Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Grand Southern Lady

The bud of the Magnolia Grandiflora can't be missed.

 The beautiful lemony scented flower is magnificent.

The striking rose colored fruit

Magnolia Grandiflora, does she really need an introduction? Specifically the term Grandiflora is interpreted in Latin as Grandis-big and flor-flower. Most commonly known as the "Southern Magnolia" her large evergreen trees grace the lawns of homes all over the Eastern and Western parts of Texas.This striking tree with large dark green leaves and large white fragrant flowers is hard to miss. Flowering is followed by the rose colored fruit- also stunning in it's color and form.

One of my very first memories of this majestic bloom was as a girl when my mother had my dad pull over in the car and unabashedly pluck one from a nearby unsuspecting strangers tree- the scent was glorious(lightly lemony and fresh-mmmmmm.)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pink and Purple

Purple Calla Lily

Sweet little pink buds

I'm not at all sure what this flower is,but look how the center looks like butterflies flitting all around.

Pink Coleus

These are the buds of the above Purple mystery flower with butterfly centers-believe it or not.

Pink Sweet Peas

So, I took a poll last night on my Facebook page to see what my friends would like to see today-things that are Pink or Purple?  The results were neck in neck, so today I give you-Pink and Purple. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Succulent Succulents

Succulents are a current delicious trend all over the blogosphere-I'm seeing them in flower beds,planters,terrariums, raised beds,they're even a current trend for use in wedding bouquets(really it's true.)

Succulents make perfect sense for our neck of the woods where we get very little rain. Plop one in your flower bed for a low maintenance pop of interesting color and as a bonus, when we do get rain during blooming season the blooms are phenomenally gorgeous and very attractive to honeybees and bumble bees. Above are just a few I've found around town-some are planted very intentionally and some were found growing wild. Enjoy!

Monday, May 28, 2012


"I think a photography class should be a requirement in all educational programs because it makes you see the world rather than just look at it." ~ Author Unknown

I couldn't have said it better-the above quote is a perfect expression of the way I now see the world through the camera lens. Each day that I pick up my camera, I make a discovery of monumental proportion-something I took for granted before the days of making the deliberate choice to find the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Take a look at the example above-the full color version is beautiful and very aesthetically pleasing-I was perfectly happy with it, but add Sepia and it is like a whole new image. Sepia seems to make the details of the flower center and bee come alive.

Take a look at the bee-a masterful design? So perfectly suited for his purpose; his wings a precise feat of engineering created to be a most expedient form of transportation-deliberately angled so that he can get down into the flower.

Next,check out those tiny abundant hairs situated mostly at the front legs and head-a most efficient means for collecting pollen from the whimsical filaments of a wildflower. Think about how the color and scent of the wild flower attracts a host of insects and birds that scatter it's pollen to ensure the proliferation of more of it's kind- a "perfect" symbiotic relationship. Beautiful details, hidden in plain sight.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Before And After



I recently acquired a copy of Photoshop and actually I have very mixed feelings about editing images. I feel that an image should stand on it's own-not to say that I don't crop, sharpen and do very subtle and minute enhancing on occasion,but mostly I try for an image that is nice sooc as I believe it should be. I am not sure how I feel about extreme editing of an image to make in into something it didn't even start out as. I guess you'd say I am a bit of a purist and on the fence about much editing. My intent with Photoshop is mainly to resize, sharpen, enhance resolution or edit out dark areas etc. and the truth of the matter is that Photoshop's capabilities are far beyond my expertise,sooo with that said please know that for the most part my images are not edited to the extreme ever. 

