Skip to content

Posts from the ‘photography’ Category

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

Wabi Sabi

I’ve missed several photo assignments–good ideas for an image were hiding somewhere–probably next to my two thimbles.

Wabi Sabi is finding beauty in something broken or in poor repair or otherwise useless. Calder Avenue has a mix of vintage and modern buildings–the peeling paint on this warehouse turned dry cleaner establishment seemed perfect.

Sylvia Weir Wabi Sabi


Will you see this in a future art project? Probably not–but maybe I’ll use the colors and the proportions as inspiration.


Sacred Space

You may have guessed that the last photo assignment was ‘Sacred Space’. It seemed really too easy to photo the inside of a cathedral/church/or other religious type building. I’m not sure why I want to make the assignment more challenging–but I thought about the space between a married couple; between a parent and the child; friends; personal space as defined by Americans versus other nationalities—but then on the way to the Mediterranean Festival yesterday, a solitary bench covered with vines caught my eye.

Some years ago we spent several days in Big Bend National Park; a place that has so many wonderful places to be and to see. One of the loveliest is a small waterfall grotto covered with ferns–it is at the end of a fairly long hike–and the cool greenery and the soft dripping of the water is a welcome reward.

This bench reminded me of that place.

The circles you see are called Bokeh–not dirt or dust on the lens. Taking photos with the sun nearly directly overhead and filtered through leaves creates this effect…I thought it appropriate for this subject.

And—just in case you were wondering, the kibbeh, cabbage rolls, and green bean dinner was just as wonderful as it has been each year–the dancers and musicians enthusiastic and the weather absolutely perfect.

Sylvia Weir Week 17 Sacred Place

Western Art in the Briscoe Museum

Saturday was bitterly cold with a wind that cut through jackets and made me wish for my motorcycle jacket. The morning was to be devoted to local gallery tours; we decided to walk the 900 feet from our hotel to the Briscoe Museum of Western Art.

We all got to claim senior status and therefore a reduced entrance fee–although if we had been service men/women our entrance would have been free.

tim20cherry20rabbit-mTwo large galleries were full of contemporary Western art —no photos were allowed–although I did get this shot of a rabbit by Tim Cherry. If I had the money or the place to showcase this piece—but I didn’t so I will content myself with this photo.

img_7938-mw20h20dunton20painting-mOf interest was a small painting by W.H. Dunton whose title for a rather small painting was quite striking—a paragraph long title for a rider on a horse galloping across the plain. Interestingly the local Stark Museum of Art in Orange Texas posesses over 200 pieces of his work. He, along with other western artists of that era, also illustrated magazine covers and books.

In the afternoon we settled down to an entertaining critique session with Judith Trager. Creative people that we are, one attendee removed her belt as a splash of color on a monochromatic piece.

An evening banquet followed with a lively auction of the small pieces contributed by the members. There was much rivalry and last minute bidding–all to fund future events.

Viewing the Alamo

alamo-mThere was a very long line waiting to get in to see the Alamo; the line looped back through a covered area and was halted by a photographer at the entrance.

Inside, people chattered and pointed–and if you stood in one place, you heard the same comments repeated but by different people and in different languages. They marveled at the number of places the defenders claimed as home—Ireland, Wales, Scotland, North Carolina, Kentucky–and more. Flags of each state and country were displayed around the periphery of the building and we all took turns peering into the rooms cordoned off.

alamo201-malamo2011-mOutside were lovely old live oak trees, a small rivulet with giant carp all hoping for a tidbit of bread, benches, and blooming prickly pear. alamo208-malamo205-m

Outside on the plaza were stands with soft drinks and ice cream. The Menger and the Crockett Hotels were nearby as well as the Wax Museum.

No matter the details of those final hours in whatever version people care to claim as factual, it is an awe=inspiring place—so lush and green–and the entire complex quite large–not the dusty single building in a vast plain with nary a tree to be seen.