Exploring Nature | {The Serenity Project}

My little family and I love getting out in nature, walking, exploring and photographing.

May 05, 2018-ECC_1560-EditEileenCritchley1(Can you see my little explorer in this image?)

We recently visited the Cibola Nature Center, which is about half an hour from our house. I don’t know why we had not visited there before!

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Although South Texas is very  hot and humid this time of year, the weather was pretty good that day. We were blessed with some sun after a week of rain. And, amazingly, we had the place to ourselves!

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My daughter absolutely loved the cypress trees and exploring the creek. She spotted lots of tadpoles and tiny fish, raccoon and deer tracks, butterflies and roly polys (these are her favorites!).

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It was a beautiful day with family, doing what we love to do. We followed our walk with another of our favorite activities: lunch together.

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I love discovering parks and trails wherever we live. I’m so glad we took the time to visit!  Walks through nature are the best way for us to  ground ourselves and reconnect with nature and each other.

 

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project featuring images that bring a sense of peace and calm. Please continue the circle to Wendy May to find what brought her some serenity this month.

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Nature on Film | {The Serenity Project}

I recently shot a roll of Provia 100F. This is a stock that doesn’t have much latitude when it comes to exposure (i.e. it needs to be exposed very carefully). I had never shot this stock before and I was a bit nervous! It’s more expensive to process and it’s easy to make exposure mistakes. Typically I overexpose film slightly because  most  film tends to be very forgiving when it comes to overexposure. In other words, film loves light.

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I was pleasantly surprised when I got the scans back, especially the images of nature. These were taken around San Antonio, mostly at the Botanical Garden. All of these were taken with my Velvet 56, which I had also never used on my film camera (this was, apparently, a bit of an experimental roll!)

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I love shooting film because it forces me to slow down. I have to be very mindful and careful.

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I also like the unknown aspect of it, the little surprises. You don’t  know what your images will be until you get the scans back, which can take a while, especially if you don’t shoot film often! Depending on my mood, a roll of film can sit in my camera for weeks or months.April 11, 2018-98194EMcri040512-R1-004

For me, this  is another advantage to shooting film-when you get the scans back, you have a chance to revisit those moments, some of which might have happened weeks or months ago. It’s a like a little gift to myself.

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I don’t shoot a lot of film, and I’m not always happy with my images when I do. But when it works, it works. And it makes me very happy. There is something quiet and gentle about it.

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The tones are calming, the process is mindful. It’s a chance to take your time, to practice patience. How often do we get those opportunities in this hectic life?

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The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project. Photographers who participate hope to bring a sense of calmness and peace to their monthly images. Please continue the circle with Wendy May Photography to see what brought her some serenity this month.

 

Spring | {1500 Miles, 1 Image}

It is definitely spring time here in South Texas. Some days it feels like we skipped spring and went straight to summer; we have had temperatures that have reached close to 90 on a few of those days! A little too hot for me for this time of year, but we’ve had our fair share of nice days too. And, of course, the good news is everything is in bloom. The bad news is,  we have allergies to go along with that!

These red bud trees are all over the place. They scream spring time to me! I love their pink blooms.

I imagine Melisa’s spring is looking a little different than mine! Click here to see what spring looks like for her in New Jersey.

Mustang Island | {The Serenity Project}

Even though I have long considered myself more of a mountain person, there is something about the beach that brings a sense of calm to us all. My family and I aren’t lay-out-and-get-a- tan type people; we are more the SPF 50-and-wide-brimmed-hat types. But you can’t beat a nice morning walking on the beach.March 16, 2018-ECC_1052EileenCritchley1

Over Spring Break, we visited Mustang Island State Park in South Texas for a morning on the beach. It was so beautiful there- overcast but warm, no crowds, and plenty of beach treasures to be found. My daughter had a great time running along the beach and doing cartwheels.March 16, 2018-ECC_1009-EditEileenCritchley1March 16, 2018-ECC_1036EileenCritchley1

We even found several intact sand dollars, which is something I don’t think I have ever found on the beach (and I grew up in Florida!).

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We enjoyed watching all the birds too.

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It was such a beautiful morning, and a perfect way to wrap up our Spring Break. I’m so glad we took a little trip down there!

 

The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project. The women who post to this project aim to bring a sense of calm serenity to their images. Please continue the circle to Wendy May, Scottish photographer to see where she found a sense of peace this month.

The River | {1500 Miles, 1 Image}

San Antonio is of course famous for its Riverwalk! The Riverwalk is indeed beautiful and a great place to take out of town guests, but it’s a bit on the touristy and crowded side at times. It’s great to go down there in the morning before all the businesses have opened for a walk. There are also quieter parts of the San Antonio River, and those are the areas I prefer for walking. I took a very pleasant photo walk this week there.

It’s fun that Melisa and I both live near rivers. Though they are very different, it’s neat to compare the similarities and differences of our cities! Melisa’s river can be viewed here.

