Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Cane Shop - Burton, TX

This woodshop holds a lot of special memories for several people. In this shop my wife’s late grandfather perfected his woodworking skills. He was most famous for the canes he made. He never once sold a single cane for money but instead decided to gift them all to family friends and local groups to help raise money. The money these canes have brought to these groups is in the 10s of thousands of dollars. They are truly priceless works of art. This shop still holds some of the original equipment and tools he used to make his canes.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Schrader's General Store - Brennham, TX

Shooting abandoned buildings is something many photographers are drawn too. I can’t really tell you why this is but I would love to shoot more. I find myself doing double takes as I drive down a highway when I see an abandoned buildings thinking WOW that would make a good photograph. Maybe it is the attempt to capture something before it is gone forever or the thought that an abandoned building gives a viewer a glimpse into the past this photograph was shot off highway 290 just outside Brenham. It is the old Shrader General Store. It was last open about 25 years ago and all that remains is the icebox outside the store and some broken windows.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Young Doe - Georgetown, TX

After living in our new place for a while now we are starting to recognize the deer that come around. Since the spring we have had a family of deer hanging around. This is one of the young Does that was born this spring. I love that I can get these photos by stepping right out my back door.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Expect Magic - Georgetown, TX

Christmas means so much too so many people. As adults we come to learn about the miracle of Christmas, but as children we wrap ourselves around the Magic of Christmas. I have so many fond memories as a child waking up Christmas morning and seeing the wonderful things Santa had brought me. Now as a father I get to witness the magic in my daughters eyes as she wakes up to find the half eaten cookie the spilled milk and of course the gifts under the tree. This photo was taken before my daughter awoke and captures the magic of Christmas. Seeing her on this morning was by far the best part of Christmas.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Rest - Georgetown, TX

Dec 26th, the day after Christmas. The hustle, the bustle, the chaos and the peace. It all winds down and maybe now we can get some rest. This is our Dog George. He too was glad to see a moment of peace where he could recuperate from the Christmas festivities.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

City Hall Lights - Georgetown, TX

A quick post today as I spend the day with family and friends. I hope everyone has a Very Merry Christmas. This was taken the same night I was shooting downtown Georgetown.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dry Dock - Trinity, TX

Here is another from the Farm Equipment series. As the weather gets colder the little john boat that is probably used more for fun then work sits in dry dock warmed by a blanket of fallen leaves. As an additional note to the post from yesterday, I have learned that this was the same tractor that has been in the family for over 25 years and it still runs just as well today.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hard Work - Trinity, TX

I was canvassing a farm in Trinity Texas when I came across this tractor. To me this is what a tractor should look like. It has the paint cracks, the dirt and the grime to prove to all that view it just where its been and what it has been doing, working hard! It symbolizes the hard work of those who rely on land and livestock to earn their living.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Top of a Ruin - St. John, U.S.V.I.

This is one shot from a series I did of the old sugar mill ruins in St. John USVI. These are relics of an era gone by when the island was far from a tourist spot but a major producer in the sugar trade. This shot was composed laying on my back looking up through the open top of one of the ruins.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Sunrise on the Border - Big Bend National Park, TX

When most people think about the Texas, Mexico border they see pictures of long lines of cars at checkpoints, border patrol agents, the college kids stumbling across a bridge after a night of partying, the news reports of another drug cartel slaying. While these scenes are common place, and the boarder violence continues to escalate between the Mexican drug cartels, there are still a few places where these scenes can become lost and you can stand on a hill and look across the landscape and see no boarders just nature's beauty. The best place to do this is in Texas’ Big Bend National Park. I was there for a camping trip and this shot was taken on top of a hill looking across the Rio Grand River into Mexico. The mountains in the background are the Sierra Del Carmen Mountains. The shot required me to wake up at about 5:00am and hike about a mile to the top of this hill in pitch black darkness with only a head lamp to guide me. I sat in solitude for about an hour thinking about how from this vantage point there was no thought of the trouble, crime, and violence that is associated with the Texas, Mexico border towns and that at this moment there was peace as far as I could see.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Freestyle - Steamboat Springs, CO

