Early Spring Flowers in East Texas

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The weather in Nacogdoches is a comfortable 70 degrees, and the early Spring flowers are starting to bloom. My area is well known for the Azaleas, but we have so much more than that.

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I’m not 100% sure on what each flower is, but I think the pictures above are a pear type of flower.


As I was walking my dog through my neighborhood, my eyes were drawn to a bright yellow burst of color from a distance. As I got closer the sweet aroma just pulled me over. I think this is a Forsythia bush. The pics I found online weren’t exactly like mine, but pretty close.

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Whatever they are, they are so pretty and smell soooo good.

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I feel pretty confident that this one is a Texas Redbud. They show up early and the purple pops beautifully against all the deep greens.


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Flowers can be hard to photograph, but it’s a challenge that’s always a lot of fun to tackle. I love to watch them change throughout the season and enjoy their pleasing aroma.

I don’t know if I can choose a favorite because I love them all, but roses and tulips are high up on the list. What are your favorite flowers?


National Kolache Day

“Kolaches have always been the underdog in the pastry world, and National Kolache Day will pave the way for this overlooked pastry to gain its much-deserved recognition.” – Vatsana Souvannavog, the owner of Koala Kolache.

The Houston Mayor declares March 1 National Kolache Day because the owner of Koala Kolache wanted the pastry and the Czech people in Texas to be recognized.

Voyage to Texas in 1852

Texas has a large Czech population. I know this because my dad’s side of my family immigrated from there to the United States and settled in Texas. My granny was a first generation Czech-American.


My Granny near San Antonio, Tx 1947

She lived on the coast for a while, where a lot of Czech families lived. All of her brothers joined the military and were very proud to serve their country. Then she became a farmer’s wife and moved to East Texas to pursue a career in cosmetology and to raise her son, who also joined the military.

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I guess I’m not the only person in my family who photographs Cows

My Czech Heritage

Being half Czech is pretty cool. I remember going to South Texas and visiting my granny on holidays. The sounds of a thick language I didn’t understand echoing from the kitchen, where there was around the clock cooking. And you never saw the woman sweat! . . . seriously. Her clothes were always perfect, and her hair was always in place. Thanks to Aqua Net.

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I really like this picture. Granny 1949 East Texas

Czech Food

The smell of food was always wafting through the house. I was accustomed to a variety of foreign food because I grew up on a military base and met and ate with people from all over the world. And I wasn’t afraid to try stuff.

But the one thing I wasn’t crazy about was sauerkraut. Always cooked in brown sugar and beef drippings. They put that nasty stuff on their Thanksgiving stuffing, and it’s served with so many meals all year.

I love it now, and crave it. Just last night I had a roast beef sandwich on rye bread with mustard, pickles, and sauerkraut.

The Mouth-Watering Czech Kolache

I was already craving my granny’s food but now . . . thanks to Houston declaring March 1 National Kolache Day, I NEED the original Czech Kolache. The East Texan “pig in a blanket” version just won’t do.


My Granny with her sis, sis-in-law, bro, and nephew- the guy in black was the Kolache Baker, 2002

I remember walking into the kitchen when the uncle who made delicious kolaches showed up, his arms loaded with peach filled, raspberry filled, fruits I couldn’t identify filled. It was heaven.

1968 holiday meal kolache on plate

1968 A plate of Kolaches are on the middle of the table to the right of the candle. Looks like peach flavored. My dad is the kid looking at the camera with the ketchup bottle in front of him. 

I don’t know about you, but my heritage is so important to me. I love knowing where I come from and embracing and learning about it. And I was really happy to hear that the delicious Czech pastry get’s it’s own day.

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The last two Kolache pastries on the plate, to the right of the candle. 

Proud to be an American

So if you haven’t tried them yet, go enjoy a Kolache and help celebrate the true spirit of America. A nation made up of immigrants who all love this country and add to it’s diverse culture.

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My Great Grandparents – My Granny’s Mom, brother, and Dad

Shooting with the Dynamic Monochromatic Filter

I love walking through the woods near my house. Yesterday was sunny and warm so I decided to see if I could find something to take pictures of using the Dynamic Chromatic filter on my point and shoot camera.



Texture can be an interesting subject to focus on. Remember those baby books that have the different textures you can touch that are soft, rough, smooth, bumpy, cracked, etc? You can find an endless variety of textures in the woods. I really like the different types of bark and weird knobs and growths that show up on trees. Regardless of the environment you’re shooting in, see how you can get creative with texture.



Since photography is drawing with light it’s very important to pay careful attention to your lighting. Spend time getting to know light. Learn about color temperature and pay attention to where the sun is and what kind of photos you can get at different times of the day. You might also enjoy reading books for inspiration and a deeper understanding. Start with Science for the Curious Photographer.


