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30
Apr

Weekly Photo Challenge: Together

Last week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge was to post something that says “together.”

Well, I’m a bit late with this – haven’t had my act together!

Here are two colorful Macaws who are having such fun together.  These kids are hilarious when they’re together!  They seem to love each other, but they fight like cats and dogs, too!

Here are two lovely butterflies doing what butterflies do when they’re together.

20
Apr

Weekly Photo Challenge: Sun

The challenge this week is to capture the sun!  I usually battle with the sun when developing images…. When there’s too much sun-glare it can wreak havoc on an image.   So, it’s nice, for a change, to have an occasion to relish the sun!

A Roseate Spoonbill sun dance:

Sun Dancing. Photo by Andrea O’Connell

Clouds chasing the sun:

Clouds Chasing the Sun. Photo by Andrea O’Connell


An orange flower drinks in the sun:

Drinking in the Sun. Photo by Andrea O’Connell

13
Apr

Weekly Photo Challenge: Two Subjects…

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge asks us to illustrate two subjects in a photo.

This was the first photo I thought of….  I really love that this image is so unexpected!  It’s such an odd thing to see as you drive the turnpike in Miami.

I captured this through the window of a car – about three weeks ago.  I was a passenger in the car and happened to have my camera in my lap when I saw this out of nowhere!   I nearly missed it, too.  Fortunately I got the shot on the first try.

And, the sky that day was really that blue!

In a sense, there are three subjects in this photo: The artwork, the building, and the bluer-than-blue sky.

I don’t know why this whimsical piece of art is on this apartment building, which is about 15 stories high, but it’s clearly been put there purposely.  Maybe a tenant placed it there?

I don’t know if it’s even still hanging on the building.

I think it resembles the work of artist Romero Brito, the Brazilian pop-artist, who makes Miami his home.  But, he generally signs his work.

So, it’s a mystery – a whimsical and beautiful mystery!

Somewhere in Miami this colorful artwork is happily hanging on the side of an apartment building! Photo by Andrea O’Connell, 2012

7
Apr

I want to share this beautiful piece of art by Diana Alsindy…. I have fallen in love with it, I bet you will too!

Diana's Blography

This might not be a Photography post but it is a form of Art. Today the passion for drawing cliked in me and I wanted to sketch something. Well, this is what I come up with…

All I had is a pencil, watercolor paper (I know! I didn’t use any watercolors), and a water ink pen. I started drawing the tree then outlined it with the ink pen. I relaixed that I can get silhouette images for small birds like this (better than drawing them myself). Then I took my picture to Photoshop CS5. The black part of the tree was done by adding a black mask and overlaying a black color using Blending Options. I added the birds and made them completely black using the same mask idea. I added a texture and a quote to make it more live…I noticed the saying fits with the images…adding a story wouldn’t hurt. I played…

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7
Apr

Weekly Photo Challenge: Journey

The photo challenge this week asks us to illustrate the word “journey.”   (And what a great word it is, too!)

Lewis Carroll wrote,

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.

There’s certainly truth in that, both positive and negative; we don’t always know where we’re going, and the road that takes us there may be paved with whatever is next – the good, bad or indifferent.

I like what Ursula K. LeGuin wrote about journeying:

It’s good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end.

I captured the photo below – downtown Miami – through a car window during a recent journey.

The building in the center of the photo – the one shaded in yellow – is the Miami Freedom Tower. It once was a haven for Cuban immigrants who journeyed to freedom.

Photo by Andrea O'Connell

The journeys that this beautiful Red Shouldered hawk once enjoyed are a part of the past now.

This Florida beauty is held at the Flamingo Gardens, in Davie Florida. a wildlife sanctuary for injured and/or endangered animals.

This lovely fellow can no longer fly as a result of a serious injury.  (If he were not cared for at Flamingo Gardens there would be little chance for his survival.)

He’s well taken care of, as are all the animals in the Flamingo Gardens Wildlife Sanctuary.

The juxtaposition of the bird and the fence is striking.  This is a bird whose journeys were no doubt expansive, reaching far and wide.

