Mujeres Poderosas, four

Cynthia Montes' story moved me deeply. Despite losing her father at an early age, she applied to Texas Christian University, an expensive private school in Fort Worth. She paid her way in part by working several jobs, including mowing lawns. Now she's a counselor to other students at TCU, and she continues to challenge herself with races such as the Cowtown half marathon, the Tough Mudder, and others. She is indeed, a powerful woman role model.

Cynthia Montes on the Texas Christian University Campus. 

Cynthia Montes on the Texas Christian University Campus. 

Cynthia Montes shares a moment of joy with her mother, Irma.

Cynthia Montes shares a moment of joy with her mother, Irma.

Mujeres poderosas, three

Sharon Herrera is another one of the women featured in the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission project, Mujeres Poderosas. A lesbian activist who founded and heads LGBTQ S.A.V.E.S, a Fort Worth organization dedicated to supporting LGBTQ youths, she knows the struggles of dealing with sexual orientation issues.

Sharon Herrera at home, in the apartment she shares with her wife, Marcel.

Sharon Herrera at home, in the apartment she shares with her wife, Marcel.

Sharon shows me a photo of the aunt who saved her life when she was a suicidal teen struggling with the condemnation of others due to her sexual orientation. Now, Sharon helps young people who are facing struggles of their own.

Sharon shows me a photo of the aunt who saved her life when she was a suicidal teen struggling with the condemnation of others due to her sexual orientation. Now, Sharon helps young people who are facing struggles of their own.

Mujeres Poderosas, two

Some photos don't make the cut for a project, but I like them anyway. The first photo is a favorite outtake from the Mujeres Poderosas project that will be on exhibit at The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History beginning March 4. It runs through Women's History Month. 

I had roughly six weeks to photograph mini-stories on twelve women, which occasionally stretched my creativity. Fortunately the subjects were all incredibly helpful. They allowed me the freedom to try different locations and poses for the portrait portion of the project, as well as the part that required me to simply be a fly on the wall of their lives for a little while. This isn't a perfect photo but I love the attitude Susie's smile radiates and the way the violin shape mimics her body. The second photo is of a cherished memento.

Susie Olmos-Soto comes from a large mariachi family. This is one of the three violins she owns and the last one with which she performed. She's also wearing the silver-studded charro jacket that's part of her mariachi outfit. 

Susie Olmos-Soto comes from a large mariachi family. This is one of the three violins she owns and the last one with which she performed. She's also wearing the silver-studded charro jacket that's part of her mariachi outfit. 

Susie sometimes wears a pendant with her mother's photo on it. I attended a concert in which Susie's son performed with his high school band, and Susie wore the locket as a way to honor her mother's own music, as well as to have her present at the performance.

Susie sometimes wears a pendant with her mother's photo on it. I attended a concert in which Susie's son performed with his high school band, and Susie wore the locket as a way to honor her mother's own music, as well as to have her present at the performance.

Mujeres Poderosas

Last fall, the Fort Worth Human Relations Commission approached me about photographing a project that would be part of the city's broader program, Latino Americans, 500 Years of History. The Commission was among 203 grant recipients across the country selected to receive a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association to hold public programming about Latino history and culture.

Among the ideas the commissioners generated was to celebrate Latinas who'd helped shape Fort Worth with their work, vision, volunteerism, activism, and business acumen. Twelve women were selected and I set out to capture a mini photo story of each one. The photos will complement a bit of oral and written history about each woman in an exhibit March 4-31 at The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. I'll be sharing some of these photos here leading up to the exhibit.

Tammy Melody Gomez is a Fort Worth poet, author and activist. Here, she models a set of bandoliers filled with an artist's ammunition--pencils and lipsticks. 

Tammy Melody Gomez is a Fort Worth poet, author and activist. Here, she models a set of bandoliers filled with an artist's ammunition--pencils and lipsticks. 

Among Gomez's treasures is a dog-eared copy of Elie Wiesel's memoir, Night, about his experience in the Nazi concentration camps. It's a book that Gomez's family read together when she was a girl.

Among Gomez's treasures is a dog-eared copy of Elie Wiesel's memoir, Night, about his experience in the Nazi concentration camps. It's a book that Gomez's family read together when she was a girl.

magical evening

Día de los Muertos, typically celebrated Nov. 2, is an important holiday for Mexicans and other cultures around the world. It’s the day when the veil between the living and dead is said to be the thinnest and we can commune with those loved ones who’ve gone before us. Families create altars displaying photos of their deceased, and offering the dead their favorite food, drink and mementos.

Last weekend my husband and I spent Day of the Dead in the Terlingua Ghost Town. Every year, the residents of this West Texas outpost come together to create a large altar at the cemetery. They light candles on every grave then enjoy a meal and music around a large bonfire.

This is a video and a photograph we created of this magical evening under the stars.

