Friday, July 29, 2011

Foto Friday - Life really is a beach

I love everything about the beach,
from the salty smell of the air and sand beneath my toes,  to wind blown hair
and that beautiful roar of the ocean where worries are washed away with the tide.
I can't seem to get enough of it and it never, never ceases to amaze me!

Three years ago on August 3rd we moved to the Texas gulf coast and the very first time we
crossed the causeway to get to the island (of Galveston) there was a thrill of anticipation and to watch
the pelicans soaring next to us took my breath away . . . three years later that hasn't changed.

Every minute I spend here is a new adventure with a personality of its own and memories
are made that will last a lifetime. . .
it's the place that when you are still enough you can hear the whispers of your own soul
where time seems to stand still yet everything still moves with its own rhythm. . .
yes, paradise does exist, it's here and it's my reality
. . .  it's where the sun rises and the beach waits.

My heart is full of longing for the secret of the sea,
And the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.

- Henry Watsworth Longfellow

So this week I didn't experiment with my camera and none of these are ultra spectacular, but
this represents my typical day at the beach and part of who I am.
It's where you find me celebrating the first day of the last year in half a century-mine!
(wait, did I just tell you my age)

You never have to wonder which way the wind blows, it possesses its own weather vane(s).

  The coquina clams - I could watch them for hours migrating up and down the beach!!

And a cute little hermit crab - can you see his eyes sticking out, just waiting for me to leave?

Then I came across this abandoned basket of beach toys, just begging to be photographed.
(Actually, they were begging to be played with but I resisted)

A beautiful Royal Tern that you can usuallly hear before you can see it!

It's shrimping season and they've been getting quite close to the shoreline, which is where I'm standing.

Now, doesn't this umbrella just make you happy!

He doesn't have along beak for nothin'!

On my walk I came across a surfing camp and this was their first day learning - this little girl was such a natural! 

And then as I came back from my walk I found these two getting their gear ready. I told them it looked like they had quite a setup and asked them what they were going to try to catch. Really? Shark? You're going to go out a mile in those and try to catch 5' sharks? Rich, in the picture above, was happy to answer all my questions and showed me the heavy line and hook he uses to catch such a fish. Since they catch and release these big guys they take cameras with them to document it and go back to post it on their Texas kayak fisherman website. So, curious as I am I had to go check it out and you should too - it will only take a second I promise - just scroll down till you see the pictures (click here). I'll wait right here . . . I love how Mike makes light of his 40" shark catch. That's just too much shark to be thrashing by my feet in a kayak!!

Yep, this was my catch! You're impressed, admit it - haha - Actually I caught these with a 10" child's net and they are quite tricky to get as they are very fast! No worries, I released them!

In one of my previous posts I talked about the sargassum (seaweed) that we get from May until
August. Well, the seaweed is a crucial habitat to a wide variety of marine life providing shelter and food.
This is a sargassum shrimp - the smaller ones tend to be more solid colored, even transparent and as they get bigger they use color patterns to camouflage themselves. They are so good at hiding themselves amongst
the plants that in order to find them you have to shake the seaweed. In fact, I have seen the seagulls do the same - they are nuts for these things! Aren't they cute!!

I found this sargassum crab in the seaweed too. They might have small claws, but they sure can pinch!

And my favorite of all, the brown pelican, ahhhh! There is just nothing like watching pelicans
gracefully soar across the sky.

To myself I am only a child playing on the beach, while vast oceans of truths lie undiscovered before me.
- Isaac Newton

A few weeks ago, I received one of the nicest compliments when a child about 11 years old asked me
what I wanted to be when I grew up!! (I think it was the pig tails) The truth is, I told him I'm not sure!!
Because all I know, is the day that I cease to be amazed by the wonders of this world
and forget the child inside me will be the day I grew up too much!

Have a wonderful weekend my friends!!

Love, Kim

P.S. You might be interested in this post: Reflection  . . . and the road to acceptance, a little bit about
my journey to loving where I am at.

See what everyone else has been up to this week at the hollie rogue

and here for more Sundays in my city  at unkown mami

Unknown Mami

and sweet shot Tuesdays with my3boybarians

Sweet Shot Day

Monday, July 25, 2011

Quotography - Families

One of my very favorite places to be, where no words are necessary!
Have a great Monday . . .

