New Orleans Photoshoot

 

Louisiana State Museum in Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana

Louisiana State Museum in Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana

 

I recently organized a trip to New Orleans with a couple of a friends. Aside from just having a good time, we also got some great shots in and around the city. My friends Jeremy Mancuso and Tim Stanley rode along with me and we were joined by Andy Crawford once we arrived in New Orleans. The four of us worked non-stop to go around the city and capture as much as we could in the short weekend that we had.

Of course, being in New Orleans, we had to go to the French Quarter and shoot. I like to shoot at night in order to get the deep shadows and the patterns of lights that are cast by gas lamps and neon lights. TIme, Andy, Jeremy and I headed out to the French Quarter at about 4am one morning and walked around while capturing some the beauty of the architecture in the French Quarter. Along the way, we met some interesting people. We found it curious that the most common question that we were asked is, “What are y’all doing?” I would think that four guys walking through the city streets at night carrying cameras, tripods, lenses, extra batteries and other equipment would lend to being a clue that we were photographers, but apparently, we were still asked. When asked “Say man, what are you doing?” Tim responded, “Playing Baseball!” That became our joke for the rest of the weekend.

St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana

St. Louis Cathedral in Jackson Square, New Orleans, Louisiana

After the Rain

After walking the French Quarter for a few hours, we decided to go to Cafe DuMonde and have some beignets and coffee; afterall, you can’t go to New  Orleans without stopping at Cafe DuMonde, right?

From Cafe Du Monde, we left to go to Fort Pike and meet with the manager in order to gain access to Fort Macomb. One of the many treats on this visit was that the State of Louisiana Office of the Lieutenant had permitted access to Fort Macomb, a 19th Century fort located near New Orleans. Fort Macomb was built after the British tried to take New Orleans in 1814. Constructed of Brick, the fort guards one of the many waterways that would allow ships in Lake Ponchartrain. Fort Macomb was used by the Confederacy during the War of Northern Aggression and fell to the Union in 1861. In 1867, the barracks caught fire and the fort was abandoned. Today, the fort is off limits to the public. A want to extend special thanks to Fort Macomb, the Louisiana Office of State Parks, the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism, and the State of Louisiana Office of the Lieutenant Governor. Allowing us to shoot at Fort Macomb was quite a treat and we got some great shots.

The Inner Hallways of Fort Macomb

At The Inner Hallways of Fort Macomb

 

At Fort Macomb, we were greeted by Arthur Schick who took us into Fort Macomb. Arthur walked around and told us some of the history about the Fort as well as gave us an education on the local area. Arthur was a great host and at the end of our photoshoot, we asked him where we should go to lunch. Arthur recommended that we go to Rocky and Carlos in Chalmette, Louisiana. I had no idea that when I ordered the Veal and some Macaroni and Cheese, that I would receive enough food to satisfy a platoon of Marines, oh but it was so good. Upon finishing our lunch, we had to seek shelter and sleep it off. We went back tot he hotel and took a nap before going back out to get shots of the skyline of New Orleans. 

We spent the rest of the weekend enjoying each other’s company and cruising all over the city to get as many shots as we could. Along the way, Tim Jeremy and I got to get to know Andy and I hope that we find a time to go shoot together again. It was great fun.

For a complete look at the shots that I was able to get in New Orleans, check out My Gallery Page.

Hamilton Pool

Waterfall at Hamilton Pool by David Morefield

This weekend, I went on a drive to Austin, TX just to get out and see what I could find. Early Saturday morning, I had planned to go to the University of Texas campus to get a shot of the UT Tower. Being an Aggie, I must plan to go there under cover of darkness so that I don’t risk life and limb. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate with me on Saturday morning, it was drizzling and foggy.

I decided instead to go to Hamilton Pool out near Dripping Springs, TX. I have always wanted to go there, but the times that I have tried in the past, I got to the gate too late. This time, I was first in line to get into the park.

What can I say about Hamilton Pool aside from agreeing that it is an absolutely gorgeous area. You park and then walk about a quarter of a mile down a steep path to get to the creek and then walk another quarter mile along the creek to the get to the pool itself. This place is huge! What I found really interesting is that it seems completely hidden. I can only imagine what it was like when it was first discovered.

After taking some shots at the pool, I took the trail to the Perdenales River, which is a good mile in the other direction. Walking a mile or two shouldn’t be a big deal, but when you are on nature’s stairclimber, it is quite a workout; not to mention having to carry to all of my photography equipment. I was rewarded with a very peaceful view of the river once I reached the end of the trail, but again, the weather was not in my favor. It started raining, so I just enjoyed sitting in the rain while watching a couple Cardinals fly around chasing each other. Has it not been for the rain, I would have been all about taking some shots of the cardinals.

