Things I Love Thursday: Chihuly

Well, I missed doing my TILT post last week, and almost missed it again this week.  Of course, with my birthday celebrations, my schedule is a little bit in an uproar, but I decided it was important to get this post in this week.  I’ve been having a lot of fun for my birthday and will post on that for sure soon.  But, today, I thought I’d focus on one of my favorite things.  Most people that know me for any length of time know that I love art (I have a BFA in Art History) and that one of my favorite artists is Dale Chihuly.  I have been in love with his work for a long time, and remember fondly my dad recording (back in the VHS days) specials on Chihuly and his work for me.  I’ve been lucky enough to share this love of these intricate blown glass sculptures with Eric.  And in a funny way, our relationship has involved a series of Chihuly sightings, which has been fun.  We’ve managed to see Chihuly installations in a variety of places, most recently in Miami a couple of years ago.  The photo at the top of the post was from there.

But our first foray into Chihuly sightings, and where I first introduced Eric to his work, was in the Bahamas.  Eric took me on a cruise to the Bahamas back in February of 2005.  At the Atlantis resort, I was ecstatic to find four Chihuly sculptures.

That trip to the Bahamas was also where Eric proposed.  So it was a memorable trip for sure!

The year after we were married, we took a trip to Philadelphia for his cousin’s wedding.  And guess what we stumbled upon?

This piece is called The Flame of Liberty and it is stunning.  I didn’t get the best of photos of it, since I was still kind of new to the whole photography thing.  But so fortuitous to find another Chihuly on this trip together.

On our second anniversary, Eric surprised me with a trip to Oklahoma City.  Why Oklahoma, you ask?  He took me to the Oklahoma Museum of Art which boasts the largest collection of Chihuly pieces anywhere in the world.  Now that is a man who loves me!!!  And the pieces in Oklahoma were amazing for sure.

And this ceiling that is reminiscent of the Bellagio ceiling in Las Vegas.  Such an amazing play of light and color through the glass pieces.

There was even a Chihuly at my old office.  Thankfully I took photos of it before I became a casualty of massive layoffs.

And you might wonder why I decided to focus this TILT post on Chihuly’s work?  Well, currently the Dallas Arboretum is home to a Chihuly installation and I can’t wait to go and see it.  I have heard that the pieces they have on location are stunning.  I am so looking forward to it getting a bit cooler out so that I can venture out to see what they have.

And while the pieces are always amazing in daylight, I can imagine they are even more stunning at night.  I hope to get to see them in both.


Meanwhile…Back at the Fair


I’m still trying to get caught up here on the ole blog, so I thought I’d share some photos from back in October (!).  Every year Eric and I make sure we take a trip to the State Fair.  This year, Eric organized a group from the photo club to go.  It was a lot of fun to wander about as a group, particularly a group of photographers.  I love seeing what other people are drawn to shoot.  And of course, this was my first time with the fancy-pants camera, so I was anxious to try it out.

One of the things Eric likes to do is see The Killdares perform.  Last year was my first time to see them and this year’s performance did not disappoint!


Of course, it also afforded me some great opportunities to people watch.

I love finding different sculptures and artwork while we wander through the fair grounds.  There was a whole forest of these license plate pinwheels that I thought were great.

But, of course, my favorite shots are usually from the Midway – all the food, rides, games.






This photo of the corn dog was one of my favorites of the day.  You wouldn’t believe the strange looks you get when you’re hovering around the condiment stand with a camera though.


And this shot – although mostly blurry (and unfortunately my watermark is covering up the best part) – I had to snap a photo of this guy in the hat with the glasses.  He is awesome.

Not quite as awesome as this though…

When the sun started to go down, I really enjoyed playing with the different settings on my camera.  It was short-lived though because I finally had to succumb to a migraine and plant myself until the group was ready to go.


These two I’m just in love with.  Look at that sky.  And the red.  Love!


Hope you enjoyed that virtual leap back in time.  I really had a lot of fun at the fair, and I was so glad to have my new (almost a year old) camera to try out!!


