Category Archives: Music

Photos of Two Concerts from 32 Years Ago

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Since the Austin Shutterbug Club’s still-life photography workshop, it’s just been blazing hot here in Austin, and I so I have not been out taking any photos since then.

Recently, I told the story about finding my long-lost shoe box containing a dozen smaller boxes of photographic slides. Since it’s been so hot outside, I spent some time during a couple of evenings scanning a few more of these slides into my computer. What I have here to show you in this post are photos that I took during two rock concerts, which occurred in 1981. That’s 32 years ago!

On Thursday, September 24, 1981 my first wife and I went to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers at the Frank Erwin Center here in Austin.

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In 1981 my 35mm camera was a Canon AE-1, and I had three prime lenses: a Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 lens, a Canon FD 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, and a Canon FD 200mm f/2.8 lens. The slide film that I was using was Kodak Ektachrome, and I believe that it was ASA (ISO) 64.

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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.

I am not sure which lens that I used for the photos that I am showing to you here, but I’m pretty sure that I only brought one lens with me to each of these two concerts. I doubt that it was the 50mm lens.

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Back in 1981, nobody seemed concerned at all when I would show up at the entrance door, with ticket in hand, and my camera and lens hanging from my neck strap. I did not have any special “photographer’s pass” for these shows. I was located at the seat indicated on the ticket shown above. In the previous photo, you can tell that the heads of the people in front of me blacked out the lower right corner of the photo, which would be due to my reluctance to just stand up and take a photo while everyone behind me was sitting down.

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Since I was 16 rows from the stage, I can only assume today that I was using my 200mm f/2.8 lens to get the musicians to appear this large within my photo.

Tom Petty has always been one of my favorite musicians over the years, so I was very glad to find these slides of this concert!

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The first photo that I took at the concert was frame number 29 on the roll, and I managed to get 37 photos from that roll of Ektachrome. I just showed you the best 4 of the 9 photos that I took at the Tom Petty concert. I can only imagine how many photos that I would have taken today with a digital camera. I’m sure that it would be at least 100 photos during a 90 minute concert. Oh yea, I forgot… today you can’t get into a concert with a camera, …. unless of course it is built into your cell phone.

It’s also worth noting that the camera equipment that I was using didn’t have any autofocus. There wasn’t any image stabilization. I didn’t have an LCD on the back of the camera to tell me if I needed to add or subtract any exposure compensation (there wasn’t any histogram or any “blinkies”). No, I simply had 8 or 9 frames left on the roll of slide film, and I really didn’t have any idea of how well the photos were exposed until I received them back, after sending them in the mail to Kodak for processing.

Next up are some photos that I took at a Christopher Cross concert, which was also on a Thursday. This was earlier that same year, on March 26, 1981 and it was also at the Frank Erwin Center here in Austin.

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Christopher Cross, who lived in Austin at the time (and still does?), had his self-titled first album come out in 1979 and won 5 Grammy awards (including Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year and Best New Artist)! This concert in the spring of 1981 was during his meteoric rise to the top of the music world.

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Kodak Ektachome slide film was intended to be used in daylight, and not with ever-changing colors of theatrical stage lights, like those used at rock concerts. Even so, it did a good job of capturing, and preserving, the colors in the scene. This next photo clearly had the musicians illuminated by different colors of lights.

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What I thought was interesting as I first viewed these slides in my little Pana-Vue 1 slide viewer, was the varied backdrops that were used behind the band during this concert.

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Here’s a photo of Christopher playing a “double-necked” guitar.

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This next photo is my favorite of this entire post, and that is also why I used it as the opening photo in this post.

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While the smoke still filled the stage, I managed to get another shot of the band.

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This next photo must have been taken during their encore. I believe that is the case because Christopher has changed his shirt to be the Houston Oilers jersey of Earl Campbell. Earl won the Heisman Trophy playing football at The University of Texas here in Austin, 3 and 1/2 years earlier in 1977. Earl was a local favorite, and Christopher was showing his support of another “local legend”.

