Tag Archives: CowParade Austin

CowParade Calendar – December – Flamencow

If you have my 2012 CowParade Austin calendar, or if you are a regular visitor to my blog, you probably flipped the calendar over to December and saw the image above.

This cow, named Flamencow, was created by Elizabeth C. Sullivan. Flamencow was on public display at the corner of East 5th Street and Neches Street, which is the northwest corner of the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin.

Elizabeth was also the artist that created the cow named Cowjunto Music, which I used as “Miss April” in my CowParade Austin 2012 calendar. You can check out Elizabeth’s web site here.

Elizabeth also has a very nice web page that shows her two cows at the various stages of her creating them, and you should check that out here.

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I don’t really have much of a story to accompany these photos, other than the difficulty that Dad and I had in hunting this particular cow down so that we could shoot it.

We had originally mapped out our route to photograph this cow a few weeks earlier. The directions that we had said that it was located at 500 East 4th Street. That would be south entrance to the Hilton, nearest The Austin Convention Center. There was no cow there. We circled the hotel, and did not find any cows there.

We asked the bell hops outside the main entrance on the west side, and asked if they knew of any CowParade cows, or any other cows that were residing in the area. One of them seemed to remember seeing one recently, but couldn’t remember where. We went inside and asked the concierge if he knew anything about any cows on display in the area.

Well, yes, he had. They had taken inside to a storage area, and were waiting for the artist to come get it. We were somewhat taken aback by that answer, and asked why it wasn’t on public display.

It seems that late the night before, some drunks returning from a late night of partying on 6th Street decided to rock the cow back and forth until they succeeded in tipping it over onto its side. Apparently one of its ears was severely damaged, and the artist was coming to get it and attempt to repair it.

Dad and I were completely disgusted that someone in our town would do something like that. I don’t care how drunk they were. It wasn’t like they stumbled into the cow and just happened to knock it over. No, they rocked it back and forth until it toppled over. Probably laughed loudly as they stumbled off afterwards, too (purely conjecture on my part).

We came back a week or two later, and still the cow was not on display. We returned again on September 17, 2011, and there she was! Flamencow was all decked out in drag! (Is that possible, since it was a “she”?) That was one smokin’ hot….  no, make that one flaming, cow. I love the fishnet hose, the garters, and the hair net! I’m not quite sure what to think about those nipple rings, though (ouch!)

It was an overcast morning, so I didn’t have to deal with any direct sunlight issues. I did not use any fill flash on any of these photos of Flamencow. The only thing I remember trying to do was to get a view with the least distracting background. I simply circled this cow, waited for several pedestrians and cars to “get out of my way”, and snapped off these 5 photos of Flamencow in just over 6 minutes.

I knew right from the start that I was going to include this cow in my CowParade Austin 2012 calendar, and in the end, it was the red and green Christmas color scheme that made it an easy choice for “Miss December”.

This is the last month of my CowParade Austin 2012 calendar, but there were s few photos of other cows (inside front and back covers, and on the back, etc.) that I might tell about sometime in the future. Right now I’m getting tired of writing a story at the beginning of every month for something that happened well over a year ago. When I look at these photos, I think that they are “pretty good”, but can’t help but think that maybe I could do a little better now. But then I remember that for all of these cows, we simply had to photograph them wherever we found them, under whatever lighting conditions that existed at the time that we were there.

You can always find all 72 of the CowParade Austin cows here on my website by going back up to the top of my home page, and directly under the banner with the 3 thumbnail images of Austin scenery, clicking on the link for “Photo Gallery” and selecting CowParade Austin 2011. Or you can just click here.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!


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!

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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.

CowParade Calendar – October – Blazing Bovine

Today is October 1st, and if you have my 2012 CowParade Austin calendar, you probably flipped over to October, saw a very colorful cow, and headed on over to my blog site to see what the story is with the cow named Blazing Bovine, which was painted by Doug Naugle.

If you “dig” this cow, then you might also enjoy visiting Doug’s web site, which has the URL of “Dig Doug’s Art” in it, or you might want to check out his Facebook page.

On Doug’s web site, he says this about his art: “With my acrylic paintings, I like to create patterns out of chaotic lines while letting my subconscious be the guiding force. With bold bright colors and stark contrast the images buzz with electricity. The outcome of my work is like lightning striking the canvas and electrifying the soul.”

Blazing Bovine was on public display here in Austin, TX during August through October 2011 on the west side of South Congress Avenue, between Gibson St. and Elizabeth St. at Guero’s Taco Bar.

Unfortunately, I really don’t have much of a story to tell about my experience in photographing this cow.

This was the last one of eleven cows that Dad and I photographed on the morning of September 10, 2011. As a result, we didn’t get to Blazing Bovine until 11:30 AM, and the cloudless Texas sky had the direct, harsh sunlight doing some serious blazing of its own.

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This cow was positioned near the edge of a very busy sidewalk, with parked cars very close to it. The photo above was taken from the west side, and so this is the shady side of the cow. I did use my Canon 580EX II flash on top of my Canon 5D Mark II camera to take that photo. You can clearly see how close the parked cars were to it.

I was determined to get a photo of both sides of this cow, so I struggled around a bit and finally got my tripod positioned down between the parked cars and took this next photo of the sunny side of the cow.

Even though I was still very close to this 8 foot long cow, I did manage to back-up between the parked cars far enough to get my 24-105mm f/4.0 lens zoomed out to 55mm. (I was trying to avoid the perspective distortion that occurs from being too close – and using a wide anlge lens.)

The photo above was the one that I used for my calendar. Why did this cow end up as “Miss October”? Because the color scheme seemed to be a Halloween color scheme, with the strong blacks and brilliant orange.

In the bright sunlight, it is difficult to really see the picture on the LCD on the back of the camera, so just in case my first photo wasn’t exposed optimally, I went back to the other side of the cow. I dialed the flash exposure compensation down by -2/3 of a stop, and took this photo.

There is nothing appealing with having all of those parked vehicles immediately behind this (or any) cow, so I just made sure to get a photo of the plaque before we packed up our equipment and headed home for lunch.

We had only been there for 10 minutes, and I had spent the majority of that time simply waiting for people to get out of my way. Even then I never really got what I thought was a “great” photo of Blazing Bovine, but in the end, I did think that the photo that I took of the sunny side of the cow was worthy of being in my CowParade Austin 2012 calendar.

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