south by south woah i’m tired

I applied to be a volunteer photographer for SXSW this year since it was my first year and it would be a chance to go for free (plus get some good practice in.) I applied last fall and I actually found out I was accepted on the same day I found out I was pregnant! Luckily, by March I wasn’t feeling so nauseous anymore, but it was still exhausting.

I rented a wide angle lens from a local camera store and I bought a monopod and a backpack to hold all my gear. Along with the external flash my husband gave me for my birthday, I think I had all the gear I needed. The only thing I was missing was more experience. But boy did I learn a lot that week. I ended up taking over 2,000 photos.

I photographed 5 full days in a row – 8am to 5pm. It was a lot of fun, exciting to see all the crowds, and I walked around a lot so it was good exercise. There were probably 100 or so photographers covering all events all week. I mostly covered Interactive panels, some Film panels and even a video game session. This involved getting to the rooms early, grabbing a spot in the front and floating around the room throughout the session. I felt pretty important with my press badge and volunteer t-shirt. When I wasn’t in an assigned session (I probably had 3 or 4 a day) I either rested, ate, walked around the trade show or sat in a panel for fun.

Me at SXSW 2012

I got downtown early every morning to ensure I got a parking spot in the garage and then checked in with my crew chief at one of the hotels. I spent most of my time jumping between the Austin Convention Center and other area hotels. Most were walking distance, but a couple of times I took the free shuttle. Once, while it was raining, I hitched a ride on a rickshaw to get across town and left my umbrella in it. Ten mintues later, the rickshaw driver came into the hotel and found me to give me my umbrella back! I couldn’t believe how nice he was! That made my whole day.

The Austin Convention Center on the first morning started out relatively quiet and calm, but then by mid-morning it was a madhouse, especially with everyone was still needing to register and get their badges. I’m glad I got there early (I had to register for my badge like everyone else) because some people sat in the line all day.

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2012

The registration line at SXSW 2012

I spent the first few hours walking around scoping out the joint before my first session.

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2012

There were these little cell phone lockers with chargers in them in case you needed to charge your phone without being able to babysit it. Brilliant!

AT&T phone lockers at SXSW 2012

My panel photos aren’t too exciting. They all kind of look like this:

DJ Spooky (yes that’s his name and he knows a lot about renewable energy):

SXSW 2012

The boys from Basketball Jones:

Basketball Jones guys at SXSW 2012

Basketball Jones guys at SXSW 2012

Basketball Jones guys at SXSW 2012

Bob Metcalfe (co-inventor of Ethernet and current Director of Innovation at UT):

Bob Metcalfe at SXSW 2012

One of my sessions covered a Star Wars video game. That one was interesting. There was a huge crowd of fans and the whole place was dark with lots of gaming and cosplay going on.

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2012

There were lots of video game stations set up where kids could play and even a live head-to-head competition event.

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2012

SXSW 2012

One afternoon I had some time to kill in between sessions so I walked through the trade show to look at all the booths and hopefully score some free t-shirts (I went home with 5.)

Trade show at SXSW 2012

SPACE CAMP!! I always wanted to go to space camp as a kid. I guess visiting the space camp booth is as close as I’ll get.

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Hey look Dad – I’m an astronaut!

I'm an astronaut!

Dell's trade show booth at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

A record being etched at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Trade show at SXSW 2012

Dell's booth at SXSW 2012

Dell's booth at SXSW 2012

Outside, these guys from Skype were trying to get me to crowd surf. Um no thanks.

Skype crowd surfing at SXSW 2012

I also had some time to squeeze in a few Film panels for fun. I saw Mark Mothersbaugh, Richard Linklater and Jimmy Fallon!

Mark Mothersbaugh at SXSW 2012

Richard Linklater at SXSW 2012

Jimmy Fallon at SXSW 2012

At the Jimmy Fallon session, I sat way in the back and had to stick my zoom lens between people’s heads. I was lucky to get one or two good shots!

Oh, and I managed to meet up with my old friend Judd Apatow. Well…we’re old friends now that I shook his hand and got my picture with him.

Me and Judd Apatow at SXSW 2012

All in all, the week was exhausting, but a great experience. I had never seen so many iPhones and iPads in all my life. So if my baby ends up looking like an alien, I’ll know where all the radiation came from.

See the rest of my SXSW photos on Flickr.

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

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

we could stick around and see this night through

I love taking pictures at night and don’t get to do it very often. So I decided to try photographing the Austin skyline, but I think the pictures would have been better a little earlier in the night when it was still dusk. I’ve had very little practice, so they’re not great. I need to teach myself the HDR technique in my spare time…

Nighttime in Austin

Nighttime in Austin

Nighttime in Austin

Nighttime in Austin

Nighttime in Austin

Nighttime in Austin

Drew was a pretty good sport about hanging out while I fiddled with my tripod and exposure settings. He made himself cozy on a low-hanging tree branch.

Nighttime in Austin

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Young Folks” by Peter Bjorn and John

i turn my camera on

I’d been itching to trade my digital SLR in for a newer model for a while and I finally decided to do it in time for my sister’s wedding. I stayed with Canon so I could reuse my lenses and just upgraded to the newest Rebel – the T3i. It’s a big step up in mega-pixels and it takes HD video.

I gave it a spin at the Old Pecan Street Festival which takes place on 6th street in downtown Austin. 6th street used to be called Old Pecan street. The street is blocked off and is filled with tents of local arts and crafts, live music, and lots of food. And lots of people. And it was extremely hot that day!

Pecan Street Festival

Pecan Street Festival

Pecan Street Festival

Pecan Street Festival

Pecan Street Festival

Pecan Street Festival

Afterwards, we headed to Drew’s office rooftop for a few aerial pictures.

Pecan Street Festival

Pecan Street Festival

Pecan Street Festival

A small wedding was taking place on the roof of a nearby hotel. I felt like a paparazzi!

Pecan Street Festival

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “I Turn My Camera On” by Spoon

we were living in the sweet part of the city

During my first official weekend spent in Austin, we decided to do some sightseeing around town. We first hit up 6th street, which is known for it’s funky bars and shops.

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

There’s an area off of a side street that has a lot of street art, so we stopped to take some pictures.

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

I think these “Obey” signs are by Shepard Fairey.

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

We drove up to the capital and then walked around the campus for a bit.

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

Downtown Austin

It was a hot day (and it was only April). See the rest of my pictures on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “The Sweet Part of the City” by The Hold Steady