Monday, December 29, 2014

Like Leaves in the Wind

Amelia Island, FL
ISO 320 ~ 56mm ~ f/5.6 ~ 1/60 sec
© Corrie M. Avila


Exquisite colors painted the sky as the sun slipped behind the clouds
The wind was still
Memories of previous moments in time swirled around like leaves in the wind
The wind was still
Seagulls basked in the vivid imagery with intrinsic knowledge that winter is on the horizon
The wind was still
Young boys chased each other through the sand, oblivious to the show unfolding
The wind was still
Generations converged in this one spot to reflect on the past and dream of the future
The wind was still
Peace blanketed the moment and froze it in time and
The wind was still


Capturing the Moment,

Corrie <3

Saturday, December 27, 2014

I Choose {Joy}

Being in the military can be compared to being a part of a secret society.  Those not in the military may never understand how things really are in the day-to-day family military life.  This is not done to exclude those we care about, but it takes an extra dosing of compassion and understanding to accept the military life we live.

Early on in my marriage, we lived in a very isolated and frigid location that the Coast Guard thought would be a fab spot to send two Miami natives.  We had both our sons in Michigan and because of the isolated location, this meant that familial visits and support were very limited.  Flights in and out were difficult and expensive.  My husband and I had to learn how to depend and lean on each other to get through the separations, the holidays, the colic and the depressive winters.  More importantly, I needed to find a core support group of friends so that I could make it through the times (and there were many) when my husband was away.  I look back and reflect on that time and acknowledge there was no way I would have made it without my group of ladies.

We learned early on to choose joy.  We didn't have enough money for diapers, but we chose joy.  I dealt with isolation and seasonal depression, but pushed through and chose joy.  My husband was faced with a military career change that meant leaving a dream he held for many years, but he chose joy.

Our holidays began to turn from survival, to something special.  We began to relish the little things and create special moments.  Surviving turned into living.

These days we work to create special moments with our children.  We keep things peaceful and joyful.  We work hard to create an environment that moves with us to each duty station and that creates stability for our sons whether my husband is with us or away with work.  I believe this is what helps our children keep their grounding and normalcy.

I believe there are some who do not understand the importance of this in our lives.  When we decline an invitation for dinner or choose to just spend time with our nuclear family, this is because it is what we NEED to survive, what we NEED to choose joy.  If there is negativity, anger, hostility or just plain nastiness, we will make a choice to not spend time with you.  This especially rings true on holidays because our joy is too important.

Military life has its challenges, but I wouldn't change it for anything.  I think Maya Angelou says it best, "My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.”

We Choose Joy

Capturing the Moment and Choosing Joy,

Corrie <3

Saturday, December 6, 2014


How do you juggle the things you want to do vs. the things you have to do?  My "must" list seems to grow longer by the day, while my "want" list remains stagnant.

Photography began as a creative outlet during a difficult time in my family.  But it switched from a hobby to a passion seemingly overnight.  I would meander through nature with my camera in hand and escape the challenges I was facing.  It was therapeutic to say the least.  

ISO 500 ~ 60mm ~ f/4.5 ~ 1/50 sec
© Corrie M. Avila

When I moved from Washington, D.C. to Florida, I worried I'd be lacking in things to photograph.  Little did I know that jobs would fall in line immediately to allow the pursuit and completion of other professional goals that had been on the back burner.  Sadly, now I am left without the time or the energy to spend with my passion and creative outlet.

Is one goal and dream better than the other?  I don't think so.  But until I can come up with the million dollar idea that combines all of my many passions, I will continue the daily struggle of balancing my wants and needs.

Capturing the Moment

Corrie <3

Sunday, October 26, 2014

{Trash to Decoration}

One of our favorite things to do is meander through the local hardware store.  I like to check their remnant wood section for quality wood at a great price.  Since I often can use irregular cut wood to make things, it is a perfect fit for me.

This particular evening, I found a trash can next to the remnant wood area with about 5-6 tall pieces of wood sticking out of a can filled with other "garbage."  I pilfered through it and removed some of the best pieces and then went and asked the first employee I could find.

The conversation went a bit like this:

Me:  I found these in the trash can, are they trash?
Employee:  Well, if they were in the trash can, they must be trash.
Me:  If they are trash, can I just have them?
Employee:  Um.... sure, I guess, if you want trash.
Me:  Great!  Thanks!!  Will they let me walk out of the store with them?
Employee:  Here, I'll write a message....


Me to my husband:  "Guess what??? I just got this wood for free!!"
Him:  "I can't leave you alone for five minutes, can I..."
Segway to my project...

I planned on making a sign that resembled a fence.  I used a miter saw to cut down the pieces into  seven even slats.  You could also use a handsaw if you do not have a miter saw.   

I then used two additional pieces of wood for the back.  I screwed them in and then applied wood glue (I would recommend doing this step in the reverse direction!)  I used the cement blocks to weigh down the pieces as the glue dried.

Below photo is what the back looks like.

Once the glue is dry and the pieces are intact, it is time to paint.  I used a few light coats of black spray paint and then sanded it a bit to distress the wood.

I cut out this circular design from my Silhouette.  You could easily use anything as a stencil though.  I then used an off-white spray paint over the entire sign.

