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Friday, December 14, 2018

Christmas Requires A Lot Of Patience.

As the old adage goes---"over time, photography trains the eye".  An that it does. Yesterday I started this post and if ever there was a writers block, it was during the time I sat at the desk staring at the white page and nothing was flowing in or out of this skull! After a bit, I quickly realized that this was not getting anything done, nor was it healthy for the aging eyes that have been keen and sharp as an eagle for years, but now seem to be showing me it's my turn to have Lazik corrective surgery---maybe! Not so quick. That's another story that is just  in development stages because of the FOX weather lady that took her own life.

So, after taking my time to do my Saturday routine on the computer--Some things I do during the week can't be done on weekends. Gee-- there's another story  More on that later. Where was all this stuff yesterday?

Long story short, I'm walking out the door with 5 celery sticks cut to 5-inch lengths to snack on. No calories---high on fiber--and yum yum full of nutrients! What's wrong with this picture?  Nothing!!

So, I head out and less than a mile, I get a text--Walgreen's has my auto refill prescriptions done. Since I'm in the [do nut] hole--that means they are all free!! But I had just passed Walgreen's and decided to keep going because I could hit it on the way home. The intent was to go to Grapevine for the Christmas Decorations and to check on the  TEX rail train that has been here for just over a year now and is undergoing test runs on the track since the new Terminal B train station will open shortly after the beginning of the year at DFW's TerminalB. DFW is beginning to boom again.

 Frankly, with the dirt that Amazon did on Dallas, I was glad to hear that they were going to Alliance Airport (Ross Perot's Son's little toy) so now the cargo can grow even more without the Jeff factor to worry about. It really was a dirty deal and I am sure that there was the other Paul Harvey side of the story that will come out later in time, but don't string along a group of people trying really hard to make Dallas keep pace on top of the catch up they are still experiencing from the DFW blossoming. Non-the less- with Amazon HQ2 resulting from the acquisition on Whole Foods and with the largest Whole Foods store in the nation sitting at North Park Center and US75 Central Expressway, when they passed up Dallas for Brooklyn then dill out a tidbit to Nashville, then a bigger tidbit to Austin and make it sound like they were sorry to have passed up on Dallas, they announced that they were putting their air hub at Alliance, I knew then that they could care less about Whole Foods. Wait a minute---it's really a basic and simple thing. I've seen a couple of blunders in this mess already and like I have always believed---rejection is God's form of protection. Thank you Lord!

Continuing now on the basic thought---I was cruising down Belt Line Road on the back door way to DFW and Grapevine when I spot this bright and shinning new water park! Where did that come from? So, I had to go on down Belt Line until I could do a left turn and come back . It hit me just as I reached Hillcrest that this was the new Aquatic Center at Fretz Park. The city has been spending a lot of money on things that count. Ten years ago, Fretz Park was a post sign on the corner of Hillcrest and Belt Line that a block down Beltline became the back to Engine House 56. Since then, a new public library has filled in that space and offset on the back of the remaining is a new Recreation Center and now the Fretz Park Aquatic Center which is an amazing asset for the neighborhood.  I was so stunned, that I parked and walked all the way around the Aquatic Center shooting from all the angles. The one at Tennison didn't open on time and this one didn't make it either, but come the season of  2019--look out! these things will be packed!! I don't know how many more were under construction but there might have been a couple more. I'll stay on top of that and see what I can find out. So, the entire block is now ball diamonds, tennis courts, rec center, fire station, library and aquatic center. Patience does pay off!! That a long way from a post sign at the corner 10 years ago.

So---here is the Christmas Present from the City of Dallas to the people of the Fretz Park area Community.

Merry Christmas and may 2019 be a wet slide to ride!!! And people. Please read the signs....
The Grey Slide
The Red Slide

The lockers and bath house and  cabanas. The wading pool is behind the end of it seen here in the foreground. The water was sparking and I'm thinking that parks like Cedar Point on Lake Erie would be lowered with anti freeze floats and chemical to keep the water from freezing. That's one more reason to be in Texas. It's 57 today and 61 tomorrow and the next 10 days looks about the same with no major storms in sight!!!!. Merry Christmas to new Bar-B-Ques found on the patio's with a big red bow!!!.

