Well, it looks like I have gone most of the week without a wedding blog post. I guess I’ll blame it on summer and post another fun friday foto blog instead. Hope you are having a great summer. Yep, it’s hot, but it’s still summer…
My wife, my son and I recently visited family in rural Texas. My son, Roman, loves animals and he just couldn’t get enough of the farm life, including horses, goats, chickens….
I’ve finally decided that black and white is my favorite photography. And what’s great these days is that you don’t have to limit yourself (as a photographer) to just shooting with black and white film. Photographing with a digital camera allows one to shoot in color and then make copies of the image in black and white, sepia tone, and so many other filters that the options are infinite. I love photographing my family in black and white because to me it lends an editorial element to the photos and makes them seem a little more “timeless”. The reality is that I can describe why I like black and white or why I like peach pie or chocolate ice cream, but in reality, I just know that I like it!
This shot was of my son Roman playing with his cat, Apollo, who is always up for an adventure and who is always a good sport, even when Roman is too rough with him. Enjoy!
I’m doing the “fun friday fotos” a little early this week so I can get the Father’s day weekend kicked off early. Did you know that in many of the rural areas just outside Austin, Texas there are organic farmers who offer their produce to the public? If you are tired of eating tasteless fruits and vegetables from the supermarket, then it’s time that you took a trip out of town to visit one of Central Texas’ local organic farms. There are many to choose from and I’ve written about Star Farmers Market in Rockdale, as well as Sweet Berry Farms in Marble Falls. But last weekend my wife, my son and I packed into the car and headed east of Austin to Bastrop Gardens, which is much closer than the other two farms I mentioned, and a little different too! Bastrop Gardens is what would happen if organic farmers opened their farm to visitors and sold fruit, vegetables and gardening supplies. They sell live plants, compost by the cubic yard, compost tea, pick-your-own-veggies and much more. My wife made friends with the owners daughter who was full of great gardening solutions, while I chased my son around the gardens.
This week my son Roman has taken a special interest in my work tools. It seems like no matter what I’m working with in the backyard to complete a project, he wants to be working with the same tool at the same time. For example, if I’m hammering some nails, then he needs the hammer; and if I’m measuring lumber with the tape measure, then that is also what he needs at the moment – although the tape measure appears to be one of his favorite carpentry tools. I suppose it makes me a little proud, to see that Daddy’s little builder likes to help. And he is pretty darn cute trying to wield a large tape measure and a hammer!
Sometimes I enjoy just posting a random photo. I’ve got tons of photos that I’ve taken around the house or on the road that just don’t seem to fit anywhere. Yet, I still like the photo and feel the need to share it. So, needing no introduction, here is Friday’s random fun foto: “James.” James looks much like Thomas the Train, if you know your children’s shows. However, James is red (that’s the only difference I can detect)! I snapped this photo on our front porch while my son was playing with his grandmother.
Looking for a great day trip out of Austin? Look no further…We had so much fun on our previous outing to Rockdale that we decided to make another trek to pick strawberries. This time we traveled from Austin to Marble Falls, to a little place called “Sweet Berry Farms”. Sweet Berry Farms has strawberries (and other fruit/vegetables – depending on timing), as well as a petting zoo with goats and donkeys, face painting and a barrel train! You can not only pick your own strawberries, but you can also purchase jams, honey and lots of other home grown/home made foods. We had a great time and can report that it’s worth the trip to Marble Falls!
My son, my wife and I recently took a few hours to visit the Austin Zoo. Based on discussions with other Austinites, I’ve discovered that many people in Austin don’t know much about the Austin Zoo, which is unfortunate. It’s located west of downtown Austin, off of Texas Highway 71.
Now if you are looking for fireworks, amazing exhibits and big crowds, then you’ll be disappointed in the Austin Zoo. However, if you are looking for a small venue to see animals that is low traffic and kid-friendly, then the Austin Zoo might be for you!
Some of the highlights of the Austin Zoo are:
- Small Venue. To me, small venue equals “quality experience”, unlike the some of the bigger, sprawling attractions in Texas.
- Bengal Tigers. Austin Zoo has a significant number of large, healthy Bengal Tigers which can be seen up close and personal!
