As a short break from the Netherlands, here are some photos from Austin that I took several of days ago. I wasn’t planning to do a photo walk last Thursday but the weather was perfect and the opportunity presented itself.
Thursdays get busy at times for photography events. Once a month, I go to the Austin Photographic Society meeting where guest speakers talk about a range of photo related topics — this time it was about creating time-lapse movies. Unfortunately, the Drink and Click meetings usually overlap. I was all set to go home when Jerry, friend and owner of Precision Camera asked if I was going to Drink and Click that night.
What the heck. It was still early enough and it was almost the long weekend. Rick, who comes up all the way from San Antonio, also wanted to go. We parked near the Texas State Capitol and got some well needed exercise as we walked to South Congress, about a 1.7 miles each way. It turned into an impromptu photo walk as we both snapped away along Congress Avenue, which is Austin’s main north-south street downtown.
We passed through the capitol grounds coincidentally at blue hour so we couldn’t resist. Blue hour in Austin lasts, at most, 15 minutes. Do you know in the Netherlands, blue hour actually lasts an hour? Even longer at times, I’m told. I don’t know if our state capitol compares to the ornate beauties in Amsterdam, but it’s the best we got in terms of old world charm.
As usual, I’m attracted by color and the glow of lights. Some obvious, some required more observation.
I think the Fujifilm X100S is having the desired effect. I’m shooting slower now, trying to observe more and frame even more precisely. That was one of things I was hoping for when I got the camera less than 3 months ago. With a non-changeable, non-zooming lens, I have the advantage of developing a preset frame in my head, one geared to seeing the world with a 35mm focal length. The fixed lens, rather than being a limitation, strengthens one’s composition. That along with shooting a lot of course. The X100S shutter count setting says I’m up to 12,900 shots already.
Rick and I met Jerry and his wife, Rosemary, on the Congress Avenue bridge. We headed together towards South Congress Avenue. I shot this from the bridge on a lark, I didn’t think it would come out. I need to push this camera to shoot things I normally wouldn’t — sometimes it surprises me. At ISO 6400 at 1/30 second at f2, it was very dark. As a black and white, and with grain, I think it works on a certain level.
Cross over into South Congress and you are rewarded with more neon. The serious central business district gives way to more kitschy, Austin kind of places.
We finally make it to Docs, where Drink and Click was already passed clicking and more in the drinking phase. Here you can see a mix of cameras, drink and food interspersed on the table.
Docs has some great neon and that glow at night that I like so much. I’m experimenting with shooting the Fuji a lot darker than I’ve ever done before. I started to move towards darker exposures in Amsterdam but took it to a new level in this series. If you hover over the photos with your mouse, you can see the EXIF information. Notice that most images were shot with -2/3ev to -1 2/3ev of exposure compensation dialed in. The X100S does tend to expose brighter than my other cameras and I wanted to preserve the color in the lights. Also, it was my attempt to embrace more shadows, especially at night where it can add some mystery.
This is one of favorites from the series. I think it caught the mood well. I don’t know why but I’ve always like these type of hanging lights. On the Fuji, I noticed that I hardly ever get any purple fringing. Perhaps in JPEG it’s cleaned up automatically. As usual, I shoot the X100S in just JPEG and I’m really happy with the results.
It was past 11:30 when I decided to go home. I remembered that I needed to get up early for a school performance by my younger son. Only a handful of people remained from Drink and Click and they consolidated to a single table. I noticed the subtle reflection off the empty table, which was a fitting end to the day. Though actually, the first image, at the top of my post, was the last one I took that night.
As I rushed back to my car, which was parked about 30 minutes away, I was drawn to the empty pool at the Radisson Hotel located on 1st street. I was at the halfway point. Unlike my walk down, which was punctuated my many photography stops, this was the only shot on the way home. If I rushed, I would be back home by 12:30, prep my gear for the school event and get to sleep by 1am. I was shooting the Canon 6D the next morning, something that I rarely shoot anymore since my mirrorless cameras dominate my usage over DSLRs.
It’s fun to shoot with many cameras but remembering the different interfaces can be a pain.
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