Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Seven: Sculpture Garden

(This post is up incredibly late this week. I apologize! Things have been super busy around here. Enjoy last week's post!)

We live close to the Houston Museum District, which is fabulous. There are several museums, most within walking distance, and we've seen some amazing exhibits since we've moved here, including the actual Lucy. I think I nearly cried from happiness that day.

I had the idea to wander the museum district and photograph the exterior of all of the museums. After all, while they hold incredible treasures inside, they're all beautiful buildings on the outside. As I started wandering around an area that I thought I was very familiar with, I came to the realization that I didn't know what was behind a huge wall on a particular corner across the street from the Museum of Fine Arts. I walked all the way around it trying to figure out if I could even get in, and, lo and behold, I discovered a beautiful, hidden sculpture garden.

How have I missed this for nearly 3 years?! I was shocked, and as I started wandering around with my camera, I had a brilliant idea to save the museum district series of photos for a later date. This week, it's all about the sculpture garden.

I've mentioned before how much I love sculpture as an art medium. It's always been my favorite, and I find myself always being drawn to study the intricate details of the figures and wonder how one could carve a material as hard as marble into beautiful, fluid, organic shapes as if the resulting subject had been naturally born out of the marble. I could have stayed all night at this sculpture garden, studying all of the details and emotion in each piece the artists created.

I was incredibly happy to find a Rodin sculpture in this garden. I love how rough cut his work is. There's a feeling of movement and emotion you get from his pieces. He style reminds me a lot of Rembrandt.

And for now, I'll leave my commentary behind and let these photos of works of art speak for themselves.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Week seven will have to be postponed for one more day. I've taken the photos, but I haven't finished editing them. And I have some Mahler to sit through/perform tonight. Yippee!

In the mean time, here's a self portrait I took today as I was feeling particularly wind swept and red.

Until tomorrow, just...keep lookin' at me. I'm sure that will suffice.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Six: Mom & Pop

One of the few charms of living in the inner city of Houston is the old, random beauty you can find by simply driving around the more aged parts of the city. The area around Rice University is one of these lovely spots where the city's lack of zoning really shows off its brillance. The neighborhood is filled with 100 year old homes, some of them residencies, some of them little "Mom & Pop" shops, all right next to each other.

The cute level is incredible.

There is one particular street where the businesses outnumber the homes, and I found it to be this week's (or last...yes, I'm posting late again!) perfect subject.

Walking along this street felt like going back in time. Each of these little shops, which included law firms, consignment shops, dentist offices, and jewelry stores, seemed as though they had been there for decades and had remained unchanged.

While I definitely do not love Houston and can't wait to leave, it's times like these when I realize that I will certain parts of this city and their old charm & beauty.

And some of this beauty I've only been able to truly appreciate after the fact through photographs. Seriously, one might ask, what's not to love?

Where else can you find an old pharmacy with ancient apothecaric bottles lining the windows?

And this is the part where, in my heart of hearts, I admit how much I do love what this city has to offer me at times. I still don't have an undying, all-encompassing love for this city, but it has its moments. And those are definitely moments that I will miss when we leave.

And one last set of photographs from this week...while I was wondering up and down this cute street, a manager of a restaurant noticed what I was doing and struck up a conversation with me about photography. He then invited me into the restaurant to photograph the awesome Edison light bulbs that hang from the ceilings of this particular old house. Opportunity taken.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Perfect Playlist

I had one of the best runs of my life yesterday: 3 miles in 30 minutes. And I felt fantastic!

I tell people all the time that seem so impressed with my mediocre running skills that most of running is mental. You can't think about the fact that you are running, because if you do, every pain or feeling of discomfort will be what you focus on. And, let's be honest. Running is always painful and uncomfortable. I'm learning slowly but surely how important it is to train your mind to completely zone out and not think about running.

And today, I was more successful than I think I ever have been. I felt incredible!

Major credit, however, goes to my iPod and the amazing, randomized playlist it put together for me. I highly recommend the following songs to help any runner reach deep down into their suitcase of courage and pull out an awesome run.

