London Underground

What I saw overseas!

Keble College

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I’ve been back in the states for about a month, and I’m still pouring through thousands of photographs. See all the photos from the United Kingdom makes me want to go back, if only for a weekend.

One place that was probably one of the most gorgeous places I visited in the UK was Keble College in Oxford. This place has that college look you always think about when going overseas. It has the old traditional-architecture and the stained-glass in every building. The grass is also immaculate, and you are discouraged from walking on it.

I was able to attend Keble with the business class, which takes a trip to Oxford to learn about the Mini-Cooper plant. Because it’s a long day, we stay in Oxford and use the college as a place to sleep for the night. Everything about Keble reminded me of the Harry Potter movies. Ironically, the college was used as inspiration for the film. You can see that in the Great Hall photograph below where we were able to enjoy an excellent breakfast buffet. The bacon they have in the UK is tasty.

Keble College Great Hall

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Just sitting in the Great Hall, I felt like Dumbledore was about to come and give me points for just waking up early. The students enjoyed it and were snapping pictures everywhere. You could tell we were tourists because we wouldn’t stop snapping pictures in what felt like a sacred building. It was just a cafeteria with great architecture and servers. I wouldn’t mind going back to Keble and photograph more of Oxford.

Millennium Bridge

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Back in London, we saw more sights, including the Millennium Bridge. There were quite a few photographers also on the bridge. It was hard to show the right shape of the bridge while on it, so I had to wait until I was quite a bit away to take a decent photograph. My favorite part was being able to show the older St. Paul’s Cathedral in the background with the new futuristic Millennium Bridge. For my Harry Potter fans. This bridge is in the first part of the movie Half-Blood Prince.

London Pride Parade

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The first Saturday of my time in London, we took a trip to Trafalgar Square. We were just passing through, but I, along with some students, found ourselves lost in the crowd. I was busy taking pictures, and the students were just enjoying the festivities. I tried to capture how big the groups of people were, but there was just no way with how packed it was. I went to Trafalgar Square a few times after that Saturday, and I never saw it packed liked it was for the London Pride Parade. With crowds everywhere, I tried to focus on couples and then let everything in the background fade out.

London Southbank Stake Space

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The South Bank Skate Park was full of creativity. From the skateboarders learning new tricks to the graffiti art, to the small market. There was something for everyone, and colors were popping everywhere. Each graffiti piece was so detailed, I tried to focus on the more significant parts. The girl in the painting above had a striking pose and was in just enough sunlight to give me some good exposure. It was a cloudy day, so I did my best to adjust to the ever-changing sun patterns.

Piccadilly Circus

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In the Piccadilly Circus, we saw street performers and crowds all over. I just tried to concentrate on emotion while taking these photos. The architecture was great, but when there are so many crowds of people. You just try and photograph emotions to tell the story of the area and what people are doing there.

Globe Theatre Balcony

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I posted about the Globe Theatre and my experience sitting in what would have been in their time, the luxury boxes. This was at eye level before the performance began. It gives you a better view of what I saw for most of the night. The detail in this place is impressive. I did some highlight compensation in Lightroom to try and bring out the lighting in the statues on the orchestra balcony. Doing this, I had to put the color back in the hanging pillars of fabric that made the show so colorful.

If you ever have the chance to visit London. Make sure to stop by and catch a show here. You won’t regret it and don’t forget to sit in the middle sections to experience the show from a new point-of-view.

London Underground

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I’m wrapping up my time from London in this blog, but I hope to go again. I fit a lot of adventures with photography into two-weeks. Until next time. Cheerio!

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Louvre

A couple of nights in Paris…

Louvre

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I’m back in the states, but I still have a lot of photographs I’m pouring through. On a free weekend during my trip to the United Kingdom, I decided to make a trip to Paris, France. Unlike living in Texas, everything is only a few hours away in Europe. Two and a half hours on a train and going underwater through a dark tunnel was all I needed to find myself in Paris.

I always dreamed about taking photos of this place, but never did I think I’d actually be able too. I had to force myself to just enjoy the sights and not look at everything through the lens of my camera. As a photographer in a new place. The first thing you want to do is photograph everything. Sometimes it’s best to just take it all in the first time.

The photo above was from my first night there and exploring the outside of the Louvre Museum. The Louvre, of course, is the most famous museum in the world. At night the glass pyramid that rests in the middle of this once fortress lights up in the Paris night.

That night, there was a concert, so I also was able to photograph rows of people watching the musicians performing.

