Lean In

Lean In - Luckenbach, Texas
Lean In – Luckenbach, Texas
I drove out to Luckenbach for the first time around 2003, shortly after acquiring my first camera. The old song performed by Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson among others, was enough to inspire a thirty minute drive to get there. I was quite surprised to see a hundred people sitting around picnic tables drinking beer and listening to Texas roots music. I’m not sure what I expected to find but it turned out to be pure Americana with a Texas accent. Since that day I’ve made dozens of visits to Luckenbach and enjoyed every one.

Similar old venues dot the back roads in Central Texas with Austin acting as a hub. Some of the best musicians in the world live or work in Austin. Good music just overflows out into the country as players get together more or less informally.

The great thing about Luckenbach from a photographer’s perspective is having pretty much unlimited access to roam around and take pictures. It is a target rich environment you might say. During the warm months of the year free music is performed on the outdoor stage. If you want to take a picture of the band all you have to do is walk up to the stage and click. The only requirement is that you don’t become a pest for the audience or the performers.

Photographing the crowd is just as easy. Luckenbach attracts an eclectic mix of people. Tourists, well heeled bikers and Texas characters are regulars. I’ve never seen a group of people more laidback. There is never a serious argument to be heard. You can work the crowd with a camera as long as you follow a few simple rules. Most importantly everyone is there to relax and get away from the cares of the world. Don’t be too serious.

In some ways I feel as though just talking about Luckenbach causes it to change. Eventually it will be discovered in a major way and succumb to the pressures of commerce. At least more than it has so far. In the end kitsch may be the ultimate fate for Luckenbach but we can still hope for the best.

Download the latest Phototrice calendar in PDF format. Direct download links – No signup required.

The North America calendar
Weeks starting on Sunday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 44 – North America

The International calendar
Weeks starting on Monday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 44 – International

Painted Trees

Painted Trees
Painted Trees
Trees painted with light that is. This small experiment was shot an hour before dawn on Easter morning. I’ve made a few attempts at light painting in the past with little success. This is a thirty second exposure illuminated with a small handheld LED flashlight. While not entirely successful it is better than my past efforts. Unfortunately the version posted here loses some subtle detail by downsizing. There is always the trade-off when publishing images online. Anyway it was interesting to try something different and I’m fairly happy with the results.

Texas Pastimes

Fixin to Smoke - Floore Country Store
Fixin to Smoke – Floore Country Store
There are a few things in Texas where bragging rights are important. One of those is football, all the way from high school to the pros. Another is Texas barbecue.

Almost all the old barbecue establishments in Texas actually started out as meat markets. They had a steady clientele for fresh meats and prepared smoked meats as a sideline. That changed as local butchers gave way to supermarkets. Now most places only sell smoked meats. In this part of the country, barbecue is usually smoked beef or sausage. Some places will also have pork, turkey or chicken but beef is king here.

While the quality of barbecue across the state is universally excellent, styles differ regionally. A lot depends on the woods available for smoking. Different woods have a profound effect on the final quality of smoked meats. Not just any wood will do. Many smokers source their wood from specific geographical locations and suppliers.

In the end it is the skill and knowledge of the pit master that determines the quality of the barbecue. To a casual observer it may seem that you can learn to smoke meats in an afternoon. Not so. Pit masters generally learn their art through an informal apprenticeship that can last years. The skills of the master are passed on with serious dedication and understanding that it is best not to tinker with the product.

Make mine moist brisket with some burnt ends and a couple of links. It is always best served market style on butcher paper with a slice or two of white bread, onions and pickles.

Download the latest Phototrice calendar in PDF format. Direct download links – No signup required.

The North America calendar
Weeks starting on Sunday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 39 – North America

The International calendar
Weeks starting on Monday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 39 – International