Flora and Fauna

Hiking at El Malpais

Things can only get better!  Yesterday we went on a little hike to El Malpais.  The last couple of weeks have been crazy with the beginning school and managing to get a bad cold on top of that not to mention two amazing weekends in my new home state of New Mexico.  

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El Malpais is a National Monument which has some great hiking trails and it is just outside of Grants.  Check out the NPS website here: El Malpais- National Park Service.  

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The wildflowers were blooming! I didn't realize that New Mexico would be so beautiful this time of the year. 

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It was a beautiful hike.  

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Caves caused by the lava flows.  

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So I don't have a lot to say. It was a wonderful day (and weekend) and here are some more images.  

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I'm not in the mood to rant about politics.  Humans are disappointing.   

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We hiked to the cinder cone.  Which was pretty cool! There aren't a lot of ancient volcanoes to see in Oklahoma.   

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I visited this hiking trail last fall and didn't complete the hike to the cinder cone.  

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It's never a waste of time when you're out in nature. 

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The Indian Paintbrush is beautiful to see because it reminds me of spring at home.  

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So, let's be still...  


I Haven't Felt Like

Blogging... despite the incredible amount of content that I have.  I've got an amazing archive of all of these places I've visited.  Yet, I have writers blog.  I just don't care about sharing myself on this format as much.  I don't worry about my images and content.  I don't need the following and I'm just no longer interested or truly engaged in maintaining this blog.  

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Last Saturday morning I was in Oklahoma. I got my wildflower shooting in.  I'm glad I was home, but at the same time it was a trip where I experienced the most pride in my son and it was the worst trip that I've made home.   

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I was so homesick the week before. I am so tired of the snow every week that we get here on the Colorado Plateau.   I just wanted to go home and feel like I was at home.   

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But sometimes home isn't a place. Home is a person.  

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And I didn't have that person last weekend.   

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2017 has been an incredibly difficult year.   

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I just want everything to be okay.   

Inspirational Post With Flowers and Stuff

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Insert Inspirational Quote Here.... There might be a few that inspire me below...  

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I don't need inspiration transposed on my images.  I don't need peaceful nature when I share these images.   I have already found what I need when I create these images, during the moment I'm chasing the light.  

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I don't need anyones opinions. I don't need your approval or disapproval of my words or my images.   I don't need a business from my images.  I don't need to be bothered.  

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I don't need to go "viral"  - I don't need a 100,000 fans.   

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I do not need to educate others. I do not need to teach people about photography.  I do not feel obligated to photograph anything for anyone anymore.   I've tapered working for others down.  It will not continue. 

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I am taking my skill back.  That is also the thing about being an educated.  Just because I am educated it does not believe that I am obligated to share my knowledge with the world.  I like educating - that is why I do it.  But I do not owe my skills, abilities or talents to anyone.   I do not have to shoot and share or post these images.  I enjoy sharing them because I realize not everyone has the space to spend time outdoors like I do.   

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“We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one's happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.” -Ayn Rand 

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“Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.”
― Ayn Rand

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“I could die for you. But I couldn't, and wouldn't, live for you.”
― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

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“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”
― Ayn Rand

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“Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.”
― Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It? 

Get tired of writing... find some Rand quotes.   It works.  Now back to housework, laundry, cleaning out the fridge and possibly a short nap before a walk at the farm.  A side note.. Trump and Clinton are terrible Presidential candidates.  What is wrong with you America?   


So I can #hashtag a post title, right?   So it is #NationalDogDay and after a long day at work (one hour commutes both ways) and a full day of teaching I came home and picked up my lovely dogs and took them to the farm for a walk.  Exercise for me and after that we went to the pond so they could take a swim.   

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Old man Ozzie is getting old with his white muzzle.  We got him in 2009 which seems like a long time ago now.  

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It was hot! Almost 95 degrees this afternoon, we didn't pick the nice cool day to go walk.  I am ready for Fall!  

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Punky was having fun. 

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So was Sister 

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Did I mention that I cannot wait until next Thursday!  Sigh.

Photography  (1 of 1)

So transitioning back into teaching hasn't been bad. I absolutely love my new school.  I made the right decision. I was thinking about photography and education and all this philosophical stuff while I was walking and I came to a realization.   Photography in a way is not about taking a photo or a camera it's about awareness.   When you are out shooting you have an incredible awareness of your entire world.  You notice things that you wouldn't notice.   So while I get outside to find "inner peace" and a way to cope with anxiety - I still realize that this incredible awareness of my world allows me to become a better educator.    


