Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Readers –

My current assignment in Texas is coming to an end – so the blog content will be shifting back; less photography and more medical news.  I’d like to thank all my loyal readers for staying with me as I indulged my creative side for the last few months, and drifted away from our original foci.

But I hope, that for your part – it hasn’t all been eye-rolling, deep sighing, shoulder shrugging ‘tolerance’.  I hope that you have enjoyed the chance to connect on a more personal and less formal level.

That’s how I feel when I read other bloggers pages about photography, travel, sewing, art or any of the other interests that define me outside of nursing and health care.  I hope that you get that same sense of familiarity, of enjoyment when each of my blogs is posted.

If I can recreate that same, “I wonder what she has today?” anticipation that I feel when reading the Mexfiles, seeing the latest creations at the Renegade Seamstress or vicariously enjoying the tasty travels of Bunny and Pork  Belly; well, that’s success in its own right.

My blog certainly isn’t up to the caliber as the others I’ve enjoyed – but I think if I can get each of my subset of readers (photography fans and medical / health readers) to remain interested and engaged, even when I stray off topic..

with fellow Nurse practitioners in Texas

with fellow Nurse practitioners in Texas

These last few months, since returning from Colombia have been fun.  Figuring out photography and trying to get past point-and-shoot has been frustrating, frustrating, jaw clenching, foot stamping frustrating at times..

But – it’s good photography practice for my future writings, and it’s also a bit less strenuous.  Writing and posting research based articles (with relevant citations) can be a bit onerous after a long day in the hospital.. Tired eyes tend to make for more spelling errors..  I could just post less often when on assignment, I suppose..

Yet – I am always hesitant to leave the blog for too long because it has come to be a place for me to indulge my ‘nerdy’ side with a friendly audience.

The blog lets me address and talk about the issues in medicine and patient care, explore relevant medical discoveries and emerging research as well as passing on some of the information (and patient education) that I have gained as part of my years of taking care of people.  It lets me talk about all the nerd stuff that people at work don’t really sit around and talk about –

Like everyone else, they talk about families, finances, home life. Taking kids to soccer, going to church, socializing with friends, landscaping the lawn..   All good things, great community and friendly folks.. But it doesn’t fill that ‘Dora the Explorer’ inside me; or the inner Florence Nightingale.

It also doesn’t mesh with my family; the vagabond roving band of travelers that we are, so it is sometimes hard to relate.  I mean, right now, I live in a hotel, my ‘home base’ is a storage shed in another state – where we stop in and swap out clothes.. My husband and I are sometimes working in different states (or countries) for weeks or months at a time – so we aren’t the best candidates to join leagues or make long-term commitments.  All of it sounds wonderful but it sometimes makes us feel like outsiders looking in.

So I come here to wordpress; to enjoy Serapa, Nicephore’s diary, and the return of Miss Christina and all the other people I will never meet – but sure enjoying knowing about a little corner of their lives..  I hope it is the same for all of you.


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Photography by K. Eckland 2013

Bridge crossing the Red River from Shreveport to Bossier City

On a recent trip to Shreveport, we headed downtown to indulge in two of my favorite hobbies; photography and looking at architecture..

While much of downtown Shreveport is like downtown segments of many cities across the United States, with some run-down areas; there are several lovely buildings from by-gone areas.

Downtown Shreveport (and other images of Shreveport)

The Strand

Most notably among these buildings is the Strand theater.  Originally built in 1925, (according to a local press clipping from the time), the Strand was originally conceived almost 18 years earlier.  It cost one million dollars to complete and opened its doors to the public for its first performance on July 3, 1925.  The first show at the Strand was “The Chocolate Soldier,” a comedic operetta first written in 1860, and popularized on Broadway in 1909.

Despite it’s illustrious opening, by the 1970’s the Strand had closed and fallen into disrepair.  It wasn’t until 1984 that the Strand re-opened, after several years of painstaking and meticulous restoration.

While we were wandering downtown and taking pictures – we noticed that the marquee was advertising a show that evening – for a Queen tribute band, “One Night of Queen”.  Who could pass that up??  so off we went..

A Night of Queen with Gary Mullen

Low light, and constantly changing light conditions, using my long lens (200mm), no flash, subjects with rapid movement.. Some of the pictures are terrible – but it sure was fun!  As you can see – the photos are a riot of color and noise, but it was great practice while rocking out to some great music..

Thank you to everyone at the Strand for allowing us to take pictures.  (They usually restrict photography, but immediately before the show, several ushers stated that photography would be permitted.)

The Riverwalk –

The River Boardwalk is a modern creation, devised to attract tourists to the areas surrounding the waterfront casinos.  On one side of the river lies a park and trails, along with a small string of businesses (that were almost all closed when we strolled by) and on the other side of the river, a huge shopping complex (and more casinos.)

We strolled down to the River Boardwalk after walking around downtown.  While most of it is pretty typical and kind of generic looking, I did enjoy some of the art designed to highlight Shreveport and its history.

panel from the past - tools and instruments from early Shreveport

panel from the past – tools and instruments from early Shreveport

The panel above is my favorite – in a string of decorated panels on the underside of the Neon Bridge.  There is a performance stage, several preserved handprints as well as a lonely little Mexican restaurant.  (All the other storefronts were vacant.)

More Shreveport: 

Shreveport 114

While I always fall in love with the big things; bridges, skyscrapers and massive landscapes – along with their rich details, there is so much more to Shreveport.

