The Austin Lantern Festival by Ethan Tweedie

As a photographer I had always wanted to attend one of these lantern festivals, the visuals seemed to be pretty cool so I purchased two tickets to the Austin | Lantern Fest We arrived late afternoon to a well organized parking team and we were able to park pretty close to he venue. Once through the check in process that took about 1 minute we went to look for a strategic location to shoot from, noting the wind direction and quickly found a good location.  Since we wanted to have fun too I headed for a cold beverage and to my surprise the total was $7 for a water and two Hopadillos!  They had music playing when we arrived then had some live music that was very good that played until it was launch time.  My only wish would be that they would have launched the lanterns early during twilight, either way it was really cool to see all of the lanterns slowly float into the sky, it was quite magical!  

What happens to the lanterns after the event?  They have teams that go out and collect lanterns during the event and the next morning.  Each lantern is made with 100 percent biodegradable rice paper, bamboo and string and I noticed on each lantern there is a message saying if you are lucky enough to find this lantern please dispose of this lantern and if you have any questions they give a website and phone number for questions and concerns.  You can read more about other safety concerns at The Lantern Fest website.

Ethan Tweedie Photography, Austin TX Based Commercial and Architectural Photographer, Will Be Teaching Two Workshops at the Photogenesis Convention Sept. 28 through Oct. 1st 2017 in San Marcos Texas by Ethan Tweedie

Ethan Tweedie Photography

Fellow Photographers, I am teaching two workshops at the Texas Professional Photographers Association (TPPA) Photogenesis Convention in San Marcos Texas 9/28-10/1.   The first workshop is on Friday, September 29th 2017 “On Location Architectural Shooting Tricks and Techniques for Magazine Quality Imagesand then on Saturday we create images from the prior day’s shootArchitectural Photography Post Production, from Bland to Beautifulwhere I will walk you through every step I take to turn a mediocre photo into an incredibly polished image ready for publication utilizing Lightroom, Photoshop, NIK Software and Luminar.

If you are interested in signing up for my workshops please go to the TPPA website.  If you have other photography interests please take a look at these other fine workshops during the Photogenesis Convention!  Click here TPPA

Hope to see you there!

Ethan

Beautiful Chiricahua National Monument - 12 hours from Austin Texas by Ethan Tweedie

Summer is a lot of fun in Austin Texas with the myriad of outdoor festivals, swimming holes and lake activities under clear blue skies and hot summer weather.  No matter how nice the weather is its also a great time to visit our National Parks and be out in the great outdoors, you know, to get away from it all!

Having visited many of our National Parks, I decided to search out some I have not visited, and came across Chiricahua National Monument near Wilcox AZ.  Chiricahua NM sits at an elevation of around 7,000ft providing cooler temperatures perfect for camping and hiking. It is also great for photography having some very interesting rock pinnacles creating a "Wonderland of Rocks", what a perfect backdrop for photographing the summer skies/Milky Way!!  

I set out from Austin mid day making my first leg to Cloudcroft NM where I found a BLM campsite.  I got to the site around 11:30pm.  It was dark for course, but the area was quite beautiful and the campsite was at around 9,000ft, the stars were amazing!  I got my 4Runner parked in a nice spot next to a creek, got my gear situated in the back and laid out my sleeping bag and sleeping pad in the back, put on my window screens, grabbed a cold Shiner IPA before bedtime and watched the stars for a while before sliding into the back and calling it a night.  

I woke up the next morning early as the sun was rising, there was some light rain/drizzle, but no big deal.  I got my camping table and stove out and get some water to boil and made some camp coffee before hitting the road again.  There was a nice little waterfall nearby as well so I visited that while enjoying my morning brew.  Breakfast would be a power bar and the rest of my coffee. Here are a few shots of the campsite.

 

The drive from New Mexico would be about 5 hours passing through Alamogorda NM, White Sands NM, Las Cruces NM and then finally into Wilcox AZ.  I stopped in Wilcox for a few provisions and gas before my final leg into the park.  It was a glorious day, the landscape was grasslands and yucca etc, it was the monsoon season and things were quite green.  There were a few areas where recent flash floods had crossed the road so I needed to make sure I got to the park and into my campsite as soon as possible as it is in the afternoon that the storms can build.  I saw that a few days prior there were some very big storms in the mountains where I was headed.  I got to the park around 1:30pm local time and found my campsite easily enough, but campsite 12 had no bear box for food storage or a flat tent site? I hurried back to the Visitor Center and switched sites as fast as I could and headed back to my new site to get set up before any storms could build in the late afternoon. There was some rumblings of thunder and a few drops of rain, but luckily it dissipated.  Here are some shots in and around Bonita Canyon campsite which was my home for 5 days.

Once camp was set up  and the weather cleared, I had some time to scout my first evening shot.  On my way up the mountain I put my camera on my dashboard and did a time lapse up the 17 mile Scenic Drive.  It gives you a sense of the layout and beauty, but nothing can compare to seeing it in real life!

A "Wonderland of Rocks" is waiting for you to explore at Chiricahua National Monument. The 8-mile paved scenic drive and 17-miles of day-use hiking trails provide opportunities to discover the beauty, natural sounds, and inhabitants of this 11,985 acre site.

After scouting for several hours in a relatively easily accessible area (after driving and the last couple days 1000 miles I was a a little groggy!) and headed back to camp to make dinner before heading back up the mountain for some night photography.  I was excited to get some shots this particular evening as it would be moonless until 11:45pm when the 45% moon would rise adding some light to my images! 

Here are a couple shots from my first evening taken with my  Canon 5DSR.  

I spent the rest of my time at the park hiking during the day and shooting/hiking at night.  Hiking and shooting at night in the park are somewhat harrowing, there are bears, cougars and rattlesnakes that are seen at night so you had to keep your eyes open, ears listening!  The other aspect is that when you are all alone it is a little freaky, especially when a bug or bat crosses paths with my headlamp.  On my last evening shooting, I was hiking back the 2 miles back to my car, my legs tired from hiking the previous evening, the headlamp focused further ahead so you really couldn't see where your feet were placed and my ankle began to roll and instead of twisting the ankle I instinctively fell down onto the rocks etc.  My shin area got some serious road rash, but it could have been a lot worse.  Luckily I was prepared with my first aid kit back at the car and at camp where I cleaned up my wounds and put some antibacterial cream on etc.

Here are some final images from the Canon 5DSR.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the images from my road trip.  The photography gear I used on the trip:

2 Canon 5DSRs, 2 Manfrotto Tripods, Arca Swiss D4 Geared Head and a Kirk Ballhead, Kirk L BracketsLowel GL-1 LED, Pocket Wizards to fire cameras remotely, Camranger to fire cameras remotely, Petzl Headlamp, iPhone 7plus