Not quite Spring.

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Felt like it, though.

I spent the first Saturday morning of February walking around Zilker Botanical Gardens in Austin. Around 10 folks showed up for Simi’s PhotowalksATX gathering.

There were a few familiar faces – Greg, George, Ed, Ana – and a few folks I’d not met before – Justin, Derrick, Another Ed, Scott – and some folks whose names I did not get nor hear.

It was a beautiful Winter morning in the garden.

It was a beautiful Winter morning in the garden. A little chilly to start, but by the time folks were heading to lunch, it’d warmed up nicely.

It was my first visit to Zilker Gardens. Beautiful grounds. It has a lot of nice winding, gently sloped, paved paths, for ADA compliance I’m guessing, but there were also steps to use. Thoughtful.

I brought along the Sony RX100 III, my trusty Panasonic Lumix LX100, and it was my first outing with the Fujifilm XQ1.

There were a few paper whites popping out of the ground, and rose blossoms, pansies, and a few other flowers, but since it’s the dead of winter, mostly palms, ferns, and well, just a whole lot of green.

… it was my first outing with the Fujifilm XQ1.

Entrance into the gardens was $7 US for me, a senior, but that included parking. Not bad really.

There was a beautiful waterfall in one section of the gardens that I’m pretty sure everyone got a shot of… my picture was a little off-center, but it managed to catch a little cool lookin’ sun flare.

I was so busy focusing on getting into the gardens that I didn’t notice the front entrance gates, but the Rose Garden Gate on the north side of the property was something to behold. The only reference to the artist that I could find online was Lars Stanley and Louis Herrera.

Lunch was at Schlotsky’s on South Lamar. There weren’t as many folks as on the walk, but it was still a good crowd.

Simi’s photo strolls are always awesome.

The real deal.

Pipe and glasses

A grey (and blue) morning @ ISO 400.

It’s been a while since I’ve shot film – I don’t mean Polaroid, Fuji peel-apart, or even Instax instant stuff. I’m talkin’ real-deal film. You know, 35mm or 120 – so it felt pretty good to get some shots earlier this month to post this week for the Shitty Camera Challenge.

As mentioned in a previous post, Battleground 1863 was a pretty nifty event and I had a great time wandering around the camp. The weather was semi-cooperative, with temps in the low 50s accompanied by a misty fog. Great for ISO 400 film.

That little Argus 520 did an admirable job, all things considered. Plus it was a great conversation starter with the guys dressed in uniform for the reenactment and many of them shared stories about old cameras and camera collections.

Here are nine shots from that 24 exposure roll of XP2 Super that I’m kinda’ partial to…

 

Polka. Polka. Polka.

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The Fifth First Annual Polkapocalypse.

I’ve long been a fan of the accordion, in spite of the fact that I was forced as a young child to take lessons, as was my sister! The squeezebox we used back then still exists and is in the hands of my good friend Marty K. It’s so tiny!

Playing the accordion is somewhat of a tradition in my mostly German family, so I got to hear a lot of polka songs growing up. Not a bad thing, really.

One of the first events I discovered after moving to Central Texas was the Polkapocalyspe at the Elisabet Ney Museum near East 45th and Avenue G in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Austin, Texas. The concert is co-sponsored by another Central Texas non-profit, Texas Folk Life.

I was first taken by the awesome graphic design used to promote the event – an illustration of a skeleton wearing a sombrero, playing an accordion – using typography entirely suitable for Halloween, or more likely, Dia de los Muertos.

The 2018 event fell on Sunday, October 28 which just happened to be one of the prettiest days we’ve had this Fall. With temperatures in the low-mid 80s, it was perfect weather for a free outdoor concert. The fest ran from noon to 5:30 p.m.

The drive down to Austin was painless and I got there early enough to easily find a parking spot just a few steps away from the corner lot where the concert was happening.

Specs | Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 + Olympus 12-40 ƒ2.8 PRO

I walked around the corner lot first, checking out the lay of the land and picking up a museum t-shirt while snapping a few pictures. I returned to the Escape to drop off the shirt, then walked over to the museum for a quick look-see.

After 20 minutes or so of wandering around inside and exploring both floors, I headed back to the concert, which was just starting.

There were a number of partnering vendors situated around the open field, but I spotted one vendor right in the middle of the action, in the shade, with a screen printing apparatus, printing t-shirts with the Polkapocalyspe branding. I stood in line for one of them. Well worth the wait. Pretty cool.

I got quite a few portraits, using the GX8 paired with the new-to-me 12-40mm ƒ2.8.

Even though I had some success, in retrospect I should have brought along my adjustable neutral density filter and a tripod. Next time…

 

Cruisin’ Central Texas farm country.

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Beyersville BBQ & 17th Annual Lonestar Round Up

I mixed it up a little this year, taking in the Beyersville Hall BBQ just south of Taylor, an annual tradition that happens before the main event, but out in the boonies!

It was last Thursday, April 5 and very well attended. Lots of cool cars to gawk at and man, was that line for BBQ long!

I took the TtV rig this trip. It’s been a while since shooting with it and as usual, I got to explain the whole operation to a few curious folks catching my act.

The next day I headed south on SH130, arriving at the Travis County Expo Center around 11 a.m. The Lonestar Round Up is my favorite car show, at least so far. It certainly is the largest gathering I’ve seen. Maybe even bigger that the Good Guys shows I attended in Northern California all those years.

At LSRU I used the GX8, the LX100, and the Fujifilm Instax SQ10. A good mix, I think.

Snapped a few keepers…

 

In your face.

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Making portraits.

It’s been noted that I have absolutely no problems sticking my cameras in people’s noses. This I can not dispute, and since I’m really not much of a studio shooter, most of the portraits I’ve made are street shots.

The folks I’ve approached are mostly strangers, but a few friends, co-workers, and acquaintances have agreed to let me get in their grill.

I’ve been contemplating entering my work in juried exhibitions and I spotted a call for entries at the A Smith Callery over in Johnson City, about an hour and twenty minute drive from here. The theme for this exhibition was “Portraits” and I spent a little time going through my Flickr stream looking at and deciding which shots I thought might be competitive.

I pulled out a good number of faves, but ultimately decided against entering. The cost was a bit out of my comfort zone and budget. I’m retired, on a fixed income. I really have to think long and hard about how I spend.

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Looking Back

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Eleanor

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Al

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Nikki

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Diana

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Tine

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Molly

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Lindsey

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Rob and Tad

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Andrew

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Shades, stars, and beard

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Colorful ribbons

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George K

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Buddy

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Hair

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Angie

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Erin

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Scotty

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Molly

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Mona Lisa Smile

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Marek

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Diana

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Smooch

Walkin’ with the G-town crew.

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A stroll around Pioneer Farms.

I had a great time today participating in a PhotowalksGTX adventure at Pioneer Farms in North Austin. David Valdez lead the Georgetown crew and for as hot as it was, we were 10 strong for this outing. There were even a few folks from the PhotowalksATX crowd in attendance.

Pioneer Farms is really pretty cool. There are six themed historic areas open to self-guided walking tours and in between the heat of the morning sun we were able to take momentary and inspirational refuge in historical buildings and shady wooded areas along the trail that cuts through some 90 acres. A lot of good picture making!

We shared the trail with other groups, young families, and a few older folk, as well.

I got to see a Longhorn up close today, another Texas first. 8^)

There was so much to see and photograph and conversation is always easy with folks interested in photography. I enjoyed this particular photowalk quite a bit.

A hat-tip to David for having a cooler filled with ice-cold bottled water waiting for us at the end of the walk. Quite refreshing and oh so welcome!