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In the opening paragraph I stated that I haven’t been out taking any photographs lately. Well, maybe, maybe not… I am writing this blog post on Saturday morning. It will go live early Wednesday morning. On Sunday morning, Barb and I will have driven down to Galveston, gotten on a cruise ship, spent Monday at sea, and Tuesday in Key West, Florida. When this blog post goes live, we will be nearing The Bahamas. I will not be anywhere near a computer, or the internet. If you leave a comment, I will not be responding simply because I am ignoring you. Instead, I’ll be out taking tons of vacation photos, and drinking margaritas!

Thank you for stopping by and visiting my blog today.

The Armadillo World Headquarters – December 27, 1980

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In my previous post, I told the story about finding my long-lost shoe box containing a dozen smaller boxes of photographic slides. Over the years, I have kept wondering what happened to that shoe box. There was only one small box of slides that I really wanted to find, as I really had no memory of what any of the other boxes of slides contained.

The box that I really wanted to find contained photos that I took inside of the Armadillo World Headquarters on December 27, 1980, which was just 4 nights before they closed their doors forever. That box of slides was plainly marked “AWHQ 12-27-80″.

This place has played a legendary role during the 1970′s for helping to put Austin, Texas on the map as a prominent center of music – behind only Los Angeles, California and Nashville, Tennessee. Wikipedia has an excellent history of the place, as well as a pretty decent list of the bands that played there, and the albums that were recorded there over the years. Here is a link to the site that declares itself the official web site for this place that closed its doors more than 32 1/2 years ago. Under the lower left corner of the photo, click the link to “Enter The Site” and then on the left side, click on the photo that says “Performances”. The list is truly staggering in length!

I have been busy this week learning how to scan these slides on my Epson V500 scanner and using the Epson scan software that came with it. There is no metadata that I can look at to tell me anything about the settings that I used.

All I know for sure is that in late 1980 my camera was a Canon AE-1, and I had three prime lenses: a Canon FD 50mm f/1.8 lens, a Canon FD 100mm f/2.8 macro lens, and a Canon 200mm f/2.8 lens. I am not sure which lens that I used for which photo that I am about to show you. I also had a Canon Speedlite 199A external flash, and you can tell that I used it (in the hot shoe) to illuminate several of the photos of the artwork (but certainly did NOT use it to photograph the bands). The slide film was Kodak Ektachrome, and I am guessing that it was ASA (ISO) 64.

The ticket stub shown at the top of this post says that the show started at 9:00 PM, and my first wife and I arrived well before that. We were probably one of the very first people in through the door, and nobody said anything about me bringing in a camera with a large lens attached. It never occurred to me that they might not allow that, either.

I took my first photo of the stage, while the first band was still checking out their sound settings, and before any other customers parked themselves in my field of view.

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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.

I remember that the first time I came to The ‘Dillo was in the spring of 1974. I remember that, because I remember the 3 other guys who I came with – we all lived next to each other in the dormatory at UT. I do not remember which band that we saw, however. I do know that we were all very impressed with the whole “experience” that we had that evening. I knew that I would be back!

The artwork on the walls was somewhat “iconic”, and that was the main reason that I wanted to bring my camera into The ‘Dillo.

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This large canvas painting was hung high and to the right of the stage. My memory says that someone once told me that was Freddy Fender in the photo above, but I must admit that I really don’t know who it is. I just thought it was pretty cool! That canvas is probably 10 or 12 feet across.

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The photo above was high and to the left of the stage. This is the legendary blues man, Freddy King. I guess he represented the heart and the soul of the Armadillo.

The women’s restroom was located to the left of the stage, and the door was in plain view of everyone in attendance. That door is in the lower right corner of this huge painting on the wall.

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I walked to the back of the “concert hall”, where one of the two bars was located. This photo is exposed for the neon signs, but you can still see the pitchers all stacked up and ready to be filled with beer. On a “good night”, you had to hang onto your pitcher, as they would run out at the bar and then you could only order by the bottle (oh no!).

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OK, so that’s all of the photos that I took before the first band came out on stage. I really do not remember who they were.

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I do remember that the photo above was taken from our seats, which were the first row of metal folding chairs. Everyone in front of us was sitting on old beer stained carpet remnants scattered all over the floor. You can see that in the next photo, which I took during the intermission.

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The 20 or 30 minutes between the two bands was usually enough time to get your pitcher refilled, and to go to the restroom. After the men had “done their business” in the trough, and they turned to exit the restroom, here is the larger than life-size artwork that they would see.