As the rain stopped, I thought I was going to have my chance, but then a group of people laughing and cutting up came bumbling down the trail, so I figured that it was time to leave.

If you have not been to Hamilton Pool, I would highly suggest that you go and check it out. The next time that I go to Hamilton Pool, I’ll take a book with me and just enjoy the escape from the rest of the world.

The Cole Theater in Rosenberg, TX

Cole Theater

A photography group that I enjoy hanging out with met for dinner prior to walking over to the Cole Theater in the Historic Downtown Rosenberg District to take pictures. The owner of Another Time Soda Fountain, Renee Butler, gave us a guided tour of the haunted theater after we had some great food at her restaurant. Dessert was provided by Old Main Street Bakery which is located next door to Another Time Soda Fountain.

Another Time Soda Fountain is a restaurant that is located in a building that is around 100 years old. The soda is mixed by soda jerks from an old fashioned soda fountain. If you would prefer to try to mix some flavors, they can do that too! I personally love their Lime Phosphates. The restaurant serves all-American comfort food such as Cheeseburgers, Sandwiches and Soups. Of course, what would a Soda fountain be without Ice Cream, right? Their Banana Splits are to die for, which is why I am glad that I live 30 miles away, otherwise, I’d be there everyday.

The Old Main Street Bakery recently opened and is run by Nicholas Maresh. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Nicholas responded to his hometown’s demand for a local bakery and started the Old Main Street Bakery. Last night’s sampling was of their Kolaches, Coconut Cookies and Apple Strudel.  I particularly was impressed with the Coconut Cookies and I am hoping that someone will keep them in mind when thinking about my birthday next week (/hint).

After everyone had enjoyed dinner and hanging out, we ran out into the rain to go the Cole Theater. Somehow, the nice pleasant evening had changed into a stormy night and the temperature dropped by about 20 degrees. What better than to take a tour of a haunted theater on a cold, dark and stormy night?

Renee told us about the usher that has been spotted by multiple people as he walks up and down the aisled policing the theater. Apparently, the upper balcony area gives people a rather dark feeling as well. The theater was built in 1919 and the signs of segregation in the South are still present at the theater. There is a separate entrance for minorities and separate seating. There is an old strong box cemented into the wall near the front of the building and I curiously turned the dial on the safe to check it out. The bearings on that dial spun just as if the safe was brand new, which was impressive.

The Theater still has most of the original seats and the sconces on the walls are a great example of the Art Deco styling of the time when the theater was built. The floor of the theater slopes from back to front and there is a pit under the stage for an orchestra. Renee plans to renovate the theater and make it a welcoming place for everyone in the community.

Pixel Party at HMNS

Reflections of Egypt

Last night, I attended the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s “Pixel Party.” Basically, this is an evening where the museum staff invite photographers to come into the museum when the museum is closed and take pictures. Upon posting the pictures, we are then encouraged to post them online to our Blog and on Social Media sites with the hashtag #pixelparty

There were three exhibits that were open to photography – “The Cave Paintings of Lascaux”, “Hall of Ancient Egypt” and “The Hall of the Americas.”

The Cave Paintings of Lascaux were discovered by four boys in Dordogne, France. Dubbed the “Sistine Chapel of Prehistory”, the the Lascaux Cave is a jewel of prehistoric art and one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th Century. The cave was closed in the 1960s in order to preserve the original paintings, but for 10 years, french artist Monique Peytral documented and reproduced the paintings of the Hall of the Bulls and Axial Gallery. This work became known as “Lascaux 2” and is a life sized replica that is open for visitors today. The frescos painted on the walls of the cave depict horses, bulls, deer, cats and even the unicorn. These paintings also challenge the perception that prehistoric man was a hunter-gatherer, due to the picture of a man charging at a Bison.

The Hall of Ancient Egypt is a permanent display at the Museum of Natural Science and displays pieces of antiquity from Egypt. There are sarcophagus  and mummies, pottery, jewelry and other items from the times of Ancient Egypt. Of all of the ancient civilizations, the Egyptians have captivated the minds and imaginations of the world. With their pyramids, mummification process of their dead and their advanced knowledge of Mathematics and Science, it seems that the Egyptians were able to accomplish super human feats with much less than we have today. Simply take a look at the size of the massive sarcophagus with a green face and then ask yourself, “How did they lift this thing with such precision?” This was definitely my favorite exhibit in the museum. I have seen the exhibit at the British Museum in London and while this one is smaller, it is still a fine display and you won’t have to fly to England to see it!

The Hall of the the Americas was a collection of artifacts from North and South America. This display changes over time as the museum staff rotates the artifacts on display. There are some items that they only display for a while and then replace it with something else. This keeps the exhibit new for people who may have already seen the exhibit before. Among the items on display are a totem pole, an Amazonian headdress and many pieces of Native American clothing.

