4.30.2011

If you don't own the company this one is NSFW: Eeyore's Birthday Party. Austin. 2011. Photo Insanity. In a good way....

My favorite party of the year is Eeyore's Birthday Party at Pease Park, here in Austin.  For the last 30 years or so it's been a wonderful excuse to dress up (or undress) and officially welcome Spring and craziness to Austin.  This year was no different.  The barely clad women danced inside the drum circle.  Live bands played all over the park and the smell of pot wafted thru the air like incense in a head shop from the 1970's.  If your city doesn't have a party like this one  you might want to start one.  Or buy a plane ticket and come join us.  

This is, maybe, my 25th Eeyore's party.  In the early years I was a more active participant but for the past few years I've been more of a spectator.  One thing I'm pretty adamant about for my own work is rejecting the easy way out, photographically.  I see a lot of guys with big-ass zoom lenses, trying to take photos of characters and nymphs from far, far away.  I think that's cheating.  I think you should be of the crowd and photograph with the tacit approval of the subjects.  My advice for photographer attendees is to "grow a pair,"  leave the voyeur-zooms at home and get in close.    

To make it easier and to keep from being paralyzed by having to make choices I take one camera and one lens.  If you've read my blog for a while you'll probably guess that the lens is a 50mm.  It makes you get close.  And it's more fun.  My choice of cameras for today was the Canon 1Dmk2N.  And I'm glad it doesn't have a video mode because it would be another layer of choices.....  The camera I pulled out of the drawer is the one I'm using the split image screen with.  It was great with the Zeiss 50mm 1.4.  I set the lens on f4.5, put the camera on "A" and the ISO on 160 and shot raw.  On an 8 gigabyte SD card you get 772 raw files.  I must be slipping because by the time I called it quits (in the heat of the afternoon) I still had a couple hundred images in reserve.  

The party goes on till dark.  But I got hot and thirsty so I walked down the street to Whole Foods for an incredible light ale, full of hops, and then called it a day around 6pm.  Following are my quick edit favorites with captions (when I felt like a caption was called for......).   Will we see you down there next year?  Help us keep Austin Weird !!!




The woods on the west side of the park are like a magnet for the......alternative, alternative lifestyle people.  I spent some time up there photographing but eventually the pot fumes started to make me woozy (and hungry).


The variety of butterfly and fairy wings attached to beautiful women was amazing.  I love the blue.  And the sunglasses...

Moving away from the Milne books this person decided on a darker interpretation of Christopher Robin's childhood stories.  More of a Norse Prince of Darkness vibe....


No public gathering would be complete without the minstrels.  And they sang.

Some people dress up with wings while others have "live snake" bling.  Funny to hear women asking, "Can I pet your python?  Very inappropriate.

While all manner of face and body painting is expected I saw so many tatoo'ed people I thought I was in prison.  Really.  And the piercings were awesome too.





The star of the dance and drum circle.  And she never spilled a drop of beer.





Austin photographer, John Langmore, tests the limits of the social contract by stepping inside the dance circle and inside the five foot interpersonal space boundary to feed his hungry film Leica.  No, really, right in the middle of the dance circle.  Yes.  In the middle.  


This young lady has a very big unicycle.  I didn't care whether or not I shot the unicycle but her face was too adorably cute to pass up.  Angelic?

The dance circle princess leads her people to the western hills.  Right out of a Tolkien book.

This couple forgot to bring their drums or any other musical instrument so they decided to play percussion on her butt instead.  I couldn't hear much but they did have the rhythm "down pat."

The Alpha leader of the main drum circle.  

Part of the Eskimo drum circle.  Did I mention that it was, like, 95 degrees this afternoon?  But still, it was a more seasonal outfit than the guy in the giant Winnie the Pooh outfit......


Thing One and Thing Two.  Perhaps different than Dr. Suess imagined them.... I vote: Most creative.

Hundreds and hundreds of dogs.  Largely, they were not amused.




And no Austin festivity would be complete without......the guys who wear Dickies T-Shirts and give me caps.  Ambidextrous beer handling skills?  Check!



On my six block walk to Whole Foods I went along the hiking trail, under Lamar and saw this wonderfully calm image.  After four or five hours with the nobility of Austin this was a welcome respite.  There's something about industrial piers I find comforting.

What a wonderful end to a busy and corporate sort of week.  It's stuff like this that makes Austin special.  And Eeyore's also serves as a fund rasier for many local charities.  Every beer, turkey leg and waffle cake you buy helps support one non-profit or another.  If you don't like to watch people having fun you should probably steer clear.  It's a judgement free zone for the day.  And that's nice. 

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yes. The girl with the unicycle is beyond beautiful. Amazing face.

kirk tuck said...

If I had a choice between heaven and Austin I think I'd pick Austin. Heaven sounds boring.....

Craig said...

The young lady on the left in the very first picture is so beautiful I could almost pack up and move to Austin in the hope of meeting her. But my wife would object... Wonderful set of pictures, Kirk. Looks like a charming local tradition.

David Ingram said...

What a cool set of photos and Austin is such a great town, but Kirk you promised to quit promoting it to keep growth down! Tell people this is Dallas. That would blow their minds.

kirk tuck said...

David, Can't help it. I really love this place. I want to celebrate the things that make it different than Dallas and Akron and Atlanta. Love that people are still free here. Refreshing and reassuring.

yansen said...