El Día de los Muertos at Terlingua Ghost Town 

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©Beatriz Terrazas, all rights reserved

ten bits ranch

Most of my photography these days is for corporate entities or custom publishing. Occasionally, I have the time to indulge in photographing something solely for the pleasure of doing so, or because the place, person or event has deep significance for me. That was the case with Ten Bits Ranch Bed and Breakfast in the Big Bend area of Texas.    Having grown up in El Paso, I find the desert and its spare beauty to be a healing force. When I was a kid, my house in this border town was a stone's throw from a sign along I-10 that read: El Paso City Limits. Today the city has sprawled far beyond that sign, but my love of the desert still burns.     So I was delighted to discover Ten Bits Ranch, built by an Austin couple who harbor the same affection I do for the Chihuahuan Desert that reaches up into West Texas. The ranch is set among the expanse of sand, creosote, ocotillo and prickly pear. Yes, it's hot in the summer but the desert actually cools at night. Plus, there's something about desert heat: its embrace is immediate and intense, ensuring that you can't think of your problems while it blankets you. All you can do is let it suck away at your stress. The desert is a relief from clogged highways and ticked-off drivers, and the night sky, bejeweled only with moon and stars, is a respite from city lights that chase away the dark. The silence, too, is a welcome buffer from the pings and buzzes of incoming emails and texts.     Here's a story from Texas Highways' September issue that included three of my photos of Ten Bits Ranch:  http://www.texashighways.com/component/content/article?id=6829:next-weekend-ten-bits-ranch     

Most of my photography these days is for corporate entities or custom publishing. Occasionally, I have the time to indulge in photographing something solely for the pleasure of doing so, or because the place, person or event has deep significance for me. That was the case with Ten Bits Ranch Bed and Breakfast in the Big Bend area of Texas.  

Having grown up in El Paso, I find the desert and its spare beauty to be a healing force. When I was a kid, my house in this border town was a stone's throw from a sign along I-10 that read: El Paso City Limits. Today the city has sprawled far beyond that sign, but my love of the desert still burns.

 

So I was delighted to discover Ten Bits Ranch, built by an Austin couple who harbor the same affection I do for the Chihuahuan Desert that reaches up into West Texas. The ranch is set among the expanse of sand, creosote, ocotillo and prickly pear. Yes, it's hot in the summer but the desert actually cools at night. Plus, there's something about desert heat: its embrace is immediate and intense, ensuring that you can't think of your problems while it blankets you. All you can do is let it suck away at your stress. The desert is a relief from clogged highways and ticked-off drivers, and the night sky, bejeweled only with moon and stars, is a respite from city lights that chase away the dark. The silence, too, is a welcome buffer from the pings and buzzes of incoming emails and texts.

 

Here's a story from Texas Highways' September issue that included three of my photos of Ten Bits Ranch: http://www.texashighways.com/component/content/article?id=6829:next-weekend-ten-bits-ranch

  

busy as a ... ?

Spring is teasing us in North Texas. It flaunts warm temperatures for a couple of days and then hides behind a cool front for another few days. When the sun is shining, I keep the camera nearby for moments and creatures like this one. As it turns out, bumblebees move quickly and it took me a couple of days to get a photo that captured the bee.

Spring is teasing us in North Texas. It flaunts warm temperatures for a couple of days and then hides behind a cool front for another few days. When the sun is shining, I keep the camera nearby for moments and creatures like this one. As it turns out, bumblebees move quickly and it took me a couple of days to get a photo that captured the bee.

anole on iron planter

When I was working full time as a photojournalist, many assignments were of the hurry-up-and-wait type. Political conventions, international dignitary visits, papal visits to other countries, even local civic meetings -- all required that photographers show up early enough to get a prime spot and then wait for something to happen that was worth photographing. Such events were opportunities to practice patience. These days my clients are corporations, non-profits and individuals whose needs are different from the kind of photography I did in the media. But I still find that patience helps me look past the obvious shots and change positions to better frame my subject, to wait a few seconds for a better moment to capture in the frame, or to move on to an alternate location for a different setting altogether. It also helps when I turn the camera on the wildlife in my back yard, as in the case of this anole. Anoles are plentiful in North Texas and a lot of fun to watch as they hunt for insects. This image was made one early evening in mid-March as I followed a pair of anoles eyeing each other and displaying dewlaps at one another on an iron planter. For a couple of other shots of them, check out my small things gallery.

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Juliet falls asleep

Nearly every day one of my animal companions does something that has me reaching for my camera. In this case, my bearded dragon, Juliet, was falling asleep half-standing against the glass wall of her habitat. I moved her after she fell asleep. She would have been fine, but my neck was hurting just to see her head bent back like that.

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tiny treasures

One day last year I woke up and realized that despite photography being one of my revenue streams, I was falling out of the habit of seeing when I wasn't on the job. You know what I mean -- not just the scanning that we do with our eyes while we're on the road, or the way we glance at headlines on our electronic devices. I mean the kind of looking that results in noticing the way light plays off the tips of grass in a field, or how baby wolf spiders newly emerged from their sac climb on their mother's back. Or even the way a setting sun tints your partner's face gold. Sure, that's part of the job, and when you're on the job, you're aware of it. But what about when you have some free time, when you're hiking or taking your dog for a walk? How many of us really take the time then to see the things we might otherwise miss? So, I decided to make an effort to open my eyes even when I'm not working, especially to the small, natural treasures that surround us. This is one of the gems I spotted during a walk last fall at the Bob Jones Nature Center & Preserve in Southlake, Texas.

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