Somehow Houston lucked out and had no rain this afternoon so the parade could go on as planned. As usual there were scores of unconventional people, hundreds of decorated cars, and thousands of spectators. I wanted to post some right away so here are the first 5. More to come.
As if Friday night’s insanity wasn’t enough, on Saturday 6th Street was closed off for a street festival and paint covered participants from a color run that morning were wandering around. The bars were open and people were selling beer out of ice filled barrels on the street. [NB, the dizzy rooster girls were asked if it was OK before I started shooting.]
On the third Sunday of each month there is a street fair in Kona where vendors set up stands and sell their goods, mostly artsy stuff. Photographers may wish to note that while two subjects are not looking at the camera, they were in on it before I shot.
Anthony was a friend of mine who passed away on February 24th. He was a professor at Thurgood Marshall School of Law and an avid supporter of the arts in Houston. Mostly, I would see him at art gallery openings, and took this portrait at one such event for him to use on Facebook as his profile picture.
It’s been a while since I have been to an art event which produced decent photos, but this weekend yielded some good ones. These were captured at War’Haus, JoMar Visions, Fotofest headquarters, Mixed Emotions, G Gallery in the Houston Heights and the Bluefish House restaurant which is surrounded by art galleries. Although the lead image is color, I do have a few black and white photos in the gallery.
About halfway across the Southern tip of the African continent lies Tsitsikamma Park. Storms River is a major landmark in the area. It is crossed by a suspension foot bridge. This is the only national park that I have ever entered where the gatekeepers made me sign a liability release as if I was engaging into some very hazardous activity. Perhaps waking across a swinging bridge with a bunch of retired Germans is dangerous. Also in the park is the Bloukrans Bridge which is the largest bridge in South Africa and the highest commercial bungee jump in the world. Despite it’s reasonable price, I passed on the jump. Besides, they don’t let anyone take cameras or mobile phones out to the platform. They are happy to sell you a CD shot by their photographer. The panoramic photo of the gorge is made up of six 36MP shots with a net 100MP in the stitched image.
The pano is 1600 pixels wide. Click on it to see it large.
The South African wine country is only about an hour’s drive beyond Cape Town’s borders. These photo’s are from tastings at four wineries. At Murati the port tasting was accompanied with chocolate. Casper was our knowledgable guide for the day. All of these were taken with a Nikon D800 and 28mm f/1.8 G.
Because it is so close to Christmas many of the Houston art galleries had an open house on Saturday afternoon instead of in the evening as they usually do. The first four images were captured at the Hardy Nance Studios in the warehouse district North of downtown Houston. April Murphy is shown in front of her whimsical pet paintings. Please like her page “AEM Gallery” on facebook. April says her work is all about happiness. Later there was a performance art show at Lawndale Art Center. Amberry Jam produces and performs in burlesque shows. One of her recent productions is Kiki’s Sordid Sideshow. She is usually in character. You can find many images of her in costume on flickr. Our mermaid was cooling off in a tub of water because it was 80F on this warm December afternoon in the South. The lovely kissing booth girl was fun to chat with, but I did not take her up on the kiss, which would be scored. (First four, D800, Nikon 28mm f/1.8, next four Nikon 50mm f/1.4)
Anyone following this blog might have noticed I took yesterday off. It has been hectic publishing every day and I have a slow internet connection here. The weather for the last two days has been sunny, cool and crisp. It doesn’t get really cold here. I have been walking around and have been all over the place, but the best shooting seems to be in the area near Union Square. There is simply no shortage of weirdness in this city. It is close to Christmas and it shows with lights and decorations everywhere.
On my second day in Napa perfect weather prevailed and I visited a few more wineries. I have to say after tasting about 10 wines my palate goes to hell and I have no idea what is going on. There seems to be a trend here towards giving all the wines a buttery taste which comes from oak. Some of the wineries have been designed to be tourist attractions without regard to wine. One is fashioned after a medieval castle, another has a gondola lift to get to the tasting room. The surprise of the day was at Mumm where they had 27 original Ansel Adams prints hanging in their art gallery on loan from the Adams family. I have never seen more than about half a dozen even in a museum.
