Austin reflected

Like any photographer in his home town, I have a handful of “go to” spots that I love to shoot from.  In my experience, you start out hitting as many spots as possible when you are new to photography (and the list of places you want to get to in your hometown never stops growing) but over time you develop a fondness for a few key spots.  This is one of mine.  I go back as often as I can.

The Colorado River runs through Austin, and we dam it up in several spots to form lakes.  This section is called Lady Bird Lake, but was previously known as Town Lake (and that’s what old-timers like me still call it).  As you can see, this section runs right next to the downtown skyline, which is why I like it.  I love shooting reflections, especially in HDR, and this is the best place for it in town.

You can find all my favorite spots around Austin here on my list.  Enjoy!

Sunset in Austin

I just realized that my last 3 shots that I posted here are all from Europe, as are a large portion of my previous shots over the last little while.  In fact, my Europe category here on the blog has grown considerably over the last year or so, and is nearing 200 photos.  Obviously, I have been going to Europe a lot, and taking a lot of pictures there.  But also, I am a total Europhile.  I can’t help it - I just love the continent and everything about it that I have encountered thus far.

This got me thinking about how much of it I have seen.  So far, I have been to 14 countries in Europe, but not all as a photographer.  Some of these were visited when my wife and I quit our jobs and spent 2 months backpacking around over there, which was back in 2001.  And yes, it was as awesome as it sounds, in case you were wondering.  :-)

In the last couple of years I have been back several times, and with my love of photography, I have tried to do it justice.  I will keep trying, and keep sharing photos from there, because I have a massive amount of shots still to get to.

But, I also have a lot of shots to share from other places, some as far away as downtown Austin, about 20 minutes from my house.  That’s where I grabbed this photo, looking westward along Town Lake (which is now renamed Lady Bird Lake) into a fabulous sunset.  Sometimes, you can capture beauty right around the corner, instead of halfway around the world.

Sunset in Austin

I love the Austin skyline.  I think it’s very photogenic, especially when you are on the banks of Lady Bird Lake and get the reflections and lights twinkling in the water.  Normally I am aiming my camera to the larger part of the skyline, which is out of frame to the right.  You can see that pic here.

But in this instance, the sunset was producing some nice color out West which was in this direction, so I swung the camera around and aimed this way for a shot.  This probably makes Austin seem small, but the town has grown a lot over the years, and people keep coming here.  

As a result, the skyline is vastly different from what it was just a few short years ago.  But in my opinion, the skyline has actually improved as these new buildings have gone up. If nothing else, it’s more stuff to aim a camera at!

Sunset on Lady Bird Lake

On Friday last week, I went out to go shoot downtown Austin with a couple of my photo friends, Andy Atmtx and Kay Gaensler.  Andy is a local Austinite, but Kay and his wife were in town from Germany of all places, so it’s always fun to meet up with folks from halfway around the world.  Usually it seems I am the one traveling and meeting up with the locals, but this time around I was the host.  It was great!

We met up downtown and walked over to shoot the Texas State Capitol, which everyone wants to see normally, for good reason.  It’s an impressive place for sure.  After that, we wandered down towards Lady Bird Lake for sunset and blue hour shooting.  Just as we were arriving, this fabulous sunset was coming together.  Nothing like great timing!  Glad we had great light that night!

iPhone fun on a lake run

The Colorado River runs through downtown Austin, and we dam it up in a few places to make some nice lakes. The main one is Lady Bird Lake, but only new people call it that.  It's Town Lake to me, and always will be...but I've been here a while.  Anyways, we have a really nice trail around it for running and biking, and you can always find folks out on the water kayaking, rowing, and stand-up-paddleboarding.  Austin is like that - we enjoy our outdoor activities, even with oppressive heat in the summer.  

I was down there a couple of times over the last week or so, and of course had the iPhone I grabbed a few shots.  Hope you enjoy the photos, and thanks for stopping by today!


Hyatt Regency Austin

I was going through my archives and came across this shot, so I thought I would share it.  This is the Hyatt Regency on Lady Bird Lake, here in Austin.  It's an old-ish hotel but has a great location (obviously!) and they are well known for their fajitas in their restaurant - I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!   Mmmmm....fajitas.

I took this back in September of last year, as I was walking across the bridge and heading to the hotel. Thomas Hawk was in town, and he was hosting a mammoth photo walk that morning, and we were all to meet there in the lobby.  It was a great time and in addition to meeting Thomas, I got to hang out with some of my local photo buddies and meet new ones that day too.  It was a great start to a Saturday!!

New beginnings

Well, it is official: I have upgraded my camera gear and now have a full frame Nikon D700, plus the 14-24 wide angle, 28-300 zoom, and even picked up an 85mm prime for the fun of it!

This has been a long time coming for me.  I decided about a year ago to upgrade to the D700, but around the same time started reading the rumors about the pending D800.  It sounded fabulous (and still does) but like many other folks, I have waited...and waited...and waited.  Everyone is still waiting.  I can no longer wait on a “maybe”.  So, recently I pulled the trigger and am incredibly glad that I did.  Honestly, I don’t even need all the stuff the D800 is rumored to have anyways, and it sounds like it will be pricey too.

So, since I just got all this new stuff, I was chomping at the bit to test it in the field.  I was able to get out early on Sunday morning last weekend, and fire off some shots with the D700.  My first impression can be summed up in 1 word: WOW!  This thing screams.  It’s fast, the ISO is amazing, and being able to squeeze off shots in a rapid-fire bracket is the greatest thing ever!  I feel like I have a new lease on life...well, my photographic life that is.  By the way, I would add that the 14-24 is so incredibly wide.  It really is a massive difference from what I was shooting before.

Here is version 1 of the sunrise over Austin last Sunday morning...see version 2 below and let me know which one you prefer, please!

And here is version 2 of the sunrise over Austin last Sunday morning...which do you like better?

Anyways, thanks for stopping by and having a look at my shots today, I appreciate it! 

Blue hour in Austin

This is a follow up to an image I posted a couple of weeks back.  I got up early on a Sunday morning and went downtown to shoot before it got too bright and too hot.  Fortunately I was in place when the blue hour arrived, and was able to get some nice shots of the skyline during that magical light.   I do love shooting during blue hour and think the light is even better than sunset.  The tall building on the left (not the towering one behind it) is called The Ashton and the 20th floor balcony on the left side is where I spent 4th of July evening shooting the fireworks.  I have some cool shots from up there coming soon!

Bokeh on the 4th

I usually don't post this many pics in a day, but since these are all related to the 4th of July I wanted to bunch them together and get them all posted pretty close together.  This is from the 20th floor of a residential tower in downtown Austin, looking south across the river at the Hyatt Regency (for all you Austin folks).  I like bokeh and like to experiment with what I call "pure blur" or a completely unfocused image.  It works really well I think at blue hour, and when you can toss in some water and twinkly lights, it comes out pretty sweet.  This was just a short bit before the fireworks show began...

Cherish the silence

I frequently find myself at this bridge when I am downtown in Austin with camera in hand.  In this case, I had it to myself.  It was my bridge, at least for some quiet moments.  There is a silence that exists in busy towns, but you can only find it when you are up and moving about early on a weekend.  I never seem to experience it  at other times - it's elusive like that.  I was happy to find it the morning I took this shot.  Usually Lady Bird Lake is full of folks in boats of one sort or another, but not on this morning.  It was weird, but I liked it.