Thoughts & Images from Andy Sharp

Full Monty
2014 First Day of School
Taylor BBQ Cook-Off
Painting St. James
Boot Camp heat
Palace Rhythm Workshop
East Wilco End of Day
Camp Peniel
Lizard on Car
2014 Taylor Rodeo


A Fun Production, But Don’t Bring the Kids!

Georgetown’s Palace Theatre is taking a walk on the wild side with their current offering, “The Full Monty.”   This lively undertaking, directed by Mary Ellen Butler, takes place in present-day Buffalo, New York.   It’s a tough play to photograph without giving a sense of its theme, but I tried my best to keep the images PG.   The Palace is clearly indicates these performances are not for children, but from my time taking photos recently, I think it’s more the language than the lack of clothing that would be a cause for concern.    Have fun if you go.  It’s on the Springer Memorial Stage through September 21.    These images were created for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.

A New School Year Begins

The start of a new school year usually creates a very long day for me, but it’s one I particularly enjoy.   This one began even earlier in Georgetown, Texas, as  Williamson County Sun writer Jonathan Adams  and I shadowed the Georgetown Independent School District’s new superintendent, Dr. Fred Brent.   He’s included in the last two photos from this post.  The other photos are my usual fare, but I hope you enjoy them.   One pretty cool thing happened at Mitchell Elementary School, where principal Rob Dyer, answering the call to the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, allowed himself to have large tubs of ice water poured atop his head.   He did this not once, but three times today, for three separate school pep rallies.   He’s a pretty cool dude (is that a pun?).   Anyway, teachers, parents and students, have a grand year.

Barbecue Time in Taylor

For a short time, folks in Taylor, Texas weren’t sure the town’s Taylor International BBQ Cook-Off would continue, but the Taylor Chamber of Commerce came to the rescue last year, providing area residents with a lot of competition and fun at this year’s 37th annual event, held at Murphy Park.   40 teams competed in categories that included beans, seafood, poultry, pork, wild game and beef.   4-year-old Chance Michna was there with his own miniature smoker, a gift from his grandmother.   The little smoker was cast iron and looked like it would do the job, but Chance was just having a grand time.   The judges had a good time, too, particularly the ones judging wild game.  “Wild game” can be just about anything.   The most interesting wild game this year appeared to be frog legs, which everyone seemed to enjoy, despite some interesting facial expressions!   Taylor’s mascot is the duck.  It was interesting to note a duck ensconced in a tree as she took care of her babies high above the action.   Thankfully, she didn’t become an entry in the wild game category.   In Taylor, of course, ducks are revered.

A Summer Makeover for St. James

While on my daily 5-mile stroll through Taylor this week,  I noticed work crews toiling at their task, scraping weathered, peeling paint from the facade of St. James Episcopal Church,  a beautiful, iconic structure built in 1893.   When I shot these photos, the late-day sun cast a long shadow of the steeple across a steep roof as David Lopez continued his  task. The church was formed in the 1870s, the current structure following its congregation.    Miguel Zuzinga,  who lives just up the street, is overseeing the work.    The church has been in front of my cameras a few times before.   I particularly like the peaceful courtyard and the statue of Saint Francis of Assisi.   It’s a contemplative place.   It’s hard to resist the way the light plays on its surface of any area of this building.    One of these days, maybe I’ll visit the sanctuary and take a few photos there, including images of their 1914 organ.   It’s nice to see history preserved.

A Sizzling Summer

Unless you’ve been living in a climate-controlled cave, you may notice our traditional Texas summer heat is coming on strong.   For the last several days, temperatures have been teetering in the 100-degree range, not enough, of course, to deter a group of strong-willed ladies as they did their hour-long  boot camp workout at San Gabriel Park recently.   They get together 3- 5 days a week as part of Carole’s Funky Fitness Gym, based in Georgetown, Texas.   Smartly, they took regular hydration breaks.   And on Saturday, I trolled around the Georgetown square, finding a father-daughter duo relaxing in a spot of shade with their old-fashioned fans during Market Days on the square.   Just down the street, at the Georgetown Art Center, welcome relief was readily available at their free splash pad.   If I didn’t have cameras with me, I’d have joined in the fun!   Stay hydrated, but don’t let the heat keep you indoors.  There’s too much to see and do.