I did play a bit today, with Will and Soapsuds-the original image was a bit dark as it was late in the day so I lightened it a bit and added a couple of lens flares where there were already indications of the beginnings of some. I'm actually very curious which image you prefer? The Before or the After-After is also cropped slightly different giving a bit of a different perspective.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ants In My Pants (A Cautionary Tale)

The story begins with the bright idea that I wanted to snap a few photos of the cute baby calf with his mama last Monday-obligingly my husband pulled the truck over and I exited the truck.Seduced and enamored I had tunnel vision on "cute baby calf", so I saunter over to the fence and proceed to snap away. In my peripheral vision I duly note a very large ant bed on the ground beside me, and I say to myself "Yikes! don't get into that" stepping over it to snap yet a few more images of another willing bovine subject. Not long into snapping a few shots of willing bovine number 2, I feel something sting my thigh, and then again, and again. Heading to the truck, I realize I am on fire with whatever is up my pants-in my head I'm thinking it's a wasp, or that perhaps I've accidentally squished a bee between myself and the fencing. As I make it to the truck-I'm telling my husband I've been stung by something and of course he is all about me getting in the truck and heading home only a few blocks away. As I get in the truck he says,"It looks as if you might have a few ant's in your pants-I see one moving around"-so instead of dropping my britches right there(which looking back would've clearly been THE thing to do)I endure the disgruntled ants all the way home. Yikes!

 Just look how cute he is

I think mom is laughing at me. lol!

Willing bovine subject no.2 (and the scene of the crime.)

If you've never experienced Fire Ants- I can tell you that in fact, their bite does sting like fire-then days later the itching kicks in. Now, it is important to tell you that my husband doesn't consider them true Fire Ants as according to his research a true Fire Ant is black and red and builds a mound type bed-these ants were large and red with a huge flat bed-maybe from the recent rains or maybe that is how they build their humble abode- but still, I'm pretty sure they were some form of Fire Ant-cause I was "on fire" all  night long. Believe me, when I tell you they deserve a wide girth and have earned my respect. I will never take them for granted or extend "good will" to them again and think that if I don't step on the nest they will not bother me-hah!

So, fellow photographers the moral to the story is; even though that baby calf is sooo cute and would make a great photo-don't let ants get in your pants.

 One of several patches of pain.....this image does not do justice to the stinging irritation that IS a Fire Ant bite. Just sayin...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Botany 101

Baby Crinum Lily's

Crinum Lily

Once the flower is spent the Ovary begins swelling with Ovum

Engorged Ovaries lean ground ward with the weight of the heavy multiple Ovaries full of large Ovum

Ovaries with compartments that hold one large Ovum each

Crinum Lily seed-those are SOME seeds huh?

Which came first the flower or the egg? I'm not really sure that I know the answer to this question, so for ease of illustration we'll begin with baby flowers.

Part of what fascinates me about photography + plants especially, is the process. The process of new life all the way through the seed head/pod process(some would call it death),but I see it as a cycle that brings about new life. I guess that honestly,I  have a tiny bit of botanist in me that finds the whole life cycle interesting. I've found I love to photograph plants in their different stages and am able to find the beauty in all of them.

One day, while out scouting photos with my ever patient and supportive husband we came across these weird looking pods and well of course we had to dissect one(in the name of science of course) to see what was inside. I mean look at them-aren't they weird wouldn't you have done the same thing? And yes they are that big- some larger than others-they sort of remind me of  tomatillos. Pretty cool huh?

Seeds escape the pod when the outer skin dries to a garlic skin consistency and then begins splitting to allow the seed to find it's way into the ground where sprouting then occurs. I've found this to be something that in my ordinary life before photos I never really considered and now find fascinating. This has truly opened my eyes to how perfect God's design really is. We are each unique and well thought out and perfectly equipped for our purpose.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

There's Something About The Eyes

Aren't the kitty's eyes amazing? I always think, that with any living creature the story you want to tell is usually in the eyes (or maybe in the case of humans the hands.) I always think you capture the essence of a being if you can get a good shot of the eyes-they tell so much, is the creature relaxed, in a state of pensive thought, happy with crinkles at the edges, sad with welling tears, or in this case, intensely gazing.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Scouting Woes

Folded up tight-Basket Flower

Unfurling Basket Flower

Once again my plans for a series were foiled by someone cleaning up the beds. This guy was just about to open up on the day I arrived all ready to finally see the results I was greeted with an empty space-GONE-in an attempt to clean up beds for graduation. Ugh!

