Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sunset on 2009 - Burton Texas

Tonight the sun will set on 2009 and it was indeed a crazy ride but one I will indeed remember. I was very fortunate and blessed in 2009 and I know that for many 2009 was a tough and uncertain year. I had quite a bit of uncertainty myself and at time I wasn't really sure where the year would lead. But with faith family and friends 2009 comes to an end and I look forward to 2010. Thanks everyone for the support, love, and laughs this year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

December Sunset - Burton, TX

Hey All! I went offline a while as we celebrated Christmas's with the family and then headed out to the country where Internet is hard to find. It gave me some time to make a lot of photos and also get in some fishing. It was some much needed time to relax and I am happy to say I have a lot more down time to go before I have to head back to work. This is going to be nice! This photo was shot out in Burton Texas the day after Christmas. There was a nice cold chili in the air it almost appeared as if frost was starting to form on the ground. The beautiful sunset lent itself to some nice photo ops so I took advantage. I hope everyone had a nice Christmas and are getting ready for 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Expect Magic - Georgetown, TX

Wow I can't believe it is already Christmas eve! We all know the true meaning of Christmas but it has become so much more in recent history. While our family always tries to instill the real meaning I think it is just important for children to understand that Christmas is a time of magic, wonderment, and amazement. This is what makes Christmas so special for children. We always tell our daughter to expect magic! Today on Christmas eve we witnessed magic manifest itself in a big way. We were all inside enjoying the children's Christmas eve service it was great as the children were all dressed up as angels and shepperds and animals. At the end of the service murmurs quickly spread through the chapel and you started hearing the laughter and joy in the children's voices. It spread all the way until we finally heard what was being said. "SNOW" It was snowing and not just a few flakes it was coming down hard. Eyes were upward tongues were out and everyone was outside with amazement in their faces. Young and old alike. Now I don't have an almanac or anything but I have to think this may be one of the only times ever it has snowed in Georgetown Texas on Christmas eve. It was pure MAGIC! Tonight the rest of the Magic will happen and children will be filled with amazement again! Merry Christmas everyone and remember not only the true meaning but the meaning for children and how it shapes our minds and memories.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Favorite Images of 2009

Below I present to you a short 4 minute slide show of the Images I chose as my "2009 Best Of" So enjoy the short recap of some of my favorite images of 2009 and while you watch think about 2009 and ask yourself , "What was my best of..."

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Birthplace of Texas - Washington, TX

On the surface there is not much to this simple room with wooden floors and a wooden table set atop some old barrels. But underneath there is a piece of Texas history as big as the state. This photo is of the inside of a reconstructed replica of the hall in which 59 men gathered to draft and sign a declaration of Independence from Mexico on March 2nd 1836 in the small town of Washington. While Santa Anna was just beginning his siege of the Alamo these 59 men signed their name to a piece of paper that made Texas a sovereign nation. I always enjoy historic sites as I try to take myself back to the day in history and put myself there as if I was watching the events unfold in real life. As I was standing inside I thought about the day the convention opened and how a unusual cold snap blew through in which the temperature dropped to 33 degrees and all the delegates had to cover the windows and doors were pieces of cotton cloth to tack over the openings. Everyone there knew exactly what they were doing and the history they were setting in motion. Working throughout the day and night the delegates declared independence and drafted a Constitution and Texas the Nation was born.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

County Seat Christmas - Georgetown, TX

The Williamson County Courthouse has dawned its Christmas wardrobe for the season. I captured this photo at sunset tonight using a 5 bracket HDR. This weekend starts the beginning of a three week Christmas for me as the family jaunts across Texas for a different family Christmas each weekend through new years day. It has also dawned on me that my chance for Christmas shopping is closing fast. I have always seemed to wait until the last minute and I am sure this year will be no different.

Sunrise on the Border - Big Bend, TX

I have posted this photo before but wanted to get a post up today since it has been so long. Not sure why I chose this one but it is one of my early favorites. It did remind me however of a question asked at tonight's Austin SMUG photographer meetup. We had Trey Ratcliff as our guest speaker and he was asked his favorite time to shoot. e decided it was at sunset and afterward we talked about it some more and debated with a few other photographers sunrise or sunset. No one really won this debate but I thought well here is an argument for sunrise. the argument against. I am not an early morning person so I have very few sunrise shots but if every sunrise was like this I bet I could readjust my internal clock some. Instead here I am at 2:30 in the morning writing on my blog!

