Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Liberate Your Art

For the past few weeks, I have been participating in a postcard swap. Kat Sloma of Kat Eye Studio created "Liberate Your Art 2012 Postcard Swap".  Artists of all types were invited to "liberate their art" by printing an image of their work on a postcard. Many different types of artists participated from photographers to painters, sculptors and jewelry designers.  We sent off five self-addressed postcards to Kat who distributed them over the course of the next five weeks.  Such a great way to connect with artists from around the world!

The photo above is the shot I decided to send.  It is an Icelandic Poppy taken in Virginia at Monticello last May and the word art is by Ali Edwards.

The first postcard I received was from someone I knew!  I met Cyndy Ireland Bresden at Camp Shutter Sisters last year and will be seeing her again at Oasis this year.  Her postcard was of a lavender flower and had a recipe for Lavender Lemonade on the back.  Bonus! 

You can see more from Cyndy on her blog at and on Instagram at cyndyib.

Next I received this wonderful postcard from Dawn Pietzsch.  Her blog is called  Each Monday she posts a new "Natural Mandala" that she has created. I looked up the word "mandala" and it translates to mean "circle". She creates these circles out of natural things and they are stunning!

You can follow her on Instagram at dawnsrays.

Then I received this one that is my all time favorite flower, the white peony with the fuchsia center, from Michelle Gyauch Dzema.

Isn't that just stunning?  You can see more of Michelle's work at and you can follow her on Instagram at michelle gd.

I did receive two postcards which didn't have any website or blog information on them, unfortunately. But at the end of the swap I received this wonderful postcard from Kat Sloma, the organizer of the swap!

I knew I wanted a way to display all these wonderful cards and did a bit of research and found this display piece at Pier One:

You can see that there is still room to add more photos.  It is available at most Pier One stores and you can also find it online here.  I have it hanging on a narrow wall between two closets in my office and love looking at it every day!  Several of the postcards you see displayed are from other members of Focusing on Life who participated in the swap.

And finally Kat did a blog post and video of all of the art she received and distributed.  It's wonderful and I hope you will take a few minutes to watch it.  You can find it here:

This is was so much fun and ended all too soon.  I really enjoyed opening my mailbox and finding these little pieces of beauty waiting for me.  I will definitely be doing it again next year!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


This picture is for a linky party at Focusing on Life blog that I write for. The beginning of the story has been provided and anyone participating gives a picture representing the ending of the story. Here's my picture! Leave your guesses below on what happens next.  It will be fun to see all the different endings that people think of!

The rest of the story is to come on Sunday!  Be sure to check back to see how all the stories turn out.

Follow this link for the beginning of the story. In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy guessing where this picture leads.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Week at the Beach

At the beach for a week. Loving every minute! Back later with more photos.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Five Facts Friday

The idea for Five Facts Friday is from the online blogging class I took called Behind the Scenes.  Created this layout to illustrate five of my "loves" right now.  Thanks to Viv Halliwell for posting the link to the template she used!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Today at the collaborative blog that I write for, Focusing on Life, I posted a story about my chicken tortilla soup, just the story, no recipe.  Well, after several people have requested the recipe, I decided to post it here.  So here goes:

Chicken Tortilla Soup

3 chicken breast halves, including skin & bone
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. salt
2 32 oz. cartons of chicken broth + 1 14.5 oz. can of chicken broth
2 14.5 oz. cans of diced tomatoes
2 chipotle peppers in abobo sauce (or less if you don't want it too spicy)
1 medium sweet onion
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
olive oil
1 bag frozen sweet corn
cilantro, chopped
avocado, chopped
tortilla chips

Cover chicken breasts with water in large pot; add garlic powder and salt.  Bring to boil and then lower heat to medium and cook for approximately 30 minutes until chicken is done.  Remove and let cool.  Dispose of cooking water.  Chop onion and saute with garlic in olive oil until opaque.  Add onion/garlic, one can of tomatoes and some of the chicken broth to a blender and blend.  Pour into same pan you  used to cook the chicken.  Add second can of tomatoes, some chicken broth and chipotle peppers to blender and blend. Pour into cooking pot.  Cook on medium heat for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, shred chicken, discarding skin and bone.  Add chicken, corn and cilantro to soup and heat for 1-2 minutes.  Break tortilla chips into serving bowls, spoon soup over chips and add avocado.

That's all there is to it.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Behind the Scenes Mouseover

I have been enjoying all the amazing techniques I've been learning in the Behind the Scenes class with Kim Klassen and Xanthe Berkeley. One technique that Kim uses a lot is called a "mouseover" where you can move your mouse over the photo and see the before and afters. To create the image above, I used two of Kim's textures, "Epiphany" and "Sunday", both at soft light. I liked this so much that I ended up printing it at 12x18 and framing it for my studio!  If you want to see the "before", just move your mouse over the  photo. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Persistence and finally . . . I did it!

