Friday, August 14, 2009

Update for Link

UPDATE: I forgot to put a direct link in the blog for those who might not want to subscribe to a feed! Here you go! The new blog is called Eye of the Beholder. Thanks to Paul for the reminder!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

New Photoblog

I have a new blog, which won't replace this one, but will be where I post my photography, thoughts and techniques, links to other blogs and tutorials. I wanted a little more control over how my blog looks, and am working toward integrating it into a website, so I now have a Wordpress blog. :)

This one will stay here, a place I may come now and then to drop a thought, but will probably for the most part, remain unused except for rare occasions.

If you have subscribed, or want to subscribe, to my blog because you have an interest in my photography, please consider visiting me at my new home :)

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Personas for Firefox | Personas by Dawn Allynn

Have you ever used Personas on your Firefox Browser? I love them. I have an addition to Firefox, and to add-ons for it. I discivered Personas a few months ago, and I';m hooked. Lovely way to cheer up your computer with art!

So, yesterday I tried making one of my own. It's a first, and hopefully one of many... come see it! Tell me what you think!

Personas for Firefox | Personas by Dawn Allynn

Taking a Break and Enjoying Family

Looking back toward San Antonio, NM

Ruidoso is a long way from here...

Eye catching meadows brush against the base of stark blue mountains...

The Lava Fields of Fire Valley

I don't do private time as much as I should. But every once in awhile I set aside some time for just me and the family.

This time it was because mom and sister had set aside some time at the family cabin in Ruidoso, New Mexico so that everyone and anyone who wanted to come and enjoy a week or two could come by.

So last weekend the kids and I piled in the car and drove the approximately three hour (with stops) drive to the cabin where Brian, my sweetheart, drove in to meet us. (The photos above are of the long drive between Albuquerque and Ruidoso.)

It was quiet. Not much happened. We lazed around and enjoyed the woodsy peacefulness, and the short rainstorm that blew through. It was great!

I didn't even get many photos. These are all I have, proof that I truly enjoyed a break.

Sunset view over the pines from the porch of the cabin.
Another view from the porch, and it sounds as peaceful as it looks.

Busy Person Seeking Extra Time

I am terrible at time management. I am not so hot at priorities either. I have so much I want to do in such a short space of time that I get lost in it all.

I am a full time office manager, which is where I get my steady paycheck and health benefits. Part time my good friend, Tim Nisly, and I do IT consulting and repair, and this is a fairly decent income to augment my not so hot pay as an office manager. I also do the photography thing, which even if i didn't make a penny I would want to pursue because I love it so much. But these days I am making some decent money in that arena as well.

The problems come when trying to squeeze all the other things I want and need into the spaces left between those three jobs. I need a new camera, and soon, to do some of the work I have been hired to do. One of mine broke, the other isn't in great condition, and I am ready to upgrade anyway. This is about a $3,000 purchase, and I am not making that much money. But it's a priority, so I am going to make it happen by July if I can. This means I need all my jobs.

I want to clean up my yard at home, I want my relaxation space to be... well, relaxing. But this takes time and daylight, something I see little of after I get home after dark. I can live without this one, but part of me yearns.

I want to attend gallery shows held by my friends and contacts. This is important because it is the right thing to do, and smart if I want to show myself. But I seem to be working every time soemthing good is going on. I need to figure out how to make at least some of the shows.

I want to spend time with my family, whom I love dearly. Brian works all week out of town, and my kids are on the go most of the time, so weekends are it. But I have had most of my best paying photo gigs on weekends, so we compromise. (We went to Ruidoso this past weekend, as you can see in my last post. so I am at least working on things in this area.)

I have physical therapy for my shoulders (rotator cuffs) twice a week, which is helping, but taking time out of my office job, which I need to make ends meet. I also need my shoulders, so the therapy, for now, is the priority.

