Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hey ladies...I have a bear on my shirt.

...Umm. Both your parents had curly hair.

cough...cough. Mmm Hm.

These are some of the pictures I took today for Austin Montessori School. I have finished two classes. I have eight left. These are not the best and not the worst. Except this particular one at the end. I think she is beautiful. Taking pictures of children is a lot if fun, but quite demanding. I have never taken pictures on this scale before (300+ students). I am shooting my Nikon D300, and a manual focus Nikkor 85mm f2.0. I love the lens. I have my sb-800 camera right and sb-600 camera left. The sb-600 is stopped down 1 stop. The camera is in commander mode TTL and Auto FP high speed sync. I love you Nikon! I was mostly shooting at 400 ISO, f2.0-4.0, shutter speed 1/500-1/1600 (depending on the amount of sun, it was partly cloudy and windy). I think this might be the first post were I really have broken down the tech. I will have to post all the really funny cute mess ups.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The death of a chicken, elementary rock stars, and KITES!

Last week the Terra classroom lost a member. One of the chickens we keep died. This chicken became food for a roaming animal. I imagine a raccoon, possum, or cat. It happened over the long weekend and was cleaned up by the time the children returned. Despite this, they noticed within a day that the chicken was missing. This hen's name was grace to most of the children.

Needless to say, many of the children were upset and filled with emotion over the death of this animal. It was very interesting to see the different reactions the children had to this experience. I know that a handful of the children have had grandparents as well as family pets die. Maybe not so coincidentally, these were not the children that seemed very involved in the Grace's death.

There were several separate memorials that took place among the children. Since Grace became food and was cleaned up, there was no body to bury. The children wanted to know what had happened to her and to have something that they could have a ceremony with. I explained the reality of the situation to them. So because of this, many small offerings were made. A grave site was prepared, in and around which they buried and placed their offerings and items. These included stones, plants Grace liked, chicken feed, water, feathers (possibly actually Grace's). These were among others.

It was a good opportunity for our class to discuss the event of Grace's death, and as such speak to an aspect of life that we are too often shielded from. It gave us the opportunity to speak about the natural food chain and responsibility and gave the children an opportunity to create healthy ways of coping with these events. I have recently become much closer to death and dying, and the grief that can follow, because of this I felt it was eye-opening to see the way these children reacted to this situation.

caption: "Please do not touch this candle or the flame.
This is Grace's candle of new life.
note: keep your body 4 cm away from the candle"

"Candle of New Life"

The light of new life. Birth AND Death is new life.
The in and the out. Inhale and exhale...and the time between? That is the question.

Grave site of Grace and Ferdinand. (Ferdinand died last year)

However, these events pass quickly. later that week some children brought in some ELECTRIC instruments. Yeah!

Rock stars already. They are actually very talented, as well as many others in the class, with music.

And this weekend we flew kites!!!! Yay!!

These are all of my sister flying a stunt kite that I have had for years. Good day.

Thank you for looking everybody!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Sculpy Things, and Other Classroom Stuff

Mohawk Dude!

Chocolate, Happy Valentines Day

Una Hamburgesa

Best Friends

Geometric Children

And Their Shape
Ok. Here is some clarification on the Neville family and "Dumpstaphunk"

Ivan, for whom the band is named, is the keyboard player and the son of Aaron Neville. The Guitarist, Ian Neville, is the son of Art Neville and the cousin of Ivan. They Rock!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


This weekend in Little Rock AR I went to see "Dumpstaphunk". They were pretty funky. One of the guitarists is, Ian Neville. He can shred and he looks no older than 20 something. He is apparently really hot in New Orleans right now. You guys should see them some time. Pretty bad. The organ player, Ivan Neville, plays this organ that is amplified by an old Leslie amp. (has one of those spinning cone things, like a Hammond) It may be a Hammond, But I don't know much about that sort of thing. I also shot this show with my manual focus 80mm Nikkor f2.0 from like the 80's. I just love it!! Great portrait, and low light lens if you every get one. Thank you for looking!

Ivan Neville

Ian Neville

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Random thing from class

A full cycle child in the upper elementary Montessori classroom where I work made this the other day. The 6th grade students are all working on reports and presentations on different parts of the body. This child is doing the pancreas and kidneys. This is a model made of "Sculpy". The organs in the model are the Gall bladder, Pancreas, Duodenum, and Kidneys.
You can bake the clay and it gets hard. There is acrylic paint on top of that. I think it is cool. He made it really fast too.

Monday, February 2, 2009


These are all left over photographs that were taken this summer in San Miguel De Allende. I have just now put them up. Looking back at the trip, these are ones that didn't really make the first cut. However, I like them very much. Thank you for looking.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

random pictures from the last two week

My cousin Zach Brooks has been living with me and my family for the last several months. He is wonderful to have around. He is 22, really funny and good looking. He is also very single. Ladies? Looking for a handsome, funny man?

Brock! One of my very closest friends, Tanner Autrey has recently taken in an English Bulldog named Brock. He is totally awesome! He burps and farts and make all kinds of crazy noises. Snores like your grandfather and smells like your little brother. Also he is very smart.

I went to Westcave Preserve again the other weekend with my beloved Margaret Hobbs. It was still green! Still beautiful in the winter. I love Texas! Westcave is such a beautiful place. The men who run the preserve say it is the prettiest place in Texas. A beautiful slice of the hill country off of the Pedervnales River. It is also right down the road from Hamilton Pool. Both of these places you should go to if you are every in the Austin area. Hamilton pool is a large grotto with a huge waterfall. It was formed during the same period and in the same way as the grotto at Westcave Preserve. However you can swim there! It is amazing. I will be going this spring after we get some rain. I am sure you will get some pictures. Thank you for looking.