The name Basket Flower comes from the straw colored bracts just beneath the flower a member of the Aster family this flower is also known as American Star Thistle, or shaving brush. I originally thought it was in the Thistle family, but in fact it is a member of the Aster family as it lacks the prickly characteristics of the Thistle family.

If we would have gotten to see the flower 4-5 inches in diameter(I bet it would've been awesome) it boasts a cream colored center with lavender pink filamentous petals.Gorgeous! Who knew from it's harsh prickly outer appearance.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The House That Bruno Built

Robert Bruno's Famous Three Tiered Steel House at Lake Ransom Canyon

Lake Ransom view from Steel House

Sunset from the East side of Lake Ransom Canyon-The Steel House side

So, the story goes that Robert Bruno was a sculptor that spent 34 years completing his vision of a 3 tiered sculpture in which to reside. Bruno had no blueprints only a vision in his head, so with his love of oxidized steel he embarked on a labor of love.It's said that Bruno would work for months on the house only to find he wasn't satisfied with the outcome thus warranting a re-do of months of work. 

Often Bruno shared his vision allowing passer's by to tour the interior during it's construction. Upon it's final completion in 2008 Bruno lived in the house for 8 months before he passed away leaving behind a legacy that has become famous around the world.

Scenes From Today

Purple Flash Peppers

Black Pearl Peppers

Sunday, May 20, 2012


"It's not easy being Green
Having to spend each day the color of the leaves
When I think it would be nicer being red, or yellow, or gold
Or something much more colorful like that"
Kermit the Frog~

Saturday, May 19, 2012


They say the eyes are the "windows to the soul" and in this case I believe that is spot on. I've had the pleasure of knowing this very special canine over the past several years now, and she is one of the most soulful beings I have ever known. She is the kind of dog that you just know has been a loyal companion all her life, she has been loved beyond measure and gladly gives back,she's dignified and graceful, wise and gentle-the epitome of "man's best friend." What an honor it has been to have her in my life.<3<3

Friday, May 18, 2012

Flowers For A Special Girl

Yesterday was a special day, my sweet daughter was recognized for her 4.0 Honor Roll achievements. We are so proud of her. Congrat! Sweet girl! xoxo Mom and Dad...

A Special Bond With Texas Thistle

Texas Thistle

I originally had a different post lined out for today, but then while out on a photo scouting trip I came across some Texas Thistle and I could not contain my excitement. Now, in actuality this plant is much maligned by farmers and ranchers due to it's capacity to invade coupled with it's strong will to survive. I on the other hand, feel a special kinship-a Thistle is adaptability personified, it has learned how to survive in conditions that are not optimal for most plants, it's harsh and thorny nature may keep people from looking at it's truly beautiful and useful nature. Many people don't realize how truly beautiful they are-just look at it's amazing tubular petals of pinkish purple with some petals outstretched and tipped in a deeper purple.Gorgeous!

Texas Thistle has several utilitarian uses in nature-they are a host plant for the Painted Butterfly larvea and provide a source of nectar for the adult butterfly.Gold Finches line their humble abodes with the bristles and find nourishing sustenance in the seeds-so you see the term "weed" is only relevant to the beauty you choose to see or "not" to see.

Did you know an Artichoke is a Thistle? If you've never seen an Artichoke in bloom-you are missing out-it's like one huge Texas Thistle flower in bloom-glorious to see. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Exquisite Epiphytes

And because I am a bit of a botany "nerd" as well (just in case you thought I wasn't well rounded in the "nerd" department)-here's a little educational tidbit.


noun Botany .
a plant that grows above the ground, supported nonparasitically by another plant or object, and deriving its nutrients and water from rain, the air, dust, etc.; air plant; aerophyte.
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