Read the Signs---Please!!! It may not be a biggie for you, but to others it is.
NB---

To correct Engine House 57 to 56 at Fretz Park and to also correct a typo for language meaning.  12/15/19:22 hours

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Poaching at White Rock?

The blue is a human.

Here is the white sack or net

The red cap is also human and seems to carry a bag and is often seen bending over and picking up something.
Three of us witnessed something today that was a bit disturbing. Two--maybe more--people were out on the island at Sunset Bay and they had an item that could have been a white pillowcase--full of something--or a fine mesh net that looked like it was stretched over a pole made from a tree branch. Several times, as they went from the main land mass to the island and around toward Dreyfuss and back in the area behind the stone picnic tables. As, they did, the mallards and cormorants took off en mass in a "flight" attempt to get away from danger. Nearly an hour, this went on as the three, then two of us continued to watch.

The Park Ranger was seen in the park on the West Lawther side but needed to be at Sunset Bay for sure. It was heard mentioned that even if they were picking wild onions, they had no business being on the island. While people do go back there on Kayaks, they too, really shouldn't be there because it is more of a refuge for the migrating birds and when they don't have that refuge, they will leave and go else where. Even birds talk to other birds and word will spread. One day, there will not be any migrating birds at the Rock.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

There Is Art Everywhere---

and not only is it in nature, but also in the eye of the beholder.

This afternoon, I put my unloving attitude toward snakes away and took a deep walk into a forest. Although it was overcast and a 13 Knot wind was humming on  wires and etc., the temperature was at  63-degrees F. While tomorrow will be a different story, at least today was suitable for that walk into the woods. I saw birds that I had not seen in a long time. I heard sounding that I have not heard in a long time. The crunching of leaves and branches beneath my feet were really sounds of my childhood. Some of those sound I had not heard in all those years gone by.

The first thing that I noticed was the amount of wood that had fallen and nature was reclaiming in the way that things are intended. Big tree trunks were laid out on the forest floor, sometimes covered with much later fallen branches and limbs. I could not believe that so much wood was being consumed by nature. Yet, when you think about the forest that our Native Americans roamed, they too, would have seen that scene and I wondered how many people will be born, grow up and die having never experienced that sight--that sound--that is so natural for the forest. Actually, it was an emotional experience that I need more of than I first thought. How many times have we all heard someone in a talk or presentation talking about getting in touch with nature?  Well, after today, God willing and my health holds, I plan to do just that again on a regular basis. But the things that  I saw that I have not seen in years brought more hope and renewed faith that I have not experienced in a long time.

The trees are not totally in focus. It seems that the dial gets turned dodging this and that and frankly, I forget to check the focal....that's because I used the auto focus way to long and I made a promise to myself to do more manual focus work this coming year.  

The bird's nest is made up of sting, fishing line, and other materials not so much of nature, but certainly a work of art by a little oriel. Be sure to put this on 100 percent. The detail is amazing.

Here the reclaiming of nature into nature. It's not composting, but it makes new soil none the less.

There were places where the vines were so thick and so much wood lay on the forest floor that it was hard to move one way or another. That's where you need equipment that I didn't have with me. One guy, years ago told me that when he heads into the forest he always puts a pair of pruning shears in his bag. It works great on vines and  small underbrush. I'm going to have to pay a visit to ACE before the next trip in.



Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Year End Reflection #1 Happy Feet

It's that time of year again and I'm always going to have something to reflect on. This looking glass reflected from the first of the year right up to about an hour before posting this one.

One of the Financial Pundits published an article on a hot topic with me. Kroger's!  I'm still peeved at K-Roger for insulting senior citizens the way that they did. And---I'm peeved at them for poor marketing and lying to customers. I've been shopping at Kroger's since I was 5 years old. That's a long and loyal customer, but loyalty does not mean anything today. Nothing!

