The Flametrick Subs

Last weekend I finally got to see the Flametrick Subs perform at the Black Sparrow Music Parlor in Taylor, TX. This band has been around quite a while and I somehow have never caught them on stage. It was a great night of music with attitude!

The Black Sparrow has only 3 cans of red gelled lights that unevenly illuminate their small stage. That usually makes a photographer’s job difficult enough but the Flametrick Subs took it up a notch by turning off the house lights and performing with just a few red colored LED panels firing up from the floor. Dim red spooky lighting — oh boy! If that’s the look they wanted…what the hell, I’d give it a go and see what I could do with my trusty Fujifilm X100F.

When I went to post my process my shots, I was at first tempted to go all black and white. The intense red lighting was garrish but I’m sure that is the intent. I didn’t want to take away from the band’s desired stage look so I processed a mixture of color and monochrome images. I took the blacks deep in both versions and ended up with some interesting shots. So it goes with live music photography on the small stage. Take what the club and performers give you and make them look like rock stars.

All images were captured with my Fujifilm X100F and processed from raw files in Lightroom CC. If you want to see more shots from the show, check out my gallery site.

Hutto Car Show

It’s already a couple of weeks into the new year and I’m still getting caught up from last year’s photo backlog. My schedule is full with classes going on again, in addition to a busy job. Photography sadly isn’t the top priority for a while - it can’t be. Still, I’ll do what I can to enjoy something I love as time allows. Today, I’m going back to a little car show in Hutto from November of last year.

It was a smallish show and I didn’t have a lot of time to spend there as I recall. I wandered about and challenged myself to try and see things a little different. More detail, focusing on the smaller parts rather than the whole. Maybe getting a little creative with the compositions. It was a brief, fun exercise. Black and white felt right, along with a bit of a cinematic feel through the 16:9 crop. These were all taken with my X100F. One camera, one focal length. Simple and elegant. If you like these, check out some more images from the show on my gallery site.

The New Year Post

This post feels kind of obligatory in a way. The weather is a bit cold and dreary so I’ve spent most of the day at my computer going through unprocessed images. Since it is the start of a new year and I was rather negligent with my blog in 2018, I thought I’d kick things off with a post on this first day of 2019. So much has been going through my mind lately, but since this is a photography blog I’ll keep my thoughts focused there.

Due to my busy job and my school work, photography just hasn’t been a huge priority the past year. It’s not where I’d like it to be in my life anyway. I have worked on simplifying things, which has helped. My gear is minimal these days and my photography niches are mainly live music, cars/bikes, and some urban landscapes. I’ve been doing mostly black and white work and I even considered ditching color photography altogether. In fact, I toyed with the idea of a New Year’s resolution to that effect - a year of black and white? As intriguing and tempting as that idea sounds, I’m not committing to that this time around.

I picked up a book of Saul Leiter’s photographs recently and I have to say it has really changed my attitude toward color photography. The muted tones and deep contrast in his photos are quite appealing. Looking through his work was the kick in the pants I needed to look harder at my color photography and try a few things. While I’ve been looking for ways to minimize my gear and workflow, I’m not sure I want to be so specialized as to not work in color at all - at least for now.

My openness to color work and different ways of processing my images resulted in my creating my first photographs of the new year in color. Yesterday I took a drive through some back roads and visited a few small towns. In all honesty, my intention was to photograph in black and white. Actually, I went as far as setting my Fujifilm X100F set to the Acros film simulation, along with raw files being saved. The sky was mostly cloudy and the light was downright uninteresting to me. I’d rather have contrasty light with deep shadows for the kind of imagery I like to create. Despite tweaking the contrast of the black and white JPEG files in camera, the results were downright “meh”.

I could have pushed the files toward what I wanted in Lightroom but it was feeling too forced. Instead, I created a new set of images from the raw files in camera, using Classic Chrome instead of Acros. A bit of punch and tone was added to these in Lightroom, resulting in some contrasty color images with a bit of warm tone that defied the climate of the day. While my heart was initially set on black and white, I liked what I came up with in the end.

I’ve got a lot of plans for the new year and I hope I can work in more photography. One thing that I do want to mention is that I’m giving Medium a try as a blogging platform. There are ultimately more things that I’d like to talk about on my blog besides photography. I don’t know if Medium will replace or just supplement this blog. For now, I’m just kicking the tires. I’ll be reposting some of my posts there to kick off some content and will add some writings that will include things including, but not limited to photography. Come visit me on Medium here.