On a recent trip to steamboat Springs Colorado I finagled my way in to shoot the Jr. Freestyle Olympics. The day I was shooting was the half pipe competition. I got plenty of big air shots and these kids were awesome! However this one close up shot was one of my favorite. I love how it shows the detail of the pipe which is never visible to the spectators outside the ropes or those who watch these events on TV. The kids competing in these completions are pretty spectacular athletes to be able to maintain the concentration it takes to pull off the tricks they are. If you want to see some of the big air shots the rest of the gallery can be seen here. http://tinyurl.com/jrolympics

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A True Texas Breed - Round Top, TX

With Texas being snubbed in the BCS here is my post in response. Hook’em Horns! Yes I am biased but I think the Longhorn is by far the best college mascot in America. Why because what the longhorn stands for and the history of the Longhorn. The Longhorn was bred to be strong and resistant. It was once on the brink of extinction but came back stronger then ever. Go Horns, beat Ohio State!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Game Time - Leander, TX

High school football playoffs are winding down and many districts will crown state champions this weekend. When I first started shooting I thought shooting sports would be pretty cool and how hard could it be to point my camera at a field and get that two page shot I saw in Sports Illustrated earlier in the week. Well I was humbled and set straight pretty quickly after my first few attempts. In all however getting my feet wet by immersing my self in the sports photography realm really taught me a lot. Whether I am shooting a landscape, an event, a portrait or just a picture of my daughter, everything I learned shooting sports has transferred into all other genres. My advice, if you want to learn photography go learn to shoot sports. When shooting sports you must truly understand your camera and how it works in relation to the subject and environment you are shooting in. My favorite sports photographs are what they call the features shots or the reaction shots. Many of these take place away from the action and capture the raw emotion of sports. These are not models or actors, this is true unfettered emotion and it is easy to see why people are so passionate about sports. This shot was one from a while ago while I was shooting a high school football game in Leander. I wanted to capture the excitement of the team coming out to the field but wanted something different. You see all the same shots of the giant paper sign being held up and the players busting through. It is a great photo but you see it all the time. So for this game I decided to position myself behind the sign and to see what happened. The team was Cedar Park and they busted through the sign as normal. I fired off a few straight when they broke through but it was just amasses glob of football players. I waited a few more seconds and the photo appeared. The single player out at about the 30-yard lined had turned around to greet the other players. I fired off a few more burst and captured this keeper a new angle of a traditional scene. Two things made this shot for me. First the piece of the sign hanging down; this gives viewers just enough detail to tell what they are looking at from this new angle. Second, the player in the middle facing the camera; the contrast of the single player greeting the rest of his team as they rush the field creates a thematic element to the photograph. I am not sure if it is still there but for a while Coach Chris Ross, head coach at Cedar Park highs school had this photo hanging in his office. That alone means a lot to me, and what this photograph said to those players and coaches who played that season.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Miraculous Staircase - Santa Fe, NM

Do you believe in miracles? I do. Miracles happen all the time. It’s a reality that sometimes the unexplainable just happens. Why do we need to try and figure out why? I say let the magic of a miracle help inspire generations to go on and believe. Don’t try to rationalize or explain a miracle just embrace it for what it is. When visiting Loretto Chapel I was told the story of the staircase. This story was fascinating and it was a very inspirational story. The story goes: The Sisters of Loretto, who ran the chapel and help raise the money to build it, realized that the plans forgot to include a staircase to get from the chapel floor to the Choir loft. With all the money they had raised depleted the sisters prayed to St. Joseph for nine straight days. At the end of the prayer vigil a man showed up and told them he would build the staircase but he needed total privacy. Locked in the chapel for three months he completed a spiral staircase without the use of nails or any native wood. The design had no center supports and no banister (the banister was added later.) When finished the mysterious man vanished without payment and no one ever knew who he was. I have provided a link to the story if you would like the full version of this miraculous staircase. http://www.lorettochapel.com/history.html . Upon further research there have been other stories told about how this was done and that the identity of the carpenter is indeed known. Whatever the story truly is, I will choose to believe the one told by the Sisters of Loretto. With the Christmas season at hand the belief in miracles is important to many, so let us believe in the miracles and magic this season brings. With that said enjoy this photo of the Miraculous Staircase in Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe, NM.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Lake Georgetown Sunrise - Georgetown, TX