My core shopping, as a result of their insult has dropped from $1000 annual saving  to a meer $73.00 through yesterday, 10th of December. In the article, the Pundit came down hard on Kroger's CEO Rodney MC Mullen. In fact, he predicted that MC Mullen was taking Kroger's down the same lane as Sears traveled.  He actually was on point about how Kroger was missing the message and that the share holders were a bit more than just  nervous about the future.

The big insult was that they announced about this time last year that they would be "Retiring"  their senior citizens program. Then, they mentioned that they were going to lower prices. Well, being an old marketing guy and also a very savvy shopper that knows prices on items not at just Kroger's but at the Wall, Aldis, Albertsons--including their purchase of Tom Thumb from Safeway and Randall's and others. I'm here to tell you that Kroger's prices have not decreased. In fact, they have increased. Now, I know why they wrapped their front doors like an ad on the side of the bus. Some, prices were substantially more. My Kroger's got the new remodel (again--they just had one a couple of years ago) but this one flipped the store upside down and rearranged the out side isles, leaving the core isle of groceries basically untouched except a bit squeezed where the outside isles were widened. The only wall that didn't get touched was the meat department where they sell the out of the ball park Nolan Ryan Beef!! Sorry for the pun. Even Nolan got out of Dallas and went back to Houston!

Every year, I buy myself a pair of new house slippers at Kroger's. That is, until this year. The price this year jumped $4.00 over what I normally pay. I liked the slippers that they sold because they are snug and warm and last a full year Then, I buy a new pair and toss the old ones. Well, The K-Roger changed up the supplier like so many other things that they cut out and replaced with brands like Psst! or some dinky slap-in-the-face  brand that not only taste terrible but was not even that cheap. I tried it one time and dumped it quick, never to pick up another package on anything that had that Psst! name on it.

So, I was in Kroger's on Monday. I saw the slippers and went home disappointed on the style change and the price increase. I've tried the ones from the Wall and ended up taking a pair back because they fell apart so when Kroger's had my slippers, I was a happy camper! Until Monday, that is.

Today, when the weekly mailers came. Aldi's (My favorite place to buy groceries since K-Roger started sailing toward the drain) had my slippers. Get this!!! $6.99  I've been paying $10-12  at Kroger's. They go on sale tomorrow!! I will have happy feet this Christmas, after all!

So, the bottom line on this mirror is that the Money Boys are now saying what I have been saying all year about Kroger's. They are headed down the tubes if they don't stop insulting customers, raising prices, trying to do something that isn't working anywhere but at Amazon.


Three Weeks Until 2019!! 





Monday, December 10, 2018

For The First Time In A Long Time


I am seeing more and more use of the media chain link fence for art projects. This hangs on the fence of a grade school on the way to the lake. It really is Urban Art in so many ways. The placement of the ornaments, the background and fall leaves weaved throughout the display.

Behind the scenes of the BMW Dallas Marathon. The maps all show the race on the E. Lawther Side of the lake. But here on a larger portion of W. Lawther, the race came down out of the neighborhoods onto the roadway. Somehow, this is not Mockingbird Lane as indicated on the map. 

Near the last runner, being escorted by Dallas Police , the barricades are already coming down. Later, I saw this caravan of a couple of hands full of vehicles moving from Dreyfuss Club near the Stone Tables Area. 
Now-check out the 14 images on the live feed. It's easy---just follow the directions about the Black 'a' that is in the right hand column here and you will be fine.

We actually have live images running on the live news feed at Alamy. The 14 images are of one section of the BMW Dallas Marathon. And that section would be-----yep! White Rock Lake. We were up on the hill behind the band overlooking the section below Winfrey Point and just past the barricade at Sun Set Bay.
BMW
You can go to our blogs right hand column and scroll down to the 24-48 Hr. Live News Feed for direction on how to access the feed. This morning, the images had moved down toward the bottom on the first page of 6 pages in their rotation rolling off the feed at the 48 hour mark.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Suicide by Default in the Name of Sports and Shopping

One would have been on a suicide mission to go anywhere near White Rock Lake today. Rethinking that---it's a two-day affair. The half marathon and full marathon are tomorrow. Today was a day for all the other stuff like the walks etc..It was never more than 40-44 degrees the entire day with a wind and a heavy drizzle that just did not let up. Of course, my blood has become thin again but it was down right cold and I dressed in Great Lakes layers! If  you want to stay warm in the cold, you learn quickly what the secret to that is and its dressing in layers. So, you may still look like the Michelin man, but you don't feel as bad as you look!  And, you are warm. Imagine that!

