Gift Guide


Well, I have had two bowls of cereal, washed a load of laundry, and transferred pictures from Mary's (Kirkwood Studio) laptop to mine, but all in all, I am feeling kind of lazy and unmotivated.

Justin and I went to Laredo this weekend for the last round of Society of Martha Washington photography and then headed west to Eagle Pass and then across the border into Mexico at /Piedras Negras.
Church between Laredo and Eagle Pass, Texas.
In my opinion, Eagle Pass may as well not exist. Piedras Negras was sort of depressing - seeing the way people live practically on top of each other and in squalid conditions. We stopped and walked around a cemetery there for a while. The graves also seemed piled on top of one another. Justin said it was a dumping ground in general - for bodies and trash. It's true. Trash was strewn everywhere.

Just across the border, in Piedras Negras Mexico.

We decided to stop at a roadside vendor and buy some roasted corn. It was the worst I'd ever tasted. I doubt it had fully matured and it was terribly dried out as well. We decided we'd better head back state side and try to find some authentic Mexican food. After driving around that one horse town long enough for me to get irritated and say I just wanted to leave, we settled on a Seafood restaurant... A "Bar and Grill" it claimed. However, they only had beer and micheladas (beer with lemon/lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, pepper and salt). I ate octopus and Justin had chicken. The delightful food experience came when I discovered Slush Puppies at a gas station on the way out of town. :;)

Tonight we leave for Dallas. We are driving up in the middle of the night in order to make a 7:24 AM departure. Flying standby has its problems. The only wide open flight to San Juan leaves first thing from Dallas and no flights from SA would for sure get us there in time. We have reserved a rental car to drive up in and drop off at the airport. Dad also offered to drive us if we'd leave around 8 and rent a hotel room. *shrugs*

Update: It is now 9:53 PM and I just fixed an error in my page that was causing an image at the top to not align properly. It took forever to find one small mistake in the code. At least it's not doing that anymore!

Some photos Justin took of me through the building above:

It is now 1:11 AM and time for departure. Hopefully I'll update while we are on our trip. :)


Back from the doldrums

Well Laredo was... Laredo. I did not have the opportunity to take very many pictures, so I will put up what I do have, in color and black and white. I hope you enjoy them. Mouse over for differences.

A wall by the train tracks in Laredo. This is my prefered black and white version.

Trashed out street front in Laredo across from train tracks.  I think I prefer the color version of this one.

These photos were taken with the use of Mike's 15 mm lens.

Here is another interesting photo:

Shack in San Ygnacio near Lareo resting against 2x4s!

outhouse? on stilts.... a very misleading description for sure. But this was 35 or so miles from Laredo in a little 'town' called San Ygnacio. I was literally out of the car and on my knees in a few seconds before being made to get back into the car to drive away.


opposite of what I ought to be...

Doing! Which is getting ready for work. The pull to hang on the computer, replying back and forth to notes from Justin, is entirely too strong. Not to mention I had to look up Tommy's MySpace and try to find a baffling answer to a question I have about wide angle as it relates to my Digital Rebel. Oh, and mess with another photo. Is this completely uninteresting?

yellow stairs in san antonio...

in other news... it's been another month. i miss you jared. i dreamed about you and terry last night. i asked her why she hadn't returned my call. i dreamed about your son. you said it was the strangest thing - the resemblance. terry told me about how she wasn't having much to do with him because his mother's family is a mess. she tried to get him from a club one night because his mother'd actually taken him there but she was on drugs and had a fit. it was unpleasant, to say the least. but you were smiling, as always. and rolling your eyes, shaking your head.


So it Goes


Life is strange.
How many times have I begun that way? I met an interesting fellow today. He wandered into the studio just after official closing time. I was on the phone with Justin, stubbornly trying to finish editing a portrait for a girl's Quinceanera, although Mary had already left and told me to go ahead home too. I convinced myself I just needed a little longer to finish the retouching when the alarm issued a notification of the front door being opened. I was surprised - my first thought was that Mary forgot something and came back to get it. Upon looking up, I noticed it was a gentlemen with longish hair (about shoulder length) that had entered.

I laid the phone down and went to greet the man. I was definitely not in a friendly or conversational mood. I just wanted to get finished up, talk to Justin, and head home. But the man told me he was a photographer and wanted to see what we did. He asked about the paper we printed on and we discussed printing on canvas verses printing on photo paper then mounting on canvas. What really piqued my interest was when I asked him what kind of photography he did. Travel, you say?

We chatted for a little while and I, being the nosey person I am, got quite a bit of history out of him. I learned that he once was a management consultant, stealing away every weekend that he could to a different locale, aching to see things and experience them but having a very brief amount time to do so - only managing a taste. Photography was his passion for many years (15, he says), and eventually he wanted to give himself over to that medium. He longed for the ability to stay in a location if it caught his interest - to spend extended periods of time there and capture it with the intimacy that comes from being somewhere for a while - with familiarity.