"Song for a Young Queen" - Chris Thile
"Arrival" - Ethel (Click on the album Light)
"Like a Rolling Stone" - Bob Dylan
"El Scorcho" - Weezer
"This Side" - Nickel Creek
"The Plagues" - The Prince of Egypt Soundtrack
"Nowhere Man" - The Beatles
"Falling" - Ben Kweller
"Mahna Mahna" - The Muppet Show (I can't tell you how happy I get when this comes up on my iPod.)
"Sleep" - Eric Whitacre

This was pretty much the perfect mix of completely unrelated songs I needed for that run yesterday.

And it seems that mild Spring weather is having its one last gasp tomorrow morning. The forecasted low: 49 degrees. Perfect morning for a run. I can't wait.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Five: Take a look, it's in a book

I love books. It's no secret. And because of that deep, abiding love, the ebook "revolution" makes me weep inside, because no matter how much cheaper or more convenient it will be in the end to have all of your reading material stored on a digital device, I love the senses that come along with reading an actual book and cannot imagine my life without them. The smell of books is overwhelmingly nostalgic and intoxicating. There's a huge part of me that can never see myself completely switching over to a digital device purely based on the smells, along with other tangible senses, I experience with I read a book.

That being said, I, of course, love book stores. It's a dangerous relationship because no matter how many books I have, I always want more. I currently have 5 books I've purchased/acquired within the past few months that haven't been cracked open yet because I'm busy reading other things. It's a disease. A pleasant illness I don't mind having. And incurable cancer I simply can't imagine my life without.

Yes, I love books.

And so for this week's project, I originally had the idea of going to a city library to photograph the books housed within. While book stores are one of my favorite places, new stores have a patterned, consistent, even sterile feel to their shelves of books. All the books are new, shiny, and untouched. Library books are sometimes ancient, well worn, and have a past. To me, that's way more interesting to photograph than the books on the shelves of Borders.

However, the particular library I wanted to photograph happens to be closed on the weekends. Faced with this unforeseen challenge, I came up with a brilliant Plan B: Half-Priced Books.

This chain is a well known second hand book store started in Texas in the 1970s by a couple of hippies. And, well, it hasn't changed much since then. Isn't that beautiful? You can go to any of the Half-Priced Books and find thousands of random, care worn, sometimes decades old books for super cheap, waiting for their next adventure. I absolutely love this store. I worked in one when I was 18, and it continues to hold a special place in my heart.

I thought this would be the perfect place to photograph books. Torn edges, irregular patterns, yellowed pages, ancient's a photographer's dream.

I had to include the one Christopher Walken, who was just begging me to photograph him from the shelf.

And lastly, no hippie bookstore would be complete without an old Remington typewriter randomly placed on a shelf in the Fiction section.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Four: Flying Owls

I apologize for the delay in this week's post. I simply didn't get around to editing and posting these photos last night!

As mentioned in my last post, I ran the Rice Flying Owls 5K on Saturday, which marked an anniversary of sorts for me. It was about a year ago that I ran this same 5K, my first 5K, after having just attempted to become a real runner.

I wasn't able to take photos during the race, obviously, but I brought my camera to capture the after race event, which is always a fun part of any race.

There were many we knew who ran the race, including Ruth (go and see her run down here). After, we all hung out enjoying the after race food, which was delicious. Everyone had a good time.

After the race was officially closed, they had a kids dash, which was the only "race" part of the race day I was able to photograph. Everyone stood to the side of the designated "track" for the dash holding the same posters used to motivate those of us who ran the 5K.

And they ran their little hearts out! It was adorable, needless to say.

Even Sammy, Rice's mascot, joined in the fun to motivate the kiddos.

The Rice 5K was such a fun event! While I didn't do as well as I was hoping to (70 degrees and 100% humidity means that I can't run very well), it was still a reason to celebrate having made it full circle to where I was last year. And can I tell you how ultimately pleasant 3.1 miles feels compared to a half marathon? Even in the terrible weather conditions? Seriously, I had to only suffering for just over half an hour, and then I could stop, eat some bagels, and enjoy the after race party.

I think I'll definitely do this race for a third time next year. And keep on keepin' on in the mean time!