we’ll be walking in the sun and share our joy with everyone

As part of the ACL festival last weekend, Dell and Google+ hosted a photowalk in Austin where a bunch of photographers got together to walk along the lake and snap photos. And anyone was invited! Even the @scobleizer was there! (That’s Robert Scoble for you non-tech geeks.)

We started the morning by meeting near the lake to get a group photo.

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

We saw this mysterious, futuristic contraption on the lake as we walked along the trail. Someone said it was a docking station for kayaks and canoes. I think it was probably a time machine.

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

A photographer brought a model. She was a real trooper – she even laid down in the dirt at one point.

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

This was my entry to the contest at the end. It is the bottom of what used to be a fountain. Very sad – that’s what the drought has done to Austin. Crumbled under my feet.

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

This father sun duo drove up from San Antonio very early that morning.

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Here’s Robert Scoble photographing Thomas Hawk laying in the dirt that used to be the fountain. Lotus Carroll (a blogger and photographer) is standing over him.

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Thomas Hawk walks along the trail with Dave Cohen and Vincent Mo from Google+.

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Winning.

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Robert Scoble chats up some photographers during our break for breakfast tacos.

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

After we arrived back at our destination, all the photographers picked one photo to upload on one of the Dell laptops they had setup in the hotel. The hosts of the event judged the photos and handed out prizes to the winners. A lucky few won tickets to the ACL festival!

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

Austin Photowalk with Dell and Google+

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Walking In The Sun” by The Zombies

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the focus is sharp in the city

Chimpsy was offering a Groupon for a photography fieldtrip in Austin, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to get some tips and walk around the city with the sole purpose of taking pictures. There were about 10 of us with varying skill levels. We met at Progress Coffee in east Austin and walked around a few blocks experimenting with composition, aperture and shutter speeds.

Here are some of the shots I took. I mostly wanted to get some interesting views of all the colorful, eclectic places on east 6th street.

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

East Austin

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “The Camera Eye” by Rush

release the bats!

Over Labor Day weekend, we decided it was finally time to go see the Austin bats. Why would we want to go see bats? For some reason, the largest colony of Mexican Free-tail bats in North America have decided to live under the bridge in downtown Austin during the warmer months (March-October.) Late August is the best time to go because the baby bats that were born during the summer are old enough to accompany the mommy and daddy bats on their nightly hunt for food. (Usually the baby version of anything is really cute, but not in this case.) There are around 1.5 million living under the bridge. So it is a big attraction in Austin. The more bats the better!

We had no idea that this was an attraction until we got here and everyone told us we had to go see the bats. That didn’t sound so great to me, but I thought it’d be a good photo opportunity. Turns out, it’s hard to photograph those suckers when they fly so fast. Plus, they’re really small.

We got there early to get a spot on the bridge and as we walked under the bridge to get to the other side, you could hear the bats starting to squeak and flap as they woke up. And it smelled really bad. Tons of people had already started gathering around the bridge.

There was everything from birds…

Austin Bats

…to kayaks…

Austin Bats

…to hyrdobikes…

Austin Bats

…to larger bat-viewing cruise boats. They all gathered near the bridge to watch the bats fly out.

Austin Bats

We staked out a spot on the bridge and waited for the sun to set.

Austin Bats

Then we started hearing a faint flapping sound and suddenly the bats started pouring out below us!

Austin Bats

Austin Bats

Soon, they started making a corkscrew formation as they headed east along the lake.

Austin Bats

Austin Bats

Austin Bats

Austin Bats

Austin Bats

Austin Bats

The whole colony took around 3 or 4 minutes to fly out. They eat hundreds of thousands of pounds of insects every night. That’s probably why they are so welcome in Austin. My pictures didn’t turn out as well as I’d hope, so maybe next time we go I’ll photograph from underneath the bridge.

be this sunset one for keeping

Saturday evening of Labor Day weekend, we drove out west to Lake Travis (only about 18 miles west of where we live) to go to Oasis for dinner, drinks and sunset viewing. It claims to be the “sunset capital of Texas” and I have to agree that it was pretty awesome.

I’ve never seen a place with so many balconies!

Oasis

Oasis

Oasis

Oasis

The lake is extremely low right now because of the severe drought. Normally, the little green island in the middle isn’t even visible.

Oasis

Oasis

Oasis

The sunset wasn’t as clear as usual – the wind knocked a bunch of dust up into the air that day. Unfortunately, the wind also contributed to the wildfires that started that weekend. Areas just south and west of this restaurant caught fire the day after we were there.

Oasis

Oasis

Oasis

Oasis

Oasis

Oasis

Oasis

Oasis

Oasis

This is definitely a spot we’ll take friends and family when they visit!

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Sunset Soon Forgotten” by Iron & Wine