picnic Point.

img_6591-m

The zoo has changed considerably since we were there last. Each animal species has a special environment created for them. No longer do the bears sit on the haunches and wave at us begging for marshmallows or stale hamburger buns. The retired  Rhesus monkeys are no longer there–they used to live in a circular cage. The penguins are no longer corralled into a small cement wading pool parading around miserably in what must seem to them horribly hot weather.

img_6602-mone of the displays was this tundra with the immense tires with incredibly low tire pressure. We rode a much smaller vehicle on the marshes around Anahuac during a Christmas bird count after one of our hurricanes. Here is Glen pretending to drive.

Madison Wisconsin is a beautiful city situated around several lakes, Mendota being the largest. The campus is large and spread out with lovely little pocket gardens everywhere and lots of bicycle racks. There is almost no parking on campus so people ride the bus or bicycle or walk. img_6612-mWe walked to Picnic Point–there are Indian burial grounds now marked off from foot traffic.

img_6629-mA sailboat was out on the lake–losing a lot of wind and not managing their sails properly.

img_6627-mThe capitol was visible across the lake through the trees.

Walking about campus to the designated meeting area we noted a new trend—large hammocks slung from trees with students lounging about in them reading–reminiscent of a past trial of what I called our purple pea pod camping sleeping arrangement..

Walking back to Deljoje Hall, the location of the reunion, the marching band was practicing. I was not the only one to stop and watch the band perform.

 

Everyone seems to leave when I take their photo

img_6658-mAfter a morning of weeding and general garden cleanup and attacking weeds, we both decided a nice drive in the countryside would be nice and maybe some good photo ops.

We hopped in the car, my camera at the ready in my lap and off we went.

I didn’t get a photo of Hogback Ridge–it is immense and is a protected wildlife site. The hill sides are quite steep and the soil must be quite thin as only grass grows there–few if any trees–and those are all small shrubs. There were a few late blooming wild flowers in the meadows surrounding it. I’m not quite sure how I would have taken a photo–perhaps a panorama–not in my skill set although my camera says it can do it with ease.

Our goal was the Elk Farm. Along the way we spied two apiaries–and I had to get out and inspect one of them. Keeping bees in Wisconsin is challenging due to the lengthy and cold winters–but here were about twelve hives with bees busily flying in and out. Queen excluders were on each hive–they had two brood chambers and two medium supers for honey and a pitched roof for ventilation. The bottom doors were plugged and they had just a single hole in one of the brood chambers to exit and enter. Maybe next year we will be successful in catching a swarm.

However, our mission was that elk farm.

We spied a very high fence–and knew we were there. Parking on the side of the road, I attempted to get photos of the elk.The male–doesn’t he get a bad headache carrying that huge set of horns around–sat calmly watching us. The harem though was not so calm. One or two would look and then they all got up and walked away.

img_6664-m

More driving and I spotted some Canadian geese–the SandHill Cranes on the first corner were too far away for photos. We stopped and I took some photos–again–they waddled away as fast as they could go.img_6673-m

img_6680-m

Next was stop to photo some particularly colorful trees and sumac. The Asian beetles and box elder bugs were in abundance and took great delight in taking small nibbles of me. The leaves and sumac were pretty but not enough to compose really good photos.

We went back to the farm and put up plastic over windows for the winter–safe from the horde of biting bugs.

 

Falling Colors

img_6472-mLike little kids at a buffet of desserts–or perhaps us older ones at Thanksgiving dinner, we always seem to overestimate the time we have in Wisconsin to do all the things we have planned. Or perhaps it is because we just move slower now that we are a bit older. Maybe that Social Security paycheck weighs us down?

Or maybe it’s because we just enjoy the sights and smells and sounds so unique to rural Wisconsin in the fall.

There is is the rustling of the leaves, the views of distant hills so obvious through trees that are dropping their leaves—and the vibrant colors of those that have not.

The woods there are primarily oak–which regrettably turn dark brown or just fall off–leaving their limbs bare. But here and there are some maples–the camera makes their colors more reddish than my eyes see–but gorgeous none the less.

img_6475-m

 

Thinking Big in a Small Way

Last week’s photo assignment was ‘BIG”. Texas is big, of course—and driving across Texas whether east to west or north to south is a very long day’s drive. I thought immediately of the giant heads of famous Texans along I-10 in Houston or the huge statue of Sam Houston on I-45 outside of Huntsville. That would have meant a trip solely for the purpose of taking a photo.

I decided I wanted to try making something that might not be so big–LOOK big. And this is what I came up with.

This pile of rocks from my garden pond have lain in my driveway for a year now—or maybe two. The original rubber base was filled with several holes as Toby decided there was something evil about it that needed chewing on. That base was supposed to last thirty years—it lasted three. We pulled it out and it is now under my beehives preventing the invasion of pests.Sylvia Weir Week 39 Big

I tried several angles to avoid getting anything in the frame that might suggest the rocks are actually about two handfuls in size.

Memories

For many years I sat down with a pile of photos and clippings from the past year and put them in an album, remembering the year as I went and composing our annual Christmas letter. Those photos are slowly fading away and so we have undertaken the project of converting them to digital.

My mother-in-law’s house has been slowly sorted out and distributed; she is still living but in an assisted living home. We have been the recipients of boxes of books, linens, old letters, and now photographs. As I sort through them I can only think of all those people in our area who lost everything–including photos and mementos.

One of my nephews lost everything in a tragic fire—but being of the age he is–kept his photos electronically–and so many of the memories are still there.

