Urban Landscape + Lifestyle Photography

Posts tagged “Austin Fan Fest

The F1 Fan Fest again, so much street shooting in a weekend

2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas

2014 F1 Fan Fest – Austin, Texas

The day after I took these Halloween portraits on 6th Street, I went to the F1 Fan Fest. The Fan Fest is a way to bring a little of that Formula 1 racing excitement to downtown Austin. I’ve yet to go to the F1 races themselves but I’ve made it to this downtown event 3 years in a row. It’s a place for street photography and a chance to capture something different in Austin.

Of course, year to year, things don’t change much. After 3 years, everything seems about the same except, perhaps, it was a bit smaller this year. Part of the challenge is, as the downtown continues to grow, the open lots for special events decrease. I think at least two previous parking lots are now active construction sites, soon spawning more high-rise towers, I imagine. I wonder what’ll happen to this event when all downtown lots give way to higher tax generating structures.

2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas
2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas
2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas

I listened to more concerts this year than in the past. The Fan Fest sets up multiple stages with live music throughout the day. I happened upon an interesting and eclectic band from Brooklyn called Red Baraat, and stayed there for the entire show. I even went retro and bought their CDs instead of an electronic download. Of course, what always entices me is the shooting opportunity. Give me some colorful lights at night in an urban atmosphere and I’m game.

2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas
2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas

I also stayed much later than expected and went to the Joan Jett and the Blackhearts concert, the headliner for that night. I can’t say I’m a Joan Jett fan, per say, but she made her mark in the 80s so I identify with and recognize her music. I noticed a lot of folks that were near my age. I know Ms. Jett is older than me, but from my vantage point, the dark-haired, black leather clad singer looked and sounded the way she always did. Perhaps it was a collective way for all of us middle-aged folk to have high school flashbacks.

I got in late but slowly inched forward as the crowd shifted. I especially like it when I capture the beams of colorful light. I snapped a number of frames perfectly lighting the audience. I only brought one camera, the Fujifilm X100S, with a 35mm equivalent lens. My Olympus with the 50mm f1.4 equivalent or even my DLSR with a slew of lenses would have gotten me closer via a telephoto. Ultimately, though I’m satisfied with what the 35mm point of view gave me.

2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas
2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas
2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas
2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas

Missing this year was the big Infiniti car race venue. Maybe it fell victim to the lack of space or maybe the return on investment wasn’t there. Gone also was a large Fiat display that I remember from years past.

The energy drinks where out in force. Both Red Bull and Monster had elaborate setups to entice the crowed. I guess if you can’t drive F1 cars, you can feel the alternate buzz from their sugar and caffeinated concoctions. Of course they had attractive spokespersons and pumped up music. Monster cross promoted with the X Games skateboard demonstration.

2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas
2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas
2014 F1 Fan Fest - Austin, Texas

Between the late night / early morning Halloween shooting on 6th Street the night before to another late night at the Fan Fest, I was worn out. At least I got about 5 miles of walking on each night. The photography distracts me from all the walking so I guess it’s a decent way to get some exercise. I considered going to an East side Dia de los Muertos parade the next day but decided to bag that. Even I have limits on the number of photography events per weekend.

It was a film free weekend too. I might be curious about film but I’m still practical. Digital is a lot easier at night and I still find it more desirable for fast-moving or fast changing action. It’s kind of nice to use both and I’m not such a purist that I restrict myself to either side of the divide.

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I took all the photographs with the Fujifilm X100S in JPEG and post processed with Aperture 3.

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Make sure to click on the photographs to a see larger version. Hover over the photos to see the picture details.



Capturing the 2013 Austin Fan Fest with the Fuji XF1

Foreigner Concert, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

Foreigner Concert, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

Note: I just noticed that the black or red version of the Fujifilm XF1 is available at Amazon for an amazing $199. That’s $50 less than I got it. Highly recommended, if you want a great point and shoot.

Austin hosted its second annual Formula 1 race this past weekend. I didn’t attend the race itself, but I went downtown to capture scenes from the Austin Fan Festival. Like last year, a section of downtown was blocked off for exhibits, concerts, food and anything else that would vaguely fit into the racing theme. It was a fun time, and for me, another chance to do some street photography which I probably find more interesting than shooting cars going around a track. Plus it was free. Better than spending hundreds of bucks on racing tickets. That’s a good thing since I can save my money and, what else, buy more gear.

Speaking of gear, I mentioned last week that I’m testing two new cameras. I’m still playing with the pre production camera that is on loan to me, but in the mean time, I wanted to talk about the new camera that I just bought, the Fuji XF1. Heck, even its name is perfect for F1 weekend. I went to Fan Fest last year where I shot with my Olympus E-P3. I went even smaller and lighter this year with Fuji’s smallest X branded point and shoot. I’ll do a full review of the XF1 and tell you what makes this guy unique in a future post. For now, lets just say that I’m very happy with the images I got with this point and shoot, even at night. Take a look at the photos and tell me what you think.

Infiniti Women, 2013 Austin Fan Fest - Austin, Texas

I was already downtown on Friday for a party and decided to check out Fan Fest. I snapped an image of a couple of women at the Red Bull – Infiniti display. This simple snapshot actually showcases one of my favorite features of this XF1. It’s something that reviewers rarely talk about. Just as a teaser, I’ll say that it blows away what my other “high end” point and shoot, the Canon G15, can do.

Foreigner Concert, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas
Foreigner Concert, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

The highlight of the evening was the free concert by Foreigner. The lead singer was still going strong from this 80’s era British-American Rock Band. The photo at the very top was from the concert as well as these two images. The black and white was done in camera and tweaked in post. In fact, I shot all photographs in JPEG and I did minor tweaks with Aperture 3 afterwards.

