Another Quiet Scene

My day is filled with activity as traveling continues.    This is from a few evenings ago, at a picturesque cemetery, surrounded by beautiful land and sky.   Another quiet place in Southeastern Williamson County, Texas, the heart of the Blackland Prairie.

At the 74th Taylor Rodeo

Thursday night I spent a few good (but warm) hours covering the first night of the 74th Taylor Rodeo, held at the Williamson County Expo Center in Taylor.   The event is coordinated by the Taylor Rodeo Association, a first-class group.    This post is a combination of action and feature photographs.  The first shot is a somewhat stressed and tired Bull Riding contestant, catching his breath after a very hard ride.   Anyone riding a bull probably expects it to be hard.   It’s the only adult rodeo sport where contestants wear helmets and extra padding.   I was nervous just being close to the chute.   Several of the photos are action, but the post finishes with faces and features.   The little folks wearing helmets took part in Mutton Bustin’.   Rodeo is one of the hardest things I photograph, but also quite rewarding.   As if you needed a reminder, these participants are bonafide athletes.

Another Loved Barn

A continuation of my series on well-admired barns.   This barn (or is it two barns?) has been in front of my camera several times over the years.   A version is displayed on our living room wall.   The site is in Travis County, but a stone’s throw from Williamson County.   When this photo was taken recently I noticed a For Sale sign on the property.   When new owners seal the deal, I hope  they will keep this beautiful structure.

Into the Fields

With the corn growing tall and crispy around East Williamson County, it was a proper  assumption  that harvest time was near.  Driving home a few evenings ago, I needed no further proof when I saw some farmers known for years, their tractors and combines in a circle to ward off the summer sun as they enjoyed an evening supper onsite before returning to work.  The farmers are Shaun Raesz, 49, and his brother Steven, 47, who took over after their father, Arnold Raesz, retired in 2022.   This season they’re harvesting 3,700 acres of corn.  Helping out are Shaun’s sons Montgomery, 24, and Maverick, 21.   Driving one of the tractors this season is Shaun’s niece Emily, 20, a student at University of Texas in Austin who is quite good at navigating a tractor and grain bin.   Once school begins, Emily is a trombonist with the UT Marching Band.  Shaun’s wife Kari and daughter-in law Madalynn help prepare and deliver the evening meals.   Steven spends much of his time guiding harvested corn into several grain elevators.  Helping him there is his girlfriend Kate, and his niece Genevieve.  A few non-family members are always there to help.   Harvesting 3,700 acres is time-consuming.  They often go well into the night, recently stopping at 1a.m.  Shaun shares concerns for his slow-moving farm equipment as he and his crew move along county roads, dominated now by massive growth in the area.   If you encounter a combine or tractor on a road, please be respectful.  

From a Few Walks in Taylor

As most who follow these posts know by now, I tote a small mirrorless camera (Olympus) with me on daily walks, usually in Taylor.   When those little moments start to clutter my desktop, they end up here.   They’re mostly closeups, primarily taken because of the light.   It’s most always about the light.

Bartlett in Hot July

A few impressions of Bartlett, Texas taken Sunday evening.   Bartlett is a community about twenty minutes north of Taylor, with around 2,000 residents, more or less.   It rests in both Williamson and Bell Counties.   Like its neighbor, Granger, a few miles south, it retains some of its wonderful brick streets.  Summer growth is taking hold, too.   I don’t cotton to summer light, but it wasn’t bad this time.

Never Handle Grounded Bats

A continuation of the Round Rock bridge post.   Mexican free-tailed bats make their home under the McNeil Street bridge near Interstate 35 in Round Rock.   I joined a group of watchers on Saturday evening, there to observe the activity.  Texas Master Naturalists were on hand to guide the discussion and questions.   I’d hoped to see a swarm of thousands of bats flying over the bridge, but the little critters stayed pretty close to the bridge last evening.   Our guide mentioned they’ve only flown high above the bridge en masse one time so far this year.   It was still neat to observe.

Bridge Patterns

This bridge in Round Rock was not my specific assignment Saturday evening, but the light gathered around (and above) its surfaces was too good to ignore.    Another post will follow soon, the main reason I was there.   For now, just the bridge.

Day’s End

It’s a photograph taken a few evenings ago in North Williamson County.   I’ve let it gather dust for a while, not sure if anyone would care to look at a “grab shot,” something I see and shoot with zero advance planning.    The harsh sunlight was blazing in the distance when this farmer heading home caught my eye.   I quickly grabbed a camera, hopped out of the car and made a few frames.  The farmer probably assumed the photographer was daft (he’d have been right!)  but thankfully there was nobody behind me on this quiet country road.   The light was problematic, but is reminiscent  of the Eastman Kodak snapshots my parents took with their little box cameras in the 50s.   If you’re looking for technical wizardry, look elsewhere this time.   I just like this one’s mood.