One thing I like to play around with is my depth of field. If you’re new to photography you should definitely get familiar with aperture. It controls blurriness and the amount of light that enters your camera.



I had fun shooting with the Dynamic Chromatic filter. I hope you get out there and experiment with your filters and with texture, light, and aperture. Have fun shooting.


Cows Butting Heads at Sunrise

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First cow picture taken

In the early days of my exploration of photography, I was 7, visiting family in Texas where these strange creatures called cows were everywhere. I was living in the Mojave Desert in Southern California at the time where cows weren’t so common, so they definitely had my attention. Everyone was confused and weirded out that I was wasting the film in my disposable camera on boring things like cows. “What is she taking pictures of?” they would all ask in bewilderment.

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Well, I am still taking pictures of boring cows. But, they aren’t that boring. Once they notice that I’m there, they quit what they’re doing and all of a sudden 20 cows are staring at me and walking quickly towards me. Each time this happens, I immediately have a flashback of the time I was fishing with my dad on his family farm for the first time, and I turned around and saw a herd of cows appear out of nowhere and start coming at me. I totally freaked out, while my dad was totally chill. “It’s ok, they’re just looking for food.”

That’s what I was afraid of . . . they’re ready to get back at me for all those delicious cheeseburgers I’ve enjoyed. 

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Lately we’ve been having some psychedelic colored sunrises so I got up bright and early hoping to get something interesting. I stopped at a ranch on the picturesque farm road I drive down daily. I was sorta bummed out that the sunset colors weren’t as cool looking as the previous mornings when I didn’t have time to stop.

As the sun was rising, I noticed cows were grazing in the distance and then I spotted 2 cows butting heads. I love when I get the opportunity to see animals behaving in their environment.



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If I could have gotten inside the fence and gotten closer I could have included the sunset and gotten some better detail of the cows and the water. I wasn’t about to trespass though, so I had to take the pictures from really far away.

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Being Thankful in Texas

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying that everything’s bigger and better in Texas. Well that’s true. Big hair, big stories, big trucks, big land, and big sports fans. I’m a big Dallas Cowboys fan and the football game is the thing I look forward to the most on Thanksgiving. (Yes, even more than the food.)

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Shoot, Texas is a football state. You might think Pee Wee football is serious stuff but by the time you get to high school. . . . watch out. (Netflix Friday Night Lights, and you’ll see.) I was in high school band and the Dragon’s biggest rival was the Lufkin Panthers. Those games were a little scary too. Their scoreboard had a panther that screamed and the ferocious energy was. . . .well, it was Texas high school football energy.  And guess where Dez Bryant played when he was in high school . . . 

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AT&T Stadium – Art, Education, and Football

The world’s biggest domed structure, AT&T Stadium, is a great example of just how important football is round here. I mean, who else would have an art gallery in a sports stadium? (I’m an artist who loves sports so thumbs up from me.) According to their website, they also offer classes and an educational tour which will be the “experience of a lifetime.” (I love education too!) And that Jumbotron takes my breath away. 


The Food

You’re not just gonna get a ‘lil hot dog and a fountain coke here. On their menu you’re gonna see items like the Jumbo Texas Pretzel, The Big D, and The Legendary Double Burger. During the games they show footage of their grills . . . omg, it’s mouthwatering. Better bring a Texas sized appetite.


The Cheerleaders

The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders set the standard for all cheerleaders. They’re beautiful and incredible athletes and they do a great job cheering our boys. They’re always ready to pose for photos, sign autographs, and volunteer their time to great causes, like the Salvation Army. 

Buccaneers Cowboys Football

Doing The Most Good

One of the biggest and most important contributions made by and through the Dallas Cowboys organization is their longstanding connection with The Salvation Army. All year long, but especially during the holiday season. Each year they serve an early Thanksgiving meal to families and starting in 1997 the Thanksgiving Day halftime performance became a kick off to the Red Kettle Campaign.

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They also encourage youth through the Play 60 program, by choosing 11 youth who are judged based on their performance and on how they demonstrate The Salvation Army’s 5 Core Values:

  • Passion
  • Compassion
  • Bravery
  • Uplifting Spirit
  • Trustworthiness    

You see we not only have big stuff and big Texas attitude. . . we also have big hearts. I remember during Hurricane Harvey all of the reporters on t.v. were just so shocked that we would help strangers. They just kept repeating it over and over again, until finally one guy said, “That’s what Texans do. We don’t care about race or anything else, it’s what we do.” We jump in our big trucks, drive over our big land, and we help our neighbors out. 

Dem Boys aint having a great season, but whether we win or lose I’m really looking forward to the game. I hope you’re having a Happy Thanksgiving . . . even if you aren’t watching the game 🙂 And go make a donation when you go out to do your shopping . . . and don’t forget to grab a bag of Tostitos too and help the Cowboys do some local donating.