Eeeeeeeasy There, Tiger
As was the case for many, Christmas provided something of a break from the typical daily grind. For my wife and I, both scheduled heavily around the activities of the University of Texas, this was especially true since campus generally appears post-apocalyptic around mid-December.
We found fun ways to fill the time -- went skating, saw The Hobbit and wandered around downtown. We ended on Sixth Street at Easy Tiger, recommended to us by one of our friends who regularly writes about food and really knows her way around a kitchen, Meredith Bethune. For me, Easy Tiger had everything, though I don't require much for satisfaction. The beer selection was great, the variety of German food fit well, the upstairs bakery turned out fantastic pastries and the uniquely-constructed building gave that great, sunken-living room feel. Covered ping pong courts out back and around the side didn't hurt either.
Meredith does a much better job explaining the important stuff but I thought I'd toss up a couple shots I grabbed while I was there. Took these on 35mm film.
The Tyler & Perry Show
Anyone within a Texas trip to the store of Austin during the Formula 1 week this fall knows how crazy it was. Traffic downtown was ACL or SXSW bad. The W and Four Seasons hotels had exotic, foreign cars parked by the dozen out front. The long-haired men wandering through the streets weren't toting uncovered guitars and carrying signs but wore finely-tailored suits and shoes that appeared to cost more than most vehicles. I heard reports from friends who for one reason or another could not manage to avoid the trouble spots but I did my best to stay away.
I did a pretty good job, too, until an Aerosmith concert at the end of the week in the University of Texas' Frank Irwin Center drew me right into the eye of the storm. I got the call the afternoon of the show and happily accepted the assignment, but I knew in the back of my mind what it meant -- my peaceful evening had turned into a noisy riot with a, shall-we-say unique crowd of people and worst of all, congestion at every corner.
All said and done, it could have transpired much worse. I arrived early, not knowing what calamities might lie ahead, so I had a bit of a wait before the beginning of the opening band, Cheap Trick. Other than that, I had pretty good time.
Note to young photogs out there, spending a little extra time humbly chatting with other photographers can advance one's career closer to maturity faster than most of what people seeking life behind the camera rely on for instruction.
A few months ago, I hopped on Austin's MetroRail for the first time since moving to the city two years ago. I was on assignment covering a fantastic Brooklyn-based group called So Percussion. The gig was: Play on the train ride up, stop, mingle with people at a brewery, then play on the way back toward downtown.
The train was to depart from the convention center where hundreds of people filled the halls and rooms learning about percussion. The sounds of drum sets, vibes, xylophones, djembes and other various instruments resonnated from wall-to-wall. By the time I boarded the train, all I knew was what I've written to this point. That, and it was my job to document the event. What I expected, I suppose, was a small section cleared out as a makeshift stage held down by the gravity applied to three or four men with djembes and possibly dreadlocks. What I found was entireley different but no less interesting nor impressive.
Four 20-something guys, I estimated, stepped on the train together, one with a laptop and set of small speakers. One carried an unassuming, briefcase-sized box which offered no clue as to its purpose. The other two couldn't have blended in more.
The train began to roll and before those in the audience, a mixture of passengers both aware of the event and those who simply needed a ride north, could settle, one of the gentlemen put forth a look of satisfaction, raised his eyebrows as he turn to each other member one at a time gathering confirmation from the group, then rattled off the proverbial,"one, two, three, four."
The group began clapping a rhythm. This carried on for longer than I anticipated. Clearly they had practiced and the rhythm was pleasing and sufficient, but somehow I expected more. This acted simply as their opening number, though the rest of the set maintained the rhythm-driven refrain. Mallets, wood blocks and the suspicious briefcase, which revealed itself as a shruti, widened the spectrum a bit but the concept persevered -- an expertly-woven, linear string of staccato hits, knocks and thumps.
One of the group, Josh Quillen, used the close proximity the train offered as a chance to educate members of Austin's MetroRail community, walking the aisle with the shruti inviting people to give it a try. The reactions were mixed but averaged well and more often than not resulted in a bashful smile.
In the end, what began for me as a routine shoot with a strange twist of uncertainty, closed as a valued memory and one I couldn't wait to share with my wife. I hope So Percussion rolls through Austin again soon and announces its presence well.
Merry Christmas from my wife, Ashley, our kitty, Ladybird and me. Almost a month later, that tree has taken a much more slender, Charlie-Brownish look, courtesy of Ladybird.
Near the end of November, I was hired to shoot the advent service for the University United Methodist Church on the University of Texas campus. This was my first visit to a methodist church and it happened to coincide with what I'm told was the most traditional service of the year. I could have guessed. Below are a couple of my favorite shots. I included the window shot because it was one of the few times I've been able to use the second-curtain sync on my flash in a photojournalism context, as opposed to purely artistic.
Images © Josh Rasmussen 2012
Light The Tower
As the regular season began to wind down and it became clear Texas was a force in volleyball, my phone started to ring. I was available to shoot three home matches and did so, for three different clients. Only a few minutes ago, I watched as the Longhorns won their first national championship in the sport in more than 20 years. Congrats to the team. I thought it fitting to post a few shots I snagged of their journey.
Long Time No See
For all my Eastern Washington and North Idaho friends and family, guys with whom I played up there and random at-large Spokane Chiefs fans, have you ever wondered where the graduated greats are now? Well I can't account for all of them, but during my time with the AHL affiliate of the Dallas Stars, the Texas Stars, I've seen a few come through with various clubs. Ondrej Roman played for Texas for a while. Justin Faulk still plays for the Charlotte Checkers and plays well at that. Even Mitch Wahl came through not that long ago through. Jace Coyle reported for the Stars' training camp and is in our system playing with the Idaho Steelheads in Boise.
For the younger fans, the top photo in this post is Chris Bruton, of the Peoria Rivermen, mixing it up with Texas forward Antoine Roussel. Remember when he handed then-Silvertip Kyle Beach a one-punch knockout as out captain in Spokane?
For the older fans, a group with which I suppose I'll have to lump myself, the lower photo in this post is of the infamous goaltender Barry Brust. Just hearing his name immediately takes me back to the ol' Boone Street Barn, where I not only saw many a Chiefs game but also skated during intermission at a wee little mite. Just dated myself. Up to his usual antics, Brust's aggressive style just landed him the AHL concesutive shutout streak record with the Abbotsford Heat, where he anchors the land between the pipes.