Category: General

15 Mar

Street Photography 101

davido / General / / 0 Comments

Street photography is probably one of the most challenging for me, but, admittedly, I am getting more comfortable with taking random, candid photos of everyday people on city streets.  There is certainly nothing wrong with this type of photography.  It just takes a certain amount of effort on my part, at least, to capture people in a candid, natural setting in a public environment.   Although it is a public setting, there is a certain amount of feeling that you are somehow compromising individual privacy.

Photographing people in public settings is legal, except if you wish to use the images in paid advertising.  At that point you cross over the line.  If you want to use images of random people on the street on a billboard sign to promote a product, for example, then you would be wise to obtain written permission from the people in your photo.  If you are just taking a photograph of people in pubic places as an artistic expression, and you are not accepting paid compensation, then there is generally no problem.  And if someone approaches you and requests that you do not photograph them, or to discard the photo that you have just taken of them, then it is probably best to abide by their wishes.  I have never been in a situation where someone has approached me to ask that I stop taking photographs of them in a public setting.

There are a couple of principles that I do follow when taking street photos.

One day I was walking to the post office in Austin, Texas when I noticed activity on the sidewalk ahead of me.  A young man had just jumped from the roof of a parking garage to his death on the sidewalk below.  The event had just happened and the police had not yet arrived at the scene.  Although I had my camera in tow, I never even removed the lens cap.  While I certainly would have been within my rights to capture a photo of the young man lying dead on the sidewalk,  I have certain moral standards that just would not allow me to go there.

Another principle I follow is that I refuse to take pictures of homeless people … or as expressed in Austin … people who are experiencing the homeless condition.  Either way you express it, I just don’t feel even a bit close to comfortable in taking those types of photos.  I’ve had homeless people stop me on the street to ask that I take their picture, with which I will gladly comply to their wish.  When I move along, though, I will discard the photo from my camera.

I once read an article about street photography that expressed that most people are uncomfortable in taking candid pictures in public places.  They suggested that you go to a busy sidewalk in the city and just lie down on your back and allow people to walk around you.  The article expressed that this would be one way to help overcome your being uncomfortable in taking street photography. I am just not ready to resort to that activity, though…

08 Feb

Texas Capitol

davido / General / / 0 Comments

The Texas Capitol Building is probably one of the most photographed sites at Austin, Texas.  It is the last of four capitol buildings built at Austin.  Constructed during the period from 1882-1888, the building is of Renaissance Revival design and stands 311 feet high measured from the base to the tip of the star on the statue that tops the Capitol dome.

According to the State Preservation Board, the plans and specifications for the Capitol called for its construction of native limestone, but all of the limestone found near Austin contained discoloring iron particles. Abner Taylor proposed using limestone from Bedford, Indiana, but the Capitol Board and Governor John Ireland wished to use Texas red granite from Granite Mountain near the site of present-day Marble Falls in Burnet County. The owners of the mountain, George W. Lacy, William H. Westfall, and Nimrod L. Norton, offered to give the state enough granite for the building. Taylor initially refused to use the red granite because he believed the difficulty of working the stone would make it too expensive.

In early 1885 subcontractor Wilke informed Taylor that it would cost much less to use donated red granite in a simplified style agreed upon by architect Myers than limestone with the extensive decorative carving originally agreed upon. However, Taylor kept this information a secret, and continued to assure state officials that he could not afford to use red granite because of its additional cost. Finally, on July 25, 1885, he signed a supplementary contract in which he agreed to use red granite for the Capitol if the state would supply it free of charge, share the “extra cost,” construct a narrow-gauge railroad from Burnet to Granite Mountain, and furnish convict labor to quarry the stone. Taylor also agreed to pay the state for the use of the convicts and to provide room and board for them.

A fire in 1983 severely damaged a portion of the building, and the legislature created the State Preservation Board to address the needed repairs to the building and general restoration.  In November 1985 the original Goddess of Liberty was removed by helicopter. A new statue, cast of aluminum in molds made from the original zinc statue, was placed on the dome in June 1986. The restoration cost of $450,000 was paid by private donations.  The replaced goddess was moved to the Bob Bullock State History Museum when it opened and continues to be on display there.

04 Feb

The ’60 Chevy Corvette

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The Chevrolet Corvette has always been ‘the’ car for people who want to live in the fast lane.  I found this Corvette on display at the Hyatt Lost Pines Hotel one day when I was attending a business meeting.  The car belongs to a member of the Bastrop Area Cruisers.  If this car could only talk…the places its been and the stories it could tell.

03 Feb

South Orient 103

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Obviously, the South Orient 103 has seen better days.  This photo was taken in the early morning hours at San Angelo, Texas where the old engine can be found parked adjacent to the historic San Angelo Train Depot.  It is probably not the best picture, though, of the old engine with the early morning, accented shadows created by the rising sun.  San Angelo is an old west central Texas city heaped in history.  Just down the street from where this picture was taken lies Fort Concho that was established in the late 1800’s.  The fort was once a center of activity for the US 10th Cavalry which contributed significantly to bringing calm to an otherwise wild west.

03 Feb

The Old Country Road

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Country roads always seem to bring good memories of past experiences.  They take you back to a time when life was much more simple, and when simple things mattered a lot.  Away from the hustle and bustle of life in the fast lane, the country road always offered an alternate path.  Maybe it was not always a smooth ride, but a smooth ride does not always offer the best scenery, or the best life experience.  Sometimes, just venturing onto the less familiar traveled road was an adventure just waiting to be awakened.

The old country road had the potential to take you to places previously unknown.  Perhaps the paved highway was just beyond the curve ahead, or maybe an old, one lane bridge was there instead.  Or maybe the road got rough and muddy.  But most of the fun and many memories untold … unfolded ahead, on that old country road.

