Thoughts & Images from Andy Sharp

East Wilco Fog
Chicken Seminar
Anything Goes
2015 Bridal Show
Early Morning Jonah School
JD's Grill
Saddle Club Play Day
Plein Air Painting
East Wilco Sunset
Special Olympics Bowling

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Fog Rolls Into Texas

It seemed proper to find some imagery to mark Texas Independence Day.  Initially, I was not  liking the weather, rainy and cold most of the day.  But as night enveloped East Williamson County, Texas, the fog rolled in, enhancing the beautiful landscape.   Spending 35 years away from Texas causes me to have an even greater appreciation of where I grew up.   Even though I hail from Northeast Texas, in the Piney Woods part of the state,  this Blackland Prairie part of the Lone Star state has really grown on me.   When we left Georgia, I kind of longed for moving back to my tree-laden area, but economics led us here, near Austin.   It’s been the right thing.  The ocean has always been fascinating, so expansive and open.   But this beautiful farm country is my “land ocean,” and that’s okay.

 

Chicks Gone Wild (And a Curious Kitty)

It seems chickens are becoming a popular addition to yards everywhere, and not just here in Texas.   People are seeing the economic advantage of really going local when they can just step out to their hen house and gather a few nice eggs.   With that in mind, Georgetown Farm Supply held their “Chicks Gone Wild” seminar Saturday.  About two dozen people came to learn all they could from Abby Brewer as she gave some great tips on the care of all kinds of chickens.   That’s Abby in one of these photos with her prize-winning rooster, a show bird.   As I was getting ready to head out, one of the store’s staff wanted me to see Crusty, one of the two store kitties, as she demonstrated her feline curiosity to check out a cage full of bantam chicks.   Thankfully, Crusty made no progress on getting in there.   These photos were taken for the Williamson County Sun.

Take a Cruise at the Palace

Wow.   The Georgetown Palace Theatre’s newest undertaking, “Anything Goes,” is a fast-moving production.  This show, on the theater’s Springer Memorial Stage weekends through March 29, marks the directorial debut of Scott Shipman, taking a spin at directing his first Palace production.   Regular visitors to Palace shows are familiar with Shipman’s acting chops, most recently in the title role of “Shrek.”   If Thursday night’s dress rehearsal is any indication, he does okay giving directions, too.   I’m no reviewer, but know what works.   And this does.   Give it a spin.   These are among the photos I did for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.

Here Comes the Brides (and Grooms)

One of the fun things I photograph most years for the Williamson County Sun is the annual Georgetown Bridal Show, held again this year at East View High School.  Vendors set up their booths to show off their offerings for the happy couples, like Stacey DelSignore and her husband-to-be, Joshua Gamboa, pictured in the opening shot.    Diana Eickholt and her fellow, George Jackson, were really enjoying the sleep number bed!   Before the models took to the stage for the actual show, 18-month-old Jackson Hartzog, a well-dressed little guy, romped near the rose petals adorning the stage, but not for long.  The organizers didn’t see young Mr. Hartzog as part of their show!   Good luck to future couples out there.

Early Morning in Jonah

Rising well before the crack of dawn has always been somewhat painful, but when I am able to make that plunge, the payoffs can be sweet.  The quality of  early light, which can degrade quickly as a day progresses,  is a reward.   The Jonah School is a spot I  pass  when traveling along Texas Highway 29, between Taylor and Georgetown.   It’s an interesting structure, long and lean.   Since 1922, it’s weathered many Texas seasons.   Sometime back in the 1970s, the community of Jonah, just a lull in the landscape, incorporated their school system  with the Georgetown public school district.   Thankfully, the school building has remained, recast  as the Jonah Community Center.   I’ve wanted to represent the school here on my blog, but alas, in broad daylight, it wasn’t so inspiring.   Until Sunday morning, that is.   I was trolling along about 6:30a.m.  One lone light added just the right amount of texture to the scene.   Since another early assignment awaited, I only stopped here for about 7 or 8 minutes.   The result are the photos you see here, with no magical Photoshop devices.   As dawn neared, the blueness of the sky lessened, quickly settling on gray matter on this cloudy day.  When you can, get up early.  Enjoy what you see.

