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After a day of overcast skies the sun introduced some color with a watery sponge on nature's canvas primed in grey. Often, a bland sky can form nature's version of a studio white backdrop when we focus on a single object.

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In the cool breeze of a sunny May morning local wildflower fields beckon. The songbirds are back from Central and South America, crisscrossing the air in brightest streaks of color like the red cardinals and tanagers. Below them flowers sway in the breeze, opening their petals to the sun, fr…

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Sunset on April 27 seemed much like an aquarelle painting on which the artist spilled too much water. High tide and the recent rainfalls have inundated big stretches of Galveston Bay's shorelines, making way for birds to find passage to new areas.

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With Feather Fest in full swing all local birding spots are usually quite crowded. The Rookery at Smith Oaks on High Island is a favorite for ornithologists beyond Texas and even the US. The viewing platforms are quite crowded with spectators and photographers hailing from as far as Japan.

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Apart from calendar dates, subtropical spring is often hard to define. It arrives out of the last Northerner one morning and makes its presence known with a bright glittering light on the ocean.

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Like pastel Easter eggs the wildflowers pop out over fields across South Texas. At Brazos Bend State Park, white and yellow daisies sway in the warm mid-day breeze to the grunting barks of alligators.

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March made an entrance with breezy mornings and churning waves in the evening. It feels refreshing to have the salty spray wash over one's face out on a jetty, and noticing how the water is warmer now. Gone is the icy chill of winter, and our lungs are cleansed by the gusts of warmer air.

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The last few days have given us cold, strong winds and a very low tide. The exposed sandbanks and sea-grass beds would normally attract shorebirds by the hundreds that like to feed on beached crustaceans. The wind however kept them restless, or completely away, and they stayed hunkered down …

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It feels like spring outdoors, despite the official first day being over a month away. But then, this is the Texas Gulf Coast. The sun is stronger, the light's angle has changed, the birds are chirping.

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It often seems as if the white pelicans wintering along the shores of the Upper Texas Gulf Coast are divided into two breeds. For one, there are the fairly tame, oversized ducks paddling among shrimp boats at Pier 19 in Galveston, preening their feathers on the breakers with not a care in th…

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It probably was this winter's thickest coastal fog yet, swaddling Galveston Island this morning. Walking through it left a film of moisture on one's skin. The fascinating experience with fog is how it contorts objects and makes them seem far away, only to put them right in front of you a min…

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While the East Coast received a dumping of snow, winter on the Texas Gulf Coast took on different, subtler weather variations over the weekend. The stillness of Galveston Bay at sunset, combined with a low tide and a full moon, made for an empty sea-scape offering a silhouetted world.

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Around 8 am on January 20, weather watching over the Galveston Ship Channel was quite dramatic. A frontal approach of a layered system rolled over the bay like a curtain dropped inside a gigantic haunted manor. It was a shelf cloud that moved across a previously sunny morning, bringing preci…

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The one thing that still fascinates me about Texas, a decade after moving to Galveston, is the vastness of our land and seascapes. At places the ocean and the sky are separated by only a thin stretch of horizon, such as the San Luis Pass bridge. The colors of dusk and dawn have ample room to…

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Starting the year with a new artistic mission I made my way along East Beach this morning, early. It being a cloudy day, I walked into the symphony of grays at the jetty, to where at this time of year flocks of hundreds of skimmers tend to congregate.

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Every year, throughout the seasons, the light changes over the upper Texas Gulf Coast. Its marshes, swamps, estuaries and shorelines are highlighted in an ever-changing way. Different visitors come and go, avian migrants, breeding reptiles and mammals, all living in harmony with their resour…

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December is a candy store for nature photography along the upper Texas Gulf coast. Early mornings and later afternoons the light is flattering in pastels on the water and the fields, and in between, it never becomes too glaring or too humid and grey, but conserves that clean quality that mak…

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Cold November mornings have a special kind of magic to show. Dewdrops have formed during the night along every grass and weed, along every silky thread of a spider-web, turning them into jeweled necklaces fit to drape a fairy queen's gown.

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Humans have long associated horses with the archaic and basic, reaching back to simpler times when we lived off the land and its animals. Of course we picture Native Americans on top of tamed mustangs, animals brought from civilized Spain, no less, but the coastal tribes, such as the Karanka…

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The sandhill cranes start trickling in on Galveston Island during late October. By November, big groups of cranes have made the prairies on the west end their wintering home. These birds are not endangered like their cousin, the whooping crane. However, as they tend to breed and travel in fl…

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Autumn skies over the coast change as much within an hour as summer skies within a month, or so it seems. Certainly, the last few days have shown us glorious sunshine and sweeping rains conducting a merry dance.

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October might just be the month with the most brilliant light on the Texas Gulf Coast. It seems to keep its golden quality long after sunrise and throughout the afternoon.

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East Beach Lagoon can be a theater of silhouettes early in the morning, when fishing takes place among humans and birds.

