Thoughts & Images from Andy Sharp

Birds & watchers
Storm Clouds
Fly a Kite Day
Dove Hunting
Cyril & Methodius Bazaar
Murphy Park water
Sterling Gloves Boxing
Flag lady
Full Monty
2014 First Day of School


Another Visit to the Skies

As those who follow my work might know, photography is not only my work, it’s often  a soothing therapy.   A frequent spot I particularly like is the lake at Murphy Park,  just a little over a mile from our house.   The variety of birds, in the skies, and on the  lake’s surface, continue to enthrall.   Many of the locals are not too fond of many of these creatures.   As I understand it, some leave the lake and begin nesting in neighborhood trees, creating a bit of a mess, they say.   So far, that hasn’t been a problem where we live.   Honestly, it would have to pose a serious health threat before it would bother me anyway.    Watching the birds soar, then gather at the lake,  is a balm for the soul.   Also, they apparently leave this area as winter approaches.   I’m willing to take in their therapeutic value for now.

Clouds, Rain & Sun

These are just a few photos I’ve taken in the last few days relating to nothing in particular.   Storm clouds, roads coated rain and a nice fellow in ambling down a country road as sundown approaches.    As is my habit, I often take photos as a form of therapy.    That last shot, the truck moseying along a dusty road at day’s end, sums up some things I like about Texas.   I was at my car, watching the approaching sundown, when the fellow in the truck stopped, rolled down his window, smiled and asked “Need any help?”   “No thanks,” I replied, “just watching the sun go down.”   He smiled again and headed on down the road.   That’s his truck in the photo.   Nice state, Texas.

Flying High in Taylor, Texas

For the last few days our local weather forecasters told us to expect rain, beginning Thursday night and continuing through Saturday.   In drought-prone Texas, of course, we like rain.   We need rain.   The concern in Taylor, however, was their much-publicized, first-ever Fly a Kite Day.   The Taylor Parks & Recreation Department put forth a lot of effort to make it a success.  When I got up Saturday morning things were looking grand!   It had rained much of the night before, but the day began with very cool temperatures in the low 60s (cool for us, anyway) and a good, strong wind.  So it was that families turned out at Taylor Regional Park, kites and strings in hand.   As morning progressed, the winds got stronger.  Temperatures actually dropped.   Just as the event was winding down, Mother Nature let loose with a steady stream of rain!  The timing couldn’t have been better.   It was cool and windy when we needed it, but wasn’t it nice that the moisture came when it did?   And it’s rained all day, it’s still raining as I write this Saturday evening.  It’s all good.   Some of these photos are scheduled for an upcoming issue of  the Williamson County Sun


Dove Hunting Season is Here

Shortly after moving back to Texas in 2009, I headed out on a bike ride into the countryside on an early September morning.   One of the joys of living on the Blackland  Prairie is all the open roads and fields.    The scenery is fantastic.  What caught me off guard, however, were gunshots being fired from those fields!   My first thought was:  these folks don’t like guys riding around in tight shorts!   No worries though.   Upon my return home, I found out it was the start of dove hunting season, an event which only lasts the month of  September in these parts.   While I’m no hunter, it’s a part of the culture here I respect.    The hunters like the ones pictured in these photos taken Sunday afternoon for the Williamson County Sun were having a grand time participating in their sport.   C.J. Tannehill, the young lady pictured, shares her love of hunting with her dad, Mike Tannehill, who along with her dog, Leon, was along for the day’s adventure.   And Jesus Flores,  longtime hunter carrying on a tradition begun by his now 100-year-old father.

