Polka. Polka. Polka.

Event sign

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…

 

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!

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!