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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Thunderclouds Over North Austin

Driving back from Copperas Cove TX after seeing our daughter Amy play the role of Rose Blossom in the western comedy Deadwood Dick, we saw these huge thunderclouds seemingly looming directly in our path. It being one of the few times that I have had the camera ready to go, I pulled to the side of the road and took a couple of quick photos. I hope you can get a sense of the size of the thunderheads. They were pretty magnificent!

As we drove on home, I realized that the main storm was still east of our house, so all we saw from it were a few sprinkles on the windshield. We got a huge rainstorm with a little hail yesterday (nowhere near the amount of hail that we got on March 25th) so it was good that we were spared another deluge today. I like rain, but spaced out a little, not two days of downpours and then nothing for weeks. Unfortunately, no one consults with me on these matters!

Thanks for stopping by again. I hope you'll browse around some of the past entries and see what's here.

Best regards,

Mike Z
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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Chris O'Brien and Ellis Paul for Mother's Day!

Chris O'Brien "Rosa"

Ellis Paul "Blacktop Train" video was removed by YouTube due to copyright restrictions. Sorry, it was pretty great! 6/28/2010

This is not strictly a photographic post, but is definitely a great memory. For Mother's Day this year our daughter Amy found out that one of Jan's favorite singers, Chris O'Brien, was going to play at University of Texas's Cactus Cafe on Mother's Day weekend. So she made sure that we would be available, and made the arrangements for us to attend the concert.

Cactus Cafe (reviews) is a very small intimate place located in one of the buildings at UT. I would say that if there were 100 people there, that would be an SRO performance. The fact that it was a non-smoking coffehouse-type bar made it a delight to be there.

It turned out that Chris was the lead-in act for another singer named Ellis Paul. We had not heard of Mr Paul, but we were sure that if his style was like Chris's, we'd enjoy his singing just as well. Turns out Chris only sang 6 songs, and Ellis played 2 full sets! We got to talk with Chris about 1/2 way through the evening, and he autographed a CD for Jan. He was very surprised that an "old codger" like me (not his words, but I could tell) knew about his music.

Ellis Paul was very unique. He played a lot of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger songs, and had an angry edge of protest in quite a few songs. But I will say, he could play and sing, and entertain an audience! Someone in the audience shouted a question, "Did you vote for Obama!" He smiled a quirky smile and said, "yeah,..twice" It was a great moment. BTW, the audience participation you hear in the video must be a regular thing with EP's concerts, because we participated on the Ooo-oo-oo-o-oo-oooh's too.

About 12:30am the night was getting on, so we left and headed home. I bought a live CD of Ellis Paul's (the cover of the CD is on his Home Page)and I enjoy it very much. The two videos are my favorites from the two performers' sets that night, but I like almost everything I heard, and highly recommend them both if you'd like to hear some new music. Ellis Paul will be back in Texas at the Kerrville Folk Festival on May 29th & 30th. Wish I could be there!

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you like the music. I do apologize for the bad video on the Ellis Paul song, but it was the closest I could find on YouTube to what we heard at the Cactus. Come back often, I will try to have more stuff up soon.

All the best,

Mike Z

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Night shots of Wonderful Water Features


As some of you might know, I am the photographer for the Austin Pond Society this year. It has been a wonderful experience so far. I got involved with the APS last year after making the rounds at the APS Annual Pond Tour, and taking some photos of the ponds we visited. (See Kathy and Rick). One of my projects is to take photos of prospective ponds for this year's tour, and report to the Board of Directors with the photos.

Disappearing Stream
A feature of this year's tour is Saturday evening/night pond tours. Several of the pond owners have ponds that are lit up and viewable at night as well as in the day. This particular pond owner even has water lilies that bloom at night to make the visit even more interesting.

The Large Pond and Patio

There are two water features at this home, and both are equally wonderful. The photo below is the second, smaller pond. Both have fish in them, and their dog really likes to stand at the edge of the pond and watch the fish. They seem to like the dog as well, because they gather in the water below him whenever he does.

Smaller pond

The photo below is an attempt to get a "long view" of the larger pond from the yard back to where I was taking the earlier photos from. As I took the photos, the sun set and the sky darkened to a rich purple and blue backdrop for the photo.


This is my first serious attempt at evening or night photography. I think the photos came out ok. The pond owners were kind enough to give me permission to publish these photos on the 'blog, and I hope I have made them proud.

Come back and visit again! I hope to have some more photos up soon.

All the best to you and yours,

Mike Z