Sunday Drive and Shootin’

My wife and I like to head further west into the Hill Country west of Austin on some Sunday’s. Generally most spots are not more than an hour away. We usually have no agenda but pick a town to head towards, and usually end up getting “lost” or running into some thing or event that tickles our fancy, so we stop and check it out.  Usually when we have no plans at all is when we have the best time. We just let the day sort things out for us and we take things as they hit us. Of course I bring my camera(s). This time I brought my relatively new mirrorless Canon EOS M3 to capture the day.

So yesterday we decided we would head towards Llano. It’s kind of a sleepy little town of about 3,300 that sits on the Llano River and is the county seat of Llano County.   Most of the nearby area is dedicated to farming, ranching, and the granite industry.

Since it was Father’s Day and my parents were out of town, I kind of had a hidden agenda of wanting some pit style BBQ from one of my favorite joints that happens to be in Llano. Cooper’s, considered to be one of the best in Texas, was going to be “in my belly” by the end of the day.  And for my wife, there are delightful little vintage and bric-a-brac shops to explore.

We decided to head first towards Marble Falls, Texas and get some lighter fare to eat, and perhaps a piece of pie at the locally famous Blue Bonnet Cafe. As it turns out they close at 1:45 (don’t ask why) on Sunday’s so we were out of luck. We’ll have to come back sometime during their “Pie Happy Hour.”

So we wandered over to Main Street and noticed it was blocked off with tents and people milling about, and decided to check it out. Lo and behold there was a full-on Adult Soapbox Derby in progress, so we had to check that out.

We didn’t stay too long as it was a tad on the warm side—about 97F/36C. When we left it seemed the “The Kegger” crew from U.T. were the guys to beat.  My wife figures the keg was partially filled with beer or water so as to provide extra momentum for their winning finish. I’m sure if was beer that it had other uses a bit later!

Here’s a little video I shot of one of the races.  This is some of the crazy stuff that goes on in little Texas towns. Nothing like cheap thrills to start off the day!

After that slight diversion we continued on our way to Llano—about another 25 minutes down the side roads. By the time we got there it was late afternoon and the temperature had soared to 102F/39C. My wife proceeded directly to one of her favorite vintage shops where the A/C was blowing cold.

I wandered several yards away and took a few shots of the nearby Llano River bridge and swimmers at the dam below. Given the heat, I retreated quickly to the shade provided by the old porch in front of the General Store, and proceeded to plop myself down in a conveniently located lawn chair and wait for my wife.  Of course I took a few shots from that very relaxed and shady position, out of boredom if nothing else, and noticed the line of characters affixed to the building across the street.

After exiting the vintage shop, my wife noticed the same characters across the way and suggested that she check them out a bit closer—and that it might make for an interesting shot, despite the heat. And so if there was one photo that I enjoyed most from the day’s outing, it was this one…

I shot this while standing in the middle of the road with a mirrorless Canon EOS M3 I picked up in Hong Kong last year.   I had an EF-M 18-55mm lens attached and focused at 40mm at f/11 1/250.   The sun was still rather high in the western sky, so shadows were kept to a minimum. Therefore I used a little post-production digital darkroom processing to bring out the subtle texture of the stucco wall and sidewalk, giving just a little depth to the photograph.

I plan on shooting more with this camera during our Sunday