Sunday is the day on which I make a point to walk around with a camera and just look at stuff. Everything changes all the time in life. It's good to get out and notice the changes.

Another perfect Sunday is coming to a close. I was up early and in the pool while most people were popping open the New York Times on their laptops or tablets. We rocked through 4100 yards as the sun rose up and burned away the scattered clouds. The water was perfect. It felt like it was right at 78 degrees. The air temperature was down at 73, which is a delightful change from the usual temperature at this time of year. 

A little after noon I grabbed the camera that is quickly becoming my go to street camera and I headed toward downtown to see what might be new. The camera was the Sony a6300, packing the relatively new (to me) Sigma 30mm f1.4 DN Contemporary. Love a lens with a name like that....

I took my time and took the long walk. I spent some time at the Graffiti Wall where the arrangement of rocks below seemed cool to me. Then I walked over to the Humanities Research Center at the UT Campus to get another look at the fabulous retrospective show of Elliott Erwitt's photography. It's just as good as it was last week when I visited. If you are near Austin (and that includes any readers we might have in San Antonio) this show is worth the drive. It occupies the entire first floor gallery of the HRC and it is wonderfully curated. The best. Believe me. The best. 

From the HRC I turned south again, heading past the State Capitol (currently under construction) and back into downtown proper. Down the smelly and seedy portion of East Sixth Street and over to the Convention Center where I was tickled to see a bustling Bridal Show in full swing. I remember going to a bridal show about twenty years ago and the thing that struck me, when I reviewed my memory of that event and compared it to the reality in front of me, is just how much bigger people have gotten over the last twenty years. I have to say that the attendees, when compared to the people two decades ago, are profoundly heavier. Thirty to fifty pounds on average. Sad and weird. I shook my head and continued my walk...

I headed back west past the tourists, drinking and eating appetizers on the sprawling front porch of the JW Marriott and continued east past the Austin Music Hall; now marked for demolition (that was a  short run...). Past the new Seaholm Center with a Trader Joes grocery store doing good business. I made it back to my car, parked in my usual space by the Treaty Oak, and headed home. 

When I landed here I was interested to see what I had gotten on my leisurely stroll through the city. I'd meant to spend the afternoon playing around with black and white but it seems like I veered in pretty much the opposite direction. 

Murals on Congress Ave.

I loved the splashes of art on the construction facades. They certainly lively up the place.

A fun find for the day was two UT film school students out shooting on Congress Avenue with a camera model that I owned, and used, many years ago. It was a Bolex Rex 5, set up in its spring-wind mode and loaded with 100 feet of some sort of 16mm film. The two guys handling it seemed to be having fun. The camera was certainly getting many thumbs up from for people savvy enough to know what it was. It brought back memories for me. I'd spent a lovely afternoon one day at Hamilton's Pool, back when an actress and a young film maker wannabe could head to the natural pool (about 20 miles from downtown Austin) on a hot weekday and not run into anyone else. I remember every frame...

Why I prefer panels with diffusion on them to soft boxes for portrait lighting.

Martin Burke as Crumpet for Zach Theatre's "Santaland Diaries." 

When I first started in photography the beginners all lit things with white umbrellas but they always coveted and aspired to own soft boxes. Especially Chimera soft boxes which were considered the cream of the crop. All of our photographer idols had studios filled with soft boxes. All sizes, from 12 by 12 inch up to 48 by 72 inches. There was a car shooter I knew in Dallas who had a custom soft box bank that was twelve feet by twenty feet. Amazing. And we would always marvel at the quality of light. Soft, yet directional. The boxes were relatively easy to set up and take down and at one point in my career I really couldn't understand why anyone would use anything else. 

But then I started shooting stills on movie sets and at high end video shoots and I watched as directors of photography lit up their sets using mostly various big frames which, in conjunction with diffusion material, created panels of light. At first I thought they just didn't know about the existence of soft boxes but after some long conversations with grips and gaffers I started to understand that the panels could provide a much more comprehensive amount of control, and along with the control, more "looks" than could be pulled out of soft boxes. 

I started collecting various frame sizes and cloths and using them in my work almost all the time. Once I learned just how much customization of light I could accomplish