It was about a week ago when I did my five town tour. I’ve processed the photographs all week and today, I wanted to showcase some buildings from Liberty Hill.
Liberty Hill was the first town on my tour with Mike. He’s done these small town photo excursions before and he was nice enough to let me tag along. From Highway 29 going West, away from the populated core, Liberty Hill is merely a sign and some modest strip malls. Off in the distance you see what looks like suburban development. It’s the kind of pace you see all the time off of small highways. Too spread out to have any urban weight and too new to have any character. The only reason to stop, perhaps to get some gasoline or a cool drink on a hot Texas afternoon.
Mike said there are usually old, small town remnants, hidden away. I consult the Maps app on the iPhone. The blue GPS dot rapidly whizzes by anything that looks like development. I switch to satellite view. I notice a cluster of buildings south of 29. It had a more grid like pattern that usually signifies old buildings. In contrast, newer suburban developments typically have curved roads that bottleneck into defined entry and exit points.
Our hunch was correct. Past a good sized elementary school and some post war tract homes, we found downtown Liberty Hill. The place consisted of less than two dozen structures. The buildings were tiny, built back in the day when Texas was basically a frontier settlement. It was established in the 1840s, according to a website I found. Many of the building date to after the civil war, its heyday. I was even surprised that this place had a business college completed back in 1885.
What’s left now, in the central street, are some cute and well proportioned buildings. The limestone or brick buildings are simply and honestly ornamented. The place was probably too poor to have that ill conceived, modernized facades that were popularly added in the 1960s. This is what makes this place special. Enough of the historical fabric remains for a proper future restoration.
I shot mainly the Canon 6D though I did some comparison test shots with my Olympus E-PM2. I used HDR to tame the harsh midday sun and capture the dynamic range. And for the first time, I used Lightroom’s lens distortion correction and perspective correction on some of the photos. The Canon 24-105 lens at 24mm showed a lot more distortion than I ever noticed on my Olympus wide-angles. It gave me a good reason to play with Lightroom, something I rarely do since I’m an Aperture 3.0 user. The bank building and simple brick building came out really nice and straight.
All told we were probably there for about 45 minutes. I probably stood out more since I was using a DSLR on tripod. Mike was just using an old film SLR, hand held. In the last shot, of Parker’s Corner Market, there is a women in the car looking suspiciously at me. I’m sure she was wondering why this guy was shooting here. After all, this is not exactly a popular tourist spot.
Click on the photographs to see a larger image and hover over the photos to see the exposure detail.