The Georgetown Cultural Citizen Memorial Association held its 67th Annual Juneteenth celebration today at the San Gabriel Community Center. Juneteenth celebrates June 19, 1865, when soldiers arriving in Galveston harbor, brought word that the war had ended and slavery was a thing of the past. The news arrived two-and-a-half years after the fact, but it’s celebrated around the country each year. These are a few photos taken today. The dance group, from Austin, are the Groovers. Georgetown’s Assistant Police Chief, Cory Tchida, felt the spirit move him, as did a 2-year-old called Teaven. Rabbi Jonathan Dade, with Georgetown’s Messiah Echad, attended with his children. Remembering history is the best way to keep it from repeating itself.
The summer concert series on the square in Georgetown, Texas began tonight with a performance by Georgetown Pipes and Drums. The free concerts, hosted by the Georgetown Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Williamson Museum, are held every Friday through late-August. The Williamson County Courthouse lawn is a beautiful place to enjoy a bit of summer in Central Texas. Tonight we had the added gift of a Waxing Gibbous moon, 94.4% visible, shining brightly in the Texas sky. Oh, and it’s quite kid-friendly. The children love it.
Another evening where I’m really just focused on the light. The subject matter, of course, is to my liking, but perhaps made more interesting by the presence of goodness from the sun. How’s this for keeping the comments short? Have a good night, friends.
Since this is most active time around Taylor’s rookery, I’m trying to find my way there at least a couple of times a month. A photographer friend particularly loves coming over to watch the nesting action. Most of my images, however, concentrate on the sky above the rookery. That said, if I had a super-long telephoto lens, it might open up some new avenues. Note the presence of the moon in the opening photo. You can never go wrong with the moon around. Numbers two and three are similar, but I couldn’t decide where the egret’s presence prevailed. And the last one? Clouds are cool.
A few weeks ago, while on another assignment in Bartlett, someone mentioned that I might be interested in Bartlett Grammar School. The busy day didn’t allow a followup then, but the next week, on one of those afternoon/evening jaunts, I made my way there. What an amazing thing to see, its red brick facade glowing in the late-day light. A little background and history is in order. It currently serves as Old Red Schoolhouse Museum and the Bartlett Activities Center, open the fourth Saturday of each month from 2-4p.m. Now the history. The Bartlett Independent School District was formed in 1903, with cotton and railroads putting this town on the Williamson/Bell County line squarely on the map. A five-room school was built to accommodate all grade levels. By 1906, however, the community’s growth called for a better (and larger) place for the kids. A successful bond election paid for the structure you see in these photos. Built in 1908-09, it also served all grades until a new high school opened in 1917. Thereafter, it was known as Bartlett Grammar School for students in grades 1-8. It remained open until 1988. Since then it’s still here for Bartlett residents to cherish. Owned by the school district, Kathy Jones, one of the residents watching over the structure, mentioned the school has leased the building until April 2093. That means it has staying power! It needs some loving care for sure, but it’s not going anywhere. Seeing the school called to mind my growing-up years in Texarkana, Texas. My elementary school, Grim Elementary, was built in 1913. It was also a regal dark-brick edifice. In summer 1958, as I prepared to enter first grade, the school system decided to modernize the desks, offering for sale the original ones, those constructed of wood and iron, with the seats flipping down in front. The best part? The desks were selling for a quarter, which just happened to be my weekly allowance. So I bought one, lugged it home. When mama met me at the door, she was surprised. “What are you going to do with that, Andy?” she asked. But I kept it. It’s still with me now. Somewhere in the 1990s, I traveled to Texarkana for a visit. I was shocked to see that venerable old school was no more, taken down to add a wider road. This is one of the reasons I think so much of the “Old Red Schoolhouse” in Bartlett. And the slide? It’s original, too.
During the years I’ve been back in Texas, photographing harvest times has been a wonderful way to spend my time. Our rich Blackland Prairie soil is nearly-perfect for area farmers. The one harvest I’ve not documented has been wheat. For several weeks on my wanderings the wheat crops either hadn’t been harvested or the work was done. Last week, however, I drove a little further into the countryside. In Bell County I found the Martinka family hard at work one Saturday evening. Alan Martinka, pictured in the opening photo (his cap is wonderful!) welcomed me to take all the photos I wanted. Since they were finishing for the night, they invited me back the following Monday. These photos are from that day of harvesting. Other members of the family, all Martinkas, included Phillip, Matt, Jacob and Dave. The family has been working fields in both Bell and Williamson County for generations. This year they’ve planted 1400 acres of wheat, but even more corn. But this post is about wheat. It’s a beautiful thing to see. In the almost ten years we’ve been home, I’ve watched as this land has been overrun by development. It’s happening all around Taylor. Thankfully, the Martinka family continues to enjoy some of the best space anywhere in Central Texas.
Our area of the Blackland Prairie, East Williamson County, Texas, experienced some severe weather tonight. In fact, it might not be finished, but with these photos, yours truly is. As I got in the car to troll around for images, word of a tornado warning flashed onto the radio station and on my phone. It did get intense for a while. One image had the appearance of a tornado, but if it was, it gathered no strength. These images take you through the intensity, ending with a little bit of lightning, concluding with a rainbow. Yours truly is no storm chaser, but they are fascinating.
The day was spent taking photos of folks beating the heat in Georgetown, Texas, first at Blue Hole, including anglers. The opening image, taken early-morning, is a fisherman enjoying the day in pristine surroundings. He got here about 7a.m. When checking back at 11 he was still at it. Another angler, almost 6, was on her first-ever fishing expedition. Blue Hole Lagoon is closely aligned with the South Fork of the San Gabriel River. It’s really a pretty spot. The waterfall there is divine. One photo is presented in color and black-and-white. I’m partial to the monotone version. It simplifies and clarifies what I want to impart. The last couple of photos were made this afternoon at San Jose Park in Georgetown, where there’s a very popular splash pad. It’s the same child in both images. I can’t decide which is preferable. That’s it for now, friends.
Just a few images from Thursday night’s dress rehearsal of “Evita,” playing through July 7th at the Georgetown Palace in Georgetown, Texas. My camera’s shutter was constantly clicking last night. It was that good, friends. The last photo was taken outside the theater, where a Waxing Crescent moon made an appropriate appearance.
There’s those huge sunflowers you see occasionally, the ones planted by folks in their yards or fields. While they are exceptional, I’m also partial to the smaller wildflowers that adorn many parts of our Blackland Prairie. Some farmers I’ve talked to aren’t really fans of the wild ones, feeling they encroach on their planting areas. The ones I’ve seen through the years, however, appear to nicely reside in areas near fields, but not in them. As was the case with these photographed this week near Bartlett, Texas. These smaller ones, like our bluebonnets, are weeds, but they add a nice dash of color to our rural landscape.