Walkin’ with the G-town crew.

Gary

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!

Back-up Strategy.

fuschia.jpg

Avoiding a lose-lose situation.

When it comes to photography, I like taking pictures first, processing pictures second, and doing back-ups last. Well, that’s not entirely true… hunting for new gear is probably pretty high on my list of photographic priorities.

So, yeah, one of my least favorite parts of photography is doing back-ups. And I’m a tightwad, and I really don’t want to spend a bunch of money on annual cloud storage subscriptions. Instead I’ve invested in a series of external hard drives for mirroring my back-up system.

I also have a disaster recovery system in place with 3 bare hard drives that involves moving 2 off site on a quarterly basis.

The main part of the scheme is how I organize the files.

I create a separate folder for each batch of photos based on camera and date. Each batch folder contains 4 subfolders, one for the original files, another folder for processed files, one for images sized for web use, and one for images sized for web use that are watermarked.

As I mentioned above, the top level folder is named using date and camera, and to make the folders easy to sort numerically I start with the year, then the month, then the day, with a dot between. Like so > 2017.06.04

The camera used, again separated by a dot, follows > 2017.06.04.lx100

The four folders within this main folder are named originals, processed, sized, and branded.

The original files I leave untouched.

The processed files have been opened in Photoshop, tweaked to taste, then titled.

The sized files are knocked down to 72 ppi and roughly 900 to 1200 pixels in width, depending on orientation.

The branded images are just sized files with an added watermark, placed 20 pixels from the bottom of the image and centered.

file structure

At least once a month I copy files to the other hard drives. Once a quarter I swap the off-site drives.

I also do complete card dumps on 5 external hard drives. I often go back and look through those archives to see if I missed any gems, like the Fucshia at the top of this post, originally posted in July of 2006. It’s one of my most popular shots on Flickr and a shot that I initially passed on, only to go back a few weeks later and rediscover. You never know what gems you may have overlooked.

Taking flight.

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Discoveries.

From around 10 years ago, found while sifting through the archives.

I don’t always see the good in an image ’til later. In this case, much later.

I love how the eye is lead from bottom to top, in a clockwise semi-circle, with the last flower barely visible in the blown-out background.

It’s like the little blossoms are lining up for take off.

Shooting people.

Cool hat

Have a seat, please.

The night before, I’d attended a talk by George Brainard. George is an Austin, TX portrait photographer who, among other things, spoke about seeking to connect with his subjects, develop trust, hopefully allowing them to reveal their true selves. When you look at the shots in his book it’s clear he succeeds with this strategy.

I’ve taken plenty of portraits over the years, but I was inspired to make as many TtV portraits as I could at the Lonestar Round Up on the Friday following that talk.

And, I tried something new with portraiture this time around. I’d been planning on experimenting with this particular notion for a while. When I make TtV portraits at car shows the shots mostly have an upward angle to them because the subject is standing and my TtV rig is at waist level, and if I get close enough, the resulting picture includes a pretty good view up my subject’s nostrils. Not always pretty!

Not long ago I purchased an inexpensive Coleman folding camp stool from Amazon. It’s very light, but sturdy, and it’s just the right height for folks to sit on while I get the shot.

An added bonus is I can sit on the thing to get low angle shots of any subject and not have the hassle of dealing with my achy knees. All that crazy skateboarding in the 70s trashed my hips, too. I’m really starting to feel it in my old age.

So each time I approached my subject, I had to pretty much explain what I was up to. The TtV. The angle of attack on their nose hairs. And where the chair comes in. To my surprise, only one person declined to have their portrait made.

Sure, it adds one more thing to carry, but I’m really happy with the results. I’m even thinking about getting that little stool’s legs pinstriped! 8^)

Oh, yeah… I also made a few hot rod shots while I was at it. Kinda’ hard not to!

Ten years before.

2007.05.26.purple-petals-sized

One slippery little devil.

I made the above picture 10 years ago, to the day. I used a Samsung NV11 point-and-shoot. 10.1 megapixels. Schneider-Kreuznach 2.8 lens. Awesome macro capability.

It was a pocket-sized little guy that I really liked. The “Smart Touch” interface was quite unique, with user navigation menus and control functions accessed by sliding a finger across multiple buttons that surrounded the 2.7 inch display. Weird but cool.

I got some decent shots with that little guy.

Sadly, it didn’t last very long. The NV11 body only had one connecting lug for a wrist strap. I’m a neck strap kinda’ guy.

I dropped it twice, but it kept working. The third drop killed it.

I have a Nikon P300 that has the same 1-lug problem. I’ve had it for 6 years. Another great little point-and-shoot. I attached a Hakuba Neck Strap to the lug… it’s actually more like a lanyard with a detachable clip that uses a thin nylon string loop. Although it’s no longer available, there are plenty of alternatives available that serve the same purpose.

I’m happy to report the P300 has yet to hit the ground.

New beginnings.

leaf

Turning over an old leaf.

I’ve been blogging, photo blogging that is, off and on since 2004. Mostly just pictures. Sometimes words.

I’m living in a different location these days, recently retiring and leaving Silicon Valley. I loved living in California, but it’s just too damn expensive.

That means new experiences. New people in my life. New routines. New things around me to shoot.

I’m making lots of pictures these days. It’s taken me almost 2 full years to get to a point where I’m as active with my photography as I was back around 2009-10.

Feels pretty damned good.