Zilker Botanical Garden

So with summer upon us, and a holiday weekend starting, I thought it would be kind of fun to post some of my travel photos.  Eric and I love to travel, but haven’t been able to do any lately, so I thought it would be nice to go on little virtual trips.  What do you think?  Want to take a little road trip with me? 

Back in September of 2007, we went down to Austin to visit my sister.  We spent one afternoon with her and my niece at Zilker Botanical Garden.  The park is really beautiful, and we enjoyed wandering around and taking photos.  At the time, I didn’t take a lot of photos, so I don’t have many to share that don’t have my niece or Eric in them.  But we had a good time walking through the various gardens. 

You just have to watch out for the velociraptors. 

But really, it is a very tranquil spot, and there are some fun sculptures for the kids, which makes it an adventure.  You never know what you’ll find around the next bend in the path. 

So the next time you’re in or near Austin, stop by Zilker Botanical Garden for an afternoon.


The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

A couple of Saturdays ago, the moon was supposedly closer to the Earth than it’s been in twenty years, or something.  So Eric and I set out with our tripods to the park near our house to see if we could get some good photos.  Let me just say, it was a lot of trial and error.  But, I ended up quite pleased with a handful of photos that I got.  The one above was my favorite.  I remember so clearly in high school, whipping out my point and shoot camera to take a photo of the moon when it looked so pretty, only to end up with a photo of some bright speck.  What a difference a camera (and a lens and a tripod makes). 

And of course, my moon photos seemed apropos since I went to see Red Riding Hood at the theatre last week.  Such a great film.  I really enjoyed it, and the cinematography was wonderful.  It reminded me of one of the photos I took February of last year during our big snow.  This was in the same park where we took the moon photos. 

I’m really loving this journey I’m on with photography.  It’s really changing the way I look at things, and maybe my photos may eventually influence how someone else looks at the world.  Hmmm…my what big eyes you have.


Deep Ellum Photowalk

A couple of weekends ago, a friend and I met down in Deep Ellum for a photowalk.  It was a good chance for me to practice a bit with my camera, enjoy her company, and get in some exercise.  Win-win-win! 

I was really looking forward to shooting down in this area of town because I’d missed out when the photo club had done this the weekend before.  Back in my high school and college days I spent a fair amount of time in Deep Ellum, and it has changed a lot over the years.  But it was, as always, full of interesting things. 

We were faced with a rather grey and chilly morning, but I was really pleased with the shots I got anyway.  I had a bit of fun with some of my images in post-processing too.  It’s another photo overload post, but I love those kinds of posts.  So, I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.

This was one of my favorite shots of the day because it made me laugh.  Hard to read, but the sign in the window says “Hippies Use Side Door”.  And let me just say for the record, I was basically flat on the ground to get this shot.  Glad no one was behind me with a camera.

We’re hoping to get together for more photos-about-town walks.  I’m really looking forward to that.


Dallas Skyline

Saturday night, I joined Eric and the photography club in shooting the Dallas skyline at night.  I wasn’t overly excited about it, since we’d previously done a Dallas After Dark shoot.  But, as soon as we hit the first location for the night, I was thrilled.  Look at the fabulous reflections I got on the water from the lights.

Eric helped me out with my camera settings (I’m now determined to learn how to figure this out on my own!) and he let me use one of his tripods, which I actually used.  Shocker.

We moved on to the second location, a little closer than the first.  The first thing I found out was that with the slower shutter speed, look what happened to the traffic going by – you just get this cool blur of light.

See?  And along with neon, I have a fascination with graffiti. 

From there we moved on to our final location.

Like I said, I was thrilled that I went with Eric. The event was so well-planned and I think I got some great shots. I’m completely determined to learn more about camera settings and learning how to work the technical aspects. I think I’ve got a good feel for what I like to photograph and the way I like to compose my shots, I just need to learn how to make my vision happen.


Worldwide Photo Walk 2010

Since I’ve been posting a bit about my photography, I realized I needed to post about the Worldwide Photo Walk.  Back in July I participated in the WWPW, which is put on every year by Scott Kelby.  This year there were 1112 photo walks across the globe, and 33,497 participants.  Eric and I were members of the group that shot in Uptown Dallas.