My blogs. I want to keep up with my blogging, my Twitter, my posts that keep me in the lop with my friends, my networks, and my family. It's not face-time, but at least it's contact.

Then I have my chickens and ducks, my dogs and cats, my laundry, housekeeping, and cooking. Visiting my mom and dad, getting my car in for an oil change, getting my hair cut, finding time to buy a new pair of jeans because my last ones are torn, keeping in touch and sending packages to a sick friend, buying groceries, cleaning out the shed I have sworn I'd clean for two years, doing the shoots with the four models I keep trying to squeeze in......


I need a personal assistant to keep me straight and tell me what to do.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Local Growers Offer Fresh Choices in Fun Atmosphere

I'd like to say I was hip enough to find the Albuquerque Nob Hill Growers' Market on my own. But if I am to be truthful I must admit that, like most of the wonderful places and things I have discovered, this discovery came to me from someone already "in the know".

Recently I met a wonderful fellow by the name of Lloyd Kreitzer because of a photography assignment given to me by Local Flavor Magazine. Lloyd grows fig trees at his Albuquerque home, (among other things, such as grapes and pomegranate trees, he is a wunderkind) that come from heirloom 100 year-old stock.

Lloyd and I had discussed his fig trees during that shoot, as well as some pomegranate trees that he swears will thrive where I live in the East Mountains. He still had a few of these trees left, so he said he'd meet me at the Grower Market where he'd be on Thursday (last week) and I could pick it up there.

Things didn't work out with meeting Lloyd, his back was giving him problems that day. But I can't tell you how lucky I was to show up anyway. I don't know what I expected, maybe some small grungy version of a community yard sale, but what met my eyes and ears was something different altogether.

The market is at a smallish park which can be found at the corner of Morningside Drive and Lead Avenue. I used to live just down the street from this park and would take the kids there to play in the very nice play ground while I sat in the very nice grass to read. (you can see the playground in the background here.)

The market opens (or starts) at 3:00 and ends at 6:30. A wide sidewalk winds it's way down the center of the park, and this is where the marketers set up their tables and goods.

The vendors set up tables, sometimes tablecloths, and sometimes portable canopies. The fruits of their labors, (and vegetables, and produce, and bread, and some wonderful honey.... I bought mine as a slab of honeycomb.) I hadn't been there ten minutes and I realized what a treasure this place was. Not simply a farmers market, but a refreshing combination of that and a neighborhood social.

Time to meander and enjoy, taking in the day, the park, the kids playing overlaid with the cool tunes of the fellow with the guitar playing at one end of the market.

Here you don't just pick up some beets to make for dinner, you talk to the fellow who grew them. You know where they came from, what kind of fertilizers or pesticides they may have applied to their crop.

When you buy plants from one of these people to put into your own garden, you can get some real and good advice on how to make them flourish.

It's not just a shopping experience, it's relaxing, and feels good to be here.

And here's the real benefit: by buying locally you are supporting your local growers and infusing your economy in a very healthy fashion.

Because smaller plots attract fewer pests and require less pesticides local farmers local farmers can often keep the soils healthier. And since the product is grown locally less fuel and refrigerant is used shipping it all the way across the country. It's fresher, not infused with chemicals to keep it from going bad, not picked to early.
The real benefits are to us as the buyers, and to the local farmers and agricultural people we support and keep in business. Stimulating the economy up close and personal with your own neighbors.

As you can tell, I was, and am, impressed. So, another call to Lloyd helped me find Georgia Daves, the energetic woman who puts all this together. (Pictured in the Yellow apron with her son where they offer some pretty great stuff at their table. )

I asked Georgia some questions about the market, because by now I was picturing myself with herbs from my own garden, and perhaps some of my fresh chicken and duck eggs.

She was knowledgeable, efficient, and sent me on my way at the end of my visit with some paperwork and good advice.

By this time my arms were also full of produce, and I had in my hand a yummy cup of auga fresca (a fresh watermelon drink I am craving even as I write this.)