The next day, I returned in the late afternoon. I wanted to capture Fan Fest both during good light and into the night. As you know, I like the evening and night shots the most. It also let me test what this point and shoot can do in less ideal conditions.
Video Simulation, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas
Mini Race Track, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

Fan Fest did an admirable job by including everyone, especially kids. There were simulators and video games and slot car races. This is the closest I got to any kind of race track that weekend.

Ferrari Showcase, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas
Ferrari Wheel, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

As expected, there were many fast cars on display.

David Coulthard, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

Talks by actual F1 drivers. Here’s David Coulthard at the AT&T pavilion.

Three Topo Chicos, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

Certainly, there were numerous products being promoted with attractive spokes people.

Fusion Promotion, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

Infiniti and Ford had displays. I like the style of the current Ford Fusion with its Aston Martin-esque grill. The red model looked nice under the colorful lights.

More Construction Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

Austin seems to be in the midst of another building boom. I’m seeing a lot of cranes again.

Chicken on a Stick, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

There were loads of food and alcohol for sale with “slightly” inflated prices. I enjoyed the Chicken on a Stick grilling performance.

Red Bull DJ, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

This is Austin after all so we had plenty of music. Red Bull had an upbeat club mix going all night, undoubtedly to make our European visitors feel welcome.

Street Performance, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

We also had street musicians with a more local Tejano feel.

Live Concert, Austin Fan Fest, Austin, Texas

Finally, there were several stages with live concerts. These guys were not as popular as Foreigner but they were great and I could get up close to the stage.

I had a fun night of photography and Fan Fest gave me something different to shoot. The Fujifilm XF1, for the most part, did an admirable job. I’ll talk more about it in upcoming posts.

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I took all photographs with the Fujifilm XF1 point and shoot.

Make sure to click on the photographs to a see larger version. Hover over the photo to see the picture details. Multiply the focal length by 3.9 to get the 35mm equivalent.



The ISIS Purple Ferrari

Purple Ferrari, Austin Fan Fest 2012 - Austin, Texas

Purple Ferrari, Austin Fan Fest 2012 – Austin, Texas

The ISIS tent gets the award for the prettiest car display at the Austin Fan Fest. This purple Ferrari was bathed in purple LED lights. It created a soft glow that was hard to resist. I shot the details and curves with my shallowest depth of field. I eliminated clutter to focus on the vehicle.

Purple Ferrari, Austin Fan Fest 2012 - Austin, Texas

Why purple? ISIS, who makes smart phone based mobile wallets has a purple logo and color scheme. Of course this sports car has nothing to do with electronic wallets but it fits the performance oriented F1 marketing theme. It works for me. It gave me a chance to take some beauty shots.

Purple Ferrari, Austin Fan Fest 2012 - Austin, Texas

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

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Fast Cars, Simulators and Women

Nadia at Pirelli, Austin Fan Fest 2012 - Austin, Texas

Nadia at Pirelli, Austin Fan Fest 2012 – Austin, Texas

Formula 1 blew into town last month and the traffic disaster that Austin feared didn’t materialize. It seemed like most of the action stayed around the purpose-built race track on the east side of town, near the airport. But F1 is a big deal and after 5 years, it’s back in the U.S. Of course, Austin always breaks out the live music performances for any kind of half-way big event downtown. This was no exception.

F1 Mercedes, Austin Fan Fest 2012 - Austin, Texas

F1 Mercedes, Austin Fan Fest 2012 – Austin, Texas

In Flo Rida and the other Alex Suarez, I had fun and adventure going to a downtown concert on Friday — the beginning of F1 weekend. But Austin had other F1 related festivities too. The Austin Fan Fest took over a 5 block area in the warehouse district. There were live music stages, of course as well as food vendors, knickknacks and the huge tents of commercial interests tied vaguely to cars or racing.

Virtual Driver, Austin Fan Fest 2012 - Austin, Texas

Virtual Driver, Austin Fan Fest 2012 – Austin, Texas

Virtual Racer at Mobil1, Austin Fan Fest 2012 - Austin, Texas

Virtual Racer at Mobil1, Austin Fan Fest 2012 – Austin, Texas

The big guys, Mobil1, Pirelli, Red Bull and Fiat setup shop on usually under utilized surface parking. These places shared a common theme. They usually had a fast car on display, a former F1 racer or an expensive aspirational car, like a Ferrari. Many had racing simulators of varying realism and complexity. And of course, there were attractive women working the booths.

I went on a short photowalk by myself to document Fan Fest. Let just say I was less interested in fast cars and simulators.

Karen and Stephanie, Austin Fan Fest 2012 - Austin, Texas

Karen and Stephanie, Austin Fan Fest 2012 – Austin, Texas

Though it was Sunday and passed the peak, I was surprised by how contained it was. I parked close with no problems. I didn’t see throngs of people or notice much commotion until I was within a block. South by Southwest (SXSW), the annual music, movie and interactive conference that hits Austin every March, seems more disruptive. The two share commercial and promotional similarity. The players are different — one shows off cars and the other technology — but there is no denying that they look like one giant TV commercial. A chance for big corporations to get more eyeballs imprinting on their logos.

Posing with the Red Bull Racer, Austin Fan Fest 2012 - Austin, Texas

Posing with the Red Bull Racer, Austin Fan Fest 2012 – Austin, Texas

To the Fan Fest’s credit, the place felt more inclusive and welcoming. Children’s play areas encouraged family participation, unlike SXSW where non-badge holders seemed out-of-place. I’m curious what’s going to happen next year.

Christine at Mobil1, Austin Fan Fest 2012 - Austin, Texas

Christine at Mobil1, Austin Fan Fest 2012 – Austin, Texas

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

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