Tonight was a great event and I can't say enough thanks to Trey and all the folks over at SmugMug especially Candice Cunningham, who came all the way in from California to help us launch this Austin group. All my photos on 50%Chance of Rain are hosted by SmugMug at my MJS Photography Gallery and I have nothing but good things to say about their service and their people. I hope to see you at the next meeting Jan 20th. Information on this group can be found at this Meetup Link

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sculpted by Nature - Colorado Bend, TX

I have been looking at quite a few photographs over the past few days. I am always inspired and amazed at the beauty these photographers capture. Sometime however I think it is nature itself that is the true artist. When shooting alongside Gorman Falls in Colorado Bend State park I was drawn to this section of the falls by the fascinating elements all interacting. The water was the force that created the scene but each element added its own touch and stood on its own. It was as if there was a gallery of natures art right in front of me. Like the abstract sculpture built on top of a log or the the rich purple tapestry draped along the walls, these elements kept my eyes moving from one place to the next. Nature is the best art gallery there is and with my camera I will continue to try and visit it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Driskill Christmas Tree - Austin, TX

I had a great time last night talking photography at the Driskill Hotel. With some great Austin Photographers like Alex Suarez, Dave Wilson, and Trey Ratcliff who was the reason we all came together last night to celebrate the launch of his new book A World in HDR now on sale at Amazon. Part of his event was a photo walk and competition inside the Driskill Hotel. Whats at stake is a $500 prize and the use of their favorite photo to be used by the Driskill as the 2010 Christmas Card. Here is my entry and if this does not get you in the Christmas mood I don't know what will. To see all the entries go to the Driskill Fan Page on facebook some great photographers were there so I expect to see some amazing work! Not sure if the gallery is up yet but sure it will be soon.

Speaking of contest only a few more days to vote in the 2009 photoblog awards. Not sure I am going to make it to the finals but I really do want to thank everyone who took the time to vote. After only 1 year, this blog made the top15 nominees in the Americas region. That means a lot to me.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The Valley Below - Eagle County, CO

The below image was shot from the base of Mt. Powell in Eagle county looking back over the valley of Piney Lake. This was such a beautiful place to take images but to get the ones other people don't you have to be willing to go the extra mile and in this case 4. Anyone can pull over in their car and snap an image at a scenic overlook but to get to places others don't you have to get their the old fashioned way, by foot. I talked about this hike in previous post but this image gives you a good idea of the length. It started down by the last little sliver of water you see as you follow along the stream. That piece of water is the tiny bit of Piney Lake still visible as you get to the end of the trail. Also if you are still interested in hearing Trey Ratcliff speak you need to hurry up and RSVP for the Austin SMUG on Dec 16th. We had 100 spots open and only have 40 left. You can RSVP here.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fall Mountain Hike - Eagle County, CO

Enjoying a nice Friday away from work today. It is nice to take a vacation day for no real reason other than to get away for awhile. It made me think back to the week this fall in Colorado and how nice it was out there. Hiking in the Rockies is so peaceful and enjoyable. Traversing through the mountains on single track trails with no one else around can be very cathartic. When I set off on a hike I always give myself plenty of time because hikes are so much more enjoyable if you can stop every now again and soak in your surroundings. This was a perfect place to stop as I came out of one grove of aspens into a clearing and saw the sun lighting the top of the mountains. The trail ahead of me was taking me there and it was as if the sun was lighting my final destination. I did know however that the clouds were beautiful now bu those thick clouds meant possible rain and cold temperatures right around the corner so I took in the blue sky and warm sun while I could. Happy Friday, Go Longhorns! and don't forget to RSVP for the Austin SMUG with Trey Ratcliff.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Stroll - Grapevine, TX

How quickly things go from fall thoughts of turkey and gravy to Christmas wishes and shopping. Its as if the Friday after thanksgiving someone throws a giant switch and the lights around the country go up almost like magic and shine every night through Christmas. This shot was taken last Friday on this magic day. There is no better Christmas image to me then a busy small town street bustling with activity as people go about the night.

I want to also let all the Austin folks who follow my blog that I have been busy planning and finalizing details for a new group here in Austin. One of my great partners SmugMug helps form and put together groups of photographers for informal get together where we chat, talk shop and listen to some great speakers share their creativity and photography wisdom. Today with the Help of SmugMug we launched the Austin SMUG. (Smug Mug Users Group) At the launch we welcome photographers of all levels to join us for a chat with world renowned HDR photographer Trey Ratcliff. The event takes place Dec 16th at the University of Texas Executive Conference Center and it should be a packed house. More details and where to RSVP can be found here.