Everyone who came to the Pixel Party seemed to be having a great time and it is always an enjoyable experience to be surrounded by those who share your passion. There were photographers from small to large, amateur to Professional; but at the end of the day, everyone was having a great time.

As you can see from the picture above, reflections could not be avoided in most cases. Instead of avoidance, I decided to embrace the reflections that I found in order to get an interesting perspective of the museum that most visitors probably do not see themselves. By shooting through three displays at one time, I was able to create a prism-like effect that magnified the number of items that I could get into frame. It was like playing with a big kaleidoscope in Ancient Egypt, quite fun if I must say so myself.

I would like to thank the Houston Museum of Natural Science for the opportunity to come and shoot inside the museum and I look forward to going back in the future.

Buffalo Bayou Shoot with BAC Photography and Design

Houston Across the Bayou

 

Last night, I met up with a photography group that I enjoy hanging out with BAC Photography and Design Photography Club. The group was started by the founder of BAC Photography and Design, Brandon Campbell. The group is open to anyone who wants to join for some shutter time and then typically some sort of tasty food afterwards.

Last night’s outing took us towards downtown Houston along the banks of the Buffalo Bayou. There are some great views of the city’s skyline from that angle and of course, shooting with others is always fun. We started by the Joe Jamail Jr. Skatepark and then migrated towards the Theater District of Downtown Houston. Through this group, I have met quite a few like minded folks who all share a passion for photography. Along with the enjoyable experience of going out on a cool night without mosquitoes, we enjoyed jokes and other conversation. It’s like a mini-vacation really.

Aside from the social aspect, it is group settings like this one that I like to talk to others and get ideas about what I want to shoot, what techniques I would like to try, gain valuable critique on my own marketing efforts, etc… If you are a photographer and you have a group like this near you, regardless of your skill level, I would recommend hanging out and sharing with the group. The way I see it, “Sometimes a teacher, always a student.”

Of course, I was very excited to see another Nikon shooter last night. Most of the group are Canon shooters, so the age-old debate continues. Once we had reach the footbridge that crosses Buffalo Bayou and into Downtown Houston, I was delighted to see the view that the vantage point offered. The buildings, water, bridge and stars all came into frame giving me a shot that I really liked. What is funny is that I have shot around this location several times, but never had ventured this far down the path. Again, had it not been for the group outing, I may not have shot this location for quite some time to come.

After we had concluded our photoshoot, we left to have dinner at Torchy’s Tacos on Shephard. It was not the regular kind of tacos that I am used to eating from my trusted taco truck down the street, but it was nice to try something a little different. At the end of the night I had made some new friends, spawned some new ideas and got some great shots in the process. That is part of the joy of photography.

Where will I be shooting next time? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. As a teaser, I will let you know that I am planning a trip in the next couple of months and I expect to get some awesome shots, but I am not going to announce where it will be just yet.

A Walk in the Park

HPD Officer Grave

On Thursday, my doctor cleared me to pickup my camera bag and start shooting again. I haven’t been allowed to pickup even a jug of milk since I had abdominal surgery last month, so it was good to get behind the camera again.

My friend Tim Stanley and I first went down to Glenwood Cemetery near downtown Houston. Among those buried there are Howard Hughes and the Allen Brothers (founders of Houston). As we walked among the gravestones, we tried to piece together the stories of those who are buried there. Some of the markers had so much age on them they were hard to read.

The grave pictured above is that of a former Houston Police Officer. I had never seen the crest that is on his tombstone or even heard of the “Honor Legion”, but I thought it was very cool. I have looked and I cannot find any references for a Houston Police Department Honor Legion so I plan to follow up on this and find out what it was. I really like the motto on the banner in the Eagle’s mouth – “Fidelis ad Mortem” or “Faithful until Death.” Finally, my four years of Latin in High School has given me something cool.

After leaving the cemetery, we then headed to Hermann Park to shoot the Japanese Garden. When we arrived, we were greeted by Mario and Luigi of Nintendo’s Super Mario Brothers. I still have no clue what the Mario Brothers were doing with their hammers in the Japanese Garden, but sometimes things are best left as a mystery.

We spent some time planning a trip in April. I am greatly anticipating that trip because I expect to come home with great treasures to share here. Until then, I am hoping to get some more shots around the Houston area soon.

Sam Houston Park

 

Church Picnic

My buddy Tim Stanley and I decided to get together and go out shooting a few weeks ago. This was going to be my last opportunity to shoot for a while due to the holidays and the fact that I was having surgery soon. So, Tim and I decided to go down to Sam Houston Park near Downtown Houston and just walk around and see what we could find.