But, right now I need to work on paid edits and since my morning started at five I'm kind of tired.  


Did I mention how much I am in love with this song... Paper Dolls

Snake in the Grass

So this afternoon I was called out to the yard by the boys and the husband to see the dogs meeting a new creature that they haven't encountered before.   I believe I was called out because they thought I might not see the snake and they'd scare me. 

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I don't really like snakes but I will tolerate them because I do not want a rodent infestation.  We need snakes.  I do not like venomous snakes though. 

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Pumpkin was incredibly curious about the actions of this legless foe.  


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The snake gives a warning hiss.  

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 Pumpkin wasn't the only one checking out our slithering friend, Sister had to get a sniff. 

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Dogs eye view? 

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The Pumpkin dog was not sure if she liked this creature at all...

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Staring intensely at the visitor. 

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The boy likes snakes... the dogs are not so sure.  I don't like them, but couldn't pass up the photo op. 

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"Get back Dog!" 

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Sister sounds the alarm.. Pumpkin is staring it down.

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I was out with the dogs for a few minutes and almost forgot that I left dinner cooking on the stove!  


Must Love Dogs...

So I was thinking of criteria for screening potential clients who are willing to work with my vision and immediately this movie title popped into my head.  Must Love Dogs.   Because...  how can you not love dogs.  

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"Happiness is a warm puppy."
Charles M. Schulz

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"Okay Dad, I'll go get it."  

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Hub was playing catch the snowball with Pumpkin, it was great.  

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This post will have a lot of images on it, for the few minutes they were outside in the snow. 

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Yes she caught that snowball. 

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"Dogs got personality. Personality goes a long way."  ~Quentin Tarantino  

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"Dogs love their friends and bite their enemies, quite unlike people, who are incapable of pure love and always have to mix love and hate." -Quote 

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“To his dog, every man is Napoleon; hence the constant popularity of dogs.”
—Aldous Huxley 
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"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself."
—Josh Billings 
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Moka in the snow.  
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 I love this shot!  
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If you want to play in the snow, they want to play in the snow.  Take them outside!  
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Yumi likes her Christmas sweater but she does not like the snow. 
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"You've got to be kidding me Dad."  


 Little Miss Yumi was shivering and I was getting cold, so it was time to go inside and warm up.   I hope you had a wonderful snowday here in Oklahoma.   I know I did.   

The Sunset Zoo in Manhattan Kansas

Tuesday morning was hotel check out time in Manhattan, so I had to entertain myself the rest of the day.  I decided that it was my day to visit the zoo, I've been there a few times over the years and I always love their flamingo exhibit.  So I headed over to the zoo all by myself, I still had a good time.  

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This is such a nice little zoo, it wasn't crowded with screaming toddlers (like the Denver museum was). It wasn't crowded at all (my kind of place).   

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I found the peacocks first, in all their glory.  This guy needs a caption. 

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Beautiful creatures.  

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What a beautiful bird, I can't really say a lot more about it. They are in the pheasant family.  

Another amazing creature.  My favorite bird. 

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I get all of my plant and animal knowledge from Wikipedia.   The flamingo is a wading bird. They are stunning. I'd love to photograph them in nature.  

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Clearly I do my best bird photography, when the birds are caged.  

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The Bald Eagle says the NSA should stop spying on all Americans.  

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The eye of the tiger.   This was shot through a chain link fence, I'm lucky it turned out as well as it did. 

The zoo is filled with beautiful flowers and shrubbery, there is a whole macro world waiting for you there. 

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Enough with the bees, how about some more birds. 

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An emu for you. 

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Emu says hello from the Australian walkabout in the zoo.  

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This Wallaby was blocking my exit.  Staring me down. 

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He (or she) decided to go ahead and pose for a portrait.  Portrait of a Wallaby - sounds like a great title for a book. 

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This little Wallaby says hello,  maybe. 

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Are you ready for the Chimpanzees?  

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There was a baby chimp so I sat down and waited to get a good shot....

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and I kept waiting.  They are still pretty cute. 

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Awww.. well that's all I have from the zoo. 


