"James and the Giant Peach" - A Zach Theatre Production. Photographs from the dress rehearsal.

What a wild and off kilter weekend I had. It all started (as weekends do) on Saturday morning. In my calendar I had inked in a job to do dress rehearsal photographs for a new play at Zach Theatre. It was Roald Dahl's, "James and the Giant Peach".  The show was supposed to start at 11 a.m. so I went to the early swim workout; you know....just in case. 

I grabbed my photo gear and headed to the session. I walked in and the director asked me what I was doing there. Seems that I'd gotten an e-mail back on January 25th (to which I had, indeed, responded...) changing the day and the time of the dress rehearsal to Sunday at 2:15pm. So much for the pervasive myths about my infallibility....

As I headed back home I decided to call my ancient parents in San Antonio. My mom didn't sound good so I changed course and headed the car south onto IH-35. I won't belabor all the medical issues involved but I will say that from the time I got to my parent's home till late Saturday night I spent some quality time on the emergency number for a pulmonologist and I cooked a meatloaf and baked potatoes, and helped with eyedrops, and an errant oxygen machine.  Then I spent a largely sleepless night in a too warm house before going to a pharmacy at first light on Sunday morning for three prescriptions. Back home to cook breakfast and then arrange for a heightened level of in-home care for seniors. 

A new medical assessment gave me some emotional relief so I headed to the grocery store to lay in a bunch of healthy food for the parents and then raced back to Austin, just in time to buy some Valentine's Day stuff for my sweetie, grab the already packed bag of cameras, and head back over to the theatre. 

Yes, in the real world we artsy photographers also have to be emergency parental responders and caretakers. It's an interesting role; especially so for the borderline narcissist in most of us...

So, now we're back in Austin on Sunday early afternoon and we're actually shooting in the very first theater I worked in for Zach Theatre nearly 27 years ago. They call it the Kleberg Theater. One of three theaters on the Zach campus. 

I packed two lenses: The Nikon 24-120mm f4.0 and the Sigma 50mm Art lens and used them both. I put them each on a 24 megapixel, full frame, Nikon body, set both bodies at ISO 3200 and blazed away. I liked everything that came out of both cameras. It souped up nicely in post production and the noise was almost non-existent. 

I jumped straight into post processing when I got back home. I wanted to get it all nailed down by 7pm so I could make a couple of ham, gruyere and carmelized onion pizzas and also open a nice bottle of champagne to celebrate Valentine's Day with the CFO of the VSL. And Studio Dog. (Studio Dog was clearly miffed that I had not alerted her to my Saturday schedule change!!!). 

The small theater is so much more intimate than the big, Topfer Stage. I could get  within a couple of feet from the cast and shoot with much wider lenses, which is so much more immersive!!!!! I loved it. It was a fun experience after so much theater production shooting from mid-way up the house, dead center, in the giant theater. More like this, please! 

I always think of myself as a medium telephoto proponent but I have to say that the images l liked best from this (astoundingly excellent) production were the ones where I was so close I felt as though I was part of the cast. Wide angle all the way. In context, the 50mm felt long in this venue. 

I got up early this Monday morning, brushed my teeth and brushed away the effects of too much Champagne the night before. Then I grabbed a coffee and headed out on assignment. I was gone by 7 a.m. Off to photograph at St. Gabriel's Catholic School, where I had my first break-in sessions with the Sigma 24-35mm f2.0 ART lens. I may never take it off one of the big Nikon bodies. It's amazing. But more about that after I post process all the school files on Thurs. Till then I can just say that everything I saw on the back panel reviews exceeded my expectations and seemed to deliver the ultimate in spirited nano-acuity. I am tired but looking forward at two more long days of photographing at the school. 

Hope your week is off to a great start and you celebrated a romantic and happy Valentine's Day. Good times....

Remember, you can click on the images to see them bigger. 

One of the original Craftsy Photo Classes and 
still one of the best! 

I met Lance a couple of weeks ago in Denver
and found him to be really fun and knowledgeable 
this class reflects what he teaches in hands-on
workshops in Ireland and Iceland, as well as 
cool places around the U.S.

How to make what we shoot into a cohesive
train of visual thought.