On Saturday morning I had a photographers dream, a 2 hr sunrise! Most times the peak time to capture a sunrise last about 15 minutes and if you are not there at the perfect moment you can forget about it. However on Saturday morning the cloud cover was just perfect and kept the beautiful colors of the sunrise in place for over two hours. I set out in my Kayak at about 7:00AM to see if I could capture the ducks leaving the roost at sunrise. However when I got there I was too late, they had already left. So I enjoyed the surroundings anyways and noticed the sunrise colors refused to leave. On my way out of the cove I was in, I saw two herons perched on the dead trees. The final HDR result from the trip is below. This shot was approximately taken around 8:30AM typically way to late to capture a sunrise.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Trees in the Windows - Georgetown, TX

Let us continue with the Christmas theme after all, tis the season! This shot was taken on the same night as the photo posted on Friday. When walking the square I noticed this scene. What grabbed my attention first was the white Christmas tree in the store window. AS I looked and thought about composing a shot my first instinct was to move forward and take a close up of this tree in the window. As I thought about it and looked at the scene I started noticing different things. First I noticed the upstairs apartment with their own tree and the warm glowing lights. Then I noticed the closed sign flipped over on one of the doors and on and on. It was then I decided this shot had to be taken at a wide angle. I wanted to capture all the different elements going on and how they contrasted with the silence and aloneness of the surroundings. In all I really enjoyed how this shot came out and how you can spend several minutes finding new things every time you look at it, but put all the elements together and you have a scene that captures the peacefulness of Christmas. As a side not this image is best viewd in a large format so to see it larger photo you can click here - http://tinyurl.com/trees-in-the-windows

Friday, December 12, 2008

Awaking the Senses - Georgetown, TX

I have read many times that night photography can be very addicting. I have not done much of it myself but the other night I found out why people say this. We had a cold snap come through town the other night and the temperature went from 80 degrees to snowing in about 6 hrs. At about 11:30 pm the snow started falling and I got in the car and drove off to see what I could capture with my camera. I decided to stop in downtown Georgetown. I was the only soul on the street; the only thing to greet me was the clanging bells of city hall signaling midnight and the touch of the snowflakes hitting my head. I am not a night owl by nature but being in a setting like this all by myself awoke ever sense I had. I could feel the cold air chilling my bones. I could hear the midnight bells toll in city hall above me. I could smell the wet snow hitting the ground. I could see the faint dusting of snow glistening off the lights of the city Christmas tree. This image will forever remind me of this night, and I now will spend many more midnight hours taking in the beauty and aloneness of the night.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The View Down Bo Brown Road - Trinity, TX

This shot was an HDR that was taken while driving down a road in Trinity Texas a small town outside of Huntsville. I was with my wife, mother-in-law and daughter on a pinecone hunt to use as Christmas decorations. We did not have to go far to find them on this road. While on the hunt I was reminded of an important lesson when looking for a scene to shoot. Turn around and look behind you every now and again. What looked one way when going one direction may look completely different if you stop turn around and look at what is now behind you. While it is the same object, same, place or same scene, it can look a whole lot better from a different angle ;)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Foggy Fence Line - Burton TX

This was one of my earlier photographs. It was shot early one morning in Burton Texas. I think this photo was sort of a self-understanding that photography was something I really enjoyed. This scene lasted for probably 15 minutes before the sun broke the horizon and burned the fog away. Knowing I had captured this 15 minutes forever with my camera made me realize that this is why photography is so addicting.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cool Sky / Warm Fire