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Labor Day weekend is past us and yet, on the island, it is still summer. This is the season when the Gulf Coast clocks take on a different time from the rest of the nation. The children are back in school, but the locals still go to the beach, grill in their backyards and wear flip flops any…

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He sits on the pole warning swimmers of strong currents most mornings. He knows the fishermen who frequent this patch along the ship channel just as he does, and is therefore the one Great Blue Heron fairly unfazed when approached. Unfazed for a notoriously skittish bird that is. After almos…

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Doing macro photography is opening a window to a world not seen with the naked eye. Macro photography takes patience, but the outcome is a revelation of something fascinating.

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Despite our combined horrific memories of Ike, there is excitement in the air with an upcoming storm. It is not voyeurism that has us glued to the news, guiltily wishing for the storm to move away from us, and yet, to provide us with just the right amount of natural drama.

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The GAF in birding stands for General Appearance in Flight. To identify the birds crossing over the bay area in the time of sunset, it is helpful to note the shape of wings, neck and tail as colors tend to fade. Indeed, sunsets are a big show of silhouettes when the birds change feeding grou…

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This morning at 8 am, Stewart Beach saw the release of about 50 sea-turtles by National Marine Fisheries Service. Most of them were Kemp's Ridleys that had arrived in Galveston last winter from New England. After repeated cold fronts caused the water temperatures to drop in the Cape Cod area…

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We know of writer's block, or any barrier that shuts down the creative flow in a person. It happens to photographers too. Even nature photographers. This is the time of year when the good light makes itself scarce. The skies get hazy, a boring dull grey or dirty blue, even if the weather is,…

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They are part of downtown Galveston, those ruined houses with falling shutters, blind window eyes and mildew spotted "No Trespassing" signs nailed to a piece of hardwood covering a door.

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The gulls are nesting. The flocks of birds on the beaches rimming the Ship Channel were astounding in their numbers this morning. Laughing gulls darkened the sky when rising in their hundreds riding the winds, and the pelicans built a Manhattan-esque skyline against the sunlight. 

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With the avian spring visitors taking advantage of any tree crop along the Gulf Coast to rest, mate and feed, Laffite's Cove has become well known for local birders as a hot-spot to find and observe singing birds this time of year. 

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The Galveston peacocks have once been brought in to adorn the County Club lawns but have long since become wild. They thrive on the West End, often times fed by private individuals. Even though the species hails from India originally, the amount of peafowl Galveston hosts is small enough whe…

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With Feather Fest taking off, visiting ornithologists aim their lenses toward tree branches and tidal lagoons to capture one of the many migratory birds that populate the Gulf Coast this time of year. April primes nature's canvas with pastel backdrops of wildflowers where not just birds rece…

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With that switch between winter and summer happening in a few fleeting days of spring, those early morning beaches are a treat more than ever. Warm enough where the wind is but a caress but still fairly empty, it's the perfect time to walk or cycle, enjoying the great expanse of water and air.

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Recently I had a friend ask me, (someone who spends his days photographing the big cats of Africa no less), what on earth I photograph in regards of wildlife on a flat sand-barrier island like Galveston. The obvious answer is birds. Especially now during spring migration.

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It's the time of year again when wading birds flock to the small island in Claybottom Pond in Smith Oaks sanctuary at High Island. The area is a magnet for egrets, heron, roseate spoonbills and plenty of other species as they seek a mate in order to nest and raise chicks.

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There weren't many signs of spring along the Galveston beaches these last few days. It's much like a symphony in grey. Even the birds seem plumed with grey. At least the willets are when stoically bracing the rain and wind along the West End beaches.

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There is one advice I will give time and again to people asking me about photography; Approach your subject on eye level.

  • By IRENE AMIET
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The word "co-habituation" has become a fashionable term to describe conservation-minded developments of human habitats and industrial areas. It is irony that the natural state of sharing a planet has become such ill-balanced in favor of humans and their needs, that the very existence of wild…

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On another foggy February morning at dawn, I was once more engulfed by the thick, wadded mist. This time, however, there were white pelicans everywhere. Despite the limited visibility, I counted 800 birds at one point. I tried to get closer for some photos, but was surprised by the incoming …

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With the setting sun flocks of birds crisscross the skies above the prairies and wetlands of Galveston's West End in order to switch pastures for the night. Often, the birds like higher ground at night, or then inundated grasslands where they are safe from lurking predators such as coyote or…

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On this cloudy February morning visitors to Anahuac NWR in Chambers County could witness a flock of Snow Geese landing in the coastal marshes in a great concert of honks.

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The thick coastal fog that comes with many January mornings has the ability to transform the island into a foreign planet, cloaking the world until one could imagine to be the only human being around. The fog distorts shapes and gives them lives of their own and changes sounds until it is ha…

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The recent rain has brought the flocks of skimmers and other shorebirds that make rest on Galveston and the Bolivar Flats this time of year.

  • By IRENE AMIET
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The cool December air sends the birds out into the open to seek the warmth of the sun and thus mid-morning sees as busy a traffic of pink-, white- and grey-winged birds as on an airport hub over the holidays.The Cranes' croaking mixes with the chattering of Spoonbills as they flick water dro…