- Children’s Train. If you have kids who like trains, then don’t miss letting the kiddies ride the small train that runs on real train tracks throughout the park. The lady that supervises the ride is super nice and it’s only $2.50/person.
- Petting Zoo. Your paid admission to Austin Zoo includes a bag of animal food to feed the goats, sheep and various other animals onsite. Who doesn’t love getting up close and personal in the petting zoo?!
One important note about the Austin Zoo – it is a non-profit organization that is considered an animal sanctuary, which makes it different from many zoos. If you would like to make a donation to support the animals at the Austin Zoo, go to the make a donation link.
There’s also lots of other things for children to see, such as special reptile exhibits, various primates, lions and birds. Is Austin Zoo fancy and expensive? No. But in my opinion that is a good thing. It’s affordable fun in a small package.
Recently, my wife decided we needed yet another animal to add to the flock at our home, so she brought home a kitty named Maru. Maru’s story is a little more complicated I suppose, and perhaps I shouldn’t be so dismissive. In all honesty, Maru is a rescue kitty. My wife found her wandering without a home or without food near her work and turned her in to the custody of Town Lake Animal Shelter. But if you know my wife, you know that she is crazy about animals, especially cats. She kept up communication with the animal shelter to see if anyone would adopt Maru. Well, no one adopted her so my wife stepped up and did the adopting herself. So now we have a 3rd addition to our cats, which also includes our gray russian short hair named Apollo and our orange, “perpetually confused” tabby named Orion. They are already acquainted with each other and the kitty bonding has begun!
Since my wife has been spending a lot of time lately sewing, Roman has decided that he definitely needs to be in the middle of things. He loves to “help” my wife when she is sewing things. Although he likes to sew and enjoys a pink bracelet, most other things he does are very boyish. He’s a rough and tumble kind of guy. He loves to be outdoors and loves going down his slide head first.
Thursday afternoon we made a spontaneous trip to a park in our neighborhood. Highlights included hiking, playing on the playscape and getting to sit on the yellow tractor that happened to be parked onsite. It was a great day!
Roman will be turning two years old in April and he’s already begun the “terrible twos”. Actually, it seems like there are lots of other names for the terrible twos and I guess the name just serves as a blanket term for the entire episode of a toddlers life. It could also be called the “mischievous twos” or the “talking twos” or even the “terrifying twos”. I thought I’d share a few photos of Roman with his cute “what’s up dog?” shirt and of him tormenting his mother by trying to pull some of her crucifixes down from their places on our wall at home (while riding his horse). There’s never a dull moment around our house with Roman on the loose, unless he’s sleeping of course!
One other interesting note. I recently acquired Adobe Lightroom 3.0 and I’m currently bringing myself up to speed with some of the new tricks. One that I kind of like is being able to you a single slider to adjust softness of skin, something that previously was far more difficult and required more effort and potentially expensive secondary software. Notice how soft and smooth Roman’s skin appears in the photo of him and his mom below. I was able to easily cover up most of the cheetos debris that was on his mouth with just a few minor adjustments. Very cool! Can’t wait to learn more about the newest version of Lightroom.
Apparently these peach blossoms from the peach tree in our backyard think that it’s springtime already. And the weather lately certainly doesn’t feel like winter. I guess we’re all a little confused as to what season we’re in here in the Austin/Pflugerville area. Enjoy!
This past week we visited a duck pond at a park in North Austin. My son Roman is an avid animal lover and he loves seeing the ducks and just being outside. When I was growing up I remember spending almost all my time outdoors and I can definitely identify with him and his need to connect with nature. So it was easy for my wife, me and him to say yes to an afternoon visit to see the ducks and geese. What was funny and a little ironic was that the various water fowl didn’t really seem hungry or interested in the bread we brought them. Now I realize that bread, crackers, tortillas and other starchy foods are probably not a “normal” part of a duck’s diet, but that is what you feed the ducks when you visit, right? Unfortunately (or fortunately for the fowl) there are so many regular visitors to the pond toting food that they have lots of grub to choose from and they don’t want for something to eat. At any rate, Roman enjoyed chasing the ducks, and the occasional squirrel. I think we even got a sunburn. Go figure…it’s Texas in February…you just never know about the weather!
