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!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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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Cereal Bar and Arcade

Video Game Mansion opening in the Falls!

Arcade and Cereal Bar

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Still working out the kinks in the new camera, so was given a chance to photograph the new TAG’s Maniac’s Mansion at 8th Street in downtown Wichita Falls.

The mansion is a combination of a cereal bar and arcade or as I like to call this slice of heaven, Nerdvana!

Cereal Bar and Arcade

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It has classic arcade games, as well as some newer video game consoles. There was even virtual reality for customers to try.

Cereal Bar and Arcade

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This type of place fills a much-needed niche in Wichita Falls. It’s not a bar or another store. This is an actual local business that supports nerd culture. Besides cereal and old-school arcade games, my favorite thing about this place is the memorabilia. You’ll find something for everyone. There is art that represents your favorite fandom. Cases are full of collectibles on display for the public to see.

Cereal Bar and Arcade

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DJ MF Maniac, or Marcus McGee, as people know him, is sharing his collection for the public to enjoy when they visit the mansion. He has so much stuff, it’s a paradise for nerds and geeks everywhere. If you’re in the Wichita Falls area. Make sure to stop by in downtown and grab a bowl of cereal while enjoying your favorite arcade game. I’ll be over there playing the classic Super Mario.

Cereal Bar and Arcade

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Cereal Bar and Arcade

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Cereal Bar and Arcade

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Waterfall in Wichita Falls

Visit to The Falls!

Had a day off a week ago to visit The Falls of Wichita Falls inside Lucy Park. This man-made attraction is one of the best parts of Wichita Falls and provides the best selfie and photographable locations in this city.

Waterfall in Wichita Falls

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If you’re ever in Wichita Falls. Remember to visit the waterfall in Lucy Park. There is public parking at the Wichita Falls Health Center where you can find a place to park. It’s a short walk under the interstate using the sidewalk trails. You can thank me later!

Waterfall of Wichita Falls

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Using my vacation, I worked on some stock photography for the area to use later on in the year. Initially, I was going to fly the drone and do some aerial photography, but the incoming storms gave me second thoughts.

While exploring the whole waterfall, I walked to the top and found some metal locks. There were three of them. I don’t know if this is a new trend happening here where you put the lock on the bridge and then throw the key down the waterfall. If it is, this will be an excellent place to do it. I hope it continues and no one cuts them down any time soon.

Lock at the top of the Waterfall

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