Austin, Texas

Last week I attended a conference in Austin, Texas.  Austin is the state capital of Texas and is known as "The Live Music Capital of the World."  

I was there for about three days and had a goal to get out as soon as possible after each day's conference agenda was over.  Not having a car (didn't need one), I walked around with my 35mm film camera. Before leaving home I hand rolled ten rolls of Ilford HP5+ with around 24 frames on each roll.  I shot all my exposures pushed two stops to ISO 1600 thinking most of my walking downtown would be in heavy shade or at night.  Sunset in Austin this time of year is just after 8pm.  In all I shot around seven rolls of film.

Walking around with no map is the way to go.  I just wandered through downtown for the most part taking photographs of anything that interested me, my normal mode.  The most vibrant part of the city is on 6th Street where the bars and restaurants come to life with bands playing through the open doors and windows.  It's a very different place reminding me somewhat of New Orleans on a smaller scale.  Very cool.

The night before the last day of the conference I waited at the Congress Avenue bridge for the nightly departure of the world's largest bat colony from under the bridge.  There are around 1.5 million bats under the bridge that form streams of dark bat clouds over the city of Austin just after sunset.  It's an amazing spectacle, well worth watching.  I posted a video at the end of this post.

Bats flying from under the bridge on Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas

Cruising Grand

I usually shoot with film at Cruising Grand. This week, I went digital.

This past Friday was a cooler night than normal for this time of year. It was also Mother's Day weekend which seemed to keep the crowd down, at least it felt that way.

As is typical, I shot a bit more prolifically than I would have shooting film. I was also learning how the M handled. The Leica M(262) has centered weighted metering, essentially the same metering as my film camera. I started shooting like it was a matrix metered exposure system and got the results I should have expected. Once I figured it out, I went back to the way I normally expose on my film camera. I look for the middle grey in the scene and try to expose there. I eventually went to all manual because the aperture priority setting was a bit tougher for me to work with. It was funny really because the results from the 262 drove me back to how I shoot with my Leica MP. It's just perfect, I can shoot both cameras the same way.

Here are some of my better results from the night.

First Day Hike

I took a hike today with a camera.  I didn't take a film camera with me.  Having just finished my 365 project, I was in a mood to pick up my Lumix GX8 and a wide angle lens.

The hike through Poway's Blue Sky Reserve is one of my favorites.  We have an oak grove that is just mystical in the right light.  It could really be the home of an Irish leprachaun, just a magical atmosphere in the late afternoon.  I do plan to do more medium and large format black and white photography in 2017, just not today.