Friday, July 30, 2010

Inside the Dome - Austin, TX

The Texas State Capitol is such a great place to visit. You take it for granted sometimes if you live in and around Austin but I would encourage everyone in the area to visit if you have not been in awhile. To me this is one of the last true public places. The capitol takes extra steps to preserve being able to walk openly around the building. Heck if you have a concealed hand gun license you can even walk inside with your gun. The steps of the capitol are used on many occasions for people of all walks to speak their mind openly and freely like it should be. This photo is from the second floor looking out across the open rotunda. Inside the walls are lined with portraits of all the past governors of Texas. the detail and architecture of this capitol building has no rival not even the nations capitol. I have even been told the Texas Capitol dome is actually larger the the dome on the US Capitol.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Night Flyer - Trinity, TX

My little girl had always wanted to see a"real live owl" out in the country we hear them a lot but could never see them. One night out near Trinity we had a family member hear one up in a tree near by. We got some flashlights out and found this little guy perched up in the tree. Needless to say my daughter was thrilled. For the lighting on this I had someone hold a speed light about 5 feet to my left and point it up to the tree. I powered it down to about 3/4s power and underexposed by a quarter stop on the in camera meter to get a more balanced softer light. By moving the flash off camera I can avoid the deer in headlight look. Getting a photo of an owl in the wild at night was also a first for me so I was just as thrilled as my daughter in the end. Feel free to let me know what type of owl this is in the comments.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunset From the Congress Bridge - Austin, TX

Here is another photograph from last weeks downtown photowalk. Shooting cityscapes is not something I shoot a lot of most of my work these days are from away from the big cities and shooting cities presents a new set of challenges. The biggest one I find is creating pleasing compositions. Cities are so full of dissecting lines and objects that slice your frame up into a disorganized mess. When photographing a cityscape be sure to pay special attention to this as the slightest item in the wrong place in your frame could ruin your image.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

This is Austin - Austin, TX

I enjoyed a nice photo walk with the Austin SMUG meetup group last night and met some great folks. What is a SMUG Meetup group you ask? Well I was fortunate to connect with the great folks over at SmugMug and when they said they were going to launch a users group in Austin I eagerly volunteered to lead it. We meet once a month and just talk photography. We have great speakers like Jay Janner and Trey Ratcliff who have already come to speak and we have many more lined up in the near future. For July we decided to take what we have learned and hit the streets with our cameras. We walked down Congress Avenue and I saw this wall mural off on a side Street. I decided to go check it out when I saw this great turquoise scooter parked right in front. It made for a great frontal subject against the mural and I took some photos. The crazy eclectic art and the energy efficient scooter is what Austin is all about. An eclectic liberal population right in the heart of Texas. Austin as a whole is a stark contrast to the majority of Texas but that is what makes it special. Its great to venture downtown and get a taste of the Austin scene. If photography in any sense inspires you come out to the next Austin Smug. I guarantee you will enjoy it and learn something new. Also if you want to see more about what SmugMug is all about I have some links over on the right side of my blog including a $5 off coupon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just Another Texas Weed - La Grange, TX

In our yards we pull them, we spray the, we wack them we do everything we can to keep them away. Very seldom do we actually ever see what they look like in full bloom. That is unless you meander out of the yard and out onto the trails. So what separates a weed from a flower? Scientifically nothing, it is just a beauty designation. Kind of like a squirrel is nothing more than a rat with a fluffy tail. These flowers by all accounts to most people would be nothing more than an unsightly weed. The flower on top however was just as beautiful as any flower in a well kept garden. if you are in Austin tomorrow night don't forget to join the Austin SMUG group for our July photowalk down Congress Ave. We are meeting on the south steps of the capitol at 7PM and will make our way toward the river for sunset and drinks at the Cedar Door. All the details can be found on our meetup page. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Corn Rows - Taylor, TX

So if I mention Lebron James and the Miami Heat should my SEO go up? Hmm lets see. As a University of Texas alumni I have to think about what is going through Dexter Pittman's head right now. As it stands he went from one of his worst seasons at UT to being the starting center on paper with James, Wade and Bosh.

Ohh well enough of that. The picture below is of a cornfield along a small farm road in Taylor Texas. Taylor Texas is just east of the Austin Area and is such a stark contrast to the city lights of Austin. A few short minutes north east of Austin you leave the city streets and big buildings and enter a world that seems like it should be far far away located somewhere closer to Nebraska. Acre after acre as far as the eye can see is filled with corn stalks as high as the roofs on the houses. Driving down the roads your eyes can get lost and dizzy following the perfectly planted rows of corn. I drive through this are quite a bit but have always been waiting for the perfect summer blue skies and white puffy clouds to make a photograph. The other day this situation presented itself and I took this picture.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Texas Rattler - Waco, TX

For full disclosure this guy was safely behind a pane of glass when I shot this photo at the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco. If Texas had a state snake I think the Western Diamondback Rattle snake would make a good candidate. He looks pretty tough, will stand his ground, and if push comes to shove packs a mean punch! Hope everyone had a good long weekend.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

4th of July - Round Top, TX

Today's post is not about photographs but rather simply a celebration of the country I call home. Today is July 4th which is Americas birthday. A celebration of our independence, and our core values that make the United States great! "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" The photos today were taken in Round Top Texas this morning. Round Top is a small town known for antiques and good food. The population doesn't break 100 but yet they have hosted the longest continually running fourth of July parade west of the Mississippi. Yeah I could have spent the fourth in a big city like Austin, Dallas or Houston and probably seen a marvelous fireworks display but to me this is what the fourth is all about! Everyone here was there for one reason to celebrate America. To our surprise there was another quite significant person in Texas who also thought this would be a good place to celebrate. We were honored to learn that the Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, was going to act as Grand Marshall. I took the first photo during his speech and the second as he waved to our daughter along the parade route. The third was actually taken a few years back at the same parade of one of the Round Top Brass Band players as he wailed away with another classic patriotic song. Tonight we will head over to the birthplace of Texas, Washington on the Brazos where another declaration of Independence was signed. The Texas declaration of Independence from Mexico and take in some fireworks just as grand and just as big as the big city. Happy 4th everyone!