All That I Am



I don’t usually repeat the same subject matter this many times in a post so I thought I’d give a brief explanation as well as some comments on my beautiful subject, Ira.

I met Ira while taking tango lessons and danced with her once or twice.  She was soft-spoken and seemed a bit shy.  However, that doesn’t mean she was timid.  She is quite successful and a dedicated dancer.  She’s a very hard worker.  I was struck by her quiet beauty, though she admits that it wasn’t until she saw some of these images that she began to acknowledge that beauty.

When I asked her to pose for me, this was the image that I had in my mind’s eye.  Now, I didn’t actually know how we’d get that picture. I certainly didn’t have the hoodie in mind. I didn’t know if we’d be indoors or outside – but the quiet, soft glow of her face, her lips, the shape of her cheeks and chin – that’s what I hoped to capture.

We decided to shoot outdoors against the gray stucco wall of a neighboring house that was still under construction.  It was a Sunday afternoon and just as we were beginning to shoot, a powerful thunderstorm let loose it’s pounding rains, gusty winds and loud cracks of thunder and lightning.  It scared the bejeezus out of us as we huddled under the protection of the front porch overhang .

I didn’t know how much time we’d have before we were forced back indoors, so I opened up an umbrella and stuck the handle down my shirt so I could free up both hands to work with the camera.  I stepped out into the rain, snapped about 3 pictures and then ducked for cover again as the rain soaked my pants and shoes.

The result is this image above.

A little Photoshop here and there, mainly on the edges but other than that I did no retouching.  This picture truly captures all the beauty that I had seen in Ira.

We found ways to take more shots, dodging rain and lighting.  We took a few back at her house too.  Surprisingly, after shooting for about 2 hours, we had so many fabulous and different  images that I couldn’t pick just one shot.  I forced myself to narrow it down at to 6 amazing shots of Ira.  That’s why I’ve posted so many of her. They were ALL good!  This one, however, is my favorite.

I thank her for her patience and willingness to do this with me.  It was a delightful experience.  I can’t describe the joy I feel from taking an idea in my head and ending up meeting Ira, then together producing this piece of art.  How blessed I am!

Thank you again to my new friend, Ira.

Oh…and lucky me! I get to dance with her too!

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Pa’ Bailar

Legs by Ira

Legs by Ira

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LoveHopeLife My photos assignment for this week was to dedicate an image to a lady who’s husband had been struggling with lots of time in the hospital.  Treatments, doctors, tests.  Lots of to worry about.  Family concerns.

I had to include typography, using one of 3 words in our composition: Love, Hope or Life.  I could copy a poem or verse, or a proverb.  I chose to write my own.  I also had to include rectangle offsets along with texture layers.

So Kim, here’s your gift and a prayer for your family.


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We See Things Differently

with Ira

with Ira

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Ira. Mechanical Engineer. Tango Dancer

Ira. Mechanical Engineer. Tango Dancer


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Art Welding Class

Metal artist John Barber displays his stingray

Metal Art Welding Class

Back in February, I took a welding class focused on making objects of art.  Although the techniques for industrial welding are the same, this class was specifically about making art.  It included choosing materials, shaping and texturing metal pieces plus finishing techniques such as sandblasting, painting and etching.

I found the class through the Leisure Learning Unlimited center ( here in Houston, an adult, extended learning school that offers all kinds of classes – photography, dancing, cooking, learning harmonica, travel writing, kayaking and all sorts of stuff that you’ve always wanted to learn but didn’t know where to start.

Using with the plasma cutter

Using with the plasma cutter

All classes are taught by experts in their field.  Our class was taught by John Barber (, a successful marine-life, metal artist.  John patiently introduced all of us beginners to the equipment, the tools and safe practices in the workshop.  There were 3 gals and 3 guys in our class.  None of us had any previous experience.

I can’t say that a fish was what I would have chosen to make (I prefer figures and human bodies), but John’s an expert regarding things that come from the water.  He creates amazing things like fish, shrimp, stingrays and crabs.  By learning to make his marine-life pieces, we were going to learn all the techniques of cutting with the plasma cutter, shaping and hammering the metal, then welding, brazing and finishing our pieces. So, I chose a parrotfish and began the process.  We met on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for 2 hours and after 2 weeks, we had our finished piece of art.

John was commissioned to develop this Shrimp Trophy

John was commissioned to develop this Shrimp Trophy

I loved this class.  One of the challenges that really appeals to me is having to figure out how to cut and piece together the thing that you’re making.  Look at this shrimp trophy that John was working on.  He had to cut each segment of the shrimp out, figure out how to make the antennae and eyeballs, how to mount it on a wood block and how to paint the speckles on it so it looks realistic.  It’s like origami – folding and unfolding paper until he had a working template.  I love problem solving to make art.  I do the same in photography often – solving a less than perfect situation to end up with a fabulous shot.

Here's my first piece of metal art

Here’s my first piece of metal art

I have been wanting to learn to weld for a long time and this class covered everything I’d need to continue on my own.  I have several projects that I’d like to try but I hate to give up my garage space for the plasma cutter, the air compressor, the MIG welder, the anvil, the clamps, the workbench and everything else I’d need.  I learned that welding equipment is pretty expensive ($2000 just to get started!) and most folks don’t rent out welding equipment.  It’s too fragile and too expensive.  So for now, I’m happy I learned it and I’ll keep it on the back burner until I dive into it sometime in the future.

Metal artist John Barber displays his stingray

Metal artist John Barber displays his stingray

The total cost of the course was a little over $200.  That included instruction, materials, gloves and shield.  Be sure to visit John’s webpage.  I’ll put the link here again.

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His Identity


During our shoot, Tzoul realized he’d forgotten his hat. As he ran back to get it, he turned and said, “That’s my identity, Bro’!”

So, here’s Tzoul with his ‘identity’.

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