Practiced capturing some motion “stuff” during a recent-ish photowalk on the University of Texas campus. I think the red blur and subtle wheel-spinning pattern from the passing SUV adds to the photo. To shoot this I set my aperture to f/22, pre-focused on the far lane and switched to manual focus, used some test shots to pick a shutter speed, and then panned with the next bus which came by.
The shot above didn’t turn out quite as cool as I’d hoped but it’s fun nonetheless. While out on a photo walk on the University of Texas campus I set up my camera on my tripod as the photographer crowd gathered on the steps of the UT Tower. As people milled around I captured shots in a semi-regular cadence. My idea was to capture people in different positions and mask them together in Photoshop. When I uploaded my photos to my computer it turned out that I really didn’t capture enough frames. For example, look at the guy in the red jacket. He probably wandered all around the scene but in reality I only capture him in a few spots. There are a couple of people who did appear in widely varied positions around the scene.
The photo above was captured at the base of the UT Tower, a prominent 307-foot building on the University of Texas campus. A couple other views of the UT Tower are shown below.
When we told my sister-in-law — twenty-two-ish years ago — that we were moving to Texas the first thing out of her mouth was, “Oh great, now your kids are going to have big heads!”. Turns out she was right as most of us pretty much love living in Texas. Truth be told, we would be happy living anywhere since life is more about the people around you than the place itself. In fact, not many years ago we passed on an opportunity to move the family to a place my wife had always dreamed of living. Her words: “This [Austin] is home now.” The pride of Texans is manifest in many ways. First, I’ve never been to a state where the state flag flies as much as it does here. People sport “Native Texan” tattoos and bumper stickers. Some transplants (not me) display bumper stickers which say “I wasn’t born in Texas but I got here as quick as I could”.
So, March 2nd was Texas Independence Day and I really didn’t plan on posting anything. However, in the wee hours of this morning — wide awake after a 2 am run to Walgreens for chicken pox relief potions for my son — I found some unprocessed pictures like the one above that I had taken on the way back to my truck after a recent photowalk on the University of Texas campus.
Some brief tidbits: Six national flags have flown over Texas (the origin of the “Six Flags” amusement park name). They were the Spanish, French, Mexican, Republic of Texas, Confederate, and now the US flag.
Texas is a huge state in land area — far larger than California which is the next largest in the lower 48. My big Texas head is not so large that I don’t get a good laugh at an Alaskan saying, “We were going to divide Alaska into two states but we didn’t want to make Texas the third largest”. That’s a pretty good put-down for too-proud Texans IMO
Texas also has very distinct geographical areas. When we lived in Illinois we constantly saw TV ads which used a slogan along the lines of “Texas — It’s like a whole other country.” Frankly, it’s true in many ways. We grew up equating Texas with tumbleweeds but I probably lived in Texas 15 years before I ever saw one. The regions range from plains in the north to hill country in the middle to plains and river valleys in the south. There are piney forests in the east to mountains in the west. The coastal plains with their fertile black soil are pretty much like the fields in Illinois.
I think we’ll stay a while.
My daughter and I recently took up the task of doing a daily shooting assignment handed out by the folks at http://dailyshoot.com. I’m finding many benefits to this:
- Simple ideas that challenge me to increase my photography skills.
- A project to do with my daughter
- Accountability (sort of)
Regarding the last point, while I have an assignment so to speak, I don’t *have* to complete it if I’m not interested in a particular one or if other obligations rule the day. I can put as much or as little effort into it as I’d like. I usually make a sincere effort to put thought into the idea and execution of an assignment. This includes thinking about ideas before pulling out the camera. Sometimes I never get time to actually set up and execute my planned shot and settle for something quick, but I believe that even just going through the thought process grows my creative skills.
Today’s @dailyshoot assignment was to take a photo that illustrates the coming of spring (for those of us in the northern hemisphere). Immediately upon reading the assignment I knew that I wanted to capture an image with a redbud tree as they are in full bloom this time of year. Since I had to get up at dark o’clock to help the family get off to Colorado, I decided to head out before the sunrise to work on another photo project I have going. This brought me near the Capitol so I decided to use it as a backdrop for my redbud shot. The shot above is one of my favorites and I hope you like it too.
Another favorite shot was from the assignment to make an image of something being made or fabricated. For a while I couldn’t come up with anything interesting but suddenly I remembered the longbow I had been making. I arranged the bow and tools on my workbench and sprinkled some of the sawdust around. I played with different perspectives and compositions. A friend had loaned my a couple of lights so I even spent time working on lighting angles and balance. I ended up with a very satisfying shot — I made the bow, and I created the image from start to finish. Here it is:
Maybe you should consider some type of dailyshoot/365 project…