Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin, TX (formerly Town Lake, which is still how I think of it) plays host to some serious rowing and for a good part of the year several parts of the lake have lanes set up for practice and competition. I don’t know if this group was part of a private club or part of the University of Texas team but I managed to catch a shot as they rowed away from the dock to embark on a practice run. It’s really quite amazing how synchronized the team members are with each other.
Town Lake is also a favorite recreation spot for canoes, kayaks, and the latest craze, SUPs — stand-up paddle boards. My family and I took advantage of the beautiful day today and kayaked on the lake. What a great way to get a couple hours of exercise and relaxation at the same time. Kudos to the Texas Rowing Center who only charged us for a single hour of rental. As always, we tried to pay what we fairly owed but they said, “It’s on us”.
Any opinions on how the photo above should be framed/cropped? They’re heading out of the left side of the frame…but backwards. I like this centered-ish framing the best (I tried several) although I don’t think there’s any right or wrong answer.
I’ve gotten over my thing about missing the snow and am now thinking about getting back to the Texas coast. My 7-year old son brings it up constantly so we’re just going to have to set a date and do it. The shot above was taken on our last big trip which was during Sharkfest at Padre Island National Seashore. When we scheduled our trip we weren’t aware of Sharkfest and on arrival were very surprised by the crowds. This 63-mile stretch of beach has one way in and out (via land) as is mostly limited to 4×4 vehicles so it’s generally rather empty. Of course “crowded” is a relative thing and even with 10x the normal crowd there were still plenty of places along the seashore to fish and play in the water without crowding anyone out. Normally you can pick a place where you have at *least* 1/2 mile between you and your nearest neighbor. We had to settle for 1/8 – 1/4 mile this trip (once we made it 30 or 40 miles)…first-world problems. Unfortunately we saw no sharks being caught. On our “normal” trips we often see them and thought that with all these shark fishermen we’d see several. No luck.
For those of you not familiar with shark fishing in the surf, here’s the very rough description of how it works. Gear consists of short-ish, stiff rods with reels capable of holding hundreds of yards of approximately 100# test line. At the terminal end there are leader rigs made out of materials ranging from 400# test monofilament to stainless steel cable. Hanging from those are huge hooks (the size of your hand). For bait something like a big chunk (even half) of a jack crevalle is used. Once the rig is ready, the bait is generally paddled out with a kayak and placed beyond the third sand bar. Then you wait, and wait, and wait. When you get a decent sized shark on the line the fight often lasts well over an hour. It’s pretty amazing to watch. On a side note, it’s extremely interesting to witness the various vehicular rigs that people come up with for their shark fishing — giant platforms on top of trucks, etc. If I’d known how unsuccessful our fishing was going to be on this trip I might have just spent time photographing the shark rigs.
I processed the image to make it appear a bit like an old print from film. Kept the colors reasonably saturated (via the vibrance slider in Lightroom) and made the image warm like prints in the “old” days. In Lightroom I added grain to taste. I rarely use additional grain in images but really like it for this beach scene and if it weren’t for the vehicles it could pass for a pic from the ’70s. I wasn’t “into” photography in my film days so I can’t wax nostalgic about this film or that film or tell you that I mimicked a certain film. I bought whatever was cheap.
I apologize for some not-so-great pictures included in this post — they were taken with an old, low-ish resolution, waterproof point and shoot camera that I borrowed for our trip. I made sure that the lens was dry before using it but it didn’t handle glare from the sun very well. Had I been aware of that I would have shaded the lens whenever I shot into the sun.
Should you ever happen to visit the Hawaiian island of Kauai I highly recommend taking a kayak trip up the Wailua River to Secret Falls (some call it Sacred Falls). Actually, you have to kayak AND hike but it’s well worth it. The kayak part is roughly 2 miles each way if memory serves me correctly and the hike is a pretty easy 3/4 of a mile. Overall the trip takes 4-5 hours. We used Ali’i Kayaks and our guide was TC. He was great. There was the usual tour guide humor but also a lot of interesting information. He answered all sorts of random questions from us as we hiked.
The outfitter provided dry bags for each couple (just happened to be all couples in our group) in which we could pack a lunch to be eaten at the falls and whatever else we wanted. I packed my Canon 5D Mkii in a dry bag that I brought, then put that inside the other dry bag. I didn’t know what to expect at the falls but decided to pack the DSLR. I did not pack the tripod. After some quick paddling instruction from the guide — several of our group had never been on a kayak before — we paddled upstream. Along the way we viewed several movie filming locations but the only two I remember are one where Indiana Jones was running from the natives through the jungle and a village which was used to film the African village scene in the movie Outbreak. We beached the kayaks, hiked to the falls, and hung out for nearly an hour to eat lunch, wade (people like me) or swim if you were crazy (my wife and sister-in-law) as the water was freezing. I got someone to take our picture…from the instruction I had to give I wonder if he’d ever used a camera 🙂 The shot below doesn’t give a sense of how tall the falls are given the wide-angle lens used.