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The main event of the evening was billed as “Joe Ely – Lubbock Reunion”. I had seen Joe at least 3 or 4 times before this show and always really liked what I saw and heard. I know that even today I still have a couple of his vinyl records and at least a half a dozen of his CD.

Lubbock, TX is the home of Texas Tech University, and is located exactly 400 miles northwest of Austin. Lubbock has been, and still is, the home of several highly respected musicians. Buddy Holly (and The Crickets) was from there. Later on Joe Ely, Butch Hancock, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore formed a band they called The Flatlanders.

Lloyd Maines, was also born and raised in Lubbock, and supposedly has appeared more times than any other musician on the Austin City Limits television show. He’s the master musician playing the pedal steel guitar!

OK, so it’s time for the main act, and here’s one of two photos that I took of them from my seat.

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That’s Joe Ely playing guitar in the center, and Lloyd Maines is seated just to Joe’s left (your right). I guess I knew that if I was going to get any decent photos, I was just going to have to get up out of my chair and work my way into the crowd.

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That’s Butch Hancock sharing the microphone with Joe Ely. The next photo shows them together, as well as a better shot of Lloyd Maines on the pedal steel guitar.

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I’m going to stop typing now, and just show the best 6 of the last 9 photos that I took while they played.

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Wow, what a show! Being that close to the stage, the wall of speakers to either side of you just resonant right through to your sole.

After the show, and the lights were turned back on, I realized that there was another piece of artwork that I had missed.

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The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers were always watching over the crowd at The Armadillo World Headquarters!

Last night after I had finished scanning this box of slides, I was really in a nostalgic mood. I got out my box of ticket stubs that I have saved over the years. I think I found all of the ticket stubs that I have from The ‘Dillo. This is certainly not all of the shows that I saw there – these are just the ticket stubs that I saved.

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The Armadillo World Headquarters wasn’t the only honky-tonk that I would go to in the 1970′s. But The ‘Dillo was where you could go and drink your pitcher of beer right in front of the stage with all of the other cosmic cowboys. And in the 1970′s there wasn’t any other honky-tonk that I was aware of that everyone was welcome: hippies, cowboys, UT students, working people. In all the times that I went there, not once did I ever see, or even hear about, a fight. Not once did I ever feel unsafe or threatened. With all of beer that was consumed there, that  just doesn’t seem possible today!

Thank you for stopping by and visiting my blog today.

James McMurtry – Levelland

OK, this post is really just an experiment, to see if I can get a YouTube video to show on my blog site.

Don’t worry, I’ve got a ton of photos that I took last week on a photo excursion to some premier Texas BBQ joints in Lockhart – and I’m having trouble getting it down to a small enough number of photos to put into a single post or two. Maybe I will have to chop it up and make three posts….

Anyway, here’s the video of a song called Levelland, by Austin musician James McMurtry, who I believe is the son of the novelist Larry McMurtry. I think that the images are just as powerful as the music.

If the YouTube video does not appear above, then my experiment has failed, but you can still watch this powerful music video here. If anyone can enlighten me on how to embed a YouTube video, I would appreciate it!

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

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The Austin Lounge Lizards at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_111This blog post will be quite a bit different from my previous posts – and it might not stay up long. If asked to, I will remove the photos of the band, but I’ll just leave my story here in place.

Barb and I have a social group that consists of us and two other couples. We get together every 4 to 6 weeks and rotate whose house we have dinner and play table games at. That is, except during December. Everyone is always so busy during that month that we don’t want to add any extra burden on whose turn it would be. Instead, every year, for the past 6 years, we have met at a local restaurant for a meal and then afterwards we head over to the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar and enjoy seeing a local Austin band perform in a rather intimate setting.

This year we met our friends at Threadgill’s Restaurant on Riverside Drive for brunch on Sunday morning, December 16, 2012. We were finished eating by 11:00 AM, so we drove the 2 blocks over to the Palmer Events Center, where the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar has been held for the last 3 or 4 years.

The Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is one of those things that helps “Keep Austin Weird“. It is a place where all sorts of artists come together to sell their wares to those who are shopping for different or unusual Christmas presents.

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_022As a means to help draw in more shoppers, they have local musicians perform 2 or 3 times a day. The talent that they bring in is great!