Paris Streets

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The Louvre lights up everywhere at night, and you don’t even need a tripod majority of the time. A tripod will help, but there is so much light around the area, just adjust your settings accordingly and be still while you photograph the city. You’ll see some excellent photographs come out of your camera, like the one I took above, of a small restaurant. There are small restaurants everywhere, so enjoy the culinary experience that is Paris. I could do a blog on just the food I tasted.

Louvre

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The lighting at night at the Louvre and everywhere in Paris is spectacular. During the summer, the blue skies stretched out into the late night, and I still saw brilliant skies well past 10 p.m. It’s more like a golden two to three hour in the city of lights.

Paris Streets

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While I could have stayed out all night, I did need to get some rest before starting my journey to actually take in the sights of Paris. The incredible architecture photograph above is one example of the buildings found around the city. This was near their art district.

Louvre

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The Louvre was surrounded with statues inside, outside, and even sitting on the ledge. Since they didn’t allow visitors to go on the balcony, I had to take this one from a window and do some editing to make the water spots on the window disappear. This statue just looks down and stares at the hoards of people that visit this museum every hour of the day.

Louvre

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Hanging out near those windows on the top floors gave me an elegant look around the Louvre. The area used to be a fortress back in the day, but over time it has become a mecca of art.

I know I’ve mentioned the Louvre a lot, but I did spend most of my time there. I even had a hotel nearby called the Hotel Prince Albert Louvre.

Hotel Key

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This is a quick reminder that a lot of places in Paris, as well as Europe, do not have air-conditioning units in their rooms. After a week in Europe, I was already used to not having it. All I did was open the big windows and let the air circulate. The hotel was quaint and resembled something from the 1900s. My favorite part was the key in the photo above. No card key at this hotel. It gave me that old-world feeling.

Next on my list was the iconic Eiffel Tower. I was only there for a couple of days, so I did the most touristy things I could.

Locks at the Eiffel Tower

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The locks were everywhere, and not just near the Eiffel Tower. I initially couldn’t find many of them on the bridges, but I did find them everywhere else. I snuck in this photo on stairs that led to the bottom of a deck before another couple obscured my view by placing another lock on the railing.

Eiffel Tower

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The Eiffel Tower is large and impressive, but I believe the view is better faraway. This is a personal preference, but I was able to do more with the Eiffel Tower and skies when I was farther away. I lined up the Eiffel Tower and managed this shot as the sun was going down. If you are photographing the Eiffel Tower, remember that at night it has to be pitch-black before the lights start to sparkle on it. It really doesn’t feel like Paris until you do visit the Eiffel Tower.

If you ever have a chance to visit this city, remember to take a bunch of camera cards. You’ll have an excellent photograph on every corner.

Lion and London Eye

Found my self overseas!

London Blue Whale

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Visiting London wrapped up my summer of study abroad doing marketing, social media, and photography. London was different than Grenada but also different from the living in the states.

While I was there, I covered students attending classes. There was nine classes total, and I almost made it to everyone. I was only there for seven teaching days, making it a challenge to see every class. The above photo was from seeing the Natural History Museum in London with the education class. The Blue Whale skeleton, named Hope, hung in the middle of the exiting gallery leaving the museum. Trying to line up photographs like this take a few shots, but I measured lines on the ground and kept looking at the side angles to make sure it was aligned as symmetrical as I could make it.

Queen Mary University of London

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I spent two weeks in London with the study abroad group, and we stayed at the Queen Mary University of London. The school regularly has students, but since it was the summer, we didn’t see a lot of college students. There were plenty of other school groups there, including us with over 100 students. One of the largest classes from Midwestern State University.

I have so many pictures from the trip, I’ll split this up into two blogs, including some of my favorites.

Boats

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One day I was with the history and sociology class on a boat, punting along the river. The next day, I would be at the Camden Markets looking at the local shops. Punting was in Cambridge, where we spent half the day learning about the town and seeing the other colleges in the area. Punting means pushing, and Punters would sit on the bow of the boat, gondola style, and punt down the river while giving us information about the river and area.

Camden Markets

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The Camden Markets were located in north London, and it was a bunch of shops all put together. The one in the photograph was an Indian shop selling stuff from India. The lamps struck at me and created this pattern throughout the shop. Of course, I stuck a while until I photographed the image I wanted. At the markets, I found an art print to include in my collection. The markets also had a selection of food to eat from around the world.