A while back when I was taking Xanthe Berkeley's Capturing Time Capsules class, she taught us how to create an animated gif file.  I had troubles with it and ended up never learning the technique.  Now in the Behind the Scenes class Kim and Xanthe are teaching the same technique and I was determined to figure it out.  Success!  This is a very simplistic attempt at it, but now that I know how, you will definitely be seeing more animation in my blog!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Sunflower Love

I had picked up some sunflowers at Trader Joe's a few days ago but hadn't had a chance to take them outside for a photo shoot.  Then this afternoon I noticed that the sun had gone behind some clouds and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to try to capture some sunflower love! Their color just makes me happy!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Behind the Scenes Questionnaire

Our assignment for Behind the Scenes this week is to answer these five questions on our blog.  We have been talking about using lists in blog posts, so here we go:

1. What makes you happy? 5 words or less....?

Family gatherings (especially at the beach!) We actually (see #3 below) have one planned -- a week on the beach in California in August. Can't wait!

2.  Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to be a really good singer.

3.  Which words or phrases do you overuse most?

"Actually".  And I hate it when I hear other  people say it! In fact, I didn't realize I was saying it until my grandson started using it and I said, "I wonder where he gets that?" and my whole family looked at me like I was nuts! I am actually trying VERY hard not to use  it.

4.  What is your favorite movie, book or both?

Movie:  "Out of Africa"
Book:    Anything by Anna Quindlen.

5.  If you could go anywhere in the world for a creative retreat, where might it be?

Greece is one  place I've always wanted to visit and would love to shoot there. All the gorgeous blues just call my name! I would also like to spend some time shooting in New York City.

So that's it!  I am loving this class so much!  Can't wait to try all the new things I've learned.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Wonders After the Rain

We had rain yesterday.  I can't even remember the last time we had rain, and that's the way I like it.  Being a desert girl, I'm happy to have 360 days of sun a year and hardly any rain and yet I still get moody when it does rain.  I know, I know, we need it, but still.  So I decided to take my bad mood and  my camera outside and try to forget about the rain.  It's amazing what you see when you really open your eyes.  This little seed pod hanging from a tree, cupping water, really enchanted me.  I don't think I'll be as unhappy to see rain the next time it comes around.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Marblecam for iPhone -- Fun!

I saw an  image that someone had posted on Flickr recently and was fascinated by the technique they used.  I asked them how they did it and they reported back that it was an app for the iPhone called MarbleCam.  MarbleCam takes pictures that look as if you had focused on a glass marble with a macro lens. I didn't waste a minute and immediately downloaded it.  It's a free app, so I thought I'd try it.  Well, let's just say I'm a little bit addicted!  Can't wait to try it on a lot of different subjects.  You can read about it and download it here.  If you give it a try, let me know what you think.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Playing with Filters

I picked up some gerber daisies at Trader Joe's and they are the prettiest color!  Decided to take a few shots of them and then play around in Photoshop with some artistic filters.  Love the way it makes the image look like a watercolor painting rather than a photograph.  If you click on the image you will be able to see the effects of the filter a little better.  Just a fun little play on a hot summer day!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Timeline of the Journey

Our assignment at Behind the Scenes today was to look back at our journey to today as far as our online lives go.  I never did much online and definitely didn't  participate in any online groups until Big Picture Classes.  I can't remember when I took my first class at Big Picture but they are all scrapbook related.  Then in the summer of 2010 I decided to take a photography class called "Picture Summer" that was taught by Tracey Clark and the rest is history!  Fun to create a timeline of the process.  As they say, "You've come a long way, baby!" 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Beginning Behind the Scenes

Today is the beginning of Kim Klassen and Xanthe Berkeley's class on blogging called Behind the Scenes.  I originally decided to take it to get some ideas on how to improve my posts on Focusing on Life but after only one lesson, I want to improve this blog as well.  Our assignment for today is to write about why we blog. 

When I first started blogging a few years ago, it was for the purpose of posting photos and stories of our daily lives so my mom could see them.  Then she moved where she didn't have internet and I thought it was a waste of time since nobody else was reading it anyway. Then she moved again and had the internet so I started posting again.  

As I became more and more obsessed with photography, I wanted my blog to be more of a  place to post my favorite photos rather than just a recounting of my daily life, so I created a new blog for that purpose, this one called Photographically Speaking.  But I had gone from telling too much of the story to not telling enough.  This blog as it is now says nothing about me except that I like to take pretty pictures.  

