Urban Freelance Photography

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Saturday, January 28, 2023

After Going through most of the month, finally back to back freezes

 The weather will basically shut me down for the next week as the highs will be only 40ish. The worse part is cold rain most of the next 5 days. I was able to get out today in near 70 degrees and spent the afternoon with a second return to the George Bush Presidential Center Nature Trails. 

Cardinals were once again the main aim of the trip and was successful in seeing about 6 pairs feeding on the berries that were still on the trees. The wild grasses were still dispersing seeds and the birds were happy with that. There are some blue jays that I would like to get close enough to get some shots. Found a pair of Robins, some wrens and a first time siting of a red shouldered hawk riding the thermals directly over the nature trails. I continue to be in awe of what they have done with a fantastic nature area in the heart of a busy, high-density urban setting so close. Didn't see my bunny or the roadrunner on the trails today. Thinking about it now, I didn't even see a squirrel. Might be that hawk had something to do with those voids.

So, it's going to be a bit slow until the weather shifts toward the first of March. February is always a month to be grounded out of the 12. Today, I did notice some green shoots beginning to pop out and even found a patch of new grass about 12-inches tall along one of the drainage canals that do a fantastic job of removing water runoffs. Even that has been well planned and works very well. 

The weather service is calling for an Arctic Front to move in overnight and tomorrow and the word 'ice'  appeared in part of the forecast at the 10 o'clock hour broadcast. Gloomy,cold,wet also came over the airways with that report. Cloudy days never bothered me before but we have had some serious gloom in the cloud cover of late. 

Note the image has two cardinals. One traditional mature red and in the upper left branch, a yearling.

This is the cover image and is even larger than if you click on these to enlarge.








Saturday, January 21, 2023

Stepping out now means 7,617 steps burning 318.9 calories and the payoff at 3.24 miles.

That body fat displaced by surgeries is now all but gone. The app does help. I was a bit undecided at first. But, after two months of use, I am sold on the results. 

Yesterday, I started out walking. Walked through the neighborhood, then a few blocks more and before I knew it, I had covered nearly two miles. I kept walking, and walking and my little stool came into play a few times as I would find a good spot and opened up the stool and got some shots that I would have missed by riding the bus. And the bus stop to Whataburger didn't have anything but a pole so the little stool came into play while I waited for the bus to make the stop. To qualify that, I did ride the bus on two accounts. One to visit Whataburger, the other to take me home, transferring from the bus that I was on before the transit center that I use normally.

All in all, it was a good day. I dressed warm and didn't over dress. So,  I was comfortable the entire afternoon. It was a good day and I even slept more comfortable than normal. So, that little app is gonna stay with me long-term. 

                                                        A great texture look with nature
An old mail box still in use in a neighborhood where everyone has brick pillars,but this is the best yet.
A sparrow hawk, the smallest of hawk family, overlooks a historic and live railway track while his mate sits in a tree top on the other side of the tracks. The old utility poles have glass insulators still in place for a whole section of half a mile or better. The shot below shows the clouds clearing for a day or so.
Just west of the train station for the blue line.
City of Garland uses these to point the way to downtown from all directions and some for some distance, too.




Thursday, January 19, 2023

Big Cats and Little Kittens

 One of the projects for 2023 is named: Big Cats and Little Kittens.  Ironically, the first shoot was with one of the little kittens. While the name does not slant the smaller rigs, it must be used to fit in the really big rigs that are Big Cats. 

The young man that was moving out this container from a construction project, had also brought in an empty replacement for use by the contractors. Watching him from a different angle, it didn't take me long to see that what was involved in moving out a fully loaded container with old construction material and the waste created by wrapping of windows, doors, cabinets etc. While the young driver was dropping the replacement container, I went around to the other side to have a better angle in loading the packed-full container. 

After he had the container on his rig and pulled out of the fenced area I was talking to him briefly to let him know what I was doing and why. He was excited and understanding saying that he had only been on the job a short time. I watched him for better part of an hour and this young man was very cautious at ever move. Checking and double checking for safety and for care of his equipment. Any employer would be lucky to have a young man that was as caring about his safety and that of others as this young man. 

He might have been working on a Little Kitten rather than a Big Cat, but he was a giant for his care and concern on the job. That is the other side of the story as broadcaster, Paul Harvey would has said over his years broadcasting.