26 Oct

The rain has come and gone; The brisket was on the pit.

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Well, the major rain event that was expected over the week-end finally arrived Friday night and ended Sunday morning.  Luckily most of the rain was slow and even, and flooding in the area was held to a minimum.  The newspaper this morning indicated that most agree that the rain was a good thing for Central Texas.  News reports also say that some of the area lakes are on the rise, so that was another beneficial act of Hurricane Patricia.   And the arrival of an early Fall front has brought cooler weather to the area.

I awoke early this morning to the sound of a distant train horn and howling, yelping coyotes.  The train tracks lie to the north of the house, so when the wind is out of the north the sound of the train horn is louder as it is carried along with the wind.  And, of course, when the horn sounds it triggers the coyotes … in the open pasture between the house and train tracks … to begin their yelping and howling that is carried along with the clickity-clack of the train cars moving along the railway.  Sometimes the coyote howls are so loud they sound like the whole pack is in the backyard, but I have yet to see a single coyote in the neighborhood.

We had our brisket bar-b-que at the church this week-end.  I am the designated fire starter for the pits, and I was up early Saturday morning to get the fires going.  It was raining fairly heavily at that time, so I was a little water logged by the time the fires were lighted and burning brightly in the early morning darkness.  The briskets went on the pit on schedule despite the rain.  I was thankful that the larger of the two pits has a cover to protect it … and me … from the rain.   We had teams checking the fire and the briskets every two hours, and I returned at 4:00 p.m. to do a fire check, perform a little kitchen cleaning, and then attended the Saturday evening service.    The briskets were ready to be sold between Sunday morning services.  I am hoping for a good financial report at Wednesday’s mens’ breakfast.

23 Oct

It’s a wet morning, and the fire is almost out…

davido / General / / 0 Comments

I woke up this morning to hear the rain finding its way through the tree canopies.  The weather guys have been telling us it’s only going to get worse, with serious flooding possible.  The news for the past two days has been nothing but a revisit to the last rain event that occurred earlier this year.  And, of course, this is perfect timing as our men’s group has planned a major bar-b-que event this week-end at church.  On top of that, the church is sponsoring a Harvest Holiday on Sunday…so it could get a little dicey with the expectation that more than 2,000 people will attend.  But, then again, we do need the rain.

The fires at Smithville/Bastrop are now 85 percent contained.  So that is a good thing.   Officials are saying that their current, main concern is runoff and erosion of the affected land areas.  They are asking folks not to begin clean-up until after the rain event ends over the next few days.  Through the decades, Mother Nature has been taking care of the Lost Pines area.  Natural fires have been occurring for millennia, and the burns have cleared the undergrowth of brush and invader weeds.  The charred remains make perfect grounds for the growth of forbs and other vegetation that are good food for the area’s wildlife.  Enter man, and efforts have been made to thwart wildfires.  In the end, Mother Nature always holds the trump card…and at some time she will play it…

This photo is from an old slide file that I have on hand from my research project…so that dates back to about 1975.  I took the picture as we were beginning a burn at the Welder Wildlife Foundation near Sinton, Texas.  We were evaluating the nutritional value of Gulf Cordgrass following burning.  The grass is a course saltgrass that favors high saline soils in coastal areas that cattle graze around, but seldom consume.  However, the regrowth after a burn is soft, and high in protein…which the cattle readily attack.  So, fire can be a good thing if it is controlled by professionals who know what they are doing.

22 Oct

The majestic Council Oak.

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The Council Oak is located on the property of First United Methodist Church, Round Rock, Texas.  The tree is estimated to be well over 500 years old, and … at one time … served as a meeting place for the heads of the tribal council of the Tonkawa Indians.  In the early years after the church was established, there was a cat that took up residence on the property.  The cat was a smoky gray in color, and it greeted visitors every Sunday morning.  He was given the name of “Holy Smoke” by church members.  Upon his death, “Holy Smoke” was buried underneath the majestic Council Oak, and an engraved stone marks where he was laid to rest.

This photograph was taken early one morning just as the sun began to shine through the limbs of the old oak tree.

22 Oct

The rain has arrived…

davido / General / / 0 Comments

Well, after having a wet early summer, climate conditions returned to what has become a rather normal drought pattern across much of the state.  However, it appears that that is about to change.  Wet weather moved into the Central Texas region last night, and a good chance for rain is to continue through Saturday evening.  Forecasters say that flooding is very possible…but they have been more wrong than right lately.  And recent reports from the National Weather Service say we are in for a cold, wet winter as El Nino continues to strengthen across the Pacific Ocean.  We’ll see about that, too.  Rainy days can offer unique photo opportunities, but the rain also poses a challenge by the fact that it is not too kind to photo equipment.  It looks like I will be spending more time with indoor photo shoots over the next couple of days.  All that said, we do need the rain.

07 Oct

Welcome to DO Digital Photography.

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Welcome to the DO Digital Photography blog page.  The web site is still under construction, but it hopefully will be ramped up to full steam in the near future.

Photography has always been a hobby of mine, but in the last few years I have become more serious with honing my photo skills.  I particularly like to take pictures of people, places and things that tell a story, present ideas from a different perspective, or for just plain fun.

The young man in this picture was on a field trip to Washington, DC with his classmates.  He was etching the name of a soldier who is listed among the fallen on the Vietnam Veterans War Memorial.  Their teacher had given them an assignment to pick a name on the memorial, and then to research that individual’s background information…who he was, where he was from, how old he was, when he died…  So, here is a young man trying to make sense of a conflict that was faced by those who were sent to a foreign land to fight a war they never really understood.

So, I have expanded my photographic journey, and I welcome you to take a look around the web site.