Taylor Main Street Car Show

Here it is mid-December, with Christmas closing in quickly, and I am just now getting around to looking through images I took back in October. A hectic work schedule and getting a class completed took a huge toll on my free time. Photography took a back seat for a while. So, it’s catch up time and I’m starting off by sharing a few snaps I took at the Taylor Main Street Car Show. This annual show is always around my birthday and I enjoyed the mild weather that weekend while wandering around some classic rides.

There has been a shift in my vision when it comes to automobile photography over time. While I used to obsess over getting clean shots of whole vehicles, lately I tend to move in close. I find myself looking for little details, textures, light, shadows, maybe even color. I favor black and white imagery but I have to admit that I still struggle sometimes with seeing subjects with that end in mind. While I do have a form of color blindness, there are certain colors that attract my attention, particularly when I’m looking at colorful cars. That becomes a bit of a distraction when composing images and it made my processing of my photos from the show a bit challenging. Images where colors were the lure to get me to snap a photo didn’t necessarily translate well in monochrome.

I could have gone with a mixture of color and monochrome, but I decided to keep it simple and stick with black and white imagery. As a result, I ended up trashing a lot of shots where I failed to pre-visualize and capture a photograph that translated well without color. My visit to the car show ended up being a valuable lesson in composing and framing with intention, looking for light, shadow, and texture that worked toward a preconceived final result. Even though I threw away a lot of images, I don’t feel that I lost anything. I’ve been working on bringing back fewer photos from my outings - less quantity, more quality - a higher signal to noise ratio.

Here are a few favorites. You can find more on my gallery site.

Spooky Music

I caught a really interesting pair of bands at the Black Sparrow Music Parlor in Taylor, TX recently. It was a spooky themed showcase night on the heels of Halloween. The Black Sparrow has been carving out a niche of eclectic music in this small town and this night brought out some amazing and unusual acts. I had the privilege of seeing sets by Eerie Family and Nøkken + The Grim.

Nøkken + The Grim was quite impressive. The masked trio was a complementary blend of strings and electronic keyboard. The characters are portrayals of mythical figures of Magyar and Norse folklore. Musically, they seem to embody a harmonization of the spirit of nature with modern technology. Their lead violinist is an absolute virtuoso and the fact that he pulls it all off while wearing a large horse mask is remarkable. I loved this band this is one of the few times in recent history that I felt compelled to buy a new band’s CD.

Eerie Family is drum/electronic keyboard duo with an almost hypnotic sound. Great vocal work with simple rhythms. They were very creative in producing a wide range of sonic textures with minimal instrumentation. It’s kind of refreshing to see groups like this - something different from the typical guitar/bass/drums band.

All photos were taken with a Fujifilm X100F and processed in Lightroom CC.

Taylor Reflected

I was leaving a show in downtown Taylor in the early evening at the end of a balmy summer day. It was late enough to be cooled down enough that I decided to take a walk around a block before heading back to my car. As I walked, my attention was drawn to the reflections in some of the windows so I turned my camera toward them.

Combined with interior details, the reflections created some deep and unusual scenes. I explored this a bit with my camera. Some elements of the interior and exterior were complementary. Others were an oddity. All were an interesting new take on a familiar place. It was a fascinating exercise that I look forward to repeating.

Images were captured with my Fujifilm X100F using the Acros film simulation.

Wheels and Warriors

The Wheels and Warriors car show was held a couple of weeks ago in Cedar Park. This is the second car show I've attended at Gupton Stadium. Both times I've been a little disappointed with the relatively low turnout for the size of venue. There weren't as many classics as I'd like and I didn't find any rat rods this time around. Most of the cars were a little too modern for my tastes. Still, it was a charity event benefitting veterans and first responders so I was happy to attend and show my support, as well as enjoying wandering around the rows of cars.

I didn't snap as many photos as I usually do at car shows. The heat probably had something to do with that. I looked for interesting details and photographed those that caught my eye. It's something I've been kind of working on instead of focusing on capturing full car shots. In the past I'd often taken some a few detail snaps with my iPhone while using one of my Fujifilm cameras to grab wider compositions. This time I only used my Fujifilm X100F. Here are a few favorites. 

Images are Classic Chrome film simulation with further processing in Lightroom CC. More photos from the show can be viewed on my gallery site.