While the sun dipped below the horizon the colors in the sky cooled and the temperature began to drop. Good thing the fire was lit to add some warmth to those around. This is the outdoor adobe fireplace on top of the Eldorado Hotel, a beautiful hotel in downtown Santa Fe. Anyone up for a warm cup of hot chocolate?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Our Lady of Light - Santa Fe, NM

I was lucky to get a chance to travel to Santa Fe New Mexico last week for a very special occasion. My sister in-law was getting married in Santa Fe at the historic Loretto Chapel. The day of the wedding I walked down to the chapel before all the festivities began and was in awe of the history and beauty of this chapel. In 1852 the Sisters of Loretto founded the Academy of our Lady of light and began construction on the chapel in 1873. There was just such a calm peace inside the chapel and I easily could have sat down in one of the pews and spent hours inside the chapel. I have seen so may awe inspiring photographs of Gothic style cathedrals and churches that I knew I had to see what I could do shooting this chapel. Just as the builders of this chapel took influence from the French Architects who designed The King Louis IX Sainte–Chappelle in Paris, my influence was from Trey Ratcliff’s HDR photograph “The Extravegance.” Trey has several great cathedral photographs and I encourage everyone to visit his blog at http://www.stuckincustoms.com/. I hope you enjoy my perspective on Loretto Chapel.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Natures Destruction and Beauty

This shot is of a tree knocked over by Hurricane Ike. It final resting spot has created a natural arch, which makes for a beautiful scene each morning as the cattle move from one pasture to the other.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Día de los Muertos

Yes this means "day of the dead" but in Mexican culture it is a celebration! Lets celebrate! This photograph was shot during the Día de los Muertos cebration in Austin Texas. One day I would like to join a family during the this Mexican celebration that occurs every year Nov 1st and 2nd to celebrate the lives of those who have passed on.

Día de los Muertos - Austin, TX

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fence Jumper

We recently moved to a new house and one of the reasons we moved was to be able to see scenes like this right out out back door. Once this doe caught wind of me she made a b-line back into the woods.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

True Classic

I am sitting in an old diner at the bar and thought this is a throwback to the classic diners. Well almost, they just moved to a trendy part of town and remodeled the whole place, but they still serve the classics, chicken fried steak, cheese burgers, and a great cup of coffee. This made me want to post the following photo of a classic F100 pickup truck, a true classic that also had been through some recent upgrades, including the truly non-era dice in the mirror. The shot was taken at the Burton Cotton Gin Festival.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

It Might Just Rain

Welcome to 50% Chance of Rain. My personal blog. If you are reading this you are one of the first. What is 50% Chance of Rain? Well in short it is my way of sharing my enjoyment of photography and at the same time sharing my work with you. What can you expect? Really who knows! ( kind of like the weather ) My goal is to update this blog with a new photo everyday and share with you details on the photograph like what it means to me and where the shot was taken. So without further ado...

Photograph #1, "It Might Just Rain"

I always get a kick out of weather forecast predictions of rain and how they impact people in planning their day. Any hint of rain and people are changing everything. I love it. The best are the local news weather teasers "should we expect rain this weekend, check back at 10 to find out!" Well heck I am going to sit here for another 30 minutes to find out we may have a 10% chance of rain. Think about if you heard 50% chance of rain more then likely you are freaking out. In most things involving statistics 50% means there is a pretty good chance it could go either way, at least this is what I gathered from my "c" in statistics. So why did I name my blog 50% chance of rain and why did I choose this as my title photograph and first photo? Because you never know what is going to happen and just when you think things look good they go bad and when they look bad they go good. Life is full of making adjustments so don't let a weatherman scare you from doing something you enjoy do it anyways and adjust if you must. This photograph was taken in Burton, Texas on a Spring afternoon as preparations began for an outdoor 4th of July party. The clouds out in the pasture seemed to be telling us an outside party may not be a good idea. Well the party went on and was enjoyed by all with just a small sprinkle to wet the grass before the fireworks went off.

It Might Just Rain - Burton, TX