This photo is of my middle son proudly mounted on ‘Smokey’ the best horse ever on his first riding at Estes Park YMCA in Colorado.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Is Wheat a grass?

Last week’s photo assignment was ‘grass’. I’ve been busy with a few other things around here but wanted to get back into the routine of meeting the weekly challenges. Usually I do not look at the other challenge photos until I have posted mine–and it seems there are others who also do so. This time, though, I peeked. There were gorgeous closeups of clumps of grass and expansive lawns and even one of a llama with a mouthful.

A year or so ago, my farm renter planted red winter wheat. It wasn’t so successful but there were a few stalks standing. I plucked them and put them on my dashboard to remind me of my farm.  They have slowly dried to the point of falling apart.

I carefully picked up what was left and put it on my front stoop–cement that has seen over a century of moss and rain and weather. As is my usual, I do very little in Photoshop–perhaps the image would benefit from some manipulation.Sylvia Weir Grass

And yes, wheat is a grass.

A la Rocky

This week’s photo assignment was to emulate on of my classmate’s style of lots of texture and alterations in original photos.

After nearly a week indoors due to Harvey and the Noah’s Ark rainfall—I can’t imagine poor Mrs. Noah with that menagerie–trying to feed them all and clean up after them while Noah and his sons sat around playing video games and watching baseball on TV. I’m sure she was the one that told Noah he had to see what was going on out there and let some fresh air into that boat.

But I digress.

Sun shone two days ago and so I wandered out around our neighborhood, camera in hand and spied several palm branches on a vacant lot. I had to step carefully as there was still a lot of water everywhere and took several photos.

Needing a break from the barrage of harrowing water rescues, lost and found puppies, missing uncles, and low water pressure, I decided to play around with one of the images. This can occupy anyone’s time for hours on end. Planning to go out sometime today to check on my property elsewhere and hoping the solar gate has recharged itself, I uploaded this photo as my assignment for the week.

Sylvia Weir altered photo

Eclipsing the Sun with Froot Loops and Rice Krispies

Viewing the solar eclipse has been on my calendar for several months and the only concern was figuring out where I was going to be. I thought of going to Wyoming or even Oklahoma where one small town set up a chicken coop in the center of town so people could watch the chickens roost. But then I had to work and the dogs would not be particularly interested in a long drive nor hanging around while we stared at the sky with our special glasses.

My oldest son is a professor at Texas Weslayan University in Fort Worth Texas–a mere five hour drive from here. I called him and asked what he was doing–he thought he would drive to St. Louis but then decided it would not be good to miss the first day of class. He talked it over with the professor of Physics and they decided to put together an event—in just three weeks. The library director also assisted in the project.

Husband decided to drive down from Wisconsin and I drove from home—and we met at his house–still unfurnished and getting painted before getting the floors done and his furniture moved in—his dog, Rosie, met me with great enthusiasm–she is still a puppy at 18 months–and did a lot of mouthing–I had to have bandaids so I wouldn’t drip on the really ugly carpeting that Rosie would then chew up.

Monday was bright, sunny, and clear with a bit of a breeze. We were assigned the task of making pinhole cameras from cereal boxes–a scramble to find aluminum foil, and pins in an office building but secretary there was quite resourceful. Mike made a point of pointing out the cheap project to his education majors.

Here is Glen working on a pinhole camera from a Froot Loop Cereal Box1-20glen20making20pinhole20camera20from20cereal20boxes-m

We proceeded out to the quad where I practiced using the camera so I could demonstrate–we took pictures through the eyepiece–a bit of a challenge, I tried a solar dye on paper–but there was too much ambient light–and took photos of the eclipse shining through the leaves of a tree on the nearby sidewalk. About six hundred pairs of eclips glasses were handed out–I shared mine with dozens of people. Faculty, students, football team, and even housekeeping showed up to look—it was a spectacular success===amd the universal responses were…..WOW!!!!!!!!! or AWESOME!!!!!!!!

2-20checking20out20solar20dyes-m Solar dye by Jaquard–I picked that leaf off a nearby shrub–hope the garden crew doesn’t mind.

3-20first20trial20at20shooting20through20eye20hole20at20sun-m

shooting through the eyepiece at the full sun prior eclipse—Froot Loop box. I held the box, husband held the camera.

4-20setting20up20for20eclipse-m

here we are setting up. The library director, her mother and husband also assisted.

5-20eclipse20viewers-m

More set-up. Husband is wearing the camo bee veil in foreground, Son is in the black Tshirt and ball cap talking to the studen with a backpack on far left. That T-=shirt is from the telescope in Hawaii–where he and we had a private tour—not at the same time–something few visitors get to see. The man with the blue shirt and khaki pants is the physics professor.

6-20crescents20from20leaves20on20the20sidewalk-m

partial eclipse as seen through tree leaves on the sidewalk beside the quad.

7-20cutting20hole20in20large20piece20of20cardboard-m

Glen cut a somewhat ragged hole in a very large piece of cardboard and we directed it at a plastic wrapped piece of poster board.

9-20poster20board20is20encased20in20plastic20wrap20so20image20is20a20bit20blurry-m

a nice smooth hole yielded a better image

8-20hole20is20uneven-m

compared to this one.

10-20aimed20at20my20sketchbook20with20some20solar20dye20on20page-20regreattably20did20not20work20as20there20was20too20much20ambient20light-m

here is my attempt with solar dye–it was purple–on my sketchbook–but there was too much light. I should have put the paper inside the cereal boxes.

Next event is in 2024 where we will be in the total eclipse zone.