Aztec Dancer

Day of the Dead in the Falls!

Dia De Los Muertos Ofrenda

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I didn’t have to travel to Mexico to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. While that is still on my bucket list, I was able to enjoy it in my backyard right here in downtown Wichita Falls. It was a fun celebration all-around, and I’m happy to see it continue growing in its third year here in Wichita Falls.

Fire Twirler

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The latest lens in my photography arsenal is the Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6, which I use when I need to be farther away. In this case, for the parade and the small spaces, it came in handy. Combined with the Sony A7riii, it allows me to photograph in low-light. The picture above allowed me to be far enough away, but still snag the action.

Parade Spirit

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Aside from the parade, there were ofrendas set up in the middle of the festival. Ofrendas are offerings that are made to our ancestors during Day of the Dead. We place a photo on the ofrenda, hoping they come back and spend time with the family celebrating their life. It’s a way for us to remember our loved ones and what made them special. The food we offer is usually stuff they enjoyed when they were living with us.

In the photo from the beginning, you can see how beautifully these ofrendas are made. With lights for the night and marigold flowers to guide the spirits back to their family.


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You would also find Catrins and Catrinas all around the festival. The one above was in the ofrenda area. People will also paint their faces as a Catrin to celebrate loved ones. Yes, in Hispanic cultures, skulls are a big part of the Day of the Dead festivities.

There were big Catrins for people to take pictures with. All around were booths selling food and merchandise. Music played on the big stage for the night. In the middle, in front of the ofrenda area, a circle had formed to see all the performances scheduled.

Aztec Dance

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Something that the festival had last year was the Aztec Dancers. They recently were in the Dallas Day of the Dead celebration and then made their way to Wichita Falls, where they performed last year.

They did a blessing for ofrendas and also did the celebratory dances that span 200 years of family generations. They originate from the heart of Mexico in Mexico City. It was fun watching the dances and the colorful costumes. It gave authority to the festival and made it feel like we had gone to Mexico if only for a night.


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Aztec Dancer

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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!


A couple of nights in Paris…


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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

Nikon f/6.3, 1/125 sec, ISO-800