In the past, we have seen some outstanding shows by Marcia Ball, Albert and Gage, Jimmie LaFave, Eliza Gilkyson, and one my very favorites – Ray Wylie Hubbard!

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_021I have brought a camera to a couple of the shows in the past. I have some pretty good photos of Eliza Gilkyson (2010) and Ray Wylie Hubbard (2011) that I took using my Canon PowerShot G12. In 2009, I used my BlackBerry to get a few shots of Jimmie LaFave, but the image quality was pretty darn bad.

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Eliza Gilkyson – December 2010

 

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Ray Wylie Hubbard – December 2011

After buying my Olympus OM-D E-M5 this past May, I have been able to take what I consider a “nice camera” with me into places that I never would have attempted to take my Canon 5D or 5D Mark II into. Maybe you read my earlier posts about the Tour of Moncrief-Neuhaus Athletic Complex, my adventures at Ruidoso Downs and Grace O’Malley’s Irish Pub in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and the Univ. of Texas vs. Wyoming football game. I am rather certain that I would not have been allowed to bring in a large DSLR camera into any of those places, and take the types of photos that I did manage to get with my little Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera.

In previous years, I never tried bringing in either my Canon 5D or Canon 5D Mark II into the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar. I just didn’t believe that I would be allowed to bring it in. On the other hand, when I did bring in my Canon PowerShot G12, I made sure I had it hanging from the strap around my neck – and in plain sight. No one said anything at all about it – not as I entered the building, or when I used it during the show.

So it was with all of this in mind that this year I thought I would see if I would be allowed into the event with my Olympus camera hanging around my neck. If not, I would only have to walk a few hundred yards (meters) back to the car to hide the camera and then return to the Bazaar.

Now I knew that the Olympus 12-50mm f/3.5-6.3 lens wasn’t going to be very useful in this environment. I was going to need some lenses that would allow in much more light than that otherwise very useful zoom lens would. I put the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens onto the camera, and wrapped the Olympus 12mm f/2.0 and the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f/1.4 lenses into some Tenba 10 inch square Messenger Wraps, and dropped them into Barb’s suitcase-sized purse.

As we entered the front door, I scanned the lobby for any “No Photography” signs, and didn’t see any. We purchased our two US$8.00 tickets, which I’m pretty sure the only words printed on them were “Admit One”. We walked all of 8 feet (< 3m) from the ticket counter to the person that we handed our ticket to. Everyone was very friendly, and nobody said anything about the camera hanging around my neck.

It was only a few minutes after 11:00 AM, and while the shopping was all open for business, the band wasn’t going to start until 12:00 noon. We headed straight for the area where the stage was. We were in luck, as nobody was sitting in any of the chairs yet.  Barb went straight to the front row and claimed 6 chairs just to the right of the center isle!

The photo below was taken right at 11:30 AM, as the Austin Lounge Lizards were performing their sound check. I show you this photo just to get the “big picture” setting for where we were. Notice the person sitting on the left side of this photo with the orange cap? That chair on the front row, in front of his cap, is where I would be sitting for the show. Barb is the blonde in the front row, and those are our friends Diane and Stan sitting next to her. (Holly and Bryan had to head back to Threadgill’s where they had accidently left their credit card…)

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_020The photo above was taken with the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f/1.4 lens. I had the ISO cranked up to 1600, and had the aperture almost wide-open at f/1.8. I had the exposure compensation cranked down to – 2/3 stop. Even with all of that, the shutter was open for a relatively long 1/20th of a second. The 5-axis in-body image stabilization of this little Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera is incredible!

I went to the restroom, just to make sure I wouldn’t need to go later, during the show. On my way back, I stopped to talk to the person manning the sound controls. After a few moments, she walked off to take care of something. Even though the lighting was very dim, I thought the sound board looked pretty cool, so I snapped this photo.

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_0231/20 second, f/2.8, ISO 1600 and the sliders in the lower left are due to the depth of field, not due to camera movement during the 1/20 second.

OK, now it’s show time!  The next photo was taken with the Olympus 12mm lens and the aperture set to f/2.8. 1/50 second and ISO 1600. I was sitting in my chair, and I had the camera to my eye. The electronic viewfinder made it pretty easy to tell that I needed some negative exposure compensation to keep the black curtain background black. The 12mm lens could get all four musicians into the frame of the photo, but I could tell right away that it wasn’t going to get in close enough for some really interesting photos….