I was pretty happy with the photos I took.  I tried to push myself to take a variety of types of photos, as well as to photograph things that maybe not everyone else would choose.

I really enjoyed wandering about with the group and watching the other members choose their shots.

The photo above was one of my final three choices for which one to submit to the contest.  I loved how this one came out.  The blue shutters at the top of the post was another final choice.

I found that I really was drawn to shots of numbers for some reason.  Guess their graphic nature was just calling to me that day.

But my favorite part of the day was over at the DMA.  I have always loved this mosaic.

And here’s the photo I submitted to the contest.  I loved the juxtaposition of nature and industry.

What a great day.  I was so proud of myself for participating.  I’m really happy with my photos and I hope to participate again next year.


Week in Photos

2/7/10 – 2/13/10

We had snow again. It started during the night.


And continued on throughout the day.




When I woke up the next morning, the world was still blanketed in snow. Such a rare occurence in Texas.


The branches on our trees were so heavy with snow they formed this little enclave. I felt like I was in Narnia. Where’s Mr. Tumnus?



And Eric and I went out to take photos of the snow later in the day. We walked around the park behind our house.












It was so hushed and quiet. It’s one of the things I love about winter.

And Eric made me a snowball.



Kids in Texas do not have sleds. So these were making due with pool floats, inner tubes, a laundry basket and even the cardboard box from a 24 count of beer.



Such a beautiful day. And it was even better because of the walk with my husband.


All Aboard!

Trains at Northpark - Entrance

Every year Eric and I have a tradition of going to the Trains at Northpark. We always enjoy it, and although the setup is pretty much the same every year, it’s part of our tradition.

Santa Wreath

Going to see the Trains benefits Ronald McDonald House, and you can see that there are even cars that with a donation can be painted with the donor’s information. There are so many donated train cars already running on the tracks that they’ve had to put the overflow here.

Donated Trains

The exhibit is a bit like taking a tour across America. We start with San Francisco…see Lombard Street?

Lombard Street - Trains at Northpark

And the painted ladies (the houses – don’t go looking for trollops)?

San Francisco - Trains at Northpark

When you move a little further along, you find the desert and some hobos. Did you ever read that book about the Boxcar kids?

Hobos - Trains at Northpark

And there’s even a whole section for Dallas. See Reunion Tower?

Reunion Tower - Trains at Northpark

A riverboat…

Barbara Rose - Trains at Northpark

And even the circus…

Circus - Trains at Northpark

Don’t you love the striped big tops?

Big Top - Trains at Northpark

But my favorite parts are the winter in the city scenes… I love all the shoppers with their packages.

Ladder - Trains at Northpark

Look at the little wreath on the wrought iron fence!

Horse and Carriage - Trains at Northpark

The National Tree in front of the White House….

Big Tree - Trains at Northpark

Even a vintage Winnebago trailer (I believe referred to as a Mini-Winnie)!

Trailer - Trains at Northpark

And the cabs in New York City. Love the Volkwagon with the Christmas tree strapped to the roof!

Taxis - Trains at Northpark

Such an attention to detail in these scenes. And you could literally spend a long time looking at all of it, which is why I never complain that we go every year!

It’s also fun to see how the mall is decorated. I loved the reindeer hanging from the ceiling.

Prancer Vixen Donner

Until next year!


Christmas on the Square

Lamp Post Decorated

On Saturday after my usual 3 mile walk, I decided to stop and take some photos at the Town Square. It was a beautiful day, and although the weather and the trees are still telling an autumn story, the square definitely felt like Christmas.

Christmas at Town Center

Even though I don’t live in any kind of quaint Prairie Home Companion-type town, the town square makes me feel like I do. Especially when it’s decorated for Fourth of July or Christmas.

Tree at Town Center 2

Tree Profile

Don’t you love the big decorated trees?

Band Stand

And I love the garland and wreaths decorating the buildings.


Wreath at Town Center

I’m so glad that I decided to stop and smell the roses today. It was a beautiful morning, and while the square was still quiet, I managed to take a few photos to share with you.