My initial plan was to use a vinyl stencil that had a really nice fall saying on it.  I was having trouble having the vinyl stick and after a few attempts, I went to plan B.  I used painters tape and the reverse of the cutout to block off the entire outside.  I then used chalkboard spray paint on the center.  I had to do a few coats to get it to be a nice solid coat.  

Make sure to let the chalkboard paint set for at least 24 hours before writing/drawing on it.  Had I known I was going to use chalkboard paint, I would have sanded it down more in the center.  It is a little rough when writing with chalk on it.


Took my two little guys out for some photos.  They had fun and were "mostly" coopertive!

ISO 400 ~ 70mm ~ f/5.0 ~ 1/200 sec
© Corrie M. Avila

ISO 400 ~ 56mm ~ f/4.5 ~ 1/250 sec
© Corrie M. Avila

We just changed up the sign today and had fun writing everyone in our family... 

Instagram Photo
© Corrie M. Avila

It is a great multipurpose decoration that can be changed for the mood or season.  It is also great for a prop for photo shoots.  Best part of all, it cost me nothing as I already had all the paint on hand and the wood was free!

Capturing the Moment <3


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Life Cycle of a Butterfly {Days 26 and 27}

I did not get as many photos as I would have liked of the Chrysalis process as most of it happened while I was away on my work trip.  However, I did get to watch the first butterfly emerge from her Chrysalis yesterday morning!  Yep, she's a girl!

First Butterfly Emerged from Chrysalis
ISO 500 ~ 60mm ~ f/8.0 ~ 1/50 sec
© Corrie M. Avila

Second Chrysalis Not Yet Ready
ISO 500 ~ 60mm ~ f/8.0 ~ 1/50 sec
© Corrie M. Avila

And I found the most wonderful surprise!  Moe made it!  Yes, definitely a happy ending to her story.  She is also a girl and was just released this morning.  Two girl butterflies and one chrysalis remains.

Moe!! Or should I say Molly :)
ISO 500 ~ 60mm ~ f/8.0 ~ 1/320 sec
© Corrie M. Avila

Molly Released
ISO 320 ~ 60mm ~ f/6.3 ~ 1/200 sec
© Corrie M. Avila

And all those eggs I saw outside, yes they all hatched!  I believe I counted 11 caterpillars at one point.  They are very large and should by ready to form their chrysalis soon.  I'm a little weary about leaving them outdoors, but the husband has had enough of the caterpillars indoors for now.  So here's a thought and a prayer wishing those little guys good luck!

Happily Chomping Away!
ISO 320 ~ 60mm ~ f/6.3 ~ 1/125 sec
© Traveling Hearts Photography

Capturing the Moment <3


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Life Cycle of a Butterfly {Day 16}

It took a little longer than expected, but we finally have a little metamorphosis action happening.  This little guy decided to find his perfect spot and then was busy making his silk button.  Shortly after this shot was taken, he went into a "J."  ISO is high on the photo as it was night time.

Monarch Preparing Silk Button
ISO 2000 ~ 60mm ~ f/2.8 ~ 1/160 sec
© Corrie M. Avila

I had to leave for a work trip shortly after this, so I left the care of Eenie, Miney and Moe to my "so not thrilled" husband.

He reported to me that by the end of Day 16, Eenie had formed his chrysalis.  By Day 17, Miney had also formed his chrysalis.  But sadly, by Day 18, I was informed that Moe was no longer with us :(

Apparently, when my husband brought the second milkweed inside (because they devoured the first one), a lizard hitched a ride.  It is our thought that the lizard decided Moe looked like a nice dinner.

So we are mourning the death of our beloved Moe...

Capturing the Moment,

Corrie <3

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Life Cycle of a Butterfly {Day 14}

I'm a little surprised that we do not have at least one chrysalis yet.  I'm wondering if being indoors with the air conditioning is making their life cycle take a little longer.  According to the typical timeline, they should all have transformed into a chrysalis by now.

Fifth Instar
ISO 800 ~ 60mm ~ f5.6 ~ 1/40 sec
© Traveling Hearts Photography

I tried having this guy do a lego measurement like the others, but he was not interested in doing anything but eating.  I didn't want to bother him, so we did a side by side comparison of his size.  This is with a 6x1 lego.
Fifth Instar
ISO 320 ~ 60mm ~ f/4.5 ~ 1/320 sec
© Traveling Hearts Photography

G checking out one of the Caterpillars
ISO 800 ~ 60mm ~ f5/6 ~ 1/160 sec
© Traveling Hearts Photography

Yesterday morning we found these three all on top of the same branch.  G said they were having a meeting to decide what they were going to do for the day.  Then he said they decided on "ring around the rosy."  I tend to agree!

The Three Amigos
ISO 800 ~ 60mm ~ f/5.0 ~ 1/50 sec
© Traveling Hearts Photography

I've lost count on the number of eggs on the milkweed outside.  I think at last count we had 7 or 8.  We found the eggs in the strangest spots too... this one was found on top of the milkweed flower.  Usually I see them underneath the leaf.

Monarch Butterfly Egg
ISO 320 ~ 60mm ~ f/13 ~ 1/125 sec
© Traveling Hearts Photography

Judging by the size of these guys, I'd say we'll have some action happening pretty soon.  They start to go through a "wanderlust" phase where they become a little crazy and do some caterpillar gymnastics.  This is right before they march off to find a safe place to "J" and then to begin their final stage as a chrysalis.

Capturing the Moment, 

Corrie <3