J R's Amateur Birder's Journal
Dallas to Austin to Houston
to Dallas with Matt K.
Photographs + words by J R Compton.
Matt asked if I wanted to go with him to sell some paintings, photograph some stuff and even look at art, in Austin and Houston, and I was fine with getting out of Dodge, so I immediately said, yes. And we went.
A previous, shorter, trip with Matt K.
Charging down the highway behind a large, clean, window, I saw many gorgeous clouds.
Moon and Stars
This was in a nook/cranny of one of the places we stopped to eat or drink or something. At that time, early in our journey, I was thinking I maybe should take some sort of pic everywhere we dallied, so I looked around the clutter, and found this corner of interest.
Stall with Open Door
Usually I adjust something between taking and posting a picture, but this shot is exactly the image I shot in that convenience store's mens room, except it's smaller.
Coming into Austin.
I got permission to shoot this guy, because I collect dragon pix. Somewhere there's a whole webpage of them, and I might find it sometime.
Four Matts Hauling Art
The main reason for the trip was to get new Matt art to dealers and distributors. This is Matt hauling largish art from car to company, as shot through a beveled-edge glass door. His other two images are reflected in the white car's windows.
Up the Hill & Out the Windows
This might be out one of the windows at The Nest on 6th Street in Austin.
And this is at one of the resident companies also in that space.
Business done, we wandered the city looking for something, anything worth photographing.
Road to …
Really Seemed Ridiculous
Standing there in the road photographing this. But I wanted the picture. So there I was, and here it is. Somewhere in East Austin, which has grown up since I lived there twice in the middle 1970s.
More, different, clouds.
First we heard the fiddle, then we looked up to see the whole band. Soon as it started, we left.
Motel Medicine Kit
I carry a lot of stuff. Insulin shooters, pills, glucose tabs, tester, clips, a quarter, soup, keys, etc.
No idea where it goes or we were going. Looks a lot like Texas.
Mighty Hunter Display
Meat still rotting.
When a car hits something as small and defenseless as this rabbit, it sometimes just explodes. And if a bunch of cars keep running over it, it shreds.
One of the mainer roads.
Every time I photograph something like this with sunlight translucing through it, I think of the wonderful laundry light series by my friend Debora Hunter that she used to show at Delahunty Gallery, lo, those many years ago.
But it's crooked.
In a neighborhood along a road to somewhere else.
Up the Road
Then you have to decide left or right.
Of happiness in someone's yard.
There were other instances of sculpture in the yard on the other side of the road. But this was the best.
Duck, Juvenile Ibis and a Shorebird
In a creek-fed pond off to the right side of the road between some trees.
Many Great Egrets + Six Ibises
In the far pond.
Two adults and a full dozen Juvenile White Ibises
Yellow-legs, Sandpiper or Somebody
If it black, not brown, it'd be a Yellow-legs, but it sure looks brown to me, so I don't know who it is.
Left to right: Great Egrets, shorebird and Tricolored Heron
Fire Forest Deep
I didn't take enough care in composing when Matt stopped to photograph the burnt trees, but topping this hill seemed to do it for me. Best thing about forest fires is that everything gets a new chance — especially all that green stuff on the ground in the shade of unburnt trees.
Latin for Hairless feet, nine-banded. Proper Latin name for the Nine-banded Armadillo. Which is what this was. Armadillos have the unfortunate survival technique that, when faced with what they perceive as danger, they jump up. That technique served them well for millions of years before automobiles. When they are about to be run over by one of those murdering beasts, however, the amradillo's time-honored escape mechanism, instead hurls them into the most dangerous part of the auto for them, and they are smashed. On the lower left are portions of at least eight of those nine bands, now separated from its body.
In 1974, I published a book about Armadillos. There was a song, a dance, a game, lots of my photographs, cartoons, drawings by Austin and Dallas artists, and a couple recipes.
Piece of Meat
Matt knew immediately what this was once a part of. I'll have to email him to find out that was. I have a steel sieve mind.
