The colorful characters of Eeyore’s Birthday Party

2014 Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas

2014 Eeyores Birthday Party – Austin, Texas

Eeyore’s Birthday Party is always a fun place for people photography. I once called it the Last Remnant of Hippie Austin. The event has been going on for some 50+ years but I’ve only visited the last three. I thought I posted something last year, but turns out I didn’t. When I compared this year’s photographs to 2 years ago, I noticed some interesting differences.

2014 Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas
2014 Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas

I’ve changed my style somewhat and while I’m currently on a saturated color kick, the main difference is due to the lenses’ focal length. Look at the photos from 2 years ago and you’ll notice portraits taken with a 90mm equivalent lens. There’s a formality to them, they’re more posed. The narrower angle of view concentrates attention directly on the single subject.

Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas
Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas
Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas

This year, you’ll see more candids and even my posed portraits are more laid back, I think. With the 35mm equivalent lens, I need to shoot differently. I’m up closer to my subjects but I still include more of the environment.

Over the last couple years, I’ve come to realize that I like the 28mm to 35mm focal length. I still shoot 40mm and 50mm at times but that’s not my preference. And though on my urban architecture photos, I go wider to 22mm, 35mm is the ideal half way point for me.

Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas
Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas

But of course, this means I need to get closer, to get into the action. With a 90mm, I can safely be at the periphery, peering in, without truly committing. This year, I had to get in the midst of the drum circle to get these shots.

Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas
Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas

I was particularly mesmerized by this woman in black. She danced like she was possessed by the god of free spirit. She moved rhythmically to the changing percussive beat. I shot first at 1/250 of a second to stop the action. Later, I experimented with 1/30 of a second to create motion blur.

Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas
Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas
Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas

Eeyores is now popular with photographers and many swarm the area with DSLRs in hand. Some come armed with two cameras with short and long zooms, strapped to elaborate holstering systems. I think that violates the spirit of this place. A single camera with a single lens is more in keeping. Extra points if you use a small camera with a diminutive prime lens.

Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas
Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas

Why one lens? This is not a sporting event. It’s more about getting into the spirit of the place and becoming one with the crowd. A small camera up close seems like it just fits. I still have a ways to go. I still go dressed in civilian clothing. I’ve never been a costume person for any event, so it’s going to take a leap for me to truly fit in.

Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas
Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas

But I like to think, in my own rigid way, I’m making progress. I feel that this year’s images are more relaxed and better captures the mood. A little slice of hippie Austin from a few months back, when the weather was still cool and the grass was still green. I’m trying to stay cool as the summer heat is finally starting to kick in this year.

Stay cool my friends.

Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas
Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas
Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas
Eeyores Birthday Party - Austin, Texas

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4 thoughts on “The colorful characters of Eeyore’s Birthday Party

  1. You’ve nailed it on both fronts: the photography and the analysis. And it looks like you’ve really gained the upper hand regarding the Fuji X100s. Did the camera and your use of it provide the very pleasing level of saturation we see? Or was there much of a bump in post processing?

    1. Michael, thank you. The saturation is the result of post processing of the JPEGS. The X100S has different film simulations, some of which are more saturated. But I haven’t played seriously with those, just yet.

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