Monday, November 23, 2015

Lindale, Texas: A hidden treasure in East Texas

Lillie pads Faulkner Park
Faulkner Park Lindale, Texas
Great Blue Heron near pond

I stopped by Lindale on my way to Tyler Texas, I was open to what ever photographic opportunities presented themselves. My original idea was to go to Arkansas but there is a benefit in seeking out the obscure and less known places.

I was surprised to find Faulkner Park, a wonderful little park with large east Texas pines and a pond full of Lillie pads. I watched as families gathered to watch a soccer game, it was a beautiful park hidden off highway 69 that I found just by exploring.

The next place I stopped, also in Lindale, was the Old MillPond Museum. It’s a very interesting place with very friendly people to greet you as you go into the museum.

Inside the museum were treasures from yesteryear, old pots and pans, musical instruments, a model T and a working mill. I was also given a tip on a great blue heron that hides at the edge of the pond. I was able to get close pictures of him and the surrounding scenery was quite beautiful.

Every corner was another place in time to explore with artifacts of days gone by. The whole landscape is a museum of tractors and old time tools that gives you a beautiful glimpse of what it might have been like before our obsession with cellphones, apps and video games-a simpler time.

I am starting to do a series, finding the out of the way places to explore. Museums, zoos and places you wouldn’t go out searching for but are happy you found. Stay tuned, I am on a mission.

Mill outside museum
Music room at Old Mill Pond Museum

Inside the museum
Old pots and pans at the museum

Sunday, November 22, 2015

2 very different trips to the zoo: Part 2

This is the next part of getting out there for the fall foliage. I found myself at the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler. This is the second time I went to the zoo by myself. People wonder where your child is and what is a grown man doing at the zoo, well I say you never outgrow the zoo.

Last time I went to the Fort Worth Zoo. I must have had a different mindset that day because the whole time I was driving it seemed I was fighting myself. I felt almost displaced, going through the motions  but not enjoying the feeling.

This time was different, I found myself feeling that intangible feeling of being free. Another thing I didn't have when I went to the Fort Worth Zoo is a telephoto lens. Now I can take portraits of the animals without getting in the cages with them, the zoo keepers don't appreciate that.

My first subjects were a few egrets that seemed undisturbed by my presence. When you get close with a telephoto lens, you get a whole new view of the animal you've seen a thousand times.

I got to capture some portraits of a couple of bald eagles and a long horn but the animal that really captured my attention was a pack of female lions. I spent much of my time trying to capture the light as it was lighting up the edge of the lions'  faces.

The wonderful thing about the time of day was the light was at a perfect angle and the animals were enjoying a cool late afternoon. It was only an hour I got to spend there before the zoo closed but it lasted longer than any hour I can remember.

So if you want to save time and make an hour last longer....go to the zoo, preferably with family but if not go alone. It's a great way to enjoy the day outside, get exercise and the animals like the company.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Getting out there! Fall foliage 2015

Sometimes the hardest part of getting out there and exploring is taking that first step and actually doing it. This has been increasingly more difficult as my son grows more independent.

I have been planning to go to Arkansas to shoot the fall colors but each weekend it never seems to happen, always an excuse not to make the trip. My car is also on its last leg and I envision getting stranded somewhere far away.

Today, I got on 30 east, my car seemed willing and able and I was in the mood to drive. I soon realized 20 was a better ride, as there is more to see closer to home, the Texas Fisheries, a zoo or two.

I took highway 69 south and I found it, my little bit of autumn to shoot. It’s an amazing feeling to not have anyone pulling in any direction, just me and whatever I feel like doing.

My first stop was Lake Tawakani, I explored a side road and shot some stands of hardwoods, the fall foliage was minimal but still beautiful. The water was very choppy and I could still see the remnants of the recent storms as the water was quite high.

I got back on to 69 heading south and found a small lake off the beaten path, more options to shoot and lots of scenic images that surrounded the body of water.

My next point of interest was Faulkner park. This is a small park with tall stands of pine surrounding a Lilly pond which reminded me a bit of Daingerfield. There were soccer fields and you could tell the community used the park-I was just impressed with the Lilly pond and the tall East Texas pines.

I was headed toward Tyler and at that point decided I would go to the zoo. I had only been to the Caldwell zoo once and it was before I was collecting magnets, now I had  a quest, something to look forward to.

I enjoyed the feeling of freedom, the fact that I was finding the photographs I had sought. I believe just as my son and I started small and expanded our trips, this is the beginning of me being able to go out and explore alone….I had taken the first step and I was happy I did.

Stay tuned for the next attraction on the trip. An Old Mill Pond Museum and the Caldwell zoo was my next target, stay tuned.

Artistgordon - Find me on