The Cloud Factory
All through the trip we kept wondering where all the clouds came from. When this hove into sight, we finally knew.
Bretheren Church 4-3/4 Mile
We parked into this sign. The reason for the stop was great barbecue. I had ribs, and I'm glad I got them.. It restored my faith in barbecue.
Then we drove through brief thick rain to Houston.
The Door in the Floor
Where we looked at Contemporary Art in the Convention Center.
Hole in the Wall
This is part of the convention center, not art per se. I may have to add the several pieces of art Matt and I both appreciated.
Angel Persélidas Monumental
A sculpture in the park across the street that I became enamored of.
Out standing in his .... Matt handed me his camera, told me where to stand, and he went off to stand among the plants. But he forgot about our difference in height. He didn't like the pic I shot on his camera, but I got much closer, because my lens is a wide zoom, and his was a tele zoom, so I think my shot of him was about what he expected from his shot, so I sent him a full-size image of it.
A Day in the Park
I don't even remember taking this picture. Looks like doggers through a window and cars reflected, or versa visa. But it sure looks like something I'd do, and that may actually be my reflection green on green on the lower right.
I know we went to a Houston center of contemporary photography I thought about joining and may still have the paperwork somewhere, but its architecture was much cleaner than this. And I liked all the black, but was startled when this photograph finally showed me the camera truck in the background. I'd think I'd notice these things.
Thornwood Standup Van
I worked at this one, loved the reflections in the black van and tried to fill the frame with it reflecting random pieces of non-black.
I recognized The Menil when I saw it, but didn't see any good reason to photograph it, pretty as it is. But this…. This is special, and I wanted to render it spiritually. Or serenely. Or something. For that, it needed Nature, and trees and grass were available. I carefully out-waited the people who might have been in the picture.
Non Comm Sign
I've always been fond of communications that don't communicate, including many wrapped one way or another signs.
My choice of restaurants near us according to Matt's cellphone turned up this gem of all veg Asian food. I tried a little of almost everything on offer and never found anything I didn't love.
This is one of several dumped couches we found on this trip. This one says all the right things, but it's way second to one that will eventually find its way to this page after Thanksgiving, when the show I took it for finally shows up online. Meanwhile, there's the most recent version of it [below] as I think about it, change it, then think about it some more.
Bright House Houston to Here
On our way back to Dallas, Matt kept finding intriguing places that were run down, abandoned or fallen apart. I have one of this that shows this whole side, but I like this better, because showing less, it fills more space, and the colors and textures were amazing.
When I saw this I remembered seeing it before, and wanted it, so as we sped by, I photographed it. We were going the speed limit.
To Die Next to You
Full, step-by-step data and ponderings about this piece which will be in an invitational online exhibition after this Thanksgiving, is on a new Image-Ponderings page nearby.
Again, we shot so many abandoned buildings, I don't remember shooting this, but ain't it amazing?
Outside at one of those abandoned spaces were found art objects like this.
I remembered this one. It looks like a river out there, but it's a parking lot, from which I removed a car.
Next to an abandoned and demolished gas station.
Matt drove the whole way, and I mostly daydreamed, so he kept finding dead bodies, and once I told him about my decades-long series of Dead By The Side of The Road animals, he found more and more grotesque versions of car-impacted wild animals, like this coyote, whose mouth must have been open when it was impacted.
Shred Red & Brown
Another Matt-found abandoned building. I liked the whole building, and may yet show you pix of other parts, but I especially liked this part, which reminded me of one of the first art pieces we saw at the Convention Center, though it was abstract, and this is only heading in that direction.
All photographs copyright 2014 by J R Compton. All Rights Reserved.
All photographs were taken with my Panasonic Lumix G5 with the Panasonic 12 - 35mm f2.8 (usually) or 100 - 300mm (birds) lens.
I tend to like images I didn't like before, after a while, so there will probably be more pix on this page next week or after that.