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Entries in Texas (33)

Saturday
Mar092013

Barr Mansion

At blue hour, I snuck away from shooting a wedding with a friend to get a shot of the Barr Mansion.  All the wedding guests were at the reception hall behind the mansion.  You can see the lights from it through the porch on the left.  I love wrap-around porches like these.  

I shot five exposures bracketed and masked parts of the images from various exposures to achieve this image.  For example, the windows are from the darkest exposure. The lawn and sky are from the brightest exposure since I shot this after sunset.  In escence, I manually pieced together a high dynamic range (HDR) exposure.  I had first tried using HDR software to create the image, but was not happy with the results, so I scapped it and began masking the image.  I'm glad I did.  

Photograph ©2013 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.



Friday
Dec072012

Lockhart, Texas

My friend, Andy and I recently visited Lockhart, Texas, the county seat for Caldwell county.  First order of business was to enjoy some fantastic barbecue. Our first stop was Black's Barbecue and they didn't disappoint. We were also treated to a personal tour of the pits by pit master Kent Black (see photos below).  Kent shared with us the history and origins of Black’s Barbecue.  We learned everything from the kind of wood they used to the smoke the meats (Post Oak aged no less than a year) to how the restaurant began. If you’re in central Texas and enjoy good BBQ, Black's definitely worth a visit (as I'm sure are the many other fine barbecue establishments in Lockhart).

After the great lunch at Black's, we set off exploring the town.  I found Lockhart to be a beautiful town full of wonderful people.  Kent was just the first of many friendly folks we encountered that day.  Everyone was very welcoming.  The bailiff unlocked the courtroom for us to go in and photograph.  A gentleman at the First Christian Church unlocked the church so we could photograph inside as he told us about the history of the renovations.  The folks at the library invited us to come back for a Dickens celebration in December.  A shopkeeper at a local 50's style soda fountain chatted with us about the recent Formula 1 races in Austin.  Everywhere I turned, friendly and welcoming folks wanted to share what they knew and welcome us into their world.  Never before have I felt so welcomed by so many strangers in one day.  Anyway, Andy and I stuck around for twilight to photograph the courthouse all lit up and with a vivid blue sky.  I'm glad we did. 

Caldwell County Courthouse. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.An interesting aside, directly behind me as I took this picture is a row of storefronts.  One of them is a tiny barbershop with a spinning barber pole outside the door.  I learned from the barber that this barbershop has been in continuous operation, as a barbershop, since before the current courthouse was built in 1898.  

Here is a corner view of the courthouse during the day.

Caldwell County Courthouse. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.This is the view when you walk into the courtroom on the second floor.

Caldwell County Courthouse. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.This is the view from the bench looking back.

Caldwell County Courthouse. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.One more view from the back-left corner of the courtroom.

Caldwell County Courthouse. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.Here is Black's Barbecue pit master, Kent Black, showing me a brisket ready to be cut and served.

Black's Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.Some beef ribs are being placed on the cutting board next to sausages, brisket, turkey and pork spare ribs.

Black's Barbecue in Lockhart, Texas. Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.

We had a great time in Lockhart and look forward to going back and for more BBQ.  

Monday
Nov262012

Painted Church - Serbin, Texas

About 50 miles East of Austin in Serbin, Texas is St. Paul Lutheran Church. Serbin was settled in 1854 by almost 600 Wendish immigrants persuing religious freedom led by Pastor Johann Kilian. Built in 1870, St. Paul Lutheran Church is an example of Wendish architecture and culture.  In October, I had the chance to visit Serbin.  Enjoy some of the images I captured during my visit.  Click on an image to see a larger version.

The church looks rather plain when you approach it.

Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.Here's a monument on the property.

Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.A side view of the church.

Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.This is the view from the back of the church when you step through the doors. Notice that the pulpit is upstairs.

Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.Here's a fisheye view of the entire ceiling.

Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.A fisheye view from the altar looking back to the entrance.  Notice the pipe organ upstairs in the back.

Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.The altar.

Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.

Pastor Johann Kilian's cabin.

Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.

 

 

Saturday
Nov172012

Town Hall in Lajitas, Texas

Got back a couple of days ago from a road trip out to West Texas.  We visited Uvalde, Marathon, Big Bend National Park, Terlingua, Alpine and Van Horn, to name a few stops.  I'll be posting some favorite images from the trip as I sort my way through the collection of photographs.  This first post is of the Town Hall in Lajitas, Texas.  The sky during the day had great clouds.  I used an 11mm lens aimed toward the sky to emphasize the impressive clouds in this shot of the Town Hall.  

For the Photo geeks out there:  This is a seven-frame HDR image processed in Nik Software's HDR Efex Pro.  I then corrected the keystoning (paralax distortion cause by angling the camera upward instead of keeping it parallel to the building) of the Town Hall and removed some distracting elements (sensor dust, a small sign in a window, a pickup truck and a golf cart) within Photoshop CS6.  The final step was a monochrome conversion using Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro 2.

Photograph ©2012 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.



Monday
Nov282011

West Texas Vanishing Point

Having gone several miles down this insanely straight, insanely flat road at an insane speed I decided I wanted to stop and photograph this scenery. I used a fisheye lens (AF DX Fisheye-Nikkor 10.5mm f/2.8G ED) and held the camera over my head to be able to see as much of the road as I can past the car.

The cool thing about this 75mph highway is that when you’re standing in the middle of the road and you see a car coming, you still have several minutes to get out of the way.

Photograph ©2011 Alex Suárez. All rights reserved. Click image to view a larger version.