Globe Theatre

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One of my last nights in London, I went with the Shakespeare class and saw a performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the world-famous Globe Theatre. The students already had tickets, so I was stuck with the expensive ones, which were really not that expensive. I did have an enjoyable seat, as you can see from my angle. The students stood for the entire play, to have a real-life look at how it would have been in the times Shakespeare lived.

Some of them even participated in the play by doing minor-tasks. The production was a lot of fun with great acting, music, and incredible dance numbers. This was the way Shakespeare was meant to be performed, and you can see it at the Globe Theatre in London.

The other big thing about London is how you travel. From the buses to the tube to an actual car, there are many ways to see the city. The ‘Mind The Gap’ painted on the picture below was a constant reminder every time we used the tube.

Mind The Gap

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It was a warning to remind passengers to be careful as they left the tube. If there is one thing you will remember about the tube, it’s that little phrase.

Lion and London Eye

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Here is a photograph of a Lion with the London Eye in the background on a cloudy day. There were a lot of cloudy days, and the weather was always around the 70s. Apparently, this is hot, according to the locals. There was also rarely air-conditioning around, except for a few places. It’s manageable, and I became used to it after a few days in London.

London was a lot of fun and has some of the most exciting sights in the world. It was great to have a chance to visit and photograph this great city that plays host to the capital of the United Kingdom. Stay tuned for more from London and also my weekend in Paris.

Art Battle Wichita Falls

The first rule of Art Battle, is we don’t talk about Art Battle in Wichita Falls!

Art Battle Wichita Falls

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The Wichita Falls Art Association is celebrating its 70th anniversary. For their anniversary, they decided to bring Art Battle to Wichita Falls for the first time. This event was so much fun and showed how much talent Wichita Falls has in this town.

It also doubled as a fundraiser for the art association, which included a silent auction of the art that was being created right in front of everyone. It was held inside The Warehouse, a newer venue of a remodeled warehouse in downtown Wichita Falls. It really gave the impression of the movie Fight Club.

For the event, my wife, Teresa Lopez, was one of the competitors in Art Battle. She was selected along with 11 other artists. There were two rounds of six artists, and each artist has 20 minutes to paint a piece. Artists also have to use a specific paint palette chosen before the time begins and cannot have any reference materials. The top two artists from each round made it to the final round.

Art Battle Wichita Falls

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After the first round, Teresa was one of two artists to move on, making it in for her art piece of a person performing martial art on top of a mountain with a jellyfish in the starry sky.

Art Battle Wichita Falls

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In the final round, she made a sunset with a starry sky and a rabbit with long ears sitting on top of a mountain. Teresa didn’t win the whole Art Battle, but she had a lot of fun and was able to hang out with some old artist friends from college.

I was able to play public relations for her and take photos of the Art Battle and center only on her. This is a change from my day job, so it was nice to just focus on one subject. My camera settings didn’t change much. I focused on where the spotlights were shining, and once I had my settings adjusted for them, I didn’t really stray away from the lighting. In post-processing, I played with the shadows to bring back the light into the photo.

The Art Battle is coming back in August with more artists, and I’m glad that Wichita Falls has another fun event to be a part of. Go check out Art Battle Wichita Falls. 

Art Battle Wichita Falls

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My job takes me to Grenada!

grenada-3.jpg

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This week I’m in Grenada, the country. My work involves social media, photography, and digital marketing. Because of this, I was invited to help document our university study abroad program for future marketing campaigns. We are also doing a daily view of study abroad on social media. This works great because classes are done for the Spring semester, and now we have a chance to create new content right away.

The above picture is of Dr. Veale taking a picture of all the students leaning-in to take a group picture on the dock at the university we’re staying at.

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Dr. Veale is one of two faculty, along with Dr. Anderson, on the trip teaching a class about Global Health. She’s pictured here talking to some students at the beach at St. George’s University. She never stops teaching, which is great when we’re trying to show the value of a study abroad program.

grenada-4

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Of course, I’m still having fun while I work and have the opportunity to photograph these gorgeous places all along the island. Grenada is one of those places where around every corner is an Instagramable location. We went to a place called “Umbrellas” the first night, and we saw this gorgeous sunset. The young couple in the photograph were talking by themselves around a large group of people. They were the few that were still in the water as the sun went down. It framed up a beautiful photo for my first night in Grenada.

grenada-2

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The students are having plenty of fun. They’re starting to feel better about having a photographer on the trip who is always with a camera in his hand. We’ve done some semi-photo ops for them to use on their Instagram. For me, this does two things. One, it gives me some content for later marketing purposes and social media content. Two, it gives them content to post for their Instagram to create interest in the study abroad program. Crossing fingers, their friends are excited and ready to participate in the program next year.

