Monday, May 30, 2011

Twelve: Rosie

Friday afternoon, I had the opportunity to photograph dancer Rosie Trump with a friend in her full element in the dance studio at Rice.

My friend Ashley & I were quickly mesmerized by Rosie's moves, especially her expressive hands.

They told a story on all their own.

The lights in the studio made for a dramatic back drop to Rosie's graceful and beautiful moves. Playing around with them really made these photos!

This shot might have been my favorite of the day. I loved the lines her body created in this image.

And at the end of the shoot, Rosie put on a pink wig for some profile shots. She seriously turned into such a seductive and expressive character with that wig on! And again with her hands!

Thanks, Rosie, for letting me photograph you! It was such a blast, and definitely a new photographic experiment for me to try out. And I loved it.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Eleven: The Houston Temple

I found myself waking up to a Saturday morning with zero plans. With Matt gone, I find that when I don't keep myself occupied, the loneliness sets in hard and fast. I wanted to have a productive day, so I had decided that if plans did not arise, taking a much needed trip up to the Houston Temple would be a marvelous way to spend the afternoon.

I grabbed my camera as I was walking out the door, thinking this would be the perfect photo opportunity for this week.

I particularly loved this shot with the fountain and an airplane passing by. I didn't even notice it fly by as I clicked the shutter.

The details in the architecture of temples is always a feature that grabs my attention.

And of course the flowers. Temple grounds are always filled with color and beauty. It's a wonderful addition.

That afternoon was so lovely, and it made me happy being here once again. It had been far too long since I had come.

And mostly, it was good to feel at home, to feel like I belong here.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ten: Rice Graduation

Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend Rice University's graduation ceremony. I knew several people receiving degrees this year, so it was a good excuse to check out a ceremony steeped in tradition.

The processional started by the placing of a wreath on Willy's tomb.

The statue to the right is of William Marsh Rice, who's lifelong earnings helped to found Rice 100 years ago. The student's lovingly refer to him as Willy, and, to be honest, I had no idea this was his actual tomb.

After all of the faculty and university administrators processed in, the students begin their walk into the graduation "field" set up outside. (Yes, Rice conducts graduation outside. In Houston. In May. In a stroke of extreme luck, a cool front blew in the day before, and it was a nice, cool and dry morning for graduation!) The undergraduates proceed in by residential college.

They also receive their degrees by college, having their names read out by the College Master.

While it was fun to see the traditions of Rice on display, it also brought me so much joy to watch the excitement on everybody's faces.

Graduation day is a wonderful time for everyone involved. There was a pulse, a feeling of excitement and achievement palpable in the air yesterday morning.

That alone made it worth it to attend. Seeing as graduation is a long, long process, however, after the commencement speaker (David Brooks) spoke and the PhD candidates walked the stage, I looked at the program and saw the HUGE list of MBAs and other Master degrees still left to call BEFORE all of the undergraduate degrees and decided I was hungry. After a quick breakfast at McDonald's, I came back just as the last couple of undergraduate colleges were being called.

Perfect. I had just enough time to walk around the grounds to photograph the entire scene before the conclusion of the ceremony.

And finally, at the conclusion of gradation, all of the graduates are led out through the Sallyport, which everyone has initially walked through when they first arrived at Rice. The tradition goes that students avoid walking through it again until they graduate. The Sallyport is basically a huge archway in the middle of Lovett Hall, the oldest building on campus.

I quickly rushed over to the other side of the Sallyport to catch everyone walking through, bursting with excitement.

This faculty member was my favorite. It's interesting to see all of the faculty's different regalia they wear to represent the school where they received their PhD. This guy had a pointy, military-esque style hat that was unlike anything I saw!

It was such a fun morning, and I was really happy to experience graduation before Matt goes through it next year (hopefully). I'm sure the next one will be even better.

To all those I know who graduated yesterday, congratulations!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Nine: Discovery Green

Sometimes, I'm not so good about posting on Sunday nights. There was laundry and dinner and tiredness! And then today's been a busy day...and that's why this post is finally going up on Monday night. The end.

Both times I've been at the Houston Marathon, once as a spectator, once as a runner, I've been able to visit Discovery Green, a park in the middle (kind of) of downtown Houston. The finish line is right by the park, so it's a natural gathering place for both spectators and participants to meet up and celebrate. I realized last week that I've never actually explored this park, which is suppose to be fantastic. So, why not now?

The park itself is quite fun and a beautiful spot of green in the middle of concrete land. The view, of course, is nothing one would expect to have in a park!

There's a little man-made lake, stage area, and huge green area where plenty of families and friends gather for picnics, games, etc.

There's also art! Functional art, at that.

This park was lovely, and I'm shocked it took me so long to come and really see it! I'll have to keep my eye out for events/excuses to come back.

And what's a post about a park with at least one flower photo. I happen to be particularly proud of this one.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Eight: Japanese Garden

It's official. Matt & I are going to Japan next month! We'll be spending a week in Kyoto, and it's going to be amazing.

As Japan was on my mind this weekend, I thought I'd photograph the Japanese Garden that lies in the middle of Houston.

It's quite the beautiful oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle, and I've done a friend's family photos in the garden, but hadn't explored it fully before.

A huge pond with water features lies within the garden with small bridges dotting the tiny streams that flow beyond the pond.

I love all of the stone "art" in the garden. Perhaps they're placed strategically all feng shui like? Either way, they add perfectly to the calming atmosphere in the garden.

And, of course, the typical garden features are just wonderful. It is a garden after all!

Don't forget the ducks! They're always ducks. And I love ducks. This guy let me get so close to him. I kept waiting for him to either run away or attack me. Thankfully, he just posed nicely for me.

I'm overjoyed at the prospect of spending a week immersed in a completely different culture than my own or like any one that I've experienced before. And, of course, I'm beyond excited to photograph Kyoto and the other places we'll visit. I guess I won't have to worry about what I'll be photographing that week!