4 years ago he began selling his work on-line and got quite a bit of interest, to his surprise. It has been a mere 4 months since he has truly taken the plunge, however, cutting all ties to his past of consulting and moving forward into the uncertainty of a vagabond photographer. But, from what I understand, this strange and all-too-exciting, all-too-mysterious lifestyle has been working well for him. Allowing him the ability to wriggle his toes into foreign sands for a month or two at a time without fear of losing a job and suffering only the briefest pangs of guilt when he has the notion he *should be* working, because society tells him this is the case. Instead, he is now truly *living* and next month he is off to Russia to face the freezing terrain of Siberia and capture the unknown which exists there. His name is Tommy, by the way. I think you should check out his work.

One day, that will be me. Until then, I have Puerto Rico on my own budget. Years from now, maybe one or more of my skills will dictate I be flown here and there, expenses paid (and me as well!) for something worthwhile. Something to bring back and share with the world. Or maybe I'll just have to do it all myself and reap the rewards myself.

But back to Puerto Rico: That's right, next month (Feb. 21st - 27th), Justin and I are high-tailing it to the island! Well, islands actually because we're hitting up Vieques for a night as well. ;) Swimming in the Caribbean and Atlantic oceans, hiking in a tropical rainforest (El Yunque), drinking rum at the Bacardi factory, and of course, snapping away with Beloved like a mad woman should be tremendously exhilarating! William (he and Mary own the studio where I work) says he will help me get some photographs hung at this little Mexican restaurant he goes to all the time if I come back with some good stuff. I already know I will. :)

I mean, come on! How could I not! Who goes on a vacation like that and doesn't come back with at least one photograph worth selling to a travel publication or calendar company. hehe =) The other night, Justin and I sat on my computer for a few hours playing with pictures from August of Laredo. He sent one of his favorites, a sepia-toned number with a painted effect, to SAPL to be printed and mounted on canvas. I am not 100% sure what he intends to do with it. I guess I'll find out!

ok, enough rambling out of me. I am going to do something physical and then relax with Justin when he wanders in from this long evening of OT (OT for the PR).




Nothing wrong with photo updates, I guess!

Walking in Texas (mouse over for BW version):

Val takes a hike in downtown San Antonio.

I am considering starting a weblog on Kirkwood's website. I think it would be interesting and generate more hits (because of page indexing) and a following (people will want to see what photos we are taking and will come back to read about our ideas and promotions).

I'll let you know... :)

12:03 AM - Jan. 25th: I just thought I'd write a little more. I wanted to check my webstats to see if putting up new photos and a webcam shot made any difference. I don't think it has - just my own hits to verify upload. Anyway, I did see that I had a really interesting keyword hit the other day. Someone searched for a quote from Wicked and landed on my page from 2004(archive/2004.htm). Interesting and brief (as so many are) entry that I made.

Just finished watching Commander in Chief with Justin and eating some popcorn. For some reason, sitting down to watch a show necessitates I have popcorn lately. A comfort thing I guess. Less and less I am questioning my motives for everything and just letting them be. That is human nature, a better reality than I worried myself into back in 2004.

Anyhow, for the studio I am doing a Valentine's day promotion, but I am at a loss for how to advertise it. Hardly any time and little to no budget is not promising. =(

Feeling torn between color vs. b&w today (mouseover). :(

And also... what makes an interesting photograph? Is it the overall impression, or the intimate details? I know it depends on the subject and the onlooker.

The reality of the thing, or the edit? (another mouseover)
Justin is laying down. I suppose I'll join him.


Sit and Wait

I applied to be a contributor to today. I had to read their FAQ, take a little test, and upload 3 sample photos and await approval. I uploaded the more panoramic picture of the sunrise, the colorful Laredo columns below, and the one beneath this paragraph. I hope I hear good news!

solemn, dilapidated church in San Antonio at sunrise.

The pay is only 20% commission with no money until you reach $100, so it's not the best. It would still be neat. I will keep you informed.

In other news, Sheila's birthday party was Friday. On the way home, Justin hit a tire that had just ripped off an 18-wheeler, totally messing up some of the Hyundai. Bad news. The insurance says it's a "total loss" and only offered me $500 for it. Sooo.... yay for full-coverage.

I am off to Laredo on Friday, but I'll be back Sunday. The debutantes await in their ball gowns. Hope you're all having a lovely week. If you are in need for something romantic and Valentine's day oriented, check out the specials we're having at Kirkwood Studio.


San Antonio church at day break.
I said I was going to be more creative this year and also be published! I got up around 6:30 this morning and lugged Beloved and Vallie toward downtown! I got some pretty nifty shots... The above being one of them. I decided to add the "San Antonio" to it because Justin and I were editing some Laredo pix last night and made a collage and wrote "Laredo" on it. :) Now it's a postcard, according to Mom and Val! They think I should try to get HEB or some place to sell it. That would Roxor My Soxors!!!


And here is another, just for kicks:

Dawn on a San Antonio church.


Welcome 2006

Well... I don't have a whole lot to say. I am just very curious about an AT&T advertisement that I saw on the way to work this morning. All I remember was a billboard that mentioned blogging. It was bizarre to me... a little freaky. Would have been freakier if I was still an active web blogger. Freaky like the first time I heard other kids talking about e-mail in high school. W e i r d stuff!

Anyway - if you have any info about the AT&T blogging thing (and I know I am talking to a virtually nonexistant audience), I would be interested in hearing it.

So e-mail me.


what you would expect from an ever-so-often updated webcam image


2006 P II
2006 P I