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