I did see one guy out with no jacket...just a long sleeve shirt. Rugged or less smart than most who will not go out like that. And---it's a two-way street. I found out many years later that my neighbors were  talking bids on how early they would see me out in shorts or how late in the year before I stopped wearing them.

 I've been on the beach in South Carolina in shorts and a wind breaker during almost every month of winter. I  don't have a picture to prove it but one year when I was down there, I was on the beach that was snow covered in my shorts and a wind breaker. So, here in Texas, its almost the same location on the horizontal plane as South Carolina. They get a trade current that comes close in to shore with warm water and snow can be gone by noon and the tennis courts are full in the afternoon.

So, it's not a big deal until you get to be a fossil like me taking blood thinners and the like. Then, even here, the cold begins to feel cold. I get a lot of looks when I go out sometimes. I just say I'm from the Great Lakes and all is well!  It would be a different story if they knew that I was from the South originally. Sometimes, it is just better to make the declaration and keep moving.

The second suicide mission would be to go anywhere near North Park Center, the creation years ago by Stanley Marcus. Traditionally, one could sit through the changes of a traffic light for at least three full cycles. Today, it was most noticeable that there were entire lanes that only had one or two cars in them at the lights and I got through the intersections on no more than two cycles at the worse. It hit me while I'm sitting there in traffic that e-commerce has this year finally made some dent in the number of people shopping brick and mortar. However, like me, there are those die-hearts that like going to Stanley Marcus's flagship store and mall build for that store--- Neiman Marcus, or Nordstrom's or Macy's.  The Galleria  was the next stop and it garages were filled to the max. Premier shopping at either place. But, as stated, I do believe that the foot traffic will be down this year being replaced by e-commerce.

All the while the heavy drizzle continued to fall. So, on the way home, I cut through a couple of neighborhoods looking for a street plastered with wet leaves-- the making of a great car sled.
What I found was rather pretty.
wet and slick

spared by the car tires so far

Some yards were completely free of leaves as the landscape companies had already departed. Other, looked like this and actually--- this is what I set out to find. I love leaves on a lawn in the fall. I don't get the smell of burning leaves here---just the smell every where of BBQ cooking city wide!!!! I'd rather have the leaves burning in the fall.



Friday, December 7, 2018

On The Cusp Of BMW Dallas Marathon

The rain this morning divided the heat island and went north and south. While it was doing that, I headed to the lake. I messed up the settings on my camera and wanted to reset them. While I found part of the problem and was able to correct some of it....I'm still "down" for lack of any better way to define how pictures in the digital world materialize. It's somewhat frustrating, too, because the Olympus guy was in town for two days last week when every thing  was working better than it has for some time. I've got to shake this Murphy's Law ghost that has been in my camera bag and following me around. 

I was back in the manse by 2 PM. It was just starting to rain again as I neared home plate. Oh! Murphy's Law struck one more time with the windshield wipers blades on the way in, too. Now, tomorrow I will have to find the best deal on two wipers and replace them tomorrow. See, what I'm talking about? That Murphy Law Ghost is incorrigible.

The Long Prairie Grass has started to winter very well. It's stacking with each windy day, each rainy day, each day of wildlife and dogs running through it. I love looking at it. It's something that even a picture doesn't do full favor of. I'm a full supporter of the Dallas Parks System choosing to implement native grasses back in areas where they belong.

Caught the golf rental guy eating his lunch. I ask if I could shoot a few shots. I've seen him out and about delivering golf carts for special events like the Byron Nelson and BMW Dallas Marathons in the past. Nice guy. The Grapevine only has the best!

