Texas Redbud


Redbud trees are early bloomers. Thank goodness. My yard is severely drab right now and needed this bit of color. I just read that you can eat the flowers. I haven’t ever tried doing that. I’m not sure I will simply because bees and butterflies feed off the flowers, which don’t last long (no subsequent bloom later) and aren’t all that plentiful to start.

I took these pictures the Sunday before last. At first, I wasn’t too pepped because it was very cloudy. Then I realized that I could turn the cloudy sky into a clean white backdrop.

I did some other shots, most of which did not really work out.

But a few were kind of fun. I call this one “Fancy Flower Business Card.”

Look at that negative space. Think of all the address and phone number action you could put there. EXCITING.

My darling Ivy, my friend in the cave


My darling Ivy, my friend in the cave. Don’t know when she got there. Don’t know why she would stay. The glint of her eye says she might once roamed free. But, she has no voice and could never tell me.


Sometimes I see very cute faces in things, like last week when I was behind a Jeep without its spare tire. He had a really goofy smile.

But every now and then I see a freaky Cave Demon. GAH! Burn it with fire!

For your reading pleasure, see Jiangang Liu’s IgNoble Prize  for researching what happens to the brain when you see Jesus on a piece of toast.

Austin Fossil Specimens: Cretaceous Period

My 9 year old has a developing interest in fossil hunting. It started a few years back when his grandfather, a former elementary school teacher, took him on fossil hunting trips around Austin.

Now I’ve developed an interest in specimen photography. Honestly? I am terrible at fossil hunting. Is this a fossil? (No, mom. It’s a rock. Put it down.) But is THIS a fossil? (Yes, but we already have a bunch of those. Put it down.) IS THIS A FOSSIL????

I’ll just stick to photography.

I experimented with using a black background, white background, and then making an in situ re-creation.

1. For the black background, I have 4 angles of the Exogyra ponderosa fossil.

2. I used a whitish background for my son’s science project.

3. For the in situ re-creations, I used “crafting” sand from JoAnn Fabrics. When I needed a taller background, I used limestone I picked up at the fossil sites.


4.  Issues/Problems/Concerns

  • BLACK BACKGROUND: As always, use clean black velvet. I was being lazy about that. WELL WELL WELL. Guess who had to spend way too much time with the clone tool? Stitch in time, people.
  • LIGHTING: I took these in daylight in the west side of my house. I turned on all the kitchen lights and used only one continuous light. I wanted drama/interest. I decided to enhance the shadows because so many specimens in books and online did not provide sufficient detail so that my kid could identify his fossils. Words are not nearly as helpful as a picture which captures the fossil’s significant details.
  • UNDEREXPOSE: My camera’s automatic exposure settings caused problems with the specimens (flattened the items/loss of detail). Underexpose slightly from what your meter says. You want to grab the shadows to keep the detail.  Then increase exposure a bit in post-process. If you blow out the highlights by overexposing, you will lose the tiny details which make a useful specimen. Increasing “clarity” in PS will just make a digitized mess of things and won’t get the depth back.
  • LENS: Yes, I took these on my kit lens for my entry-level Nikon DSLR. I haven’t bought a macro lens of any kind. For my purposes (blogging), I can crop and not worry about the final product having sufficient pixels. If you actually want to print these and have adequate detail, seek out a macro lens so you can get closer.
  • APERTURE: Depended. Just like focal length. Use your best judgment.
  • SPECIMEN MEASUREMENTS: I used a tape measure for my kid’s project. If you were going to assemble a large number of small specimen photos, I would not recommend that. Just give the measurements in a caption.
  • SPELLING: FRIIIIICCCKKKK. So many errors along the way. If I were to make a book, I would require an editor.
  • EXOGYRA ARIETINA v. ILYMATOGYRA ARIETINA: I see both online. It seems like books prefer the Ilymatogyra genus. Fossil taxonomy: I am no expert. Just interested in the pics. Again, I would require an editor for a book.




Foggy New Orleans (Christmas 2016)

Christmas Day in New Orleans this year was extremely foggy. I got to see fog creeping across the river and head to the downtown area. It was eery! And moved a lot faster than I thought it would.

I decided to take a few pictures of the bridge being completely covered in fog while I had the chance.

IH10 Bridge (New Orleans)

I focused on the foreground to add some interest and color to the scene for the second set of pictures I took. I had a hard time controlling the view since it was not easy to simply break a branch here in there. The terrain of the river bank was a it rough.  But I got a few I was satisfied with.

IH10 Bridge (New Orleans)

Abstractions: Bold

I could possibly use these in my living room. My walls are a similar yellow, Spiced Butternut from Behr. The color actually looks closer to the yellow here than the online sample. Also, once my paint job is entirely finished (an ongoing saga*), we will hang the red opera banners from the Hannibal series. My husband bid on the banners in the prop auction after the show ended.

The ones below are re-edits of the Pinky Pinks abstractions from a previous post. I just wanted to play around with them a bit more to make them unrecognizable from the originals. I wouldn’t have a room to put these in if I had them printed, though.

*The paint saga:  I wanted bolder paint than the usual greige, beige, cream, or light tan I have always used in common areas. The color I chose is A COLOR. And, it’s in a two story high living room. A LOT OF THAT COLOR.

I haven’t painted all the way to the top. I can’t decide if I am sold on the color. So, my house has been half-painted for over a year now due to indecision. My husband has just resigned himself to living like this because I’m too difficult to deal with on the issue.

Maybe my little abstractions will get me motivated to do something about this problem.


Small scenes from St. Louis No. 1 Cemetery in New Orleans. I like how the plant appears to grab at death, as if to shoo it away behind the tombs. Or courageously claw at it–protecting us.

But this is an illusion. We are trapped in this maze.The maze is suffocating. Yet, we are are still here walking the same paths over and over bumping into the same obstacles.

I suppose it is better than not existing and not walking the same paths. Then again, I don’t really know that.

All I know is that there is no escape from this path.

That and chickens are delicious dinosaur descendants. Specifically, some kind of T Rex. No really. Chickens are closer to dinosaurs than any other bird.

What will rule humans like we rule chickens? Giant bacteria monsters like  The Blob?  Or giant algae sucking up our oxygen. There was a bacteria which caused a giant oxygenating event  2.3 billion years ago which led to life today. What if algae took over and ate all our oxygen in a “giant de-oxygenating event”?

DOOMSDAY ALGAE.  NO OXYGEN. Do I worry about stupid stuff? Yes! Yes, I do. OR DO I?

With pink flowers
Blocked in
With red flowers

More Moss!

Here’s some more pretty winter moss in Austin, Texas. I took these at the Wild Basin Wilderness Preserve. 16 years in this city, and I never heard of the place until I was researching places to find fossils. My son has a science fair project, so….

I’d feel bad not knowing about the preserver but my husband is from Austin and never heard of it. I think we may need to get out more.

I “underexposed” (AKA exposed for the sun on the moss) these for a dramatic feel.
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