I know some of you look forward to this particular yearly tradition here at Views Of Texas. It's a favorite of mine, too.
With my wider usage of Facebook in 2011 I'm a little more in-touch with friends and family than in years past, and have been surprised and touched by how many people have mentioned that they keep and maybe even frame my card photos. Thanks for the extra pressure y'all--as if I wasn't stressing hard enough already!
Between my trip to Tennessee and learning songs for the Televators show two weeks ago, there wasn't a lot of time to look for likely candidates. Add all the recent rain and recording studio sessions to that, and we managed exactly ONE photo excursion. A record low if your mathematical savvy is limited to "more = better". Fortunately I was working fast and smart, with few mistakes.
We went downtown on December 6th, and it was more than a little breezy with temps in the low 40s or maybe even less. I was wearing flannel sleep pants under my jeans and several layers on top plus scarf and hat. Syl and I were both toasty-warm most of the time, but in order to manipulate camera buttons and tripod parts I only had a fingerless biker glove on my right hand so the tips were frozen solid. I need one oversized mitten every December.
We started on the Riverwalk, mainly because this is the first year with the new LED lights.
Most locals hate them. A LOT.
Personally, I think the old lights which were draped over the top of the big trees looked pretty, but didn't illuminate the trees themselves all that well so it was rather a jumbled mess of colors in vertical lines. Boring, and random. At least now you can see the shape of the trees.
Part of the problem might also be the colors.
Before, there was mostly red, green, and yellow bulbs. Mostly blue now.
I'm not going to comment on the digital camera white-balance issues with LEDs--saving that for the CFL discussion when the USA finally tries to outlaw tungsten lightbulbs.
There weren't many people getting in my shots due to the cold, and the long shutter speeds usually made them all but invisible so long as they kept moving. Sylvia yelled out "Free beer at MadDog's" once to unclot a major artery, though. I'm a lucky man.
Hated the big illuminated H E B in front of the Alamo tree. A classic case of a sponsor crossing the line far enough to shoot themselves in the foot. We truly love HEB as a store, company, and local patron of all good causes but whoever thought this was a good idea needs to be busted back down to grocery bagger.
I do a new "Rivets" shot every single time I'm on the Presa street bridge. Looks like a new paint job--very smooth. Went for focus on the distance rather than the near rivets this time, and like it a lot. 45 seconds well spent, then moving right along to the next photo-op which will probably include one of the little arched footbridges over the San Antonio River. Sometimes a theme becomes apparent after-the-fact.
Someday, this view will be perfected.
I liked it a lot last year (or was it 2009?).
All I know is that it makes a really nice wallpaper on my new Dell widescreen monitor.
The newspaper recently ran a story about how squirrels are chewing through the wires on our new lights, among other failures including overwhelmingly negative public reaction.
The original plan was to remove the bottom 10 feet or so in January but leave the rest of the strings up all year, but that's just wishful thinking now. They finally realized that the old lights draped over the canopy were out on the fringes of rodent territory. The new ones are speed bumps on squirrel highway--I bet they're chewing on them for the same reason that I want to set fire to the big annoying rubber speed bumps in my neighborhood.
During our final choice card photo's long exposure, a cranky old grammity stopped and asked "Do you live here? Do you like these new lights?"
When advised that yes we actually do, she replied "Not me--I hate 'em! I miss the old dingley dangles."
There's a joke in there somewhere...