A Great Blue waiting, watching for fish around the reed beds. He's a wise old bird!!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Just an Observation Mind You

A little bit of observation on how things have changed. 

In years past, while making my rounds I would see a UPS guy here and a Fed Ex guy there. Sometimes they would be in their trucks with the door open. Other times, they would be walking up to a business or house with 'a' package. 

Now, in comparison, I see individuals walking up to businesses or houses with 'a' package, which I must assume is a contract carrier for Amazon or one of the other online retailers. Sometimes, the trucks are rental. Sometimes, they are just plain white, while at other times, they are  just individual autos. 

In contrast to that, I now see the UPS guy or the Fed Ex guy walking up to a home or a business and they have armloads of packages. Not 'the' single package as in times past. Their work load has increased for sure. 

Now, when you take into account that this Black Friday brought in the insane amount of multi- billions of dollars in a single day no one should be surprised that Sears, Toys R Us are either out of business or on the threshold of being out of business with many more to follow, or so it seems.

In yet another interesting observation concerning millennial. There has been numerous articles that they are lazy, eat their meals in restaurants, hate cereal because you have to wash the bowl, and now---they don't sleep with or find a need to make a proper bed with a top sheet. So much in fact, that the mills are now considering selling a fitted sheet and two pillowcases as a set and charging YOU for that top sheet now, if you so want to request one.

My out-of-the-way parking spot at Kroger's has now been taken over by "order on line and pick up here". Yep, most of the orders being picked up when I was there were none other than the M's or the Z's.

I have been eager to support change most of my life. To go forward, one must accept change. But, now, the habits of the M's and the "Zs" have so disturbed the peace and dignity of old age that I  would support loading them all on 747s and sending them to Alaska---let them come home for Christmas.


Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Transition Has Begun

With two cold fronts passing today, the warm 75-degrees we have enjoyed and savored the past week is getting ready to say bye-bye. It's been kind of a step down but today, to me, was even more comfortable. I can tell when I wear my Official Irish Wool Tweed bucket hat with the heather twig and a bow of red tartan in the left side ban. And I always get comments on that hat. I got one today, the first day out of the summer box.

So, trying to squeeze one good day of comfortable shooting out before that cold north wind whips up the leaves that are hanging on with that 25 MPH gust forecast.Cold weather is not good on the heart, don't you see, at any age. I sure don't want to be a statistic, that's for sure. With that in mind, I headed out to a local town square that I shoot for sheer color. Any was it popping today.

Unfortunately, I was a bit tired tonight and was listening to music and catnapping in the wing back  for most of the evening after I did the initial edit of images. What that means is that my prime images go to the stock houses and agents. The ones that I use on the blog are for viewing as part of what I am writing about. The reason for that is that people try to copy them from the web site and blog and corrupt the files. Some are recoverable; some are not. I learned a long time ago to put the prime images up on the portfolios first and put the secondary primes on the blog. There isn't anything wrong with them other that there may be an un-even horizon or a distracting object that got in the way for many reasons. Still, the images are good--but the primes are more[gooder]!!!!!!

I have not shot book covers for a while and today the clouds, sky and color was there. So here will be three and a separate post with three additional.
More images will follow tomorrow.
The Purple Leaf was awesome. These are the three main colors in trees around the square.
Book Covers or Use for Letterhead Messages.

I like these lamps!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Gas Continues to Fall in Price

Day before yesterday, I filled up at $1.939. When I applied by 3-cent discount from Kroger receipts, the final price per gallon was $1.909. I have not paid that low of a gas price in a bit over 2 years. Today, however, the price had dropped another 4-cents to $1.869. I must admit that the gas buddy app helps, but like when I filled up, it advised that prices were going to be stable through the weekend. Not to complain, but the 4-cent drop sure didn't sound like remaining stable to me. But, to be fair, they have saved me a lot of money on gas and I like the app.
They lined up to wait like planes waiting for take off.

Cleared for Take Off!


Here is the Osprey. They were not seen last year, but were seen two years ago. This is my first sighting this years where I could do the 7-point ID check and yes, Virginia----it is an OSPREY!

