2 Week Photo Challenge

So, I decided to do a 14 day photo challenge.  Why not, right?  I am an avid Instagram-er, so I’m always snapping something anyway.

Here’s the whole list, in case you’d like to participate too!

1                   Self-portrait
2                   What I wore today
3                   Clouds/sky
4                   Something green
5                   High angle photo
6                   Low angle photo
7                   Fruit
8                   Bad habit
9                   Someone you love
10                 One of your favorite foods
11                 A picture of your city
12                 Nature
13                 Your favorite shoes
14                 What you’re currently reading

Happy shooting!

Celestial Park, Addison TX

I like to go on evening walks, around dusk.  No, this isn’t a personals ad, I really do!  In the warmer months, I like to go out and walk with my headphones on, taking in some beautiful scenery.  It helps me de-stress, unwind, and clear my head. 

I used to do this in my neighborhood in downtown/South Dallas.  It was a mostly industrial/commercial area, so after 5pm it was a ghost town.  I could walk the streets and alleys, taking in the setting sun behind the city’s glittering skyline; the trains moving through to somewhere else; the graffiti…

Several months ago I moved to North Dallas, which is…well, more suburban.  Not that it’s a bad thing, there’s tons of restaurants and other stuff around, and it’s less expensive than being downtown.  But I haven’t been able to find my “groove” when it comes to going out for walks.  We live off a very busy arterial road.  Luckily, though, we’re at the end of a pretty tree-lined street full of apartments and condos, so there is somewhat of a neighborhood feel.  But walking to the end of the street and back isn’t as luxurious as the urban exploration I used to do downtown when I’d walk from my loft toward and across the river, past the factories and New Deal-era infrastructure.  But I digress…

A couple of days ago I found a 4 acre park in Addison, a nice little towny suburb about a mile away, called Celestial Park.  Last night was the first time I visited.  One of the pretties parks I’ve ever been to.  I only snapped a few photos on my phone to post to Instagram, because the light was fading.  Here they are.  I can’t wait to go back.  I wish I had a “walking buddy” in the evenings, but my playlist makes a pretty good one, I guess. 

You can’t see it well in my shot above, but the granite steps (there are several sets leading up to the top of the park) have quotes about life and man’s place in the cosmos, etc.  Very cool.  Here’s a shot I found online that better illustrates it:

(Read from bottom to top, as you would when moving up the steps)

(Looks like WordPress put this pic into my gallery anyway, at the end, so it’s here twice.)

Don’t Forget to Dig Your Toes In

Today I was feeling very nostalgic.  Actually, it began last night, as I took Chester out for a walk – he’s my (almost) 2 year old Basset Hound.  I love living in the middle of a big city, but I sometimes miss the countryside.  I grew up there.

Needless to say, in the middle of Dallas, one is not often very inclined to walk barefoot anywhere.  I saw a particularly inviting patch of emerald green grass outside the loft while walking Chester this morning/early afternoon.  I had slipped on some flip flops to quickly take him out.  After examining the spot to ensure it was free of detritus, I slid my foot out and let it make contact with the grass.  I smiled instinctively, and dug my toes in – it was cool, nearly cold, to the touch, and felt wet.  It wasn’t, though, and I was glad of that.

It reminded me of the endless grass growing up, and the way I’d walk barefoot outside as a kid.  Yeah, I was that country, I guess you could say.  I miss it.  It was a nice feeling, so I snapped a pic.  Now I have something to remind of that feeling…

Incidentally, while I am classically Euro-white, and perhaps prone to haunting the house with my whiteness, the hipstamatic effect enhanced it. ;-P

30 Days – Day 11 – Something People Compliment Me On

If you’re following this blog, you know I’m participating in the ‘30 Days of Truth‘ project I’ve seen on other blogs.  It’s helping me commit to posting every single day, since I’m also taking part in The Daily Post project.

Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on

People have often complimented me on my humor and/or wit.  I guess I am pretty quick with a snappy quip.  Is that a talent?  Perhaps it is; although I’m not sure I’ve put it to the best use over the years.  Like many things, I can’t force it – guess that’s why I probably wouldn’t want to be a comedy writer or comedian (the pressure). 