Summer 1979 at JD’s Grill

During what I call my golden years at the Shreveport Journal, I discovered a very nifty (and compact)  eating establishment downtown.   JD’s Grill was tiny, dwarfed by everything around it.   When I made these photos in August 1979, JD’s was a hopping place.   Total seating capacity was about 8 diners.    Folks in Shreveport came here in droves.   JD’s was always busy.  During down times after lunch, you were likely find a fellow sipping his coffee and reading the Shreveport Journal for the latest news.   When JD had a few rare moments, he’d enjoy his pipe.   Remember, this was back in the day when a fellow smoking his pipe was okay.    If JD is still among the living, I expect he’d be pretty old, but often wonder if he passed his little grill on to other hands?

Having a Play Day at the Rodeo Arena

When something I’d plan to photograph didn’t pan out on Saturday, I trolled around Georgetown for an alternative for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.    As luck would have it, the Williamson County Sheriff Posse Rodeo arena was buzzing with activity.   Throughout the year, the Brushy Creek Saddle Club conducts their play days.  “Play days” are just that — low-key riding fun in a non-stressful and fun setting.   These events are usually dominated by young women since the men, or so I’m told, move on to actual rodeo activities early-on.   So it was a good thing I happened by and saw little Wyatt Tucker as he ambled along with his horse, Shorty, in tow.   When it comes to equestrian pursuits in Texas, many folks begin at an early age.   Wyatt will turn 2 next month.   There to support Wyatt were his mom and dad, Codie and Lance Tucker, and also his grandpa, Jeff Burruss.  Lance and Jeff are both old hands at this kind of thing.   It’s natural, then, that Wyatt would be right at home.   Here are a few photos I took during Saturday’s fun.

En Plein Air

During my years in Georgia, it was rewarding to observe a group of artists  who felt a keen sense of connection with being outdoors, toting their easels and painting supplies to places that inspired them.   They would meet at specific locales to observe and create art that spoke to their vision.   “En Plein Air” is French for “In the Open Air.”   These happy sessions were called paint-outs.   Returning to Texas, I’m happy to report Plein Air groups are abundant here, too.   I recently spent a Saturday morning at Georgetown’s Blue Hole Lagoon, where artists from Austin and Sun City chapters were hard at work.    As a first-grader at Grim Elementary School, I got a D- in art.  When the teacher asked us to draw a person, my “person” had a head, legs and arms, but no body.   “Where’s the body, Andy?” Miss Bertha White asked?   I gave her a curious look before she scribbled that ugly grade on my work of art.   So it that I became a photographer, but I really appreciate the ability of people who can create so well.   These photos were taken for the Williamson County Sun

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Good Light in the Texas Skies

At times, when feeling overwhelmed, a dose of visual therapy is helpful.  For me, perhaps, that comes all too often.  The good news is I don’t have to drive too far to get an emotional boost.  East Williamson County, Texas is literally just down the road.   The county roads near home are open and inviting.   When the Texas wind isn’t too much, I can hop on my bike and enjoy the scenery up close.   But the roads, and sky, are always there.   And so is my camera.    The little church, Prince of Peace Lutheran, sits atop a gentle hill, on County Road 417, in a place called Wuthrich Hill.     A field of horses grazes along County Road 414.   And a tank, as we call many ponds in Texas, adds a nice touch to a darkening sky on County Road 424.

Bowling At Its Finest

My Saturday was filled with much work, all of it rewarding.    The final stop of the day was at Mel’s Lone Star Lanes, in Georgetown, Texas.    The entire bowling alley was the scene of the mens’ bowling competition for the statewide Special Olympics Winter Games.   Inspiring athletes arrived from all over Texas, most of them accompanied by their coaches, but also their loving families.  Let me tell you folks, these guys had all the right moves.  One particular young man I’ve photographed a few times since returning to Texas was Jared Friemel, a Georgetown resident and graduate of Georgetown High School.   In his senior year, Jared was crowned Homecoming King.   Jared is an inspiring young man who now works for the Round Rock Express, our area minor league baseball team.   His Special Olympics team is the Cen-Tex Rockets.   That’s Jared in the first few photos.   These photos were taken for my friends at the Williamson County Sun.