Love, Kim

Quotography at {My}Perspective

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lighten up . . . the fettuccine that is

It seems usually the kids are asking you what's for dinner, not if they can make dinner!
 My 16 year old daughter was perusing my husbands Food Network Magazine and found a recipe for 
low-cal fettuccine alfredo and wanted to try it out.
Ummmm.....let me think....YES!
I don't know about you, but I love fettuccine alfredo and all it's creamy garlic delightfulness,
but not its calories!
We gathered all the ingredients, and away she worked.
I know what you're thinking, I thought the same thing too.
How on earth could they take out all that rich high calorie goodness and it still taste good?
Well they did, and it does!

Low-Cal Fettuccine Alfredo
1    Tbs unsalted butter
1    clove garlic, minced
1    tsp grated lemon zest
2    tsp all-purpose flour
1    cup low-fat (2%) milk
Kosher salt
2    Tbs Neufchatel or low-fat
       cream cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan chs
       plus more for topping
3    Tbl chopped fresh parsley
12  ounces fresh fettuccine
Freshly ground pepper
1. Make the sauce: Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook until the garlic is slightly soft, about 1 minute. Add in the flour and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon for 1 minute. Whisk in the milk and 3/4 teaspoon salt and cook, whisking constantly, until just thickened, about 3 minutes. Add the Neufchatel and parmesan cheese; whisk until melted, about 1 minute. Stir in the chopped parsley.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fettuccine and cook until al dente, 2-3 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking water, then drain the pasta and return to the pot.
3. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking water to the pasta and gently toss to combine, adding more cooking water as needed to loosen. Season with salt. Divide among bowls and top with parmesan and pepper.
I do want to note that we used the box fettuccine, not fresh - it's what we already had.
And I learned after she made it that she omitted the reserved water part, haha! I'm sure it's even richer in flavor with the starchy water added.
With that said, she did a fabulous job and even cleaned up! Yummy!!
If you try it let me know how you like it!!
Bon Appetit!!
Kim, XO

Friday, July 22, 2011

Foto Friday - Changing Perspective

Frustration, after having a minor temper tantrum can go from the potential prevention of a satisfying
activity to the realization of a beautiful thing.
My frustration came from not being able to capture the detail in the close-ups I desired in the low light
of the setting sun without creating a blurry photo.
So, I diverted to my 50 mm lens which allows me to create images in low light because of its large aperture (lens opening), which also gives a narrow depth of field creating a lot of bokeh love or intentional background blur. The more wide open the lens, the more
bokeh there will be creating a dreamy and somewhat dramatic abstract photo and in some cases almost completely dissolving your subject and replacing it with colors and shapes.

My goal, especially for the first set of images is to share with you a recognizable subject in a way that you may not have viewed it before.
Something we may think of as ordinary can suddenly be seen as extraordinary just by changing our perspective.

So, you know you weren't going to get away without some interesting facts, right?
Spiders can create a variety of different silks that have different purposes and functions.
(Which is why they don't stick to their own webs)

They release their silk from spinnerets in their abdomen, and oddly enough it is actually liquid in form until it's released and it immediately takes a solid form as soon as it is exposed to air!

This happens to be an orchard spider, which is an orb weaver.

An example of how just slightly changing my position can change the affect of the image.

This one reminds me of Christmas lights. . .

With the increase of rain, I have started to see a slight increase in dragonflies but I'm sure as the mosquito
population increases so will they.

When using the 50 mm lens wide open there will usually be a sweet spot of focus as everything else blurs.

This photo made the top five for fabulous friday!

In the one below, you can see that the focus was on the dragonflies head . . .

And then in the same position, the focus was moved to its tail . . .

So what I discovered was that my frustration became an instrument in the creating of something entirely different than I had originally envisioned.
I love that I can use my camera as a tool for my
personal expression of the way I view the world - as if by chance a painting were to meet a photograph
in the middle.
And so it goes, I now have a renewed fondness for my 50 mm/f1.8 lens.

My hope is that you felt at least a little bit of the essence of what I was trying to capture
(even though insects may not be your thing)!

 I would love to hear what you see, if you change your perspective . . .
Have a great weekend everyone!

Love, Kim

P.S. for more Photo Friday fun check out the hollie rogue

and here:

Give me your best shot at Better in BulkPhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and Lolli

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

They're back . . .

Yep, you just might think I have flipped my lid!
We have been in a drought, a terrible one - the worst one Texas has seen in a hundred years!
But in the last two weeks we have actually had ourselves a little bit of rain! Whoo Hoo! 
And if by magic the rain seems to have brought everything to life like those little instant mini 
 towels that you just add water to and watch them grow.
And if you have never done that before, you should run right out and get one,
it may just be the most fun you've ever had. Okay, well maybe the second but it really is fun!