A Grand Church Bazaar in Granger, Texas

Saints Cyril & Methodius Catholic Church, in Granger, Texas, had another huge church bazaar at their Parish Hall over the recent Labor Day weekend.   The venerable church is celebrating its 125th year in this town of a bit over 1,400 people.   The church bazaar, held for more years than anyone can recall, is a celebration of food.   Members smoke brisket, fry chicken, season the green beans, boil 500 pounds of potatoes and  stir huge quantities of coleslaw.   The event is held on a Sunday, but members start smoking those tender briskets the night before around 9 p.m.   Other members arrive early Sunday morning around 4:30.    Once the feast is completed, the doors to the huge hall open at 11a.m.  Attendees could sit down in air-conditioned comfort and enjoy their meals.   For those on the go, a to-go line was set up outside.   In all, about 1,500 meals were served.    In addition to the food, folks could also play a few rounds of bingo and bid during a live auction.   Those wanting more could end the day by coming to a dance, complete with a Czech band.

Water Colors

Last night, close to sunset, I headed to our little lake at Murphy Park.   On recent walks, a particular bird that interested me there was my goal.   Alas, the bird was nowhere in sight.   However, during my brief minutes there,  water lapping against the bank became an interesting subject in itself.   As the sun went down, the skies around it changed colors every couple of minutes,  creating a nice pattern among the water’s waves.  Once the sun was below the horizon for the day, the color palette transformed itself into  a black and white event.    It’s good to find a subject for my camera.   That bird is still on my radar though.

A Fascinating Sport

Through the years, I’ve covered a lot of the traditional sports.   For the most part, they’ve all been enjoyable and, at times, fun.   This weekend, however, as many friends headed to football fields, I found myself in a completely different world as I photographed the 3rd Annual Sterling Gloves Boxing Tournament, held in a gymnasium at Georgetown High School.   The sport of boxing, perhaps more than some, builds discipline and focus in its participants.   That discipline can be an asset as one grows into maturity.   Sure, it has its negative aspects, but I really think its character-building points are a plus.    I don’t know about other boxing  tournaments, but I liked that every participant had to pass a physical exam before entering the ring.   And if a boxer appeared to have a problem, a doctor was right there to help.   Presented here are photos taken for an upcoming story in the Williamson County Sun.

Ahead of Dawn’s Early Light

A few weeks back, on an early-morning walk, a garage door opened before sunrise.   A lady appeared, holding the flags of the United States and  Texas, one in each hand.   Reverently, she placed them in holders before going back inside.   I thought it was a poignant few moments and made a pact with myself to try to photograph it if I could drag myself out of bed in time.   As it turns out, Teresa Day has performed her task for 30 years without fanfare, most recently in Taylor, Texas, her home since last year.   Unless it’s raining, she honors the flags 7 days a week.   On Flag Day and July 4th, only the American flag flies.   On Texas Independence Day (March 2), the flag of the Lone Star State billows by itself.   It was quietly impressive, particularly since Day is going about her task with her foot in a cast, nursing a fracture.   At the end of each day, the flags come down, at rest, awaiting a new dawn.

A Fun Production, But Don’t Bring the Kids!

Georgetown’s Palace Theatre is taking a walk on the wild side with their current offering, “The Full Monty.”   This lively undertaking, directed by Mary Ellen Butler, takes place in present-day Buffalo, New York.   It’s a tough play to photograph without giving a sense of its theme, but I tried my best to keep the images PG.   The Palace is clearly indicates these performances are not for children, but from my time taking photos recently, I think it’s more the language than the lack of clothing that would be a cause for concern.    Have fun if you go.  It’s on the Springer Memorial Stage through September 21.    These images were created for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.

A New School Year Begins

The start of a new school year usually creates a very long day for me, but it’s one I particularly enjoy.   This one began even earlier in Georgetown, Texas, as  Williamson County Sun writer Jonathan Adams  and I shadowed the Georgetown Independent School District’s new superintendent, Dr. Fred Brent.   He’s included in the last two photos from this post.  The other photos are my usual fare, but I hope you enjoy them.   One pretty cool thing happened at Mitchell Elementary School, where principal Rob Dyer, answering the call to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, allowed himself to have large tubs of ice water poured atop his head.   He did this not once, but three times today, for three separate school pep rallies.   He’s a pretty cool dude (is that a pun?).   Anyway, teachers, parents and students, have a grand year.