Elegant but Edgy

Places

The Traveling Hat

Last year on Flickr, we joked with a couple of our friends about creating a traveling hat, and the idea took off.  We have created a list where people can signup to participate and take a photo with the hat, then send it on to the next person.  So far, the hat has been around the world and is still traveling.  We initially were trying to document it on Flickr, but then thought it would be better to create a Tumblr blog for the photos that people take. You can see their shot and location on the blog.

Here is Kim’s first shot with the hat, which used to be hers, but now belongs to the global community:

 

The Tumblr address is:

http://traveling-hat.tumblr.com/

We will keep it updated with new images and the current location of the hat.

Enjoy!


New BMX & Skate park in Austin, TX

Right next door to the Austin Recreation Center (ARC) where Kim plays volleyball, a brand new BMX and Skate park has been opened.  The official opening was on June 16, 2011 and it is already a huge attraction for local skaters.  The park was funded by the City of Austin and has been over 5 years in the making.  The park is the second skate park in Austin, and you could also count as the second bike park to the BMX dirt track over on 9th Street.

Kim had a game at 7:30pm at the ARC next door, so I took advantage of the hour or so to walk across the parking lot and check out the action.  I was amazed at the number of skaters and BMXers that were there, around 60 or so people.  The park is amazingly well designed and the article I read says that it was done by professionals.  It really shows!

On one end there is a huge bowl with a lot of geometry to navigate.  There are rails built into almost every edge and drop-ins along the rim for skaters. I started off with the longer zoom lens to survey the whole area (30,000 sq. feet!) and get some shots off from a bit of a distance until I was comfortable and more importantly, the people there were comfortable with me taking pictures.

Everyone was super polite and the unspoken respect for taking turns was strong.

On the other end of the park is a more “urban” type setting with rails, grinds, stairs, a small half-pipe, and a seating area.  I switched lenses to the wide angle to get more action in the frame.

On this end of the park is an amazing functional sculpture by a local artist, that resembles a giant wave.  The skaters can use it for tricks and it just looks cool.

After a while, I started chatting with a few of the guys and showing them some of the shots on the camera LCD.  They got pretty stoked, and some of them started doing better tricks for the camera.

I picked a great time to show up, while the sun was sinking over Austin.  The light was just incredible and I barely had to bump the ISO up on the camera until close to 8:30.

As the hour wore on, some new people showed up and turned it on!  I think the guy below came to school some of the younger BMXers.  I did a single image HDR conversion to the photo, to bring out some of the detail in the building and of course, the rider.

Man this place had such a great old school vibe.  I edited the photo below in that spirit, like it could be any of the past four decades.

The temps were up around 97 degrees, even that late in the day, but everyone was going hard and having a great time.  This is definitely a gem for the city and I will probably become a regular fixture there.  There are so many great photo ops, and the people were just cool, but it has always been that way with the skate and bike crowd.

I can’t wait to go back…

-Greg

Once we have taken more images, we will place them on our website for viewing and a super discounted price to purchase digital downloads.


Happy Independence Day!

Hey Everyone! Nothing says summer like Independence Day in the US. We enjoyed a long weekend in Louisiana visiting with family and friends, eating (too much) good food, swimming, fireworks and the aquarium in New Orleans.

Louisiana tends to be pretty laid back. There are so many idyllic scenes to photograph, like this pond. I shot this while wandering in the yard waiting for the crab boil to be ready.

And here’s one of the first ones out of the pot!

After dinner, we went to one of several fireworks displays we watched over the weekend. Central Texas cancelled most of the fireworks due to drought conditions and fire hazards, but there isn’t a lack of rain in Louisiana, so they were on!

This display was in Ponchatoula, LA, a small town half way between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. We had front row seats to a really good display, with a band playing in the background. Small town America at its best.

The following day we went to a relative’s house for a BBQ. Nothing but good food, good times and some backyard fireworks!

The ribs were delicious, along with the 37 other dishes that we had to choose from. The deserts and watermelon were pretty awesome too!

After hanging around in the pool and eating way more than we should have, it was time for a nap!

We rounded out the night with fireworks and looking forward to the 4th of July festivities.

I spent some time on the 4th, taking photos of various things before we left for the Independence Day festival. Our relatives have a big pond in the back yard and there are plenty of dragonflies and other wild life to see. The boys spent some time fishing and exploring.

Kim’s uncle has a sweet 1971 Dodge Charger that I took for a blast around town. Good times!

Later he made dinner with some fresh tomatoes from the garden while Sterling helped make a red velvet cake. We did not go hungry on this trip.

In the evening, we went over to Independence, LA (that’s right) for the Independence Day festival and fireworks. What a blast!

There was a band at the train station, food vendors, water slides and other fun activities.

Some good friends invited us up to their balcony over looking the town green to get a better view of the fireworks, which they launched right there. The view was spectacular!

The following day, we made a trip into New Orleans to go to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas. The aquarium is well laid out and there are a variety of fresh and salt water fish and animals to see. You can even touch the stingrays in a special tank. When you first enter, there is a tunnel which you walk through and it offers a 180 degree view of various creatures.

While most of the tanks are difficult to photograph through, if you are patient, you can get some decent photos of the fish swimming around. These lion fish seemed to be very popular with the crowd.

Everyone enjoyed the day at the aquarium and the trolley ride afterward. After a super busy weekend, everyone was tired but happy.


A day at the Zoo!

We went to the Fort Worth Zoo over the weekend.  The Zoo is reportedly ranked number 5 in the country and it is easy to see why, the exhibits are really well thought out and you will feel immersed in the habitats.  Many of the exhibits feature interactive activities for kids and adults alike.  One of the best features for a photographer is the unobstructed view in many of the areas, which makes taking photos so much easier than shooting through glass or fences.  If you plan on bringing your camera, make sure you have a long zoom lens, and for shots through glass enclosures, try a circular polarizing filter to eliminate some of the glare.

There is a little train that runs through the zoo which beats walking if you want to get to the other end.  The ride is $2 each way, and of course the kids will love it!

There are wide range of animals from all over the world, and the zoo has done a great job of grouping them in a way that flows well.  As we were walking, you should have heard the squeals of delight from all of the kids when they discovered the Penguin habitat!  Definitely one of the more popular attractions.

I would recommend planning to spend the entire day, since there is so much to see and do.  If you bring a backpack, bring your own water.  Fort Worth tends to get hot and the water in the fountains is not so tasty.  There is a good selection of food and various shops in the park if you want to eat or buy gifts.  The MOLA (see zoo website) is just amazing and a must see, plus it’s air conditioned if you want a break from the heat.  After a long day, you will be ready for a nap!

To view these photos larger and purchase prints, please follow the link to our website.