The weather today was another one of those low, low, very low cloud covered days. It seems that I am changing the white balance on my camera from cloudy to sunshine and back to cloudy more than I have in the past 10 years. Is that possible? The sunshine in Dallas was always king. Now, it seems like it is just another one of those low hanging cloud day more than most Dallas residents do not want.  And, to be fair to that cause as well, it was 76 degrees again today!. 74 tomorrow and then the bottom drops out for the next 10-days.

I went to the lake from 10-2 today even with the low hanging ceilings. I'm glad that I did. I saw the Osprey!! Big Boy too! He arrive and the two-dozen Great Egrets took off  en mass. The thing about the Osprey is that they eat nearly 100-percent fish in their diet, but egrets also have full bellies of fish, too! So, it's not like he's after the Egret for lunch, but he's after the Egret's lunch for his lunch!. The food chain is not always nice and neat, don't you know.
 Also, again, the pelican were in the tidal pool fishing. There were more than 70 that I counted. The cormorants were diving and coming up with fish at every turn. There has been a lot of fish trapped in the tidal pool and the waterfowl that have a hefty fish diet have hit the jackpot.

I watched the pelicans from up at the dam and made my way down to the tidal pool level because I knew that the pelicans would be taking to the air and it would give me some pretty good shots that I don't have in any of my portfolios. Sure enough. I had not been down there 10-minutes when they lined up for take-off. I swear, they were airline pilots in another life. I call  them the White Rock Air Force. And, being so big with a 9-foot wingspan, they are every bit as graceful as a 747 jet landing and taking off.  I could watch them all day. I've never tried to order lunch at the lake, but one day I'm going to do that. Need a picnic table for pizza but Jimmy John's would work.

I was home by two and did a snack thing for a late lunch. And, I did a fried carrot and broc thing with a salmon fillet. It was just right! Besides, I love that fried carrot thing. I'm hooked on it and even save the last two inches of the carrot to be cut in rounds rather than the strips that I slice. The little rounds are the chef's portion. I love 'em when they are hot!! While I am cooking the strips and the salmon.

I've been eating more salmon of late. I can't recall the last time I even bought raw hamburger. For one, I won't pay $6.00/lb  for hamburger period. I grew up on hamburger at $0.39/lb. It's just one of those things. Mom was a Rosy Riveter  at Willow Run Airport building bombers for the Air Force when she was 19. Her older sister made Hungarian Goulash  and guess what--- when mom married, she knew how to cook Hungarian Goulash with elbow macaroni and tomato paste, onions, blah-blah-blah. During the war it was a cheap meal. Not a thing wrong with  it. Then, hamburger started to go wild.


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Sea Gulls Have Models Too!

Some of you will think that I am making this up, while others may think something equally worse, like maybe," he's had to many shots of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky." While both make me look bad, it is also funny to know that the captions under the images ARE accurate about these birds. 
One thing that I have learned the past 17 years is that animals are way smarter than we give them credit. Especailly, with waterfowl, they  have such keen smell, sound and sight. They watch our every move. While editing images, I always look to see what the subject is doing and then look to see what the subject is looking at. It's amazing that generally, they are focused on us more than we are foused on them. Some---I tell you---act as if they are models.


Like a Crow, Sea Gulls do remember individual humans. These three were flying a couple of miles from where I usually shoot images of them flying. They made a big circle and came back and paraded infront of me sitting on a park bench. After looking at some of my previous images...these three are in most of my images of seagulls.Not all...but most!

 
This one is one of my favorites.It will pose for the camera until it hears the click and motor run end. Then, it parade and watch to see if the camera is pointed at it. It then, does the same thing and will stop to pose until it hears that click and motor run end.
This one is the same one that flew in and landed on the post of the dock at Sun Set Bay. All three are camera hounds!! I'm telling you....they know what they are doing. 


Christmas Requires A Lot Of Patience.

As the old adage goes---"over time, photography trains the eye".  An that it does. Yesterday I started this post and if ever ther...