Tag Archives: portraits

The Bee Keeper


Carlos is still trying to get the bees out of my spare lot. I can’t hear them buzzing today so sounds like they have calmed down. Tomorrow we’ll discover whether they have accepted the new hive he’s trying to introduce them to so he can remove them to his land and away from mine so we can clear the lot. It’s been a loooong haul. He’s the third bee keeper we’ve called. Wanted to share this portrait I took of him.

A while ago I published a tribute to Jim Tipton, another beekeeper and fine poet. You can read that tribute here: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2018/05/21/the-bee-keeper/.

And, you can see Jim and read about his last book here: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2018/07/29/meet-jim-tipton-poet-and-keeper-of-bees/

Shelter: Portrait for Weekend Mini Challenge



On the prairies of Dakota, 
weather often came with exclamation marks.
My father’s forehead was ringed like an old tree,
white from above his eyebrows to his fast-retreating hairline,
from his hat pulled low to guard from every vagary of weather.
“It’s hot as the hubs of Hell!” he’d exclaim as he sank into his chair at noon,
sweeping his hat from his head to mop his brow.
A nap after lunch, then Mack’s Cafe for coffee with his friends,
then back to work in the field until dark, some days.

“Cold as a witch’s teat in January!” was as close to swearing 
as I ever heard my dad get, November through March,
stomping the snow off rubber

overboots in the garage, tracking snow from his cuffs through the mudroom/laundry.
Cold curled like Medusa’s ringlets off his body.
We learned to avoid his hands,

red with winter, nearly frozen inside his buckskin gloves.

His broad-brimmed hat, steaming near the fireplace
as we gathered around the big formica table in the dining room.
Huge beef roasts from our own cattle, mashed potatoes and green beans.
Always a lettuce salad and dessert. The noon meal was “dinner”—
main meal of the day.

Necessary for a farmer/rancher who had a full day’s work still ahead of him.

Our weather was announced by our father
with more color than the radio weather report.

Spring was declared by his, “Raining cats and dogs out there!”
Only now have I really thought about how we were protected
from the vagaries of weather as from so much else.
It was a though my father bore the brunt of all of it, facing it
for us, easing our way. It was his job.

We were sheltered, all of us,
from those extremes of that land I didn’t even know was harsh
until years later, living in milder climates,
remembering the poetry
of how a man who really lived in it
gave us hints of its reality.


This is an extensive rewrite of a poem published earlier this year, redone for a prompt given by the weekend mini challenge  to create a portrait with words that is based on a photograph or painting of a person.

Sideways glance: For Cee’s View from the Side Challenge

Click on first photo to see a larger view of all photos.

For Cee’s View from the Side Challenge

Racing Man

Version 2

Racing Man

I’ve parked you in my dreams
where you sit sputtering,
engine racing,
ready to be off
over the next hill
as always, reaching to release the parking brake,
adjusting the seat back,
never noticing the rear-vision mirror
is slightly off-kilter.

The NaPoWriMo prompt today was to write a poem that is a portrait of someone important to you.

Rust and Rebozos: Cee’s Odd Ball Challenge: 2016, Week 25

Women at Rebozo Parade in Ajijic

I love the variety of the women shown in this photo and how each one conveys a different story. The obvious focus is the woman in the white dress, but I also love the contrast between the basket of flowers and the bright turquoise satin purse, the woman looking right at me from behind the hand of the woman adjusting her chignon.  Just so much going on that day of the rebozo parade and some of that is conveyed in this photo.

These are two favorite photos I found when looking through some old hard drives.  I could save them for a specific prompt, but by then I might have forgotten them, so here they are in odd balls.

Wire Roll on Fence on the Way to Tapalpa

On the road to Tapalpa!  This would have worked well for the curves prompt!  Love this rusty roll of wire flung over the fence.  Those old fences made out of whatever wood was at hand are still my favorites.  You can see some of the famous October wildflowers scattered around in the tall grass.



One Word Photo Challenge: Candid

I love this shot. How could she look any happier with her day? There is obviously something up there that everybody’s a bit interested in, but strange that every person or group is looking in a different direction–but all up!  This is on a boat–a concert excursion that was a fundraiser to send a little girl to music camp in the States.  She got home today.  Can’t wait to hear how it went.



This candid shot was taken at an open mike.  I love the effect of the sun shining through the plastic wall behind him, creating a scrim effect  and revealing the lush growth outside.

IMG_6419 (1)

This little girl looks like she’s being held in a vise grip! Those letters spelling out “Chapala” near the pier make for a great photo opportunity.


How Now?

How Now?

I love this sequence of expressions as my long time friend Marti was relating a story to us. Since I’ve known her for 50 years–yikes!–I know these typical expressions. Only by taking almost constant photos was I able to capture them all. I enjoyed stretching this longtime friendship into the “now” during our 5 days together over Xmas.

IMG_0800 IMG_0803 IMG_0821 IMG_0815 IMG_0789 IMG_0823 IMG_0795 IMG_0804 IMG_0788 IMG_0812 IMG_0806 IMG_0816 IMG_0819 IMG_0799 IMG_0808 IMG_0820 IMG_0809 IMG_0787


A Man Can Never Have Too Many Hats

A Man Can Never Have Too Many Hats

Version 2


For Cee’s Odd Ball photo and those of others, go here: http://ceenphotography.com/2015/12/13/cees-odd-ball-photo-challenge-2015-week-50/

Zeroing In: Cee’s Compose Yourself Challenge

Zeroing In

The Prompt: Show us a couple examples of your work where you have a strong, easily identifiable subject.

DSC09260I like lots of detail in pictures of rooms and people because those details tell a story.We can tell by the nacimientos on the buffet that it is Christmas time.  That little two-necked clay cup on the table will create an entirely different story soon after this picture was taken.  You can see that story HERE.

DSC09262But I think this is a better picture composition-wise.  There are still a number of details, but they are more unified as they are all grouped together on the table.

Version 2I like this portrait of my friend  a lot.

Version 3Yet when I crop the portrait down to the eyes, they seem to tell a complete story of their own.

DSC07680I took many pictures of my friend Audrey the day this photo was taken, but this was by far my favorite.  It shows her good nature, reveals her camera and in my estimation, is more intriguing due to the limb she is behind.


Okay, now on to the second challenge. For the Gold Star Award, Find examples of your work that illustrate these three emotions:  something that is beautiful or inspiring, something that makes you laugh, and another that makes you feel sad or melancholy.

Version 2Here is another portrait that I love because they are both so happy. It is inspiring to me that they are obviously good friends who know how to enjoy themselves.  I cropped this picture to make it more intimate and I think the cropping turned out right.

DSC00023DSC09788These two shots of the same subject make me feel melancholy. Which do you prefer?  In this case, I like the one with more detail because it is within those details that the story resides.

468303_2668458557412_950835974_oI took this picture at carnival (mardi gras) Iin Ajjic. It is a raucous, flour-throwing, rowdy time.  And of course, these fellows made me laugh.