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_027Reminder: 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.

The Austin Lounge Lizards are a very talented band! They have been around for quite some time, and have gone through a few personnel changes. The current members, from left to right, are: Conrad Deisler (guitar and mandolin), Bruce Jones (bass guitar), Hank Card (rhythm guitar), and Darcie Deaville (fiddle and mandolin). They play some very lively songs that always contain funny lyrics or satirical views. Every song makes you smile – big – and most of them actually cause you to laugh!

During the “sound check” photo that I showed earlier, they were playing a song that explained what was the cause of the sorry state of the American economy today. That song is entitled “Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs”.  Yep, I think that pretty well set the tone for the rest of the show!

After you finish reading the rest of my post, you really should go check out their web site by clicking here, and then clicking on the “Listen” link right above their group photo (but don’t select “Lyrics” under “Listen” – just click on “Listen”). Scroll down to just the 2nd song (highlighted in purple) and you can listen to “Teenage Immigrant Welfare Mothers on Drugs”.  That’s pretty representative of the type of energy that they produced on stage – just a few feet in front of us!

While you are there, be sure to check out the songs “Old Blevins”, “Stupid Texas Song”, and even “Shallow End of the Gene Pool”. Great music with funny lyrics!

OK, so enough of my ramblings… Let me show you some of the photos that I took. Remember this, though. I never stood up, I remained in my chair, and I didn’t dare use a flash!  I put on the Olympus 45mm f/1.8 lens, set the ISO on the camera to 1600, and took a photo of each member of the band.

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_033Darcie Deaville on fiddle – 45mm, f/2.0, 1/60 second, ISO 1600

I left the White Balance setting on the camera at Auto. They all came out very close to the Tungsten setting in Lightroom, so I took the average of all the temperature and tint values, and set every photo in this series to the same values (temp = 2750, tint = +5).

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_036Bruce Jones on bass – 45mm, f/3.2, 1/80 second, ISO 1600

I set the auto focus point to be the area dead-center in the middle of the frame. I would aim the center of the view finder (the frame) right at the musician’s eye, push the shutter button down halfway (which would lock the focus and set the exposure), then move where the camera was pointed to that would give me a more pleasing composition (i.e. not having their face always being in the center of the photo).

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_038Conrad Deisler on guitar – 45mm, f/1.8, 1/60 second, ISO 1600

I left the metering mode set to what Olympus calls “Digital ESP metering”, which is the same as what Canon calls “Evaluative” metering, and Nikon calls “Matrix” metering. That got me close to a “correct” exposure when I had pushed the shutter button halfway (to set the focus). From there I used the extremely useful “Highlight & Shadow Display” mode of the electronic view finder (EVF) to tell me how much exposure compensation to use to “fine tune” the exposure.

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_043Hank Card on guitar – 45mm, f/1.8, 1/125 second, ISO 1600

On all four of the previous photos, I had dialed in -2/3 stop of exposure compensation, to keep the blacks in the background very near black. (I didn’t know it at the time, but I would later add back between +1/3 and +1/2 stop of exposure during post processing in Lightroom 4.3.)

What I did realize though, was that I was getting a faster shutter speed than I was expecting. I could drop my ISO to a lower sensitivity setting, which would result in less noise in the image, but it would also mean that I would be using a slower shutter speed. I have shot enough with this camera to know that the image stabilization would allow me to do that. I would just have to time my shots to the moments when the musicians wouldn’t be moving quickly – or that movement would be blurry in the photo.

OK, so I dropped the ISO sensitivity from 1600 to 1000, and opened the aperture as far as I could, which is f/1.8 for the 45mm lens. After reviewing the photos later on my computer, I was really glad that I had changed the ISO to a lower setting. When viewing the images at 100% magnification on my 24″ monitor, the amount of graininess is much less, especially in the facial skin areas of the musicians. You probably cannot see the difference by viewing the small, highly compressed images here on my blog post, but the difference is certainly noticeable when viewed “large” (on my monitor and on 19″ prints).

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_055Hank Card on guitar – 45mm, f/1.8, 1/80 second, ISO 1000

Bio from their web site: Hank is one of the founding Lizards. He grew up in Oklahoma City, went to Princeton, where he met Conrad Deisler, and graduated from The University of Texas School of Law. Hank is one of the main songwriters of the Lizards.