The last photograph is on the second night at a restaurant called 61 degrees. I’m still not sure if that’s the name. We were told multiple things, but the food and the atmosphere was something out of a movie. I tried to take more photographs, but it didn’t do this place justice. This one is of a person taking a picture of the sunset. As soon as it went down, everyone brought their phones out. Who could blame them?

grenada-1

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For more about our first few days in Grenada, watch our YouTube video where we talked to students about their first-hand experience.

 

Pond at the River Bend Nature Center

River Bend trip in the Falls

Nature Trail at the River Bend Nature Center

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We’re members of the River Bend Nature Center, so we try and make a trip out a few times a month to just get out of the house. Plus, the boys enjoy seeing all the animals and doing fun activities.

We usually go when it’s raining or on a cold day, but this time we just went because we were itching for something to do on a Sunday afternoon. Of course, this gave us the perfect opportunity to walk the nature trail that is housed inside the nature center park.

I’ve never been on this trail, so it was an additional surprise to me, especially with as many times as I’ve been to the nature center. The recent rains made everything green and abundant. The trail was a little muddy, but it was like walking through a mini-forest right here in Wichita Falls.

Tree life at the River Bend Nature Center

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If you’ve never been to the nature center, it’s perfect if you have small kids because there is plenty of stuff to keep them occupied. The nature trail that is attached to it is suitable for those who want to go out for a stroll and dogs are also welcome. Of course, there is a fee to use the nature center, but it’s minimal, and we have a membership to this place since we go so often.

Orange Julia Butterfly

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Inside is also one of my favorite places, the Butterfly exhibit. There you can be up-close to the butterflies and get some great shots with blooming flowers. It’s a small space so it can feel crowded quick.

Pond at the River Bend Nature Center

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The family had a lot of fun, and the boys were able to hike, which is their new favorite thing to do. They also enjoyed finding the mud and pill bugs.

Visiting Wichita Falls soon. Don’t forget to make a stop and this place and you’ll find an excellent place to take a nature break.

Jay and Manu at River Bend Nature Center

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View from the Hoxton hotel rooftop

Conference time in Portland!

Dragon Boats in Portland, Oregon

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This past week I was able to spend some time in Portland, Oregon, for my CASE Social Media & Community Conference. The conference was a lot of fun, and it allowed me the opportunity to enjoy Portland and everything it has to offer.

I saw Dragon Boat racing, a Pixar exhibit and photographed places from rooftops.

Wall-E

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The Pixar exhibit was part of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It was a separate exhibit brought in to show the science behind the Pixar movies. There were plenty of places to do photo-ops, and you were also able to experiment with the movie-creating method.

Toy Story sketches

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The rest of the museum had a lot of activities for kids, and then you were able to see the back part of the museum outside, which included a submarine you could climb into. We didn’t have time for the submarine, but I snapped some pictures of the Dragon boats practicing and the bikers going around the museum trail.

Portland Bike Trail

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I also made time to visit Voodoo Doughnuts and a lot of food trucks. We went to Revolution Hall and caught a show titled “Terrible, Thanks For Asking” about a podcaster and some of her stories. It was funny and personal. I’ll need to start taking in Nora McInerny’s podcast now that I know of her.

Voodoo Doughnut Courtyard

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I didn’t just stay in the downtown city but also went for a morning hike at the Hoyt Aborterum. I’m not used to seeing such tall trees or being in a forest, so it was all a new experience. Was able to walk through a mini-bamboo forest too.

Hoyt Arboretum trees

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Other places I was able to experience was the Saturday Market, where I found a lot of great art pieces for my house. The arcade bar, known as Ground Kontrol, had $7 free play nights on Wednesday. I played pinball for over an hour. I also visited Powell’s book, a three-story bookstore that I could stay in forever.

Chinese Gate

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This city is known for rooftop views, and it wasn’t hard to find any. Staying at the Hoxton hotel gave me easy access to a rooftop. The guest service from the Hoxton was superb, and the views from the windows and roof gave me a great view of the city from any viewpoint. The famous Chinese Portland gate is also outside of this place for another great photo opportunity of an iconic landmark. Portland is not weird, but it is a lot of fun. Plus, it feels like the 90s never did leave it, and I’m glad that it hasn’t.

View from the Hoxton hotel rooftop

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