Anyway, it may be really hard to understand my excitement over a spider, yep a little green spider
but I kid you not, when I came in from walking the garden I was singing hallelujah!!
You see late last summer I discovered I had these two Green Lynx Spiders hanging out in my garden.
They were pregnant and they hung around for months and I'm sure my neighbors thought I
must be crazy for always being out with my camera taking pictures.
But I found them fascinating . . .
. . . and I'm almost sure that by the end of summer you will too!

Oh yes, you know what that means - you'll be seeing more of my little friends and learning some really fun things. That is if they don't get eaten by a gecko or something, in which case I will be very sad.

Now don't go looking it up or anything, you'll ruin all my fun!!

Have a great night!

Love, Kim

Friday, July 15, 2011

Foto Friday - Flora and Fauna

I'm back! Yes my family and I took a 3,000 mile journey from the Texas gulf coast to the
suburbs of Chicago and back again and we just returned last weekend. I really thought that I could get a
Foto Friday finished and posted, but who was I kidding.
It. Just. Didn't. Happen....
Five of our eleven days were spent in the car, but I really do prefer driving to flying. It allows us the freedom of our own schedule since we're always late, and the spontaneity of stopping somewhere for a little adventure. And I do love adventures!

This week it's a little flora and fauna from our trip. Latin in origin, the word flora means the
goddess of plants and flowers and fertility, and fauna in Roman mythology is the sister
of Faunes, a good spirit of the forest and plains.

I'm not usually an early riser by nature, at least not without an alarm, but most of the days
I was up early so I took advantage of the beautiful morning light and off I went
with my camera:

This one was actually taken in the evening, and I love the veil of light!

Not sure what this one is, but it reminds me of the fireworks on the 4th of July.

This is lavender and was taken in my mom's garden in the evening.

No clue what this is, anyone?

I really enjoyed walking through the neighborhood as nearly everyone had something planted
in their yards. I think gardening can be contagious. . . .

On our way home we went through Oklahoma and stopped at Arbuckle Wilderness,  a 400 plus acre park
set in the oak thickets in the beautiful Arbuckle mountains. It took us about 2 hours to drive through the park. We have been through the park several times before, but probably not in the dead heat of the summer, which might not be the ideal time to go. And although we did see many different animals, they just didn't seem to be in abundance on this particular day. There are ususally many giraffes that will
come to the side of the fence and eat from the food cups, we only saw one and this animal whisperer
couldn't convince him that my food was better than his. It was disappointing...

This was one of our first beggars visitors.

Have you ever seen a white deer before?

They were so very sweet, coming right to the car for a snack...

And then there were some that, well, know how to work the system! lol

I was standing through the sunroof when this guy came over . . . which can sometimes
be a problem.....especially when they are taller than you! They can be a little well,
pesky, but they do have a nice set of eyelashes.

This is a beautiful 12 point buck - and unfortunately I didn't get a good photo of his rack!

Some kind of gazelle . . . I was so engrossed in the animals that I paid no attention to the signs.

For most of the 2 hour trip through the park I stood on the two front seats and out through the sunroof, imagining that I was on safari on the Serengeti plains in Tanzania, with the wind whipping through my hair and on an adrenaline rush as we were chased by elephants . . .  hey a girl can dream, right?   

And then . . . it came to an end, but not before we would use the last of our food to feed the Canada goose. We stopped the car and there was an immediate stampede of turtles from the water. Yes, even turtles can be trained . . .

Most people when they think of flora and fauna probably just think simply flowers and animals. But
how many of us think synonymously of flora and fauna; we can't live without them? The truth is, we can't.
Back to basic earth science when we were kids we learned that the flora produces oxygen that is
breathed by the fauna, which exhales carbon dioxide that the flora needs to live.
It seems simple enough, but it's not. They are dependent on each other for their very survival and we can't live without either one of them. Period.
The worlds ecology is fragile and when one disturbance or catastrophe of our flora and fauna
 happens in just one place of our world it can and does affect our entire planet. Half of our planets oxygen comes from land and the other half comes from our oceans in the process of photosynthesis from phytoplankton , a one-celled plant that lives on the surface. 

Conservation of our biologically diverse flora and fauna both on land and in our oceans is vital and leads to the continuation of our food chains and to the survival of humanity. I'm wondering if perhaps mankind has forgotten this seemingly simple but complex existence with nature and that when we destroy the environment we are ultimately destroying ourselves.

I feel privileged to own a device called a camera, that allows me breathtaking moments while capturing nature in time, and even more blessed that you are here to share it with.

 . . . and now I feel the need to go plant something!

Have a wonderful weekend - take some time to enjoy the goddess and good spirit.

Love, Kim

Linked up here with Andi at the hollie rogue for photo friday.

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