How does one find the perfect wine? You go to the source, which is why I went to Napa, California. The quartet of Victorian women I grabbed while picking up the rental car in San Francisco. Several of the interior images were shot at the Bounty Hunter barbecue restaurant in Nappa. The landscapes are, of course, various vineyards with the best views from Artesa. It was raining flood style when I arrived, but the weather cleared up before noon the next morning when I arrived at the Hess winery. There were some detours for flooded roads.
Red Bluff is a white rabbit who is the beloved pet of dancer and event producer Y.E. Torres, AKA MS. Yet. Ms. Yet is a belly dancer who became interested in visual arts and produced a series of works depicting amorphous looking characters in black and white. This year she combined the works on paper in an installation with dance and and others acting as the characters she created including the Bad Unicorn and the Evil Bunny Rabbit. Ms. Yet is also known for the dramatic pterodactyl tattoos on her back. This event celebrated Red Bluff’s birthday.
Artcrawl is an annual event that takes place in November, usually on the same weekend as Via Colori. It is an early Christmas shopping opportunity for collectors. The Artcrawl is n the area of Nance Street in the warehouse district North of downtown Houston, Texas. It stretches from the docks North of I-10 where Diverse Works used to be housed to the Hardy Nance Studios where over 50 artists are located. This area used to be dodgy, but has become gentrified with the addition of artists studios, art galleries and condominiums. My two favorite venues here are Mother Dog Studios and the Hardy Nance Studios. Those are where I spent most of my time.
Via Colori is an event where artists draw pastel images on the street. It is really for the young as working on one’s hands and knees is rough on the body. This took place in downtown Houston in the area surrounding City Hall. Artists work from an exiting image and often use a grid to enlarge it. There are entry fees and the sponsor’s name is drawn at the top of the large scale pastel image. I met two invited guest artists who have won first prize at other Via Colori festivals, one from California, the other from Virginia. Food stands are set up in the park fronting City Hall and I bought a delicious, but slightly pricey at $6, hot dog. The makers claim it was voted the best in the city. Everyone was blessed with dry, sunny weather and mild temperatures. That is our fall here, and it does not last long.
The first four images in the gallery are from War’Hous Visual Studios, an art gallery owned by artist Dandy Warhol. It’s located at 4715 Main right off the US 59 Main Street exit while headed East. The show featured works from several emerging photographers and many pieces were fine art nudes. Prices were accessible with most works being under $200.
Just a few blocks away from War’Hous is the new home of Diverse Works, a non profit dedicated to supporting the arts. This installation was produced by Franklin Evans.
Girls love to dress up in costume for the Renaissance Festival. Here is a selection of women or wenches in Renaissance period clothing, belly dance costumes, slave girl dress, fantasy outfits, Brazilian Samba costumes, German Octoberfest wear and barbarian armor. All were shot on October 6, 2012, opening day in Plantersville, Texas. The weather was ideal and by the end of the day the light was soft aided by cloud cover. Note that in these 15 images everyone was either performing in public or had been asked if it was OK before I shot. You might also want to look at the Chainmail images from that same day or press the “Chain Mail” menu button at the top of the page to access both this year’s and the 2008 Texas Renaissance Festival images. That set is the most durable one on this site as it gets hits from search engines on a regular basis all year long, not just when the Renfest is open here.
