The Old Shack Returns

Of course, it’s not been gone, but the corn crop in East Williamson County, Texas covered up my favorite old shack.  This morning, just after dawn, en route to another assignment, there it was.  Of course I had to make a brief stop.   Like the more-famous  tower in Italy, it leans, but that’s okay.

Always, Patsy Cline

Forgive the interruption in posting.  The past few days have been hectic.  To top it off, my main computer took a nose dive.   Now I’m (sort of) back in the saddle again.  These photos were taken during the Thursday night dress rehearsal of “Always, Patsy Cline,” playing now on the Palace Theatre’s Springer Memorial Stage through September 17.   The production is directed by Lannie Hilboldt, the Palace’s musical director, and stars Yesinia McNett as Patsy Cline, and Linda Bradshaw (she’s wonderful) as Louise Seger.  Ms. McNett’s voice is elegant.   I’ll shut up now and just post a few photos from the show.   These were taken for the Williamson County Sun.

A New School Year … And a New School

It’s been a busy week.   Yesterday, I spent time at T.H. Johnson Elementary School in Taylor.  Today, it was back to Georgetown for their first day of classes, for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.   Some fortunate kids and staff have happily moved into a brand-new Annie Purl Elementary School.  I won’t bore you with a lot of words this time.   The photos can do the work.   The only one I’ll point out is the first one, where a pre-k kiddo, 4, peers inside the new school before the doors open this morning a little before 7:30.   The rest you’ve seen versions of many times before, but school years at their beginnings are always wonderful.

A School Year Begins in Taylor

This morning I was up bright and early for the Austin American-Statesman  to cover the first day of classes for Taylor Independent School District kids.  My destination, less than two miles from home, was T.H. Johnson Elementary, where approximately 375 kids in pre-k and kindergarten were getting into the swing of things.  The first photo, however, was taken on the way there, where a brother and sister were getting photographed by mom before heading off on their school journeys.   Covering first days in school districts, even after 43 years of doing it, still thrills the heck out of me.

An August Evening at the Rookery

Last night I’d planned to stay home and work on photos already taken, but then, just a few minutes before the day’s light faded, I had to scratch that itch.   Since time was short, I drove down to Taylor’s Murphy Park and paid a visit to the rookery.  Once summer is over, the bird population, while not going away, will dwindle considerably as nesting time moves on.  We take these opportunities while they’re with us, right?   Anyway, these photos were taken over a 30-minute time span before I moseyed on back home.   Near the end, I’m tossing in a couple monotone images.   The last one is only offered in black-and-white … well, just because.  Think of it as visual dissonance.

Shadows Near the Depot

Last week, on a wandering evening, I happened through downtown Coupland, Texas, just ten minutes away from home.  There was a shadow cast on the wall of the Coupland Inn and Dance Hall, but my timing was off for a good image.  This week, I left home earlier, to get the desired result.   The little community of Coupland, less than 300 population, has been restoring their train depot, plus a caboose, but this piece of train equipment had my attention this time.   What is it?   I’m asking here because I’m not sure!   I think it may have been used for trundling luggage from trains.   I’ll find out eventually, but for now, let’s just say it was interesting to see the way it was this week.  The second image gives you a sense of what it really looks like.  I wish the white stone wasn’t there, but I don’t remove things via Photoshop, or any other software for that matter.  You see what I see, friends.   And in case you haven’t been paying attention, I like to watch the light.

Moving Toward Dawn

This morning started about 4:22a.m., when Mother Nature led me to the bathroom.  Naturally, sleep ended after that.   By 5:30, I was getting dressed and grabbing my cameras.  The first stop, well before 6a.m., was downtown Taylor, to take photos of the Bill Pickett statue, which can be seen on the post before this.   By 6:15,  I decided to wander.  The idea was to photograph the moon, 88% full, but that didn’t work out.   That’s okay because I found a few other images as I wandered through East Williamson County, Texas.   Among those .. a stock pond, or tank, if you prefer.  Also seen: a farmhouse I’ve recorded a few times, and a lovely white cow enjoying her pasture.   The rest of the photos were taken of, or from, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, in Wuthrich Hill, Texas.   That little body of water is just that.  It’s not for cows, but dragonflies and birds seem to like it.  So do I.   The last two photos in this post were taken at dawn.  Everything else came well before that.    This photography thing still holds my interest.

Remembering Bill Pickett … and a friend

I had planned to photograph this bronze statue of rodeo legend and Taylor native Bill Pickett  for a while, but was waiting for the right light.  Less  than a week ago, however,  a friend and colleague from the Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Kent Johnson, died at 57  while on assignment to cover last Saturday’s Bill Pickett Invitational Rodeo, in Conyers, Georgia.    Pickett, who lived from 1870-1932, invented bulldogging, also known as steer wrestling.   Mr. Pickett and Mr. Johnson were both African-American.    The statue shown here was created by sculptor Adam Davenport.   Kent will be buried on Saturday.  I wanted to post this in his memory.   Godspeed, Mr. Johnson.

From the Archives … Shriners Hospital, 1979

In May 1979, during my time at work for the Shreveport Journal, I spent a day at Shriners Hospital for Children.   The hospital, specializing in orthopaedic treatment of children, was the first of what is now a network of hospitals, this one opening in September 1922.   These two photos show nurses working with children as they grow accustomed to their prosthetic limbs, where one child is comforted while another uses roller skates to build confidence with her new limbs.   The compassion and empathy shown by the staff was what stood out more than anything.   I’m guessing the staff today continues to demonstrate the same level of caring.   Prosthetic limbs have come a long way since these photos were taken.   Note that when I visited, we were careful to avoid showing the faces of the kids, but I determined that was not an issue to bring home the point.   By the way, the spelling of orthopaedic is the classic British form, used in Shriners sites everywhere.   That’s good enough for yours truly.

A Negative Becomes a Positive

Earlier this week an assignment I had scheduled in Georgetown fell through, but not before making the 30-minute trek over there.   But why not make the best of the drive, right?   At least that’s my photographic philosophy.  By late afternoon, with light fading in a good way, I parked near the Georgetown square and took a stroll.  It was nice evening, with temperatures moderate after a day of rain.  My cameras and I found ourselves on the lawn of the Williamson County Courthouse, here since 1911.   Thankfully, the windows were rather clean because the reflections I saw were just fine, the windows giving a view of some of Main Street’s nicest buildings.   Once that itch was scratched, I walked around to the courthouse’s north side.  From where I stood, the old structure, usually tan in appearance,  transformed into an elegant study in monotone.  For fun, I converted the photos shown here to black and white, but honestly?  They looked almost the same!   Continuing my stroll around the courthouse, I stopped on its south side, along 8th Street.  Upstairs, in two windows, were two flower vases to complement the scene, with the courthouse also represented in those panes.    Back on Main Street, the trees on the courthouse lawn stood out in yet another window.   Finally, looking at the offices of the Williamson County Sun, there was the lady atop the courthouse, holding onto the scales of justice.   Driving back to Taylor, I realized this:  a negative became a positive.