Roman visited the goats and horses in our neighborhood earlier in the week. We have the convenience of lots of small farms and farm animals near our home and he loves to visit the goats and mini horses that live just a short walk from us. Happy Friday!
Next week I plan to blog about some experiences I’ve had while photographing weddings. The subject will be about capturing great photos at weddings in a sea of guests who all have cameras pointed at the bride. I have some great photos to share and some tips for wedding photographers on how to handle different situations, so stay tuned.
Fun Stuff. We visited the Shrine Circus a few weeks back. We got all packed up and ready to go, coupons in hand, Roman’s changing bag, green tea, warm coats, and the cameras. When I arrived and pulled out my Canon 5DMii Digital SLR (the camera I shoot most of my events with) I realized that I didn’t bring a CF card, the device that stores images on the camera. I just laughed.
I guess a lot of photographers wouldn’t want to admit something like this, but I will. If you ever visit my house you’ll see that I have a detailed check list pinned to my wall that I review before I leave home to drive to one of my events. Friends visit us, see the checklist and laugh. But, to date (knock on wood!) I’ve never left behind any important equipment that I would need at a photo event, like a wedding, thanks to my checklist – which is a big deal for wedding photography. Apparently I should start using my checklist for my personal life too.
So the photo below was snapped with one of our old point-and-shoot cameras from the nose bleed seats in Cedar Park Center. Even though the photo is not of the highest quality, I still like it.
This photo was taken recently at a friends house. Roman decided that he was a big fan of their dog and wanted to see what it was like to hang out in the dog house. Their dog is really well behaved and didn’t know what to think of a little boy encroaching in the place where he sleeps.
Today turned out to be a snow day for most people in Austin, TX. When we woke up we discovered around an inch of snow stuck to driveways and grass – something that doesn’t usually last very long in Central Texas. And the snow was something that most people had been anticipating for days. Temperatures have been below freezing for most of the week, which is abnormal for most of the year here. We even had some water piping that temporarily froze, which was unexpected as well.
Roman and I ventured outside late this morning to see the snow, which ironically was already melting (ironic because temperatures have been steadily freezing for days). This is Roman’s 2nd snow and he still doesn’t quite know what to do with it. But I did catch him smiling a few times, despite the wind and cold temperatures. Maybe next year we’ll get some more time off and build a snowman…
This past week we took Roman to Chuck E. Cheese for the first time ever. Although it was crowded and we ran into lots of crazy, rude people, we still had a great time. I think Roman genuinely had a good time. I have to admit that I was a little afraid that he would be like his dad, who doesn’t really care for crowds or for being the center of attention. But I was able to bring the camera along and capture quite a few smiles from our little man as he played games, rode the rides and generally had a fun time. His favorite rides were the fire truck and the photo care where you get your photo taken with Chuck E. (or Mr. Cheese, as we call him). His uncle Chet was along for the excitement too, which was great. Enjoy!
Some holiday photos from Christmas 2010 at our home here in Austin. My son got a new puppy!
Happy Holidays and may your new year be a prosperous one!
My son is a huge fan of the Disney movie “Cars”, and he frequently loves to play in the family cars at home. I shot some photos of him inside my car, pushing buttons, honking the horn and more. He just can’t get enough of cars!
Photos from Halloween 2010. Happy Friday!
Recently the family took a visit to a local landscaping nursery in north Austin (Red Barn Nursery). They always have great fall events going on and this year was no disappointment. There was an animal petting zoo, face painting and pumpkins as far as the eye could see. Ok, there weren’t really pumpkins as far as the eye could see, but still, there were lots of pumpkins. I personally am not a fan of the cliche’ family and childrens photos in the bluebonnets here in Texas, but for some reason I can’t explain I always enjoy photographing our son amongst the pumpkins. Unfortunately this year he made it a little tougher than last year because this year he is very mobile and can run away (whereas last year he couldn’t even walk). Anyway, here are some shots from our visit to the pumpkin patch. Happy Halloween!
I was just looking at some older photographs that I took some time ago of my sons hands. These are really some of my favorite photos…