Breathtaking Photography along the Guanella Pass

At 14,000 feet altitude in the Colorado Rockies the Guanella Pass is truly breathtaking.  Both literally and figureatively. A friend suggested this amazing drive to me yesterday morning so I could avoid the main traffic of the highways, it also allowed some backroads sight seeing which was just what I wanted to do. 

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If you enter the road from Grant on highway 285 the first portion of your journey is an isolated gravel road.  Which after being in Denver was wonderful.  We intended to drive through the mountains and then head home yesterday afternoon, which we did. I am home now and exhausted.   

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This post will have more than one part, but I'm overwhelmed with the amount of photography I did this week.  Kansas, Colorado, and Oklahoma, I have plenty of shots to filter through and I will put a few up now.  

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It's actually more difficult to do photography in a place such as this.  Everything is beautiful and the scale is immense so it is hard to take a photograph that shows it's grandeur.  I can't possibly do it justice.   I can't show you what it feels like to be in these mountains.  You can't smell the mountain air or feel the immensity.  


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This is just beautiful. I really don't have a lot of words to describe this experience.  Plus a 16 hour drive yesterday and this morning from Colorado to NW Kansas to Oklahoma has left me exhausted. 

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My Sister took my photo.  I had her take one from my "good side" along with the others I won't edit.  

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We continued to climb, higher and higher into the mountains to reach the pass.  I continued to be more and more breathless as we neared the top of the peaks.  I didn't realize it was nearly 14,000 feet at the summit. I was already short of breath while in Denver.  

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And we continued to climb up the pass.  By the time we got to the top I was ready to get down and breathe.   No hiking for me. 

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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. It actually began to snow on us while we were at the top. 

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Snow covered mountains in June.  

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Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.  ~John Muir

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The poetry of the earth is never dead.  ~John Keats

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The human spirit needs places where nature has not been rearranged by the hand of man.  ~Author Unknown
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We spend our lives avoiding nature and trying to be one with it.  There is nothing that man can make to compete with the beauty of the outdoors.   


Finding Our Own Light

I wasn't in a very good mood this morning.  I felt absolutely disinterested in everything I needed to get up and do. I finally went to get some exercise out in the country and realized after two miles that it was just too hot.  My heat resistance is low anymore it seems to not take very long to feel the creeping feelings of heat exhaustion on my runs and I've discovered that I'm much happier with winter running as much as I crave the lush greenery of the warmer months, my body craves refreshing 50 degree days. 

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I grabbed my camera and left my water bottle at the car.  That was a mistake for a two mile walk, which I wasn't planning on running so I didn't think I'd need it.  

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Sometimes I have so many questions about life that I will never know the answer to. I don't know what motivates me, I don't know why I continue this page. It is meaningless isn't it?  Does it matter what people think of it?  So I'm sitting here listening to Sting's Be Still My Beating Heart, which is one of my favorite songs, listen to the lyrics and figure out why.  Soon, I will see his genius again.  

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I wonder why this photography matters, what is it about capturing an image and translating it into my own emotions. Photography, I think is about emotions. I create feelings. It isn't a language, but it tells a story.  It captures a moment; an insignificant nano-second of my life and experience.  

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This doesn't matter. Why should you care to see it. I was sweaty, hot, and craving fluids by the time I shot this. The collies were in my face ready to smother me with affection as soon as I kneeled down to take a shot.  

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When I began this page I was eager to let everyone know and wanted everyone to see.  Now, I don't immediately tell people I meet about it, or that I do photography.  Eventually I will share it, but it's not a big deal.  Five years ago, I didn't really know anything about photography, I was enjoying having my cool, new, slim pink casio which I loved.  I had taken some interesting photos here and there of my kids but I didn't think it was something I could repeat time and a again and I had little interest in photography other than it was something I couldn't afford for my family photos.  

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Photography and running have changed my perception of the world. They've given me a chance to explore my introverted side, the part of me that craves time alone without other people. I was sad, regretting not feeling as if I had a lot of friends this morning and how easily I lose them or they fade away after the experiences with them are over (such as college).  But, then I went out this afternoon and realized that I value my own company far more than that of others, often, it is what I find my strength from.  I find my words, a place of peace.  I can't always find the answers I'm seeking or understand anything at all in life, but I know that being outside is a religion to me, more than praying to a deity or relying on others to tell me the answers. 