Shake, Rattle & Drum Roll!

Georgetown’s Palace Theatre has offered a treat with a beat to kids this summer with their “Shake, Rattle & Drum Roll rhythm workshops, geared for kids ages 7-15 and taught by Ed Francis, a longtime percussionist who teaches this lively art at his Round Rock studios.   The workshops at the Palace, however, are free of charge for those who register in advance at the Palace’s website.   More about Mr. Francis can be found here.  The classes are held each Wednesday, from 6-8.   I didn’t know what to expect before going, but found Mr. Francis to be a wonderful, engaging presence.   The kids loved him, even 2-year-old Quinn Fulgham, pictured in the last photo.  Quinn was too young for the lessons, but that didn’t stop him from taking in it all in from his seat as he watched his older siblings.   At the end of the sessions, the kids will give a show on the Palace Theatre stage.   That’s scheduled for August 27th.

The End of a Beautiful Day

There’s not much I can add to this small selection of photos taken at the conclusion of a very fine summer day in Central Texas.  These photos were taken at areas in East Williamson County, where we live.   They include fields of corn at the end of its cycle, Prince of Peace Lutheran Church and of course, a windmill.

Having a Good Time at Summer Camp

Summer camps, it seems, are becoming more popular as the years go by.   With so many electronic distractions to keep kids indoors, it’s good to see parents allowing providing the chance to engage in activities that take them outside to breathe in a bit of fresh air.   For older kids, there are overnight camps, but the younger set aren’t left out.    Day camps are quite popular.   One such day camp I visited this week at San Gabriel Park in Georgetown was Camp Peniel, geared for boys and girls ages 6-10.   Camp Peniel, a Marble Falls-based group that’s been around since the 1940s, is based on Christian principles.  Their motto: “Adventure With a Purpose!”  The group also conducts a number of overnight camps.  On my visit, the kids engaged in canoeing, bubble blowing contests, archery, story times and Twister, to name a few.   Thankfully, the camp began early and concluded in the early-afternoon, avoiding the Texas summer heat.   These photos are among the selection I shot for the Williamson County Sun.

A Lovely Lizard

I walked into the garage this morning and found this sweet little lady (fellow?) atop my car.   She was a bit shy, but also somewhat curious as I grabbed a camera to record her visit.  In an ideal world, I’d have an iguana, but in the meantime, it’s nice to have these visitors for a while.  They’re prevalent in my area of Texas.  After a few minutes, this one hopped off and scurried away in search of bugs.

The Beauty of Rodeo

Even though it’s only been a couple weeks since my last visit to rodeos, I add one more for your edification, Taylor’s 65th Annual Rodeo, held July 18 and 19 at the Williamson County Events Center in my little town, Taylor, Texas.  The Taylor Rodeo Association puts on a really good show.   As mentioned before, covering rodeo is a little bit about the action in the arena, but it’s so much more.   Even though I’ve never been a participant, it’s a sport I’ve grown up watching, at least while we were still in Texas.   In Texarkana, we had (and still have) the Four States Fair and Rodeo, held each September for many years.  This year will be the 70th for my hometown’s event.

For those who might not think of rodeo as a real sport, you’ve never witnessed the physical toll these events have on the participants.   At Taylor’s rodeo last night, for instance, I was talking with a gentleman and his son, 25, about it.   “I retired four years ago,” said the 25-year-old, speaking of his time as a bull rider.    It’s not just the events, either.  Consider the travel participants undertake to get from one venue to another, not always realizing much payoff for their efforts.   The young man in the opening photo, Kobyn Williams, is a 25-year-old saddle bronc rider from DeBerry, Texas, a good 5 hour’s drive from Taylor.  But there he was, taking advantage of the rodeo clown’s trailer for a gear change before making his way back into the fray.    And there’s the element of family when I see Spence Callihan, a team roper from Willis, Texas, as he helps his 2-year-old niece, Charli Callihan, learn a bit about roping.   It’s a slice of life I’ll continue to take in as long as I can.