A Laid Back Saturday in Austin in the late Spring. Camera at hand.

Woke up early this morning and made coffee and waffles with peanut butter before the dog or the spouse stirred. I was out the door by 7:15 and in the pool by 7:30 for the first workout of the day. The water was a little warm and my goggles fogged up from time to time, but we got in about 3,000 quality yards and that's enough to keep me happy.

I had a camera in the car (of course) so after I got dressed I went back into the pool area to take a few snaps of the pool and the swimmers at the 8:30 practice. The object in the foreground is a starting block. We use it to practice our racing dives; just in case we feel the need to race....

The 8:30 workout was lightly attended today. I think it's because the annual 2000K race in Lady Bird Lake is tomorrow morning and people are saving their energy for a long, cold race. I'm not swimming that one, the water isn't clean enough....

Today's swim camera was the D700. I used on older, manual focusing 55 macro as my normal lens. It's a nice and compact combination. The lens is nicely sharp from f4 on down.

We got new lane lines in January. Can you tell? The colors are nice and vibrant and none of the lane lines has too much slack. 

At right about this point in time, while shooting little volleys of swim photos, it dawned on me just how hungry I was and I started thinking about moving on. There is a fast food place near me with a drive through. I could not resist....

So, after banging off a few more meaty, saturated frames I got in the car and headed over to McDonalds where I ordered an egg, bacon and cheese biscuit and a medium coffee with one cream. I took my (second) breakfast home with me so I could enjoy it while reading the Washington Post (online) and I can never resist the charms of Studio Dog who loves little scraps of scrambled eggs.

After my leisurely (second) breakfast I headed out to the studio to do some organization and packing for next week. I have a crazy schedule: I'm down in San Antonio taking my dad to a doctor's appointment on Monday. Tuesday I pick up a rental car at 8 a.m. and load it up with all the gear I'll need for my assignment in Mexico. Midday on Tues. I photography a lunch event for a charity and then immediately start the six hour drive to Brownsville and Matamoros. When I get there I'll need to have dinner and then post process my coverage of the charity event. The next day is a full day of industrial strength commercial photography and some video interviews. I'll be using a mix of cameras and format.... Thurs. I'll be up at 4:30 a.m. to drive back to Austin. My plan is to make it back in time for the noon workout at the pool. Then unload the gear and get the rental car back to the rental agency.

The rest of the day will be dedicated to post processing the Mexico photos and video. I'll also throw in the unpacking and re-packing of gear for a full day of photography at Zach Theatre on Friday. It's the kind of week that doesn't have much spare time layered in...

After dabbling in the studio Belinda and I headed over to our favorite sandwich shop, Thundercloud Subs, and had lunch together. That's something we've been doing for about 34 years straight. Every Saturday. Different lunch places, but every Saturday... I switched out lenses before lunch. The image above was taken with what I consider to be one of the very best zooms I've used in the Nikon system; it's an ancient, manual focusing, 35-70mm f3.5. The resolution is marvelous and it works well on the D700, even wide open. 

After lunch I dropped back into the studio to pick up an extra battery and I headed to Pease Park for the annual Eeyore's Birthday Party. It's a mini-one day Woodstock without any of the cool bands or the rain or mud or ...... it's actually just a big party in the park that gives Austinites a chance to wear costumes, go topless and pretend to be old school hippies. But I've been going for decades; even back when the crowd numbered in the 20's or 30's so I had to drop by. But before I did I walked over to the Graffiti Wall since it's midway between where I like to park and the Park.

I seem not to be able to resist at least a walk through at the Wall and today was no exception. The 35/70 is a great P.J. lens and it seems to crank out happy sharpness at every setting. And guess what? Since the pixels are so big on the D700 I can stop down to f11 or f16 and not worry about diffraction robbing me of sharpness. How cool is that?

People love taking photos of each other in the middle of graffiti chaos. And they all have a special "photographer's stance"........

Krazy Kolors Kourtesy of Lightroom's new profiles. 

Above: This is a traffic island just north of the world famous Clarksville neighborhood. It's well tended and overwrought. I love people who make public spaces more visually interesting. Velvet ropes and a red carpet for the cross walk. Nice.

And then it's on to Eeyore's Birthday Party. Everyone comes to show off something.....

For the images below I decided to switch from raw to Jpegs and to turn up the ADL control to high (expands the dynamic range via crazy, artificial exposure magic...). Thank goodness I was able to recover some shadows....

To be truthful, when I got back to the studio I was a bit bored by a lot of the stuff I took. The festival/party seemed to have finally achieved mainstream blandness this year. So I did what all trendy web artists tend to do and made everything from that point on black and white. Lightroom now makes it easy and provides an incredible range of control. I've barely scratched the surface. 

 When the 90 degree heat and the throng of gawkers hit critical mass for me I headed back toward the car with stops at Book People to pick up the latest copy of "American Cinematographer Magazine", to look at cool hiking shoes at REI, and to see if the flagship Amazon/Whole Foods store still had any vegan, lemon, hazelnut scones left. Sadly, they did not.  

I headed home to see the Spouse and Studio Dog and to eat salmon with a caper and butter sauce for dinner and to drink Fireman's Four beer. I'm finishing this blog up before heading back into the house to watch a movie with the family crew. This is my idea of a nice day in paradise.

Camera battery recharging. Cards emptied. Blog written. All done. Night John Boy....


  1. "I took my (second) breakfast home with me..." I didn't know there were Hobbits living in Austin!
    Peter Wright

  2. Thank you for posting pics. Eeyore did have a good time.

  3. Wow. If that’s a day off I’d hate to be an assistant trying to keep up with you when you’re actually working.

  4. Nice lane lines. How long before the colors start to fade? Back when I was running marathons I lost a few toenails; now that I am swimming again I am bashing too many fingernails on the lane lines at the "Y." I see it as balance in my life :).


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