2018 Review through the Lens: D3

Greatness can come from small beginnings.”

– Kamlesh Mishra


Welcome to Day 3 of my December Photo Challenge, where we go small. If you’ve followed this blog, you know how I love macro photography. Photographing in macro truly unveils the unseen naked eye world. To date, this is probably one of the smallest objects I have photographed. It’s the ova of a Reakirt’s Blue butterfly that I captured in our pollinator garden as the female was making her deposits. This is a beautiful little butterfly species that shimmers in blue, gold and copper, when it spreads its dorsal wings in the sunlight.

It’s remarkable that this lovely specimen begins as no more than a dot nestled within a tiny green bud. But, then again, look at you and me. We, too, began as mere specks with nothing more than promise. Just the fact that we exist is unfathomable. Go ahead, look over your shoulder and marvel at the wings you grew to carry you across distances, miles beyond numbering.

And, as you continue the journey, never forget that though you were small, yet are you great!


All the best,

A. J.


“Promise” (Reakirt’s Blue ova on Black Dalea; Belmont Conservation District, Dallas, Texas. August, 2018.)


The Reakirt’s Blue butterfly is a tiny species measuring only about 2.5 c.m. in diameter. Ants actually tend to the caterpillars, trading their body guard services for the sugary substances the caterpillars secrete. Females lay single eggs on each flower bud of the host plant, as the caterpillars prefer eating flowers and seed pods over leaves. Adult butterflies rarely sit still to open their wings, so it’s quite the surprise to catch one sunbathing and snap a pic.


[Check out Day 2 of the December Photo Challenge here.]


From Pigeons to Poppies

“Photography is the story I fail to put into words.”

– Destin Sparks


Where did March and April go? The past two months have been crazy in the Schulz household!!! My day job is real estate, so just as spring starts to lift off the down covers of winter and stick one toe out on the cold, early March floor, I’m diving head-long into the lap pool of work. Couple that with spring break vacation and, suddenly, a lot of balls are in the air. Over the past eight weeks, however (while I was obviously NOT writing), I still made time with J. to get the vegetable rows seeded, the pollinator garden cleaned up and ready for its impending glory and the first hive in our backyard apiary occupied (more to come on that little venture later). AND…I have SO much to talk about. Honestly, so many things have happened in my outdoor world that I could have content to write about for months! But I’m finding in this blog, career, mom, wife, volunteer world that I co-exist in with my six other selves that the “blog” part is tough to balance. Actually, it’s all tough to balance.

As I’ve wrestled with the right purpose and focus for this blog, I’ve also been working to flesh out how my true passions can be of benefit to others. I have some good ideas about big, meaty content, periodically, but I’m looking to couple that with smaller, quick tidbits that I can easily share with you throughout the week. I’m embracing this concept from blogger friend Jill Elliott over at The Someday Project. When Jill and I chatted, we talked about how everyone appreciates serious substance from time to time, but we all also need ideas and tips that we can grab on to and run with, without a lot of effort.

Even so, I’m additionally keenly aware that sometimes we just want to bring it all down even one level further to what I call the “fluff zone.” On Wednesday of this week I quipped on Facebook® that, after a tough day, I sometimes just need some solid television binging. This week, it happened to be Sneaky Pete. Loving it, by the way. But in my outdoor world, the absolute, no question, nothing even comes close to it “fluff,” that’s like a soft, cozy blanket by the fire or a hot bubble bath with a glass of champagne, is photography. When I’m behind the lens I experience the same sensation as I do when I paint…nothing else matters, and I simply don’t think. I just create with my eyes.

My camera accompanies me like an old friend these days, nearly every day of the week. So, I thought, “Why not?” Why not just share a little of what I see in my world each week and share it for the sole purpose of simply conveying art through the eye?

So that will be your “fluff” for this blog. Every weekend I’ll share my “Week In Review” of my top seven favorite photos with absolutely ZERO purpose other than to provide you with something pleasant to look at. And don’t we all just need something nice to look at now and then?

Okay…you MIGHT learn something too, if you choose to read the caption. I guess one can never fully remove the “teacher” from the “fluffer.” 😉

All the best,

A. J.


“Stealing a Kiss” (Female Rock Pigeon flirts with a male, while sitting on the dock of Sunset Bay)


“Cleared for Landing” (Honey Bee on approach to pink Columbine)


“Soak Up the Sun” (Reakirt’s Blue female spreading her wings)


“Snake in the Grass” (Great Egret enjoys a reptilian lunch)


“It’s In There Somewhere” (Bee dives head-first into Gulf Coast Penstemon)


“Inhabit the Hive” (J. and N. transfer our first package of bees)


“Channeling Georgia O’Keeffe” (Coveting my neighbor’s poppies)

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