I’ve also gotten compliments on my art and photography (fyi, I did not take the photo above – click on it to see more tilt shift images).  I have had no formal art or photography training.  I’ve drawn since I was about 2 years old, and I guess I had a natural affinity for photography from a fairly young age.  I used to carry those Fun Saver cameras with me everywhere.

I actually would like to take a digital photography class – something non-credit where I could learn tips & tricks to better my craft.  But I’ve been told I have a good eye for things.  That makes me feel pretty good.  🙂  And I’ve learned some interesting digital processing techniques through friends and just messing around with various programs and websites such as Photoshop, GIMP, Pixlr, etc.  I’ve also learned some cool tricks from the wife.  She took digital photography and editing classes in college. 

I got into painting last year.  I really took to it after my first piece.  I decided I’d like to try something on canvas.  For many years, though I was pretty adept at drawing, painting intimidated me.  I was afraid to try it.  Mind you, I am no Picaso, but I think I have been able to successfully translate my inspiration and vision onto the canvas.  My work leans toward pop art, with major inspriations/themes running the gambit from Mexican cultural and/or religious iconography, fantasy art, rockabilly, vintage, retro, and so forth.  Although I’m atheist, I must confess I have a sweet spot for Mexican Catholic iconography – the Virgin of Guadalupe is a personal favorite. 

I’ve been photographing a lot outdoors lately.  I moved to a loft in South Dallas the weekend of Halloween, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously somewhere.  I love my neighborhood.  I feel very at home, and I’m discovering more about this part of the city every day.  I’d never ventured down here much at all – it was verboten, as it’s “that part of town” that nobody from the North Side ever goes to.  I’m glad they don’t – that saves it as the treasure it is.  Although some development and services on the whole are badly needed for the residents of South Dallas, many of whom are among the poorest in the entire city.  Anyway, I’m working on a photography book about my neighborhood.  I’ve gotten what I think are some pretty great shots, and while there’s a lot of information online and in books about South Dallas as a whole, including Oak Cliff, I am fairly certain there’s yet to be a book (and certainly a photography book) about The Cedars (my neighborhood). 

Here’s a shot I thought I’d share:

South Dallas Story – Pt. 2

Pretty good Saturday, I’d say.  So far anyway.  It was 73 degrees and sunny in Dallas, but unfortunately I didn’t get out to enjoy it as much as I’d have liked.  I was going to set off on foot around the neighborhood to get some shots for a photography book I’m working on, but decided the light was too direct at 2:00pm.  I settled on 4:30-ish.  As I went out, though, I caught my photographer neighbor (see a prior post), and we got to talking, as we’re prone to do.  Interesting dude.  We ended up talking for like an hour, until we were interrupted by the wifey peeking out of the blinds (she’d just gotten up from a day of slumber, and we were standing in front of our door) and a woman from our building’s property management company.

But, I did manage to work on some new paintings (almost done), and edit some of the shots I got last weekend.  What the hell – I’ll share one of them below.

I’m really excited about this project.  It’s a coffee table style photography book about Cedars (aka The Cedars), my neighborhood in South Dallas.  I have no ETA on it at all, but hopefully sometime sooner than later.  This year for sure.  Of course, this is in addition to two poetry book projects currently underway.  Ugh, I really need to stop procrastinating on those and get with it.

In total contrast to today’s weather, here’s a time-lapse video of snow (a relative rarity in the Sun Belt-Buckle that is DFW) falling on Cedars Station, our local DART train station.

I do want to get in some rainy shots, maybe some snowy/icy shots if we get anything good this winter, and some sunny shots.  Watch this blog for more as the project moves forward.

My neighbor is a world-class photographer, and does it for a living, so I must admit it’s sort of intimidating.  He’s also in his early 20s (8 years younger than me) so that makes it somewhat even more intimidating.  It’s also inspiring though.  I’ve never claimed to be the best artist, writer, or photographer, but I’m just doing what I love.  I don’t have all the training and latest tips, but I do have the passion, and I think I do a pretty good job.

Okay,  enough blogging (for now) – time to work on more art, and then watch ‘True Grit’ with the wifey.