It’s so sad to see this bird fenced in like this.  His journeys are in the past, now – only a dream.

Photo by Andrea O'Connell

2
Apr

Posted earlier on Loving Jazz. This is the building called the Miami Freedom Tower. It once was a haven for Cuban immigrants – ensuring their safe transition from Cuba to the United States via Miami, Florida. Those were kinder and gentler days.

Loving Jazz Photo Blog

Did you notice the new landscape on the Loving Jazz blog?!!!  And, how about the new logo?!!!

Well, I am determined to give this blog more attention from now on… So, I spruced up the place, big time!

Most of the posts appear in the slide-show display at the top of the blog.  You just need to click “read more” to go to that post to see the photos.  And, most of the blogs categories are in the photo-boxes right underneath the slide-show of posts.  The little photos in the boxes are live links that will bring up every post in that category when you click on them.

Cool? I think so!

I have to admit that I love the new landscape on this blog!  I hope it’s user-friendly for everyone.

Speaking of landscape, the interesting building in this photo is the Miami Freedom Tower.  Built in 1925, it was…

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2
Apr

“off with his (cracked) head?”

Update:  August 27th, 2013.

A great deal has happened in my part of the world since the terribly sad outcome of the George Zimmerman trial.

I wrote about Zimmerman in the past, the article below I wrote in April, 2012.   I wanted to write about the Zimmerman case, as I had written about the Casey Anthony trial, but couldn’t bring myself to do it – knowing that once I started, I wouldn’t be able to stop.

That may sound odd, but the truth is, the horribleness of this case, and now its outcome, is terribly depressing.  Life is hard enough, I thought then, why go down that road of despair?  How could I write everything that needs to be said about the case and the verdict?

It’s too important to be taken lightly or to simply “blog” about.

I feel that writing about this moment in history is so serious and would take such devotion on my part, that I’d need to give it my full, undivided, attention – to do it justice.

So, instead of writing about it, I let it simmer in me.

The simmer – what I feel is not exactly “rage”, but its cousin.

I think of this case and its outcome every single day and now, today, Mark O’Mara, Zimmerman’s lead defense attorney, is asking the state of Florida to cover Zimmerman’s bill! Yes, a million would cover it, thank-you-very-much-Florida.

So, I’m outraged more.  Paying Zimmerman’s legal bill????

Really?!!

It’s UNFAIR.  At least on moral ground.  As for legal ground, I don’t know, I’m not a lawyer. It must be legal for O’Mara to ask, and I don’t blame him for asking – that’s what lawyers do.  But, shouldn’t O’Mara at least try to walk on a higher ground?  Couldn’t he let the people of Florida get over this before pouring salt into this still bleeding wound?  Haven’t we suffered enough over this terrible tragedy?

Makes me angry. Really angry.

Zimmerman never apologized, as far as I know. And during the trial, he never showed one ounce of remorse for the murder (it will always be murder no matter what the verdict of 6 people.) of a defenseless young teenager.

A child with loving parents. Strong parents. Good parents.

The jury didn’t see Trayvon the child.  They didn’t see him for the child he was; they saw him as a young hoodie-wearing-soon-to-be-hoodlum-because-they-knew-that’s-what-all-young-black-men-are.

Had the jury thought of Trayvon as THEIR son, as THEIR child, I don’t think they could have let Zimmerman walk away, get away, with murder.

No. The jury didn’t see their child.  They didn’t see their duty to protect this child – their child.

The jury saw a young black man, probably up to no good, and a good, upstanding man with a license to kill, doing what good white men do – stand their ground because they have a gun to do it with.

What does this say to young men today? It says: Beware – you are targets in Florida.  Don’t drink your Arizona Ice Tea or your Skittles while black.

I have friends who, over the years, have referred to their status as a citizen behind the wheel of an automobile (especially an expensive car), as “Driving While Black.”  They have to be hyper-vigilant and it’s incredibly sad – beyond the beyond of disgusting.

It’s a given that young black men are racially targeted; it’s a given they are profiled; it’s a given they are increasingly disadvantaged economically and socially, but must we pour more money to the Gun-toting Southern white man’s sense of superiority?