With this class, I am hoping to put a little more of myself into this blog, more about who I really am.  I hope to strike a balance between my old blog (which was more of a diary of what was going on in my life) and this blog (which so far has been strictly photographic) and create something where I can post my photos but also connect with the people who may read it, to give them a better idea of who I am and what I love.  Keeping my fingers crossed that the other lessons are as inspirational as this first one is!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Mug Love

For Kim Klassen's Beyond Layers group, we are focusing on cups and this is one of my favorites.  I used one of Kim's Ugg Love textures on it and I love the cracked effect it gives to the cup.  Can't wait to see what everybody else is posting!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Abstract Images

I've been playing around the house today (it's too hot to go outside!) and shooting some abstract images for Leigh Love's theme over at Focusing on Life, Attraction to Abstraction. Did a little research first to try to figure out exactly what abstract images were.  I was so happy to find out that macro shots of flowers qualify!  I've been shooting lots of peony shots but decided to switch it up and took this one of some gerbera daisies I have sitting on the kitchen table.  Gotta love that color!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Morning Feast


This morning after a trip to drop Robert off at the airport I passed this saguaro only two blocks from home that was full of birds feasting on the fruit.  It was full of blooms only a few short weeks ago and now those blooms have turned to fruit.  This is a thrasher but there were doves getting their fill as well.  I quickly drove home and grabbed my camera and went back and luckily they were still there.  It's almost too hot to go out and shoot (111 degrees and record-breaking heat yesterday) but I was able to get this from my air conditioned car! Can you see that little bit of fruit clinging to his beak?  It made me happy to be able to capture this.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Peony Season!

It's finally peony season! They have always been a favorite flower of mine but I only discovered that I could buy them at Trader Joe's last year. They are available from the end of May until the end of June and I bought a bunch (sometimes two!) every week last year and plan to do the same this year.  When they are fully opened, they measure six inches across! This color just makes me so happy!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tulip in Black & White

In Tracey Clark's Picture Black and White class at Big Picture Classes our prompt for the day was "contrast".  This photo was my submission for the prompt. It is a white tulip that I shot while visiting Barbara Carroll's beautiful garden down  in Tucson. Not much editing was needed as almost everything in this shot was either close to black or pure white. I was happy with the way the texture in the petals is emphasized in black and white too.

The frosting on the cake was that this shot was chosen by Tracey to be featured at Shutter Sisters.  It is always such a thrill to get a little "Tracey love"!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


Just returned from four days in Virginia attending our son's law school graduation at the University of Virginia.  Had a wonderful time and got to see some blooms that we don't see here.  I was particularly enamored with the amazing magnolias!  They were everywhere and some of the blooms were the size of dinner plates!  So nice to get to shoot flowers again -- ours are pretty much gone for the spring and the heat is here to stay!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Picture Black & White

I started Tracey Clark's Picture Black & White last week and I have to say, as much as I love color, I am really enjoying this class.  It really teaches you how to see lights and darks and focus on shapes, lines, and patterns.  The class is two months long with a prompt every other day so I hope to be much better at this by the end.  Learning is good!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Trip to the Nursery

A trip to the nursery yesterday yielded some great opportunities for shooting flowers, my current favorite photographic subject.  This bird of paradise was the perfect "model" and the light around it, creating such wonderful bokeh, was better than I could have hoped for.  I love shooting at the nursery in the spring when all the flowers are blooming.  I even bought a cactus that was in bloom.  It's a small price to pay for the ability to shoot all I want in such a beautiful place.  Thought I'd create a video of my trip which you can see here.  It is full-screen enabled, so you can click on that and view it in full-screen mode.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Slide Show of the Dallas Arboretum

Spent a wonderful weekend in Dallas visiting Greg & Liz and got the chance to spend a day with Leigh Love and Stephanie Mull at the Dallas Arboretum, shooting and enjoying each other's company.  I am in Xanthe Berkeley's "Capturing Time Capsules" class and decided to create a slide show of images from the arboretum.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cactus in Bloom

The cactus are blooming all around me!  I absolutely adore this time of year!  I dare not leave the house without my camera, as I know around the next corner will be a new beauty in bloom.  This is a hedgehog cactus that, for most of the year, is very  forbidding, with long and very sharp needles, but right now it is covered in these magnificent, delicate flowers of the brightest fuschia.  Love that little green center that almost looks like a tiny cactus.  They just fascinate me!  Trying to enjoy every second of spring.

Saturday, March 31, 2012


First of all, I want to welcome you to my new blog.  My old Typepad blog has been so sadly neglected and since becoming a contributor to the collaborative blog Focusing on Life I have become more familiar with how Blogger works, so I decided rather than revamping my old blog, I would start a whole new one here. 

This new blog will be more of a photography blog and less of a recounting of my daily life.  This first photo is my current obsession -- an Iceland poppy.  They are so much fun to shoot!  Love their crepe papery petals and all the little yellow stamens.  I have a pot with two open flowers (one white, one yellow) and nine more buds yet to bloom, so you will probably be seeing a lot more of these! 

Thank you for stopping by and please post a comment so I know you were here.  Welcome!