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_059Darcie Deaville on mandolin – 45mm, f/1.8, 1/50 second, ISO 1000

Bio from their web site: Starting at 16 as a street performer in Toronto, Darcie Deaville is an accomplished actor, singer, writer, producer, musical director and coach. She’s collaborated with artists including Ani Di Franco, Tom Paxton, Ray Wylie Hubbard, John McEuen, David Lindley, and Eliza Gilkyson. Darcie’s toured from the Yukon to the Yucatan and throughout Europe.

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_066Darcie Deaville on fiddle – 45mm, f/1.8, 1/40 second, ISO 1000

Now you can clearly see the motion blur in the photo above, and it gives you a real sense of just how smoking hot of a fiddle player that Darcie is!

OK, that gets us to intermission, where I put the 12mm f/2.0 lens back on.12mm, f/3.2, 1/15, ISO 1000

I agreed with my previous assessment that even though I was very close to the stage, it was just too wide angle of a lens for this situation. I later learned something very valuable about this lens when I had this photo up on my computer monitor. Nothing in that photo is very sharp. It is supposed to be a very sharp lens. The depth of field on a wide angle lens usually extends from just a few feet away, all the way out to infinity. The aperture was set to f/3.2, which should give the equivalent depth of field that a 24mm lens set to f/6.4 on a full frame sensor camera would.

It should, but it wasn’t. What I later learned, by reading a review of this lens by Ming Thein, was that this particular model of lens has a ring around the barrel that you move back and forth to change from auto focus to manual focus mode. As you are putting this lens onto the camera, it is very easy to move that ring back towards the camera, which puts it into manual focus mode. That’s what happened, and I didn’t realize it until after I was at home.

Still during intermission, I changed back to the Panasonic/Leica 25mm f/1.4 lens.

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_08125mm, f/2.0, 1/40, ISO 1000

I then wandered to the back row of the seating, and waited patiently in the small line to purchase CD and other souvenirs of the band. While I was standing there, I took this photo, looking back into the shopping Bazaar. You can see just how big of a place that we were in.

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I bought two of the Austin Lounge Lizards’ CDs: Small Minds (1995) and Employee of the Month (1998). I’ve listened to them both several times now, as still enjoy them very much. I played them in the car when we went to Barb’s sister’s house the weekend after Christmas, and Barb quickly recognized the songs that we had heard them play live, just two weeks before hand. The lyrics just make you laugh out loud at times!

OK, intermission is now over, and the band is back on stage! With the 25mm lens, the field of view was now wide enough to get two musicians into the frame, so I took a few photos of the musicians in pairs.

First to my right….

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_085Hank Card and Darcie Deaville – 25mm, f/1.6, 1/60, ISO 1000

And then to my left.

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_086Conrad Deisler and Bruce Jones – 25mm, f/1.8, 1/50, ISO 1000

I was pretty sure that I had at least a few good “keepers” by now, but just for good measure I put the 45mm lens back on and occasionally took a shot when things seemed to get “interesting”.

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_097Conrad Deisler on mandolin – 45mm, f/1.8, 1/50 second, ISO 1000

Bio from their web site: Another founding Lizard, Deisler has been monkeying around with music and electronics since the first grade. One of his earliest memories involves singing along with his mother’s Electrolux vacuum cleaner. His first paying gig came in eighth grade. In 1974, he woke up at the Union Grove Fiddlers’ Convention in North Carolina. Since then, he has been devoted to bluegrass and (real) country music. Influences include George Jones and Spike Jones, Frank Zappa and John Hartford, and Bela Bartok and Emmylou Harris.

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_098Conrad Deisler in ski mask and on guitar – 45mm, f/1.8, 1/60 second, ISO 1000

The Austin Lounge Lizards really have some unique entertaining talents!

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_103Bruce Jones on bass guitar – 45mm, f/1.8, 1/125 second, ISO 1000

Bio from their web site: The newest Lizard is Bruce Jones, a Texas Songwriter who spent 16 years playing bass with Omar and the Howlers. This involved a lot of bad behavior, close calls and lucky breaks, including an album on CBS records and tours around North America and Europe with artists including Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Johnny Winter. In 2004, he released his first album of original songs, including “Fight Like a Girl,” which won Second Place in the Austin Songwriter’s Group Songwriting Contest in the “Rock” category. In 2008 he released another album of original songs called “Rough Tough Game”.

