Austin Graffiti Park

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It’s been a crazy few days in Austin, but I have to say I’ve really enjoyed it. One the highlights of the trip was the graffiti park. It’s free (which is great!) but you can also see some really great street art…

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Seriously, where else would you see a giant snail-snake-deer Valentines day painting.

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…and some really nice inspirational messages…

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Love.

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There was even some Doctor Who!!

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It’s within walking distance of the downtown area, on Baylor Street near Lamar and 10th St. W. It’s definitely worth the visit.

Christmas Newborn Shoot

The most important part of any shoot is a good assistant. You might recognize this guy from my post about photographing the terrible twos….

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I don’t know if photographing a newborn is any easier than a two year old, actually, but they are equally adorable.

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Could he be any cuter?

Bucket List Item #218: Bible Edition

Not that I’m saying some verses are better than others, but here are a few of my favorites..

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And last, but definitely not least, the one that everyone who has ever gone to church camp probably had to memorize. It pretty much sums up the salvation message. We’re all sinners. Jesus paid for our sins. If we accept that free gift, we have salvation. So simple!

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I have plenty of other favorites, so I’m sure this will be a two-parter. I hope you’ll share your favorites with me too!

Video: London 2013

Here’s a short video I made of my trip to London in November. It’s gives a small glimpse into the Christmas market, decorations, shopping, memorials and other miscellaneous sights from that beautiful city.

Doctor Who 50th Celebration in Photos

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Happy 50th Birthday, Doctor Who! I attended the Anniversary Celebration in London yesterday and it was so much fun! I’ve got a lot of videos to put together, including the panel chat with Matt Smith! I’ll be posting those as soon as I get home, right now I only have terrible hotel WiFi. So for now, here are a few of my favorite pictures from that day.

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Front row seats for the panels!

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So what were your thoughts on the special?

#TBT: Hunebedden Edition

Here’s a throwback all the way from 1991. If you haven’t seen the article of hilariously recreated childhood photos, check it out here! I decided to do my own version while I was in the Netherlands…

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And in 2013…

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Now, about the Hunebedden. Well everyone knows that England has Stonehenge, but did you know that there is a whole cluster of ruins that is even older, in the north of the Netherlands? There are approximately 54 sets, with 52 of them just in the province of Drenthe. They are over 5000 years old and, just like Stonehenge, no one knows exactly how or why they were built. The plaque near this particular site says that Napolean rode his horse across the top of these ruins in order to demonstrate his superior horsemanship.

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I wouldn’t advise trying that yourself….

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This great website has a lot more Hunebedden information, for those that are interested.

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Just one of the many reasons why everyone should see more of the Netherlands than just Amsterdam!

Photographing the Terrible Twos

I recently did a maternity photo shoot for a friend and discovered (for the second time) how difficult it is to get a two year old to cooperate for pictures. Here are a few things that I learned that helped make the whole process run a little more smoothly.

1. Prioritize.

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They are over posing for pictures pretty quickly. If there are any cute ideas that you were really wanting to try, get them out of the way immediately or they probably won’t happen.

2. Aperture.

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See this picture ^^^ ? It looks like the little guy is happy and laughing, but he’s actually screaming… and this was only about 10 minutes into the shoot. Oh, boy. Use aperture and focus to hide that grumpy face.

3. Improvise!

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Try taking pictures while they’re doing something they enjoy. You might end up with a little boy riding around on a 4-wheeler in 90% of the pictures, but at least he’ll be smiling.

4. Wardrobe!

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One of the benefits to photographing a two year old, is that they are almost always adorable, even just walking across the yard. You can take plenty of cute candid shots that look great. If that two year old is wearing a shirt that says something like, “Big Brother.” Bam. That makes it part of a pregnancy shoot.

5. Patience.

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Take breaks and alternate between poses with the whole family and ones that just have the parents or mom. This way, the youngin’ can run around a little bit.

So, that’s what I learned last weekend. It was an adventure. If you want to see the rest of the photos, check out my Facebook page!

Non-Beach, Beach Sunsets

While I love watching the sunset ( or sunrise ) on the regular beach like every other person…

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…there are some great places around the Bradenton/Anna Maria area that have some pretty spectacular alternatives, and they’re pet friendly too! Skip the crowds and watch the clouds change colors with views that stretch all the way from Anna Maria to St. Pete and the Skyway Bridge.

First there is De Soto National Memorial Park. I go here all the time with Keen…

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There are often other dogs running around, so he gets a little social time (Not that he really cares for it. He’s kind of a snob.) It’s much safer than the causeway, because you are nowhere near any roads, just the bay! Plus there’s a lovely boardwalk…

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And plenty of places to catch a beautiful sunset..

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Best sunset watching spot in De Soto goes to the built up embankment near the visitors center. There are several benches so you can comfortably watch the show….

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The major perk that this park has over the others: History. There are several monuments, a visitors center and events/reenactments, from various time periods, held here all year.

Next up is Robinson Preserve. Robinson is surprisingly large. You wouldn’t think there was enough space in Northwest Bradenton for a park this big, but apparently there is since it totals 637 acres. You can rent kayaks or a canoe and there are extensive running and biking trails…

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Boardwalks…

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… and some of the best birdwatching in Bradenton. I’ve seen everything from Spoonbills to Bald Eagles…

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Best spot to watch the sunset in Robinson goes to the watch tower…

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Robinsons best perk is it’s size. You can spend hours walking and not cover the same trail twice.

Lastly, is a tiny park on Anna Maria called “Leffis Key.” I’ve lived in this area my entire life, but I didn’t know this place existed until I signed up for a beach cleaning group. This park is definitely the smallest of the three, but still has a boardwalk…

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and great bird watching…

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(I know it’s just a pigeon, but I still love that picture)

What really makes this place special is the hill in the center of the park. By Florida standards it could almost be a mountain..

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From this spot, and a second peak on the same hill, you can get a 360 degree panoramic view of the best sunsets and sunrises that Florida has to offer. Definitely the best spot in the park.

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I couldn’t pick a favorite, because they all have their perks, so you should really just check them all out. Let me know what you think!

2013 International Coastal Cleanup Day (sort of)

Apparently, September 21th was 2013’s International Coastal Cleanup Day. I missed that memo, so I say International Coastal Cleanup Day is whatever day you want it to be. Be a rebel, do what you want.

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There are several benefits to volunteering, like awesome free t-shirts or catching a glorious sunrise.

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Apart from the gorgeous scenery, I got exercise that didn’t make me feel like I was exercising. Isn’t that the best kind?

I also recommend keeping a list of what you find. We kept a sheet that totaled all of our haul and seeing everything we picked up was really satisfying.

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If you don’t have an official sheet, just make your own! Instagram, Facebook or Tweet a picture of it and maybe it’ll give others the motivation to get out and do some cleanup too. Anyone done any volunteering lately? I’d love to hear about it!

More Quote-zies

It’s been a hectic few weeks. This month I’ve had my birthday, almost finished 2 more classes (Only 2 more to go!), gained 180 new followers (a new record!) and tried do as much prep as possible for my trip next month. There are a lot of exciting things in the works for the next few months, some I’ve already mentioned and some are secret! Oh, the suspense!! For now though, I leave you with some more quotes. Stay tuned! 🙂

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Switzerland 2007

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Anna Maria Island 2011

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Palma Sola Park 2011

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Switzerland 1987

As always, I’d love to read some of your favorite quotes in the comments below!