Picked up a Lensbaby Composer Pro with the “Sweet 35” optic this afternoon, and took it around the neighborhood to try to initiate myself into its mysteries. After about 15 minutes of pointing and shooting, I feel confident enough to issue my first tentative rules of making interesting shots. Given my 15 minutes of experience, I suspect that these “rules” may better be termed “suspicions,” but here they are anyway:
Second-oldest neighborhood in New Orleans, after the French Quarter. Founded 1719. Home (as the billboard announces) of Mardi Gras World! MGW’s billboard could use a facelift.
These photos were taken around 7:30 a.m., facing roughly east-southeast, putting the sun in my eyes and the signs in shadow. So I took three shots, hoping one would be usable by itself.
Thankfully, I noted that the wind was not blowing, and the distant trees were essentially unmoved from shot to shot (moving trees create problems for layering exposures because the dark/light areas between the shots don’t line up right). So I lifted the biker out of frame #1, the billboards from frame #2, and the sky from frame #3, using an adjusted version of frame #3 as the layer mask for the sky. (And of course adjusted the White Balance on everything as well.) Then I cloned out the small triangle of boardwalk in the lower right corner, and cropped to 16×9. For the moment, I’m happy with the result. Sometimes I think the sky might be a little overbaked, but seriously, who wants reality? Not even Dan Rather wants reality.
Had a nice walk up San Jacinto from the Four Seasons hotel up to 10th Street this afternoon. I had been taking pictures of the members of the Women’s Fund, at their annual Power of the Purse luncheon. Saw a familiar face (hi Eva!) and touched base with the good folks from the Austin Classical Guitar Society as well. On the way out, just as everyone was getting ready to eat, I pointed out to the editor whom I was shooting for, that a woman was seated all alone at a table for 10 in the back of the room. I had asked her earlier where her friends were, and she said this was what you get when you RSVP at the last minute . . . but my editor felt bad for her, and told me to sit down in the chair to her left while she sat on her right. Who am I to turn down a free meal at the Four Seasons? Plus, I made off with two cute little schwag bags from Saks Fifth Avenue with Lancôme, Chanel, Elie Saab, and Laura Mercier stuff in them (which I will promptly turn over to my sister and niece). And a custom-made “Women’s Fund” purse cookie. (Cookies were made by Loretta Holland, www.cowgirltreatery.com.)
Why would I park at 10th Street if my job is at 1st Street? a) free parking in my church’s garage (not free for the general public); b) exercise in prep for an upcoming trip to Yellowstone; c) it looks cooler at the end of the event to walk off into the horizon than to take the elevator down to the hotel’s underground parking garage. I need all the help I can get.
Can’t post any Women’s Fund pix here—those are for my employer. (Yes, it is possible to be technically unemployed and yet make reference to an employer . . .) But I can share a few snapshots from the nice walk back to my car. High in the 60s today. Nobody will care about these photos unless they spark some memory in the viewer. They show a couple of recent downtown skyscrapers (the Austonian and the Frost Bank tower), and show that the construction boom continues . . . the construction shots were taken from 3rd and San Jacinto. The city has changed a lot since I got here in 2000, and keeps changing. Just learned today that UT Austin has authorized itself to buy the land under Players, a hamburger joint long loved by UT undergrads (and grad students alike, as I can personally attest). I’ve been watching for UT to swallow up Players for years now. The bottom line (apart from the indignation felt by many at the ever-expanding behemoth that is the university) is that the city is changing all the time, and eventually photos are all we’ll have of the past. (Unless we manage to score the Players neon sign to hang in our apartment.) Here’s Players in 2008, with the UT Tower looming in the background like an administrative Minas Morgul:
Now for the snapshots . . . enjoy, or just close the tab . . . These are meant as throwaways, but I always welcome all kinds of criticism from those who want to take the time to offer it. How I can make a better shot next time.