Vaporfaith Media Solutions

Where'd They Go?

The Texas Stars just finished their final day of the two game Military Appreciation Weekend promotion. This time, the team wore camouflage jerseys. Apparently, the sweaters' wild pattern made reading the numbers difficult from a distance. I had no trouble but I was only feet away most of the time.

While camouflage is designed to hide people it can also highlight those who shine. Taylor Vause (13) had an outstanding weekend, capping the back-to-back games with his first professional two-goal night. Congrats Vauser.

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Forgotten Season

I hadn't been in Texas very long when I began wishing I was on top of a frozen mountain, fighting to keep snow flakes clear of my goggles and convincing myself I wasn't nearly as cold as reality wanted me to believe. I moved to Austin from Idaho, North Idaho originally. My particular patch of the panhandle, Post Falls, sits in a valley created by mountains only a few miles from one of the most beautiful lakes on the planet. With four relatively even seasons, I never had to feel too sick of any of them before signs of the next one started to show. I remember people driving across the thick, frozen lake in winter when I was really young. I played a pick-up hockey game on one of the nearby lakes. My family and friends and I would swim in those same lakes all summer long, but all that seems so far away now.

I've been in Texas almost two and a half years. My innaugural year broke heat records that dated back to the turn of the century, scortching us with 98 days of more than 100-degree weather. This, among other Central Texas weather-related staples, I was ill-prepated to undertake. Perhaps that first miserable year added more fuel to the fire than anything else, but I was determined to find a way to remember winter.

So, last year I booked some time in a studio, built a few props and shot a short series of photos, all winter moments I wished were real. This collection was photographed on 120 and processed, scanned and touched-up by yours truely. Thanks too all my models for your cooperation and for any of you dreading the onset of another Texas summer, take solace in these photographs, a few of my favorites from the shoot.

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Rachael Ray

At this point, I have lived in Austin for almost two and a half years. South By Southwest takes place in the spring so this has cycled through thrice during my stay. For the first time, Ashley and I decided to venture downtown and have a look.

One of our good friends had a plus-one invite to Rachael Ray's party at Banger's on Rainey Street Friday night. We were able to work that into a plus-two for the evening and enjoyed a night full of drinks, $9-per-pound sausage and other various eats all free of charge. By the time the sun set, the line, which was two and three wide in places and controlled by a secutiry officer with a counter keeping an eye on capacity, extended down the street and around the corner.

More than a few bands from all over filtered through the stage, keeping people dancing, singing and holding converstaions at full volume. One of the groups, Gus + Scout, from New York City, featured Scout Willis, one of Demi Moore's daughters.

After a few hours, our group had wandered inside for shade and a break from the smoking and music. We noticed a lot of equipment being shuffled through the door and staged in the corner. Before long, what was clearly a crew of people started unpacking and setting up a three camera shoot with hot lights, a reflector, chairs that were spiked to the wooden floor with white tape and more. Anticipating something worth watching, we slide to the very end of the table, only a few feet from where the chairs were arranged.

As time elapsed, the crew grew larger and as I watched them interact, I started to label them by job and realized this was more than a local station filming SXSW. They had some pretty heavy-hitting equipment so I had a feeling this was coming. By now, we knew Rachael Ray was coming, which made sense, it was her party, but we didn't know with whom or for what, exactly.

In the end, Ray and her husband did swing by and she was interviewed on camera by VH1's Carrie Keagan. When they were finished, I stood up and took a few quick shots with my emergency camera I drag to places I think I might find something interesting to photograph but don't want to risk damage to my Mark III. The weapon of choice: The first DSLR I ever purchased, a 20D, which has been nothing but good to me since 2006. I'll keep that baby forever. The lens I used was an old 18-55 IS kit lens which isn't great for anything nor good for much, but get's the job done well enough most of the time in an emergency and isn't terribly expensive.

I posted a few shots from the evening, pretty much all the shots from the evening since I wasn't really there to shoot and didn't take too many photos. Hope you enjoy.

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Dean Keaton and Wichita Street

Sometimes music sets us in a particular place -- takes us back to a specific time and location. Sometimes a single sound or a certain person's voice can do the same. Images have that power as well and I know when I leave Austin, I'll take with me a few mental frames. I expect these memory-jogging views and perspectives will take me to places I frequented over the past two and a half years. I couldn't possibly know them all at this point but I know for sure a few views I will miss: Leaving the CMA building, which used to house the journalism school, and seeing the tower between the trees stretching above the buildings in the foreground and this image, looking over Dean Keaton from the base of a staircase on Wichita Street which I passed on the way to and from Ashley's office and on occasion, waited for her to meet me.

Dean Keaton