Really enjoy your pictures!

BTW, heaven sounds boring.....? It is said when we're in heaven we won't remember who we were in the world, there will be no tears in heaven, there will be neither male or female, we will play harps everyday...Yeaaaah!! It sounds boooooring!

lewisspires said...

I was there this morning and afternoon and I remember seeing you take these pictures, You did an amazing job on all of them and you actually captured the true essence of what that was all about. This was my first on and I must say that it was absolutely mesmerized by the sheer fun and excitement. Not to mention the women there and in Austin all together really make me love living so close in San Marcos. Great photo's and very very cool.

koert said...

Beautiful photo's and it looks like a great party!

Anonymous said...

What fun! If you are ever in Santa Barbara, CA, the Summer Solstice Parade is much the same!

Jan Klier said...

What a great collection of shots. The art of photo journalism which seems to get lost sometimes between the overly produced photos and the sea of crap shots.

But I find it unfortunate that you had to label it NSFW. We've become such a happy meal society where politically correct and acceptable behavior as defined by our HR departments and lawyers is about as thin as the circuitry on our micro processors, and getting thinner at about Moore's law. Any of those images should be able to run in a newspaper story about the event without even blinking....

kirk tuck said...

Jan, You'd be amazed at the vitriolic e-mails I get from alternate politcal points of view. I guess people can be as repressed and conflicted as they'd like, even though there is a 20 century tradition of nudity in religious art, but I don't want to ruin anyone's day by facilitating a run in with a bad bos or a political correctness goon.

Anonymous said...

after a decade of seeing people shot with either waaaay too wide of a lens and waaaay too many scaredy-cat zoom lensers trying to be stealthy it's refreshing to see such a direct and honest approach to portraits. It's like you had the balls to go up and introduce yourself or something. Imagine that. And the best thing is you can feel the connection in most of the photos.

Crystal said...

hey its me and my snaaaake ;)

skiphunt said...

Great shots Kirk!

I was there too, and took a camera. Funny thing though. I've been to at least two dozen Eeyore's and have made images and shot video in the past, but this year I didn't make a single image. Never even took my camera out of my backpack. Not even a single iPhone snap.

Sometimes I get really burned out on making images and just want to experience without documenting or composing. Other times I'm making images non-stop.

Trouble is, I don't seem to have any control over when I've got the muse and when I'd rather not even bother. Do you find yourself ever getting completely burned out that you don't even want to carry a camera with you at all or even think about making images?

kirk tuck said...

Frequently. But this year I really wanted to shoot. Last year.....not so much.

Skip Hunt said...

Definitely had a GREAT time, but looking at your images makes me regret just a little that I didn't bother. Though, had I bothered I may not have been able to completely relax and not worry so much about the "hunger" and "dizzyness" ;-)

diforbes said...

Fun posting Kirk. I will take your advice and "grow a pair" next time I bring my camera to an event such as this :-) Can you tell us a bit about your processing? In some of the images I see distinct gold tones (maybe its the shaded sunlight and tanned skin) and an almost HDR-like mid-tone recovery.

Anonymous said...

You have way to much fun for someone over 50. I'm just saying.

John Langmore said...

Kirk,

I wish you had said "hi" and let me know you were there. I had a good grin at the shot of me and your commentary. My wife is regularly accusing me of breaching the social contract by the way! But I share your views of trading the telephoto lens for a wide angle lens and forcing yourself in close (mine was a 21mm). Someone in that very dance circle insisted that I start dancing as the price of admission - a fair trade to be sure.

I hope you're well.

Your friend,
John Langmore

kirk tuck said...

John, did you see the guy in the light blue polo shirt with the softbox who must have shot, like, 7,000 images of the two girls in the dance circle? He was there when I arrived and still shooting four hours later when I dropped by again. Remarkable to think that there were that many variations available.......

And John, I waved to you but you had your head in the moment. I was way off in normal lens land..

John Langmore said...

I missed the guy with the softbox. 7000 shots of the same two girls - that's a lot of rolls of Tri-X.

Sorry I missed you. Hopefully I'll see you soon.

J

Anonymous said...

A charming and happy set of photos. Not too artsy, not too boring. Just right.

Randy Ennis said...

Awesome series! You really managed to capture the feeling of the event.

Camarillo Brillo said...

Too much fun! And amusing dialog, nice photos! Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Austin is a very special place. These are wonderful photos.

Damen said...

Hi Kirk, I'd love to read an article specifically on how you approach approaching people for your "street" shots ... I mean one could do a whole article about the word "tacit" in "tacit approval". In fact, even "tacit approval" can vary from person to person and encompass extremes such as: "Well, They drank the poisoned Kool Aid" or "she drank the rohypnol spiked drink I gave her" or "you could tell she wanted it by the way she was dressed" through to getting a fully articulated verbal approval and a handshake but still requiring a full contract with disclaimers and waivers to acknowledge the approval given. So what I think would be interesting to read is what constitutes "tacit approval" for you in a photographic scenario (given that even then it will vary from person to person and according to situation).

kirk tuck said...

Damen, does this work for you? See next post.....

Damen said...

Hi Kirk - thanks for that !! About to read it now (sorry about the delay - wanted to read it when I had time to actually relax and enjoy it) !

Jesse Gonzalez said...

Lol I know her