Upon reaching the park, we walked around and snapped shots of whatever we ran across. I find a little place around  the pond to sit and had a duck swim right up to me. The duck seemed very annoyed when he waddled out of the water and I did not reward him with food. The other ducks swam in my direction with hopes of getting fed too, but I guess I only disappointed them. I got a great shot of this one duck scowling at me before he waddled away.

We then strolled through the park looking at the old homes that have been moved there. Unfortunately, they were all locked up, so we only go to see the outside. I found a couple having a picnic on the grass in front of the St. John Church. The St. John Church was built by German immigrants in 1891 in northwestern Harris County and moved to the Sam Houston Park in 1968. The couple was happy to let me take their picture in front of the church.

Check out my other shots from this shoot HERE

Black Friday Sale

Black Friday Sale

 “Shop in your PJs Party – Hosted by Fluffyshotme Photography” 

At http://www.fluffyshotme.com

 

Black Friday Sale  

Using Code, “LBJMSU” at checkout, get special Black Friday Pricing when buying prints.

Who wants to stand in line at O’Dark thirty for items in a store that may or may not be in stock by the time you find it? Personally, I would rather be dropped into the octagon of an MMA match than be at a mall on Black Friday.

Wouldn’t you rather stay in your PJs in the comfort of your own home and browse art only to have it delivered straight to your door?

Great minds think alike.

*Black Friday Sale starts on Thanksgiving Day and runs through Sunday 1 December at Midnight (EST). 

Maybellene

 1953 Mercury Monterey aka Maybellene

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to shoot Maybellene again. I love this car. The 1953 Mercury has some great curves and I just love the bullet chrome. This was factory styling that you just can’t find these days. The entire car was pinstriped by hand including the dashboard by man by the last name of Milburn who had been pinstriping since the 50s. Unfortunately, Mr. Milburn passed away a few years ago, so now this car is a rolling tribute to his fine art.

The owner, Howard Nelson, is a retired machinist and has done a lot of the work on Maybellene himself, but when he has needed an extra hand and expert craftsmanship, he has taken his car to Kemah Classic Automotive. I thought no blog post would be complete with mentioning these folks for their fine work.

Mr. Nelson told me yesterday that he has big plans for Maybellene; she currently has a 3 on the column shifter for the transmission, but he is going to install a floor shift made by Fenton. Yesterday was Maybellene’s last day with a 3 on the column shifter.

Since Maybellene is going be down for a while during this surgery, I thought it only fitting to put up some pictures of yesterday’s shoot for everyone to enjoy.

 

1953 Mercury Monterey

 

1953 Mercury Monterey

 

 

1953 Mercury Monterey

Alvin Car Show

1953 Mercury Monterey

On Saturday, my buddy Jeremy and I went to the Car Show in Alvin, TX. There were hundreds of great cars there on display, but the one that really caught my eye was a 1953 Mercury Monterey. This car looked like it had just left the dealership a couple of days ago, it was beautiful. The owner and his wife were very nice and answered all of my questions about their car. From the inside to the outside, this car was immaculate. I have never even seen of a 1953 Mercury Monterey, so to see this quality of a specimen was a real treat. Every detail right down to the pinstriping was period correct. The owner calls his car “Maybellene.”

The owner told me that the man who did the pinstriping in now deceased, but he had done pinstriping back in the 50s and his style was consistent with the way he did it back then. In the trunk, they had 3 cans labeled Oil, Gas and Water and they had been painted with the 1953 Ford Motor Company 50th Anniversary logo. According to the owner, he has owned the car for over 15 years, but this was his first car show. I found it truly amazing that this car has not been shown off before, a car like this needs to be in a museum. Of course, the owner explained that he and his wife like to cruise in it occasionally.

I was taken by the 1953 Mercury Monterey, that I only briefly looked at the other cars. There were a few cool ones, like the Smoothie that was there, but unfortunately, I did not write down what the car started out life as being. This “Smoothie” had been reengineered to lose the horns and bring out the curves of the car, making it more of a custom cruiser than anything else. I was definitely fun to look at, but it was hard to shake the thoughts of Maybellene.

Catching AirLater in the morning, there were some skaters and bicyclists that were cruising up and down the skate park in the park, so I went to check out that action. This one cyclist specialized in “Flatland Freestyle” riding; in other words, he needs no ramps or frills, he just does tricks on his bike on flat land. It was amazing to watch this guy turn his bike upside down and still be riding it around. There were some kids riding skateboards having a good time with the halfpipe there. I was able to get a couple of shots of them as they were grinding rails near me.

A little later, another cyclist arrived and apparently he was not a Flatland rider, he was all about catching air and flying with his bike. I caught some shots of him before we had to leave.