There's more photos below. (Click on any photo to see it larger.) I am sure to take more, because I'll be going back. Maybe I'll take my niece with me and let her play in the playground while I munch on fresh produce and enjoy the great tunes.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Nature and the City

I know that wildlife can be found in the city, I've seen rabbits here and there, and even an occasional raccoon in the city limits. (Last year I sighted a coyote near my mothers house in a neighborhood just off of the freeway.)

Yet somehow I am always tickled when I see little wild things traipsing about in town. It's a shame they are being pushed out of their own homes, and that in times like these droughts mean that animals like cougars and bears come to town looking for food.

But I am strangely happy to see wildlife wherever it might be, even in suburbia.

So I was happy to see the following little guys nearby at a place I frequent for breakfast. There seems to be quite a few rabbits at this location. There are adults, but I have seen almost eight separate youngsters, all munching happily on the bight green and well manicured grass and clover that meets squarely with the desert. The desert foliage makes not only a visiable wall, but offers quick cover and protection for the cuties.

They were a little leary of me, but as long as I didn't make any sudden movements, and kept to the edge of the grass, they were content to act as if I weren't there.

My patience paid off, and I enjoyed several other birds swooping in for breakfast of their own, and even this Roadrunner. (Who was also strangely complacent about my presence.)

I need to find a blind, and a place to sit near the river or in the mountains all day with my camera and some quiet time. I love wildlife, and need to give myself the chance to photograph them in their own element. Hm, another good thing to add to my "To-do" list.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Weekend on The Rails

What a guy!

My sweetie asked me away for a weekend, and let me pick the spot.

I chose Durango, Colorado,where we had one of the best get-aways I have enjoyed since our honeymoon.

Durango is the starting point and home of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gage Railroad, so we booked some seats and simply had a wonderful day.

Brian stands on the back end of the Parlour Car, where we were seated.

Everyone was super-friendly, and happy to talk about the train they work on. A wonderful piece of history and beauty. The train winds it way up through the mountains toward Silverton.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

For the Love of Poultry

I love chickens. I never intended for this love affair to develop, it was a by-product of my love of photography. One afternoon a few years ago I was on my way home, just before Easter, and I passed one of the local feed 'n seed stores. The sign by the road proclaimed "We have Chicks!" and my foot hit the brake.

I tell myself it was because I wanted to take photos of baby chicks, I enjoy stock photography and I had the idea that what could be cuter than a couple of baby chicks, how fun would that be to shoot? The truth is I love animals of all kinds. And my camera that day was an excuse to indulge in my desire to have a farm... to be Doctor Doolittle. To have just a little taste of what Noah might have felt like.

I didn't ask Brian what he'd think that day, I know he despairs whenever I bring home a new "pet". But he loves me, and he always accepts my adoptees. So, as my two initial baby chicks turned into over a dozen chicks and another ten or so ducks, he helped me on my trek and built me two very nice pens, and converted his well-loved shed into a hen house.

I have had my fair share of predators, everything from coyotes to owls and cats and dogs, but I have mostly figured out how to keep them safe and healthy, (as safe as any poor being can be when you are bottom of the food chain and anything bigger than you thinks you look yummy,) I lose a few now and then. Often to neighborhood dogs whom I rage against, all the while knowing it is really their owners I am angry at. Owners who don't care if their dogs run free in the streets to kill chickens or get run over by cars. Those days make me so sad.

Bu then there are days like my last few, where I go outside to check for eggs. (I don't eat my birdies, but we collect eggs) and find my hens their nests with newly hatched babies. Awww... cutes little fuzzies that chirp and peep and huddle close to mom. Gotta love 'em.

Sometimes I get asked why I keep these guys. Why I spend my money feeding chickens I don't eat, for the few eggs we collect. I don't have a great answer, watching them just makes me feel good. Watching them live and interact day to day. It's soothing, kind of like gardening. Makes me smile. :)