Lastly, this next photo with Bruce Jones really “getting down”, is one of my favorites of the whole bunch. I suppose that I could have cropped out Conrad and Hank, but in the end I chose not to do that.

20121216_Armadillo_Christmas_Bazaar_106Bruce Jones on bass guitar – 45mm, f/1.4, 1/100 second, ISO 1000

Man, Bruce has played with some GREAT Austin bands. Omar and the Howlers, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Wow! I have at least 2 CDs from each of these three artists.

This post has taken me quite a while to put together. I went to the Austin Lounge Lizards web site and obtained their email addresses to contact them. On January 3rd, I sent a message requesting their permission to post these photos on my blog. After I didn’t get any response from them, I sent a follow-up message on January 7th. I never got a response to that request either. After another week, I had changed my thinking to “well, they didn’t say yes, but they certainly didn’t say no, either”. If I am ever contacted by the Austin Lounge Lizards asking me to remove their photos, I will do so without any hesitation. If you have read this far and you do not see the photos that I referred to in my blog post, now you know why you don’t see them!

I certainly hope that the photos stay. We really enjoyed the show, I continue to enjoy the CDs that I bought, and I hope that others that see this blog will someday go to an Austin Lounge Lizards concert. I am sure that you will enjoy the show as much as we did!

Thank you for visiting my blog.

November - Texas Moosicians

CowParade Calendar – November – Texas Moosicians

If you have my 2012 CowParade Austin calendar, you probably flipped it over to November and said to yourself “Hey, what’s up with this cow? It’s different than the others!”.

This cow, named Texas Moosicians, was created by Mitch Brookman. Mitch evidently is a very talented artist who specializes in mosaics.

The CowParade Austin website, which is still semi-functional, lists Mitch’s website as http://www.mitchbrookmanmosaics.com, which does not seem to be valid at this time.

Doing a little searching using Bing and Google, I was able to find an interesting news post from The Oasis Restaurant out at Lake Travis, where they were having a contest to name Mitch’s cow (this was in July 2011).

I could also locate this web page, which appears to be on Facebook, but you do not have to be logged in to Facebook to see the photos there.

If you open another web browser window and login to Facebook, you can then come back to this web browser window and view Mitch Brookman’s Facebook page by clicking on this link.

And here is his Texas Moosician’s Facebook page:

It was late on the Saturday morning of September 3, 2011, when Dad and I arrived at the location where Texas Moosicians was on public display. It was at West Willie Nelson Blvd (2nd Street) and Lavaca – which was at the base of the stairs leading up to the Moody Theater at the Austin City Limits Studio.

This was the 19th of 24 cows that we photographed that morning – by far the most we visited in any one day. We arrived at exactly 11:00 AM. The sun was high in the sky, and it was a very hard light. I photographed the plaque first, and then started from the left front side of the cow.

The Texas musicians shown on the left side of the cow, from front to back, are Buddy Holly, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, and Janis Joplin.

Buddy Holly was born in Lubbock, TX in 1936 and died young in an airplane crash in 1959. From Wikipedia: Holly was among the first group of inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. In 2004 Rolling Stone (magazine) ranked Holly #13 among “The 100 Greatest Artists of All Time”.

Lyle Lovett was born in north Harris County (the county that Houston is in) in 1957. His musical career took off while he was attending Texas A&M University. I have been to two Lyle Lovett (and his Large Band) concerts, and really had a great time!

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.

The Willie Nelson statue now sits in almost the exact same location that Texas Moosicians was on display at. Willie Nelson still lives just west of Austin. Barb and I took Dad and Rita to see a Willie Nelson concert at Riverbend Church for his Father’s Day present last summer.

Janis Joplin was born in Port Arthur, TX, but her musical career took off while she was attending The University of Texas at Austin. Janis could really let loose, and was a superstar in the late 60′s – she even performed at the legendary Woodstock music festival in 1969, as one of the main attractions. She came on stage late on a Saturday evening, and performed in front of a half a million people until well into Sunday morning.