Halloween | {1500 Miles, 1 Image}

Happy (belated) Halloween! My daughter loves Halloween and this year she had a beautiful costume. Unfortunately, our neighborhood was a bit disappointing for trick-or-treating. It was rainy, and there weren’t many kids out at all. It was sad because my daughter was really looking forward to it and I know she was disappointed. But we still had fun as a family and we did get some nice photos so I can’t complain!  Next year, we will have to research another neighborhood to trick-or-treat in that is more active.

 

I hope Melisa and her family had a fun Halloween! Please check out her post to find out.

PS – Here are a couple of other images of my daughter at Halloween. We had fun with this dress!

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Neighborhood Walk | {1500 Miles, 1 Image}

One of the many things photography has taught me is to be more mindful and observant of my surroundings. I think photographers are always taking images in their mind, whether they have their camera with them or not.  It’s nice to slow down on walks and notice the small, beautiful details that are around us. On a recent early morning walk around my neighborhood, I saw a few of these little mushrooms in my neighbor’s yard. My neighbors may very well think I am completely nuts when they see me crouching down on their sidewalk to take a photo of a mushroom or flower, but that’s OK with me. I’m perfectly fine being the “crazy photography lady” in the neighborhood.  I don’t have a dog to walk, but I love taking my camera for a walk.

Let’s find out what Melisa discovered on her neighborhood walk! Her post is here.

The Japanese Tea Garden | {The Serenity Project}

Recently we visited the Japanese Tea Garden. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much; I thought we would walk around for maybe half an hour, take a few photos, and then head to lunch.

We were pleasantly surprised with this beautiful park!  The garden has a long history and first opened in 1919. Since then, it’s been through several renovations, the most recent in 2008. Now it’s a beautiful, serene oasis in the middle of a bustling city. September 16, 2017-ECC_7993EileenCritchley1September 16, 2017-ECC_7981EileenCritchley1September 16, 2017-ECC_7988EileenCritchley1September 16, 2017-ECC_7991EileenCritchley1September 16, 2017-ECC_7983EileenCritchley1September 16, 2017-ECC_7980EileenCritchley1

We all enjoyed our walk through the garden, looking for flowers, waterfalls, butterflies, and koi. What a beautiful way to start the weekend! We will definitely go back.

(All images taken with Lensbaby Velvet 56.)

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The Serenity Project is a collaborative photography project. The participating photographers aim to bring a sense of peace and calm with their images. Please click over to  the talented Wendy May, multi-genre photographer, Aberdeenshire to see what brought her some serenity this month.

 

The Gardens | {1500 Miles, 1 Image}

We love botanical gardens and make a point of visiting them whenever we are in a new city. We recently joined the San Antonio Gardens and I know we will be visiting there regularly. I love all the special events the garden hosts throughout the year and there is nothing better than a morning spent walking, exploring and of course photographing! My daughter likes to wear bright colors when we visit in the hopes a butterfly will land on her. She enjoys walking around the gardens with us, looking for butterflies, dragonflies, birds and lizards. Her absolute favorite thing to do at the garden is feed the ducks.

Light like this doesn’t lend itself to making the best images, but living in sunny environments has forced me to embrace direct sunlight. Life doesn’t always happen at Golden Hour so we have to work with what we’re given.

 

Please head over to Melisa’s post to see what the gardens are like in her area!

The Weather | {1500 Miles, 1 Image}

We certainly had some wild weather this past week! Fortunately, San Antonio wasn’t hit nearly as hard as predicted by the hurricane.  We got some rain and wind this past weekend, but fortunately not much in terms of flooding or damage. One nice side effect of that is the weather has cooled down, particularly in the morning. This morning it was in the 60s! For the past few days it’s been sunny.

While we were lucky in San Antonio, my heart goes out to those in Houston, as they were affected much worse than predicted. The flooding images coming out of Houston are heartbreaking and unbelievable. If you are interested in finding ways to help Houston, here is a great resource.

Head over to Melisa’s blog to see what’s happening on her side of the country!

The Sky | {1500 Miles, 1 Image}

This week our theme is the sky.

We went to the zoo this past weekend and I noticed a cluster of birds in the sky. They were all spiraling around and I wonder what was beneath them on the ground. What were they circling around? Or were they just soaring because they can?

I am looking forward to seeing what Melisa’s sky looked like this week! Click here to find out!

A Photowalk | {The Serenity Project}

In the  quiet space between the chaos of school and homework, work and meetings, appointments and obligations, beauty and serenity can be found on a walk around town.

 

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Taking a walk with my family and my camera is my favorite way to spend a morning.  It’s a great way for us to discover our city, whether we have lived there a month  or a year.

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I love taking photo walks. You never know what you will find.

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You might even find beauty under I-35!

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What else is summer for, if not discovering magic?

One of my goals with photography is finding a place of mindfulness, simplicity, intention and serenity with my images. I am thrilled to join the Serenity Project, a collaboration of photographers striving to capture a sense of peace and calm within their imagery. Please continue to follow the circle by visiting the talented Maria Russell and seeing what brought her some serenity this month.