Urban Landscape + Lifestyle Photography

It’s all about the clouds

Tesoros Sunset - Austin, Texas

Tesoros Sunset – Austin, Texas

Yesterday’s South Austin photowalk was the perfect way for me to get back in sync with my photography friends. I was only in Japan for 3 weeks but somehow the radical change in lifestyle made me think that I was away a lot longer. Alex Suarez, who organized the last big walk at the University of Texas campus organized this one too, with a suggestion from my friend, Tony. We met at 7pm for a SoCo Blue Hour walk and finish up with food and drinks at Wahoo Fish Tacos. Turnout was great, we probably had about 20 people including Jerry, the owner of the local, last remaining, full service camera store, Precision Camera.

Soco Photowalk Sunset - Austin, Texas

Soco Photowalk Sunset – Austin, Texas

The challenge I find in Austin is that despite Austin’s notoriety and cool factor on the national scene, it is at best a medium size city. There is only a limited number of places to do urban photowalks. I’ve been to SoCo (South Congress, an area of Austin just south of downtown) many times on photo excursions. I went on this photogathering more to meet my friends and not do serious photography. That said, it is always nice to create a few frames that are new and unique. And arguably going back to the same places over and over and trying to see different compositions is the mental challenge required to become a better photographer. Yesterday turned out to be better than expected. The weather cooperated and created wonderfully expressive clouds and a brilliant sunset that you only get once in a while.

Home Slice Sunset - Austin, Texas

Home Slice Sunset – Austin, Texas

I brought along my usual trio of Olympus cameras, the same set that I used in Japan, 2 E-PL1s and 1 E-P3. Lens wise, I had my usual 14mm f2.5 and 45mm f1.8 but left my 20mm f1.7 at home. I decided to try out my 40mm – 150mm zoom lens that I purchased just prior to my Japan trip. I didn’t use that lens very much in Japan but at $159 factory refurbished at Cameta Camera, it wasn’t very expensive. Many photographers have a favorite focal length and I’m beginning to think that I like the wide angles more. A long telephoto like the 40mm – 150mm (80mm to 300mm equivalent) is not what I end up using for the type of photographs I usually take. However, I end up creating two exposures last night, closeups of the clouds, that made it worth while. As you can see below, the telephoto really isolated the clouds and produced an abstract feel. They were both taken at 150mm (300mm equivalent) and it would not been possible with my usual suit of lenses.

Abstract SoCo Clouds #1 - Austin, Texas

Abstract SoCo Clouds #1 – Austin, Texas

Abstract SoCo Clouds #2 - Austin, Texas

Abstract SoCo Clouds #2 – Austin, Texas

Beyond my two telephoto images, I took the rest of the photos with my 14mm and 45mm primes lenses. The primes produce a higher quality than the zoom and because of the larger apertures, I was able to use these prime lenses well into the night, without using a tripod. The explosive color muted to a rich blue as the blue hour approached. I’ll post these blue hour shots as well as some more photos from this walk in a future post. For today, it’s all about the clouds.

Blue Clouds over SoCo - Austin, Texas

Blue Clouds over SoCo – Austin, Texas


Please make sure to click on the photographs to see a larger image and hover over the photos to see the exposure details.

On this photowalk, I used 2 different kinds cameras and 3 lenses. I used the Olympus E-P3 with the 14mm f2.5 lens. I also had 2 Olympus E-PL1 cameras which are running at about $150 each. On these, I used the 40-150mm telephoto lens, and the Olympus 45mm f1.8. If you are thinking of buying this equipment, please click on these links. You will get the same low Amazon price and I’ll get a small commission, which helps support this site.

8 responses

  1. That shot of Tesoros just makes me want to go there, to see that sign and hope for that sky/ Really nice.

    I still don’t get Fish Tacos. I want The Beef LOL. Actually I had a Pulled Pork Burrito a few weeks ago that a friend of mine made – awesome stuff!

    July 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm

    • I like how the clouds match happen to match Tesoros sign. I’m OK with fish tacos. I wasn’t hungry so I had a nice cooling Margarita instead.

      July 15, 2012 at 3:04 pm

  2. Really beautiful clouds :)

    July 15, 2012 at 3:32 pm

  3. atmtx, you really do create beautiful “blue hour” photos! These must have been taken on Saturday evening, as it was storming like all get-out on Sunday evening. I have only recently become aware of you, by way of Kirk Tuck’s blog. I also live in Ausin, and love photography, but obviously still have a LOT to learn. I have been shooting full-frame Canon 5D and now 5D Mk II for 6 years now, and just recently acquired an Olympus OM-D E-M5. Maybe I’ll see you around town sometime!

    July 16, 2012 at 9:47 am

    • Gregg, thank you for posting to my blog and sorry if you had some extra challenges getting in. Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, you are correct, it was Saturday night. Hope to see you around town.

      July 16, 2012 at 9:34 pm

  4. Pingback: More Abstract Agaves of SoCo « atmtx photography blog

  5. Pingback: SoCo neon and focal length experiments « atmtx photography blog

  6. Pingback: A bit of magic at Milton and South Congress « atmtx photography blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s