Let’s give more money to the cracker-ass white men like Zimmerman who think nothing of starving their beast.

But, don’t get me started.

April 2, 2012: In Richard III, one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies, the character of Richard – who will do anything to be King of England – accuses Lord Hastings of all things foul, and thus Hastings is murdered.

In a video revealed today by ABC News, George Zimmerman’s head (as he’s being led out of a police car), appears injured and red.  Does the fact that Zimmerman appears to have an injured head make any difference?

No. No. A thousand times, no.

Photo by Getty, courtesy Huffington Post.

However, it IS important insofar as it supports Zimmerman’s claim to have acted in self-defense, claiming he’d been  attacked by Trayvon Martin.

Yeah. And, so what?

As we know, Zimmerman claims he shot Trayvon Martin in self defense, stating that the young man, armed with a very dangerous bag of Skittles, pounded his head into the ground and bloodied his nose……

Wait.  Back up.  We don’t know if that is true or not!  And even if it is true, so what?!

Like the sign the guy in the above photo is holding – “They never stop & frisk old white guys like me.”  (I love that he’s wearing a blindfold like Lady Justice in the photo.)

It’s true.  We live in the land of the free, where people, no matter who they are, should be able to walk down any street while eating candy as it rains.

Just My Opinion:

Here’s what I think may have happened that night:

  1. Zimmerman sees a young man in his neighborhood that he does not recognize and calls the police.  Why?  Because Zimmerman realizes that the boy is black.  Strike one against Trayvon, he’s walking while black.  Clearly in Zimmerman’s mind that spells trouble.
  2. While Zimmerman is talking to the police operator, during his first call, it sounds like he’s walking.  Was he following Trayvon?  (Oh, he’s following in self-defense – that’s right, I forgot that detail.)
  3. Trayvon surely must sense that he’s being followed, or stalked by a man he doesn’t recognize.
  4. Does Trayvon fear Zimmerman because he’s white?  Possibly.  But more likely, he’s afraid because he’s being watched and followed.  I would be terrified.
  5. Zimmerman hangs up with the dispatch, talks to the Police who tell him NOT to take action.
  6. Does Zimmerman continue to stalk / follow Trayvon?  Does Zimmerman get too close?  Does he purposely appear threatening?  Does he brandish his gun?
  7. If Zimmerman brandished his gun, Trayvon may have, in a fight for his life, attempted to disable Zimmerman – separate him from his gun, to save his young life.
  8. Did Zimmerman lay hands on Trayvon maybe to question him?  Why?  He’s not a police-person.
  9. Common sense tells me Zimmerman was likely holding his gun.  People who carry guns do so because they want to use them. That’s just common sense, right?
  10. Did Trayvon see that gun and try to save his life by jumping on Zimmerman to try to disarm him?
  11. Was Zimmerman too strong for Trayvon?
  12. Did Trayvon, realizing he is no match against Zimmerman, now try to run away to save his life?  Or did he fall, screaming out and afraid of the man and the gun?

These things we may never really know, but we do know that Trayvon was crying out, afraid that he was going to be shot.  Who shoots to kill someone who’s unarmed and crying?

I will not go so far as to say Zimmerman murdered the young Trayvon because I do not know what really happened.  I only know there is something very wrong and a young man with an Ice Tea and a bag of candy should not be gunned down.

Florida and it’s NRA – written, Jeb Bush backed “Stand Your Ground” law is horrifying, senseless, and unconstitutional as far as I am concerned. The Second Amendment to the Constitution did not want a bunch of Zimmerman’s running around, in my opinion.

So, I won’t say “Off with his head,” about Zimmerman.  If he’s guilty of manslaughter or murder, he’ll have his day in court.  He’ll face Florida laws, which is what I’m afraid of.

1
Apr

We lost a marvelous American Poet; a strong advocate for women and someone who’s words I’ve loved. And, yes, as Zen & Genki point out: Yes, Poetry Does Matter! Enjoy this lovely post.

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