This is the continuation of my story of my first time to visit downtown Austin, with my camera, with the intention of simply walking around and taking photos of whatever seemed to catch my eye. I had no agenda, no time requirement, and no plan.
I was walking with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera, my four lenses, and a flash in my little Domke camera bag, but I had left my small Gitzo Traveller tripod back at the car. I had the Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 zoom lens with a circular polarizer on. This was my first time at this game, and I wanted the versatility that the zoom lens would offer.
During Part 1 of my story, which you can read here, I had travelled the route shown here:
I had just made it through the Farmers Market in the park between 4th and 5th streets, just west of Guadalupe, and was heading toward the corner of San Antonio and West 6th Street. This entire post is only going to take me west on 6th Street to Lamar Blvd., as shown on this map:
It was still before 9:00 AM, but the sun had been up for 2 and ½ hours already. The summer haziness in the air was still keeping a “warm glow” to the morning sunlight – but I knew that would quickly end.
Reminder: You can always view any photo at a larger size by just clicking on it. You will then need to use your browser’s “Back Button” to return to my story.
Moving just 100 feet or so west past Nueces St, and looking toward the southwest, I zoomed my 12-50mm lens all the way out to 50mm (100mm equivalent on a full-frame camera) to compress this view of the 29 story tall Monarch Apartments above Walton’s and The Hoffbrau steak house.
The next intersection would be Rio Grande Street, on the northeast corner, sits Katz’s Deli, whose slogan is Katz’s Never Kloses. The only problem is that they went out of business a couple of years ago! That’s too bad, as it was a very popular place to go after the bars on East 6th Street had closed. I believe a lot of people got sober enough to drive home after eating some great New York style deli food at 3:00 AM.
That is the Monarch Apartment building towering over Gatti’s Pizza. I wanted to get the tennis shoes in the previous photo, but I liked the composition of the next photo much more, so here it is, too.
Now, just behind Gatti’s Pizza on 6th Street, I came upon this faded set of stairs, complete with graffiti, a ripped poster, and littered with plastic drinking bottles. I intentionally put my shadow right where you see it in this next photo.
No, that’s not a cowboy hat. It’s an Australian Barmah Canvas Drover hat, which I bought from a street vendor at The Pecan Street Festival way back in May of 2007. It has served me very well, and I could tell lots of photography-related stories about that hat, but not in this blog post!
I don’t believe that I had ever seen that piece of art before, simply because the traffic on 6th Street is one-way going west, and you have to look to the east to see it.
Just a half a block ahead is West Avenue, and one lot south of 6th Street on West Avenue is Frank & Angie’s Pizzeria. I’ve never eaten there, but I liked the way the still early sunlight was illuminating the colorful sign, and the shadows of the non-lit neon tubes.
Back onto 6th Street, a half block ahead, just before Shoal Creek is the historic Hut’s Hamburgers. I’ve heard about this place for decades, but I’ve never been there…. and probably won’t for quite some time, given that Barb and I rarely eat red meat anymore.
It was now 9:00 AM. Every photo in this post so far had been taken in 11 and ½ minutes (and I had been walking for exactly one hour now). I am not bringing this up to impress anyone, other than to reveal just how much there is to see in this crazy town in just 3 and ½ blocks on one street – and not even in the heart of the city. I have shown 12 of the 24 photos that I had taken in that brief time, and 17 of them are worth keeping.
It is worth mentioning right here that this is not “art photography”. At least I don’t consider it that. If I was attempting to create art, I would not be buzzing about like a bee, jumping from one flower to the next in rapid succession. The vast majority of the time, I use a sturdy, bulky tripod when I photograph. I use it not just to keep the camera rock steady, but by using it, it forces me to slow down and be much more deliberate in my approach. This handheld flitting-about was something relatively new to me, but I was having a very fun time doing it!
Even though I wasn’t thinking of “creating art”, I was trying to create somewhat pleasing compositions, and proper exposures. My real goal was just to get a feel for what it’s like to shoot in an urban setting, and get to know the lay of the land. I was definitely a tourist in my own town!
Checking out the GSD&M web site reveals a very impressive array of clients!
Directly across 6th Street from GSD&M, on the south side of the street is the world headquarters of Whole Food Market.
Barb and I have only bought our weekly groceries here one time. It was quite an experience! We came on a Saturday morning, and parked under ground in their parking lot. It was very enjoyable, and the food is great, but this is a 25 minute drive from our house, and there is another one of their stores up in “our neck of the woods” in northwest Austin. Even so, we only shop there for very special occasions, like when we have a dinner party.
Walking a half block west, toward Lamar Blvd, I came to these stairs which take you up to the front surface parking lot. I thought the ironwork was interesting, so I tried to make an interesting composition that included it.
And just before 6th Street and Lamar Blvd, at the northwest corner of the entire block that Whole Foods Market sits on, there was this beautiful Pride of Barbados plant (thanks Diane!). Even though it was in direct sun, and I knew that would “wash out” some of the color of its very vivid flowers, I still thought it was worth photographing.
Across the street is one of Barb’s favorite stores, although she rarely makes it to this downtown location. (For the very same reason why we don’t come to this Whole Foods Market.)
Yes, we have an honest-to-god record store here in Austin, although I’m sure that they sell many more CDs than they do vinyl records. Everyone who lives in Austin has heard of Amy’s Ice Cream, and it is very highly regarded by all proper citizens. 🙂
Walking about 50 feet south on Lamar Blvd, and looking to the southeast, you get a very nice view of the 41 story Spring Condos building. It’s nice to see the construction cranes rising into the Austin sky again.
This was as far from my car as I knew that I was going to get. I had been walking for only 1 hour and 10 minutes. I had been using the same 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens, with a circular polarizer, for the entire walk so far. I had been carrying my small bag with 3 other lenses in it, and there was a reason that I had brought them with me. So it was here that I sat on a little bench and put on a different lens.
To be continued…