While looking for more information about Shreveport architecture, I found another great photography blog called Southern Lagniappe.  If you want to better know Shreveport, and architecture, this is a good place to start.

Now, if you love home architecture, especially the ‘Painted Ladies’ – Gerald Massey has written a nice article about some of the Victorian homes in the city. (As the proud owner of my own historic home, in my native Virginia, these homes always make me just a tad wistful.)

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View from Above Dallas

View from Above Dallas

Now if you’ve ever seen the old 1980’s television series, Dallas, then you’ve seen the gleaming glass highrise buildings that characterize the city of Dallas – and much of big-city Texas..

A lot has changed in the more than thirty years since this show was originally aired (in fact – there is now a sequel series).

The freeway segment of the intro is a good example – since it has now expanded to Jetson-like proportions, with ongoing construction making it one of the largest freeway systems in North America. Some of the decks are over six stories high..  Compare the scene from the video with the photo here, for example.

The freeway hovers above much of the city - a modern day 'Jetsons' skyscape

The freeway hovers above much of the city – a modern-day ‘Jetsons’ skyscape

The city itself has exploded in growth – and has one of the fastest growing (and healthiest) economies in the United States; now boasting the label of ninth-largest city in the USA, third-largest city in Texas.

(How big are the economies of US cities?)  Bigger than that of many countries according to this Huffington Post Report.

The baby sister to the mammoth city of Houston has a population of 1.2 million in the city proper.

If you are interested in the history of the buildings downtown, and more information on the architecture – there is a great website here by local Dallas architect, John Roberts.

Downtown Dallas also contains some of the most infamous sites in American history; the Texas School Book Depository and the Grassy Knoll..

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It’s been busy on all fronts; lots of surgery patients, lots of plans for the next book,  and squeezing in a little photography practice on my days off; in between laundry, emails, writing, dishes and all the other errands that get pushed off during the week..

But yesterday was a glorious sunny day, so we skipped out away from laundry, and grocery shopping to spend a free afternoon at the zoo – practicing my photography..  some of the results were mixed; some were downright awful – but here are some of my better results..

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As time flies at my current assignment –  I’ve begun planning for my next writing assignment – to Central America this spring.  It’s too early to nail down some of the specifics like housing, or begin making appointments for interviews – but it’s never to early to test out my equipment.

For each trip, as I gain more and more experience with the more technical aspects (photography and video), I’ve upgraded my cameras and other equipment.

With my first book – I didn’t know enough to even realize how ill-prepared I was – to capture the images and the moments that now serve as some of the most breathtaking and rewarding parts of my work.    I used a borrowed camera and didn’t even have a laptop – I spent all of my evenings in various internet cafes transcribing my notes.

Cartagena, Colombia

Some of my more lasting images – like the photo above, which served as the cover of the first edition of the Cartagena book were just luck.  My camera was a hit-or-miss affair – that sometimes worked, and sometimes didn’t.

But as I continued writing, and working – I learned from my mistakes.  One (borrowed) camera became (with the help of eBay), two cameras.  Then two cameras, and video..

More importantly, I learned to become more aggressive in my photo-taking.  Take ten – if you want one good one..  Lean in more to get the shot, use a stool (or two) if needed – and use the Zoom!  Stop worrying if you are annoying the surgeon* with photo-taking – and get in there to get the shot that matters.

photo from first Cartagena visit

photo from first Cartagena visit

Now the photo above – is a good example.. It’s edited (for patient privacy and such) but the unedited version shows the surgeon making his initial incision.   Of course, I got this photo due to an accommodating anesthesiologist who encouraged me to get in there and get close with my zoom lens.


by the time I took this photo of Dr. Vasquez in Mexico, I had learned what I was doing (sort of).

Now, I will never be a professional photographer, which takes years of training – but I have now taken thousands and thousands of photos, so I am learning little by little.  I’ve also upgraded to better equipment – which allows me to experiment with different lens and manual settings such as shutter speed and light settings.

With my latest camera – I have been going out on every possible occasion to practice, practice, practice.   I had a three-day weekend, so we headed out-of-town for just that purpose – kind of “a photography adventure”.

Marti Gras 2013

Beads fly in the Marti Gras parade

Now, we’re in the south for my current assignment, so we thought it would be interesting to capture some images from the Marti Gras parades – lots of color, movement and an interesting cast of characters.

It’s easy to find some of the flaws in my photos, but it was good practice (and fun too!).

galveston 105

Now I love this next photo – I just think that this dancer (in the center) projects such confidence and star power..

Marti Gras stunner

But my very favorite, is probably this next one..

Marti Gras parade

My husband also likes this more formal composition from this weekend – away from the parades, beads and celebrations..

Bicycle built for two

But he’s a bit of a romantic, eh?

Hopefully, all this practice will serve me in good stead on my next writing project.  In the meantime, I’ll keep snapping away.

For more Marti Gras photos – see my slideshow..

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* Before, I was often SO timid that I was too shy/ embarrassed to get some of the photos I needed.  (If I hadn’t been so shy – and had just asked – I would have realized – that most of the time, (as long as you are not completely obnoxious – or bursting the flash all over the place) that most surgeons are pretty oblivious during surgery – because their focus is elsewhere (as it should be.)  So they don’t mind if you take tons of photos..  (Notably, I also only very rarely, use my flash in the operating room – because I do think that is very distracting! – and of course, I ALWAYS ask permission..)

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