Although seeing this cow was very exciting, photographing it was very challenging. The hard, harsh sunlight was directly above. The background was very busy, and even though you still see some parked cars behind the cow, I did my best to wait until there were not also pedestrians and other vehicle traffic on the street. Note also the steel railing of the fence behind the cow…

That railing meant that any photograph of the other side of the cow was going to include the railing, or using some difficult to achieve photographic technique. I wasn’t going to leave without at least trying to get a photo of the other side of this very interesting cow!

To get this photo, I closed the 3 legs of my Gitzo tripod, so that they came together, and raised the center column all the way – which essentially turned it into as tall of a monopod that it could be. I put my Canon 5D Mark II into live-view mode, zoomed my 24 – 105mm f/4 lens to as wide of a field of view that it could go (24mm), and shielded the rear LCD of the camera from the direct sunlight, and stood on my tippy-toes to see the composition on the rear LCD. I used a fairly small aperture, which combined with the 24mm focal length gave me a fairly deep depth-of-field.

The musicians that Mitch Brookman put onto this side of his Texas Moosicians cow are (from read to front): Selena, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Roy Orbison, and Billy Gibbons.

Selena Quintanilla-Pérez was born in Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1971. According to Wikipedia, Selena was named the “top Latin artist of the ’90s” and “Best selling Latin artist of the decade” by Billboard for her fourteen top-ten singles in the Top Latin Songs chart, including seven number-one hits. In 1995, when Selena confronted the president of her fan club for embezzling money, the accused woman shot and killed Selena as the singer tried to flee.

Stevie Ray Vaughan was born in Dallas, Texas in October 1954. Stevie moved to Austin when he was 17 years old. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I saw Stevie Ray Vaughan play 3 or 4 times live – and it was up close and personal. He was the lead guitarist in a band called Paul Ray and the Cobras that played weekly out at the Soap Creek Saloon that used to be out west on Bee Caves Road in the mid-to-late 70′s. That joint could hold maybe 150 people, and we would sit at a table 20 feet from the band and drink beer by the pitcher…. A few people would dance, but almost everyone would just enjoy the music and stare at the band.

Stevie Ray Vaughan was a huge influence on my music listening. I still have several vinyl LPs, and a handful of CDs of his.

Stevie died in a helicopter crash along with 3 members of Eric Clapton’s band when leaving an outdoor concert in Wisconsin in August 1990.

Roy Orbison was born in Vernon, Texas in 1936. Wikipedia reports: Roy’s greatest success came with Monument Records between 1960 and 1964, when 22 of his songs placed on the Billboard Top Forty. … In 1988, he joined the supergroup Traveling Wilburys with George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne. Roy dies of a heart attack in December of that year, at the zenith of his resurgence.

I really liked the Traveling Wilburys, but the song that I still get chills when I hear it, is a song called Crying that Roy Orbison did as a duet with K. D. Lang in 1987. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked it #69 on their list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. I don’t know about such rankings, but it is a beautifully powerful song.

William Frederick “Billy” Gibbons was born in the Tanglewood subdivision of Houston, Texas in December 1949. Billy is best known as the guitarist of the Texas blues-rock band ZZ Top.

The only time that I ever saw ZZ Top perform live was during their Worldwide Texas Tour at the 1974 Labor Day show at Texas Memorial Stadium here in Austin. The concert was the last to be held at the stadium for two decades, as the artificial turf was damaged by rowdy fans. Also performing at that show was Santana, Joe Cocker, and Bad Company. Jay Boy Adams and Jimmy Page also showed up to play. An aerial photograph of the crowd in the stadium was later used as the record sleeve for ZZ Top’s 1975 album Fandango!. If you ever see it, I’m sitting with my buddies on about the 35 yard line, southwest of mid-field, and yes, we were roasting in the mid-day Summer sun. :-)

When I look at the metadata embedded into the 5 photos that I took of Mitch Brookman’s cow named Texas Moosicians, I find that I was only there for 6 short minutes photographing it. It is simply amazing how such a work of art can bring back so many wonderful memories from decades ago.

The photos that I show here are not full of highly saturated colors, like most of the other cows that I was drawn to, but the colorful musicians shown on the sides of Texas Moosicians made this an easy choice to include it in my 2012 CowParade Austin calendar.