This series of images was collected over several weekends during October of 2010. Destiny, owner of Delectable P.I.E.S appears at the Winter Street Studios open house. She was serving delicious cake pops. Also that evening, a pretty gallery sitter with an unusual bird on a wire tattoo on her thigh. Houston artist Wendy Wagner is pictured with her friend Olga at Darke Gallery. Wendy is facing serious health issues, and truly inspires all with her positive attitude and new works on paper. The two ladies are associates who work at Anya Tish Gallery located at 4411 Montrose in Houston. In a chartreuse top is Houston artist Kia Neill at a group show in M Squared Gallery in the Houston Heights. Kia also was showing at Darke Gallery the same evening as Wendy. Lindsey, the girl with a big smile appears while working as an associate for D. M. Allison Art located on Colquitt Street in Houston’s Upper Kirby District. Regina Agu appears while speaking an event at Winter Street. Regina’s work is inspired by her Nigerian heritage. The final two images were shot at the opening party of the Texas Contemporary Art Fair at the George R Brown Convention Center in downtown Houston.
All of these images were captured with a Nikon D800 and their sweet 28mm f/1.8 G lens.
The weekend saw the first set of major art gallery openings following our usually uncomfortable summers. At the Colquitt street art walk I photographed one of my favorite models, Claudia. She was dressed as usual in knockout heels. The next two images are from Deborah Colton Gallery which showed a series of installations featuring inexpensive plastic objects. In the background is a tent made from clear plastic with many of these objects incorporated into a quilt. One could say it was right out of Family Dollar Store. The final two were shot at M Squared Gallery in the Houston Heights.
This is what happens when you spend a day on Maui and don’t try to do anything special. No long drive up to the crater or Hana. Just laze around and don’t go all that far from the hotel in Kihei. Hawaii simply encourages this sort of behavior. To the locals, it is the Hawaiian way. I photographed the paddleboard instructor because the board was bright yellow, matching the top of her bikini. A large part of Maui is devoted to growing sugar. It is harvest time so the sugar mill is running and the sugar fields are burning. A food truck is parked around the corner from the hotel in Kihei every evening. Its lovely owner sells calamari among other tasty items.
Dan Allison, Vanessa Riley and Carolyn Farb recently put on a show of previously unpublished images by British Photographer Derek Riley. Liliana was there taking pictures. This photo was previously shown in color, but converted to B&W recently. Living Stereo is an outdoor mural at Lawndale Art Center and is a collaboration by six Houston artists. The photo of the couple with tattoos was taken at Lawndale as well.
This engaging performance installation was created by the collaboration of Lisa Chow and Ms. Yet (Y.E. Torres) in Houston. When I arrived Lisa Chow greeted me and said, this is Yet’s world. Indeed, for Yet, this was a dream come true. It was lush space populated with fantasy characters, bad unicorns, bad rabbits, and real rabbits. There are two other posts on my blog with the same actors and characters. Yet is an accomplished belly dancer. Lisa Chow is an artist. Jo Bird is a professional musician who plays the viola. Jessie is Yet’s long time dance performance partner. This performance took place in August, 2012. Several of these photos received new post processing in December, 2012, mainly to correct white balance problems. A few are new.
I toured Michigan for two weeks in August of 2012. A few days were spent in Dearborn at a family event which is not documented here but there is one shot from the Henry Ford Museum of a steam engine. From Dearborn I motored North in a rented Camry to Traverse City and the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Recreational Area. The dunes are spectacular and some are steep. In one place climbers descend about 1,000 feet (300 M) to the lake with no way to return but to climb back up. There is a fee for rescue. The view of Lake Michigan from that spot demonstrates its vastness. It looks more like an ocean than a lake. Traverse city sits on a narrow bay and is a favorite destination of young families living in the Midwest. Next I went to Mackinac Island where horses substitute for cars. The trip ended in Ann Arbor where I shot the graffiti alley.
Art Houston is a coordinated series of gallery openings and open houses right when the weather in Houston is most oppressive, mid July. This year was a bit cooler because of a full week of rain. These images represent my first efforts with Nikon’s fabulous 36 MP D800. This high resolution camera produces stunning results when everything is done right, and miserable results when it is not. I shot these in and around various galleries, although Lawndale Art Center’s huge crowd produced the lion’s share of informal portraits.