The Roadside Beauty Salon

Are you ever driving down the road and you see something that looks like it might be an interesting photo? But then, you start thinkin’ about turning around to take a photo, and then you think about it some more, and then by the time you get around to really asking the question in a serious way, you’ve discovered you’ve gone much too far and it would be silly to turn around now? Well that almost happened to me here… but I trained myself a while ago just to immediately turn around and not ask questions. This is a similar phenomenon to the “just 5 more minutes in bed” problem, which is also a slippery slope.

I found this beauty salon one evening when driving between Houston and Austin. It was just sitting there, all neglected…. and I felt like someone needed to pay attention to it, so I did for a short while.

The Roadside Beauty Salon (by Stuck in Customs)

It’s Recital Season for Kids… and a new review of the Nikon 70-200mm Lens

My 3-year-old daughter, Isabella, has been dancing around all night for me, getting ready for her big event tomorrow. It’s her first dance recital.

Her outfit is complete, her spins are looking almost 360, and her beauty sleep is currently in full-force. The epic event is at 4 PM tomorrow. Who has recitals at 4 PM on a weekday? I don’t know. Isabella does. That’s who. I’m not allowed to take photos, so say the ballet-gestapo that run the event. Should I organize an email campaign to make an exception?!!?!? Maybe we can get a 100-200K emails sent over there in protest! hehe…

This first photo below was included in the recent Newsletter, in which I gave an advance link to the new Nikon 70-200 Review. It’s a great lens, and there are a bunch of cool pics from that camera in the review. This piano photo was taken while my 8-year-old was practicing for his recital. He got to play on his first grand piano, and it was cute because he had trouble reaching the pedals because they were so far from the bench.

The second photo below is Isabella is from a few weeks ago when we went to the Greekfest here in Austin… she had her face painted like a unicorn… it was her first face-painting ever, so of course I was there with the camera. That one was taken with the 50mm – I have more info on that one over at the Nikon 50mm Review.

Texas Shots-12106-June 06, 2009 (by Stuck in Customs)

Isabella as the Unicorn (by Stuck in Customs)

This Way to the Holy Ghost Revival

Here is one of those Texas roadside revivals that come straight out of the movies. I happened to get there around sunset, so there was nice dramatic lighting to complement the drama of the environs.

The place was totally empty. I got a little bit creeped out…and I felt like maybe I was being watched. I snapped a few quick shots and then made a hasty egress…

Also, if you are into ENTJ Firebrands, then you might enjoy the First Newsletter that just went out today! You can sign up for free on the Newsletter page… I hope you find some good stuff in there!

This Way to the Holy Ghost Revival (by Stuck in Customs)

The ROT Biker Rally of Texas

Every year we get thousands of bikers that descend on Austin for a few days during the big ROT Biker Rally.

They cruise up and down 6th Street and close fill the streets with incredible bikes and works of art. It’s an amazing place for photography, so I was able to take a break this evening and go down and shoot for a few hours.

I remember when I was growing up that bikers where just about the scariest people on earth. But now, everyone I have met seems to be much nicer and more affable than the average joe. They love having pictures taken of their bikes and generally seem to love life. That’s cool.

The ROT Biker Rally in Austin (by Stuck in Customs)

Green Fins in Austin

See how cool American cars used to be? And then they started getting designed by committees and focus groups and marketing experts… Did anyone see that Simpsons episode with Poochie the dog? I think about that episode a lot whenever I see a boring product flounder its way onto the scene.

Anyway, none of that has anything to do with anything… other than just as a talking point when looking back at old American cars and how much personality they used to have. This was shot at a classic car show here in Austin, which is always a great place to take the tripod for some HDR goodness…

Green Fins in Austin

Hanging out with Altus in Austin

Today Altus, my good friend from Japan, came into Austin with his family. They crashed at my place and it gave us a chance to go out and do some shooting… I feel lucky to be able to go out and shoot with another great HDR photographer! I can add him to the collection! Here are some other greats I have shot with… and I’ll be sure to add Altus to the list soon.

After we went to a secret spot, we ended up at The Oasis on Lake Travis. Here is a shot of Altus leaning over one of the decks to get a shot using his famous fisheye. And here is one of his shots of his hometown of Tokyo.

Altus in Austin

It’s Summertime for Little Girls, and are the new ads too annoying for ya?

I don’t think I realized a big difference in clothes and seasons for little girls until I had one of my own. Every single outfit choice is as dramatic as the final night of American Idol. The histrionics that ensue is the selection of shoes could be stage play of epic proportions. But, once the outfit is complete, then it’s time for summer.

Now, some of you may notice (and have noticed) that I am experimenting with new ads on the site. I will leave them up for 24 more hours and see what your feedback is like. If you find them very annoying, I’ll take them down. Feel free to give me frank comments down here below. The site gets between 300K and 350K visitors per month, and the only ad hitherto has been the banner on the right for B&H Photo, who sponsor the site. So, anyway, I value your regular readership, and I have no wish to annoy you! Lemme know… thanks!

It's Summertime for Little Girls (by Stuck in Customs)

The Place in Texas Where They Found the 17 Bodies

Now this is a proper Texas ghost town!

It was always one of those things that fascinated me as a child. Pretty much anything with the name “ghost” in it was cool back then, including my “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. I remember there was one called “Deadwood” or something like that, which always had a creepy ghost town feel to it.

Anyway, this is a strange abandoned town outside of Brenham, Texas (Home of Blue Bell Ice Cream!). And no, 17 Bodies were not found here… just being a bit dramatic. Or maybe there WERE 17 bodies here but the authorities are just covering it up. It’s all true. I heard Alex Jones say it.

Last, I have updated my Nikon 14-24 Review and my Nikon 24-70 Review with new photos and the like. I know that only about half of our audience is photographers, but some people are looking to get into it more seriously, so maybe those will be helpful to you!

The Place in Texas Where They Found the 17 Bodies (by Stuck in Customs)

Houston at Dusk

I’ve had (the pleasure) to go to Houston a few (too many) times this year.  I always end up staying downtown, which affords me some good opportunities to take photos at dusk.  Usually I am busy (being drained) and can’t actually get out to shoot at sunset, so whenever I have a chance, I do my best to get a good one.

This was shot from the top of the Magnolia Hotel, which is a very cool place to stay, if you ever make it down thataway.

Houston at Dusk (by Stuck in Customs)

The Deep River in Austin

This spot is about 5 minutes from my house.  Why don’t I go up here every night for sunset?  I don’t know.  I really don’t have a good excuse, because every time I go up there, I come away with something different.

On this night, I walked up there with my son right after the sun dropped below the horizon and we watched the day turn to night together.  One of the planets was brightly lit (Venus?) and appeared right above that cool-lookin tree that sits atop.  People from Austin know the one I’m talkin’ about. 🙂

The Deep River in Austin (by Stuck in Customs)

Newsletter Sign Up

The most beautiful newsletter ever!