So I got a call from my pals out at UT Golf Club yesterday, needing a shot of #12. I dug up this one and thought about what a handy tool HDR has been for me and golf. I shot this one at high noon a few years ago. Before, shooting a golf course at any time other than “the golden hour” was a bad idea. Noon was out of the question. Not anymore. You real estate marketers remember this when you’re told you can’t shoot in the middle of the day.
Special thanks to Jim Walters over at Austin HD for the use of his 220-foot tripod.
Living in a restaurant-rich town like Austin, one of the most commonly asked questions for business lunchers and couples looking for a place to have a nice dinner is, “Where should we go?” Consider The Carillon at the AT&T Executive Education & Conference Center. Chef Josh Watkins is one of the most brilliant creative culinary minds in the business, and he continues to amaze and impress me with the things he does with the most simple ingredients. I shot a bunch of his stuff last night, and the best part? The team and I got to eat it all afterward. Tough job, those food shoots. Big thanks to Chef Watkins and his staff, and to Keith Purcell, Terrence Moline and Delia Huang for all the help.
It’s not too late. There are a few tickets left for the 2010 Texas Songwriters’ Hall of Fame Awards Show. This Sunday (March 7th) night, me and 1,200 others will sit right there in the irreplaceable Paramount Theatre and listen to Clint Black, alone with a guitar, singing some of the songs we all two-step to. Killin’ Time, Nothing’s News, A Better Man, some others. And Clint will pass the mic to Mac Davis. That’s right. Mac Davis. Some of you know him for his Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me and (Lubbock) Texas In My Rear View Mirror, but get this: Mac wrote Elvis Presley’s mega-hit In the Ghetto. No, I’m not kidding. He also wrote what you kids know as the theme song to that Vegas TV show, A Little Less Conversation. And Lee Roy Parnell will be up there singing Whitey Shafer’s songs that helped skyrocket George Strait to stardom: All My Exes Live in Texas and Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind being a couple of them. Hell, we’ve got a jukebox on the Texas Songwriters’ Hall of Fame website…go listen to a few of them, and buy your tickets right there online. There will not be a more intimate, special, unique songwriter show in 2010. I guarantee it. The late great Stephen Bruton is being honored posthumously with the Darrell K Royal Patron Award, and while Jeff Bridges wanted to come to the show, he has to be in LA that night to accept an Oscar for his performance in Crazy Heart, the film in which Stephen’s songwriting and producing talents were a major influence to the soundtrack. And if you’re in need of a more eloquent articulation of this event, take a look at this post from a friend of mine who’s an incredibly talented writer.
I was a kid in Monroe, Louisiana in the 1980’s, and my next door neighbors used to go to Austin to listen to a guy named Robert Earl Keen. For years, they’d travel 500 miles to see a guy I thought no one had ever heard of. A few years later, while I was in college at Texas State University, someone put in a cassette of REK’s No. 2 Live Dinner, and I was instantly hooked on “Gringo Honeymoon,” “Merry Christmas from the Family,” “Sonora’s Death Row,” “Amarillo Highway” and “The Road Goes on Forever,” one of the ones I play and sing at small gatherings of drunks. In fact, I learned to play guitar on REK’s songs. In my opinion, he’s the most talented songwriter in the history of country music. Yes, better than Willie. I’d put the aforementioned songs, “Not a Drop of Rain,” “Mariano,” “Feelin’ Good Again,” and “Lynnville Train” up against anything.
His voice is unique, and his work has spawned a whole bunch of posers who try to sound and be like him, but no one has been able to pull it off. Why? Because of his lyrics. He’s a writer. A WRITER. He just happened to choose music. Rumor has it he moved to Nashville in the mid-80’s, became discouraged by the direction country music was headed and promptly moved back to Austin. If that’s true, and I bet it is, I like him even more.
I was presented with an opportunity to photograph him and his beautiful family for the cover of a new magazine in his hometown of Kerrville. At his home. At 8:30am. I’m not comfortable going into other people’s homes, uninvited by the homeowners themselves, especially when the homeowner is one of my favorite artists. And I get star-struck by just about anyone with any sort of celebrity. This was going to be a tough one.
I pulled up to the Keen’s home around 8:15 and did some iPhone work while waiting in the truck for the magazine editor to arrive. I glanced up the driveway and noticed a barefoot young girl standing there smiling at me. There was no doubt she was Robert’s daughter. Chloe Keen is by far one of the sweetest, prettiest, most well-mannered and talented people I’ve ever met. She welcomed me in, helped me carry some photo equipment, and introduced me to “Bogey,” the Keen’s adorable bulldog, all before anyone else was up and around.
Robert and his wife Kathleen’s older daughter Clara, there on the left, is also beautiful, talented and sweet with a great smile and loads of artistic talent. And evidently, from the looks of all the ribbons hanging in her room, she’s quite an equestrienne. Kathleen made me feel completely comfortable, told me a few stories and even gave me gift from the Keen freezer before I packed up for the drive back to Austin.
I could go on forever about how much I enjoyed spending a couple of hours with the Keen family.
So you’ve finished a full day of executive education and you’re like me in that you like to eat and drink more than just about anything else. Gabriel’s is your spot. Full bar, tasty grub crafted by Chef Josh Watkins, a great view of the tower and a bunch of cool old Longhorn memorabilia everywhere. The AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center is easily the best kept secret in Austin meeting space. Unless you’re an Aggie.
Sunset off the back deck at Ledge Stone, yesterday.
Fosforus is in the planning stages of next year’s food craze for the Texas State Fair, and I believe we’ve got a finalist here with “wearable food,” for those of you who have had enough fried this-and-that. Recipes vary, but this particular one here is a cheese-baked ciabatta roll, buttered on the inside for easy slip-on. Special thanks to hand model Will Wade.
Just returned from the initial shoot down at Johnson Ranch near Bulverde, a beautiful working cattle ranch (Herefords) that’s being developed into residential and retail by DH Investment Company, the folks behind Southern Trace, Cordillera Ranch and Ledgestone.
I stopped by the 8th green at Lakecliff Country Club on the way home from my D-Crain shoot on Tuesday and got this one.
So just down the road from where I shot ol’ Larry Trader lies another piece of landscape artistry from Dylan Robertson and his team at D-Crain. I still haven’t been able to get my brain around what I like about their work, at least in terms of a tangible explanation, but I love what they do to a canvas of dirt. I shot this home last year, before all the plants were in the ground, and there was a real power to the stark beauty of it. Now I love it even more. The textures, the encroachments, the colors, and the hard edges of the hardscapes combined with the ethereal flow of the grasses and the plush zoysiagrass lawn.