I was disappointed in myself this week. I felt like my Graduate School experience ended with disappointment and hurt, and I felt as if I was harshly judged in a course that wasn't taught as I would teach it.  After nearly a decade of experience as an educator, I felt that I'd failed myself but in some ways I knew that for once it was not entirely my fault. I could see the importance of excellence in education.  I dont' feel that my thesis went the way I imagined, I don't feel that it was truly an expression of myself and it left me soured with academia, the whole idea that your ideas must be justified through the ideas of another previous academic, seem hollow. It is a hollow world of finding others to justify your knowledge. I don't want to justifiy my experience and knowledge -I now know I don't need that anymore. I'm satisfied with myself (as much as I'd like to be a more accomplished writer- it may never be my strong point). I left feeling hollow in a way accomplishing a goal, yet feeling like I still not satisfied with myself, hollow in making friends and feeling comfortable in a place and losing that place.  

So here I present you simple butterflies.  Simple, little, beautiful creatures who bring us joy.  I bring you my confusion and loss. I dont often write this way, because I don't often share this side of me. I know it's the side of me most likely not to be understood.  It's the esoteric side of me that writes about poetry, literature, politics and emotions.  I haven't felt comfortable sharing this "me" with many people.  Because it is the "me" that is open to judgement.  

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It's the me that is trapped inside of my head, that fills my thoughts at two am.  It's the me that I don't share.  It's the one that says I don't crave anyone's opinions of how I write or what I say. I'm not asking for opinions, judgement or input. It is just how I think and who I am.  The person that will never be satisfied with herself, the person that wants to think there is something more out there, something that will make me feel like all the answers are clear, no longer clouded by obscurity.  

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How do you accomplish a goal and feel satisfied. How do you say "That's Enough," that's what I wanted to do with my life.  How do you say, no more chasing dreams, goals, hopes, fantasies. How do you stop and look at your life and say "It is full, beautiful and everything I want."  Is it my fate to be eternally discontented. Maybe so.  But I'm not unhappy either.  In someways I look at myself and my life and short of being "more beautiful," younger or all of those things you wish for when you're in your thirties and feel time begin slipping away.  It's not bad, is it.  The one thing I believe is that every day may not be good but there is something good in every day.  That is what being happy is right? Finding something that makes you happy every single day.  Even if every day is sorrow, there is always a glimmer of hope.  

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Photography is about light, finding the light even if there is darkness near.  All photography is is light, isn't that what happiness is, finding the light in the darkness.  Religion is finding light in the fear of darkness, we're all photographers, we're all seeking light in our own darkness.  

Enjoys Long Walks On The Beach...

This is the first birthday I've ever woke up and walked across the street for a walk on the beach.  

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I love it.  Even with an overcast sunrise.  We did catch a sunrise by 8 when we went out and went swimming.  Yes, we were swimming in the chilly sea by 8 am like little kids.  I was sunburnt enough (from a Friday afternoon nap on the beach) that the water wasn't cold to me. 

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Hub took over the camera for a while on Friday evening.  Here I am, the older I get the more I like photographs featuring my "good side."  

Portuguese Man of War (1 of 1)
These images were shot last Friday and Saturday along the beaches of Galveston Island. A Portuguese Man O' War from an early Saturday morning walk along the beach.  An attempt to capture a ocean sunrise, which failed due to cloud cover. 

Shells on Galveston Island (1 of 1)
So, I started this page three  years ago in May of 2010.  Since beginning this page I've been to the Texas beaches four times, I've enjoyed each trip. 

Shell on Galveston Island (1 of 1)
What do I like about photography?  I like that I can manipulate and image and make you, the viewer see a better image than I shot.  I like creating beauty out of a place if you had a full view of you wouldn't see the beauty.  Taking the mundane and making it stand out. 

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It's a strange feeling to have completed a long term goal.  I'm adjusting to the emptiness that is left behind. 

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Flowers in the sand.  I walked the beach prior to leaving Galveston for the sunburnt, sore trip home from the relaxing weekend on the beach.  

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Sometimes the little things matter a lot.  I wonder why people don't take the time to notice the little beautiful things in the world.  

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But despite the beauty of the wildflowers that you can find everywhere in May...

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I like driving to the east end of the island to watch the ships go into port.  Here are some Galveston Images from November of 2010.  And a few from Padre Island .

Driftwood (1 of 1)
One last photo of driftwood. I have more photos but that is all for now.  Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend everyone.