           Draped top with screen to keep things from blowing out while on the road.
Making double sure that things are right before causing damage to lift track
First try alignment

Second try after the pickup truck he had to back around to position.

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Gearing Up for Another Season of Projects and New Discoveries

 Yes, I know. It's already mid January and he is writing about gearing up for the new year. Ever notice that after Easter or Christmas, your minister isn't anywhere to be found?  They follow the Liturgical Calendar. Photographers follow the Graphic Arts calendar, always three months ahead of real time. So. Know you know

Now, to answer the question that some are already raising---I'm preparing for summer already. Springtime is always well stocked in the archives for most and while the graphic artist have planned ahead, like most photographers, we are comfortable and planning for the summer, fall and winter. Gee, that's a nine month cycle isn't it? Well, I'll be. I bet you will find that most teachers are on that cycle already, just like the camera men and women in the world of photography. 

Alright, I've been a wee harsh on some of my critics. That's alright. You can blame that on the social media experiment that has a hard time recognizing reality for real time. Oh! that thought came to mind this week also. I'm looking at all the social media emails that want to tell me and others not on their cycle what the trends are for 2023. Have you really paid any attention to those trends. While the images are cute and some even interesting, they all look like cartoons. Nothing that looks like a actual object. Most everything is animated and some even more gross than most. And while my mom was light years ahead of her time, when she gave me my first camera (a Kodak Brownie: I still have a scar on my left thigh where I put a M2 flash and extra batteries in the same jeans pocket, where they made contact eventually, and I felt my leg getting hot and more hot and then the pain set in) she said to me: "If you ever become a photographer, do not ever change what your camera lens burns on the film." To this day, I do not alter my images. Delete some very bad ones, but never alter them as a record.

Joan, (Joan Davidow) and I had a few rowdy discussions about photography and contemporary art. Rowdy as she and I both understood why each of us had a view but understood the other side as well. When she retired a few steps beyond a decade ago, she and I were still friends I would hope to think. Fondly, I appreciated her stance as she did mine. Since then, her credits just continue to grow. I would love to know what side social media cartoons would have weighed on her scale. After all there was a black painted Plymouth and a Playboy Bunny outline street side from the new digs after leaving the shadows of the Meadows Foundation anchor to Victorian Era buildings and Deep Ellum as a neighbor. Since, Joan and her son,Seth, are still the greatest asset in the Dallas Art World.

Art Think just might have had a mutation about photography in the old neighborhood but I think that paint still rules in her world and always will. 



            

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Pulled Arthur Gordon off the Shelf Again, tonight.

 




 

It's his "5 gifts" that have long been the stellar chapters of his book. I like them because you can read them out of order---or in order. Usually, I read them out of order because it is like stepping stones that allow for a more clear understanding overall. Over the years, I've had some very amazing teachers like Neville Rodgers, who spent a lifetime translating the works of Shelley into other languages. Or, the way he got me so interested in Great Books, a Humanities Course in college that found me rather than me finding it. Those kinds of happenings have always been benchmarks for me in life. 

Today was another one of those days that felt like summertime. Lunch was at a table on a sidewalk. My enjoyment of those things comes from my early years growing up. The older that I get, the more enjoyment they bring to me like a long bucket list of patio's and porches or sidewalk tables. When in Brazil, lunch was overlooking the Atlantic as it was when in Maine: a distance of 4877 miles north of the outdoor patio lunch overlooking the isle of San Sabastiàne as locals vacationed, taking their cars over on a ferry. I still remember thinking how odd it was to have beautiful stained glass windows in a warehouse filled with Italian steel bars and bags of coffee or beautiful Brazilian wood.

Creative ideals have long flowed through my veins, but in a case of "I wonder what I am wondering when I wonder it" was the beginning when I started to see things with greater depth and vision than others. It even helped me to be more creative while seated before a 3-4-or 5 manual pipe organ trying to get the most colorful sounds from stops that some organs had never been pulled by organist in the past. About that time Arthur Gordon came to me from my oldest living friend that lived next door to me upon graduating. My wife's friend's grandmother owned the duplex and it is in that same property where the KP-tree was planted upon his birth and now stands 60 plus feet tall and under its bark is hard Maple wood. 

Life  does have its cycles. I've seen many various cycles through the years. Now, the cycles that matter most to me are the cycles of graphic image buyers.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

The Ski Lodge Operators are Happy Campers this year from The Sierra, The Rockies, Michigan to Maine




Reminds me of my friend Dr. Pat at UMass, Boston, that sent me an image of a snow shovel sticking out of a pile of snow with the caption, "I'm in here somewhere". This image come to me from a friend of a mutual friend who was a local TV personality in the Great Lakes. My former neighbor was also a TV personality when I was in high school. Heck, I was a TV personality briefly, too. A group of my peers that included me sang on WHBQ-TV in Memphis once before. That was in the days just before Elvis was really getting his rock together. So much for that. It really makes me feel old, now.

Last week Truckee, California (North Lake Tahoe) had their second big snow of the season and the big bolder that were on US Highway 50 (yes, the same highway that goes to Ohio University, in Athens, Ohio where they once had a city ordinance that it was illegal to water ski on city streets when the Hocking River would flood in the Springtime.) The problem is this...don't you see. Lake Tahoe is a major ski resort area. It's in the Sierra Mountains. They have to blast to clear snow to avoid avalanches, which in turn can cause those big bolders to be shaken loose enough that with more snow, any vibrations can cause them to tumble to the roads below. Which, in turn, must be blasted to remove them from the roadways in smaller pieces.

The current atmospheric river out over the eastern coast of California is moving this way. This morning, Truckee, is about to get another of there 4-feet plus snow storms as it has already begun to cover the roadways and build on the snow already accumulating for previous storms. That system is there today. The good thing about this one for us, is that it will be bringing warm air to Texas. It is going to be 70°F tomorrow, Saturday an Monday again, here in Dallas. Just 10 days or so ago, we were in the single digits with wind chill below 0°F.

Do I miss the snow? Yes. What I don't miss is shoveling it: never did mind driving in it though. Still, I do love photographing it when we get a little here now and then. I do know that there are a lot of family planes, charters and those that come by Amtrak or those that fly in for their stays at the Ritz-Carlton, on the west side of the ski slopes that face Truckee's Airport and the Carson range of the Sierra Nevada. 

Texas weather isn't bad this time of year. Although, my Edison bill for the first 10-days of this billing period has jumped to double what it was last year at this time. Yes, E.R.C.O.T., you guys try to justify the increase with your dashboard reporting and smart meter on line. It's still double in price for electricity even after you state that my usage is 31% lover than that of my neighbors. What a joke that is. I practice conservation. My neighbors leave their porch lights on 24-7. My thermostat is set for 62°in winter and 78° in summer. Other than that we are good. Mostly!

 Still looking for the image that Pat sent with the snow shovel sticking out a pile of snow in Boston's winters past. It's in one of my archive post, I'm pretty sure.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Only 363 more days left this year

 It's been said over and over from common man to Theologians everywhere, "Time waits for no man". It's always is a  reminder to me that you got to be in the starting gate and ready when that ball drops for all the things that you promised yourself that you were going to do in 2023. 

I have seen people do the annual ritual of writing down all the things that they want to leave behind, putting them in a bowl, pit or grill and set them on fire. Two months from now, they will still be doing the very things that they burned on those little slips of paper that they were acting out to be leaving behind for many of those that went through the motions. That: is not being at the gate ready to hit the road running when that ball drops on the New Year.  Don't be one of those people. It's like what my mother always warned about. "Nothing good happens after midnight" meaning that when you go out for dinner or entertainment, when it's over, come on home.  

Having said that, we were out the gate first thing yesterday morning. Although it was hard to believe that about 10-days ago were were in Arctic air and single digits to yesterdays 77°F at the 15:56 reporting hour at DFW International, our official record keeping for Dallas. That's more-or-less a 70° swing in temperatures. February is, by records and tradition, our coldest month of winter in the Metroplex. 

Not knowing if the American White Pelicans had made it back to White Rock Lake in October, I set my aim on Sunset Bay. I stopped at Jimmy Johns and picked up a sub and drink after getting off the bus and beginning my walk down to the lake were I ate my lunch at the picnic tables on the Sunset Bay Cottage patio.

There had been some major capital improvements to roads, and roads that have been blocked off for many years with post that rise up at control points with new column post with the White Rock markings after new water lines had been run through the park the last time that I was out shooting before my hospitalization.  In short, very nicely done. 

People were our in droves. Bikers, walkers, strollers, skateboarders, photographers, pic- nickers. From there, I rode via bus to downtown for the first time in 2023 and then taking the train out to North Dallas transferring to bus for the final trip home. It was a delightful 5-hour outing with some good pictures, and some even more good-er!!!!!

Strong storms from Dallas East to the Arklatex.  These storms and system is part of that Pacific storm that hit the Sierra and Sierra Nevada north of Lake Tahoe. Truckee had tons of snow and the first time I have ever seen snow on the side of a telephone pole protrude a foot or better out from the side from bottom to top.US Highway 50 was blocked by large bolders onto the roadway were so large, they will need to be blown up to remove them. It is also the same storm that actor Mr. Jeremy Renner was injured in with a snow plow accident he was driving at his Reno, Nevada home. Reno is just 40 odd miles from Truckee, California and Lake Tahoe. Time and time again I have watched Pacific Coast storms come through Truckee via like cameras  and drop on into the Metroplex in a day or two later. Such is happening here at this time.

                                    New Capital Improvements at White Rocck Lake
A beautiful female mallard swims with her mate close by. She had been feeding in the shallows near a dock.
click on any of the images and the enlarger will open so you can see them better.
The colony of American White Pelicans that arrive every year shortly after the scouting group come a couple of weeks earlier. They stay until about the third week of March when they head North toward the boarder states with Canada to nest.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Traffic Cones are trending

For the past two years, I have been building my collection of parking cones. That's right. Those pesky little orange cones that you can't see in tight construction projects and hope that you don't run over one. 

In fact, I have started a search of my portfolios for some of the better ones over the years. And, I have my eye on a one that I find totally out of the ball park for traditional cones because they are not orange or orange and white. But, I can't tell you at this point what makes them so special because it is a future image asset, don't you see.

But, in my wanderings today on three different bus routes. I visited my favorite Cafe in Garland. The atmosphere is great. The food is out of this world and I was routed that way with the downtown construction that is making progress, but still is a long process for a town square that was fine as it was. In fact, the trees were always something to look forward to. Now, there are no trees. And I will be pushing up daisies by the time that the new and unplanted ones mature to the size of the ones that were removed by the construction. But, I'll take all the faults and displeasure in exchange for such a beautiful day with 6-more to follow in the upper 60s and 70s that could---I say could---reach or nudge 80°F a few seconds if that old digital thermometer can't hold on to that 80 long enough for the :53 hourly reporting to register at the National Weather Service.  


                                            Try the Pecan Cobbler with Ice Cream!



Saturday, December 24, 2022

New Years Draws Near

 

Happy Holidays and have a safe and happy New Years.

January, is the traditional time of year when I usually start the search for Red Shouldered Hawks begins with time to search for nesting sites. It's a couple of months process with the male finding a tree and starts to hang out there. Toward the end of the second month, the female will begin to be seen hanging out near the site. 

About the first of  March, in the traditional places near lakes, the pair will be seen building the nest together and finally. if you listen closely, you can hear the female calling out to the male from the nest site. She is beginning the egg laying and the male will bring her food.

From that point on, it is a wait and see until the young hatch chicks begin to branch. 

In the pre-covid days, I would check on as many as 8 pairs of hawks with two pairs of Bards Owls and one pair of Great Horned owls. 
 
I have missed three years and now without a car, it calls for looking for pairs in different places where I can ride a bus or train or both and walk to the nesting trees. And, with the great weather coming these days before and the several days after New Years you can bet that I will be Birding once again. 



Saturday, December 17, 2022

A Second Shot at Fall as the leaves drop.






 Beautiful Mobile

Yellow Heart Leaves on Blue Sky

Whistle Stop Street Sign

Mobile a year after installatioin

A beautiful bald Cypress as it sheds its needles

For the past several year, I  have enjoyed  shooting fall, but I go back an shoot trees as they begin to loose their leaves. You would be surprised what you find in the trees.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Alliance Airport has officially been renamed Ross Perot Field

 More to come after the holidays. It is the first Cargo and Private Jet Airport in the nation. 

Located in Ft. Worth, the air field's 2 runways handle FedEx in addition to FedEx's facility at DFW. It's a nice gesture considering Ross donated the land 33 years ago and developed the facility over the years with his son. 

Ft.Worth Star Telegram has a good article about the change over in names.


These fly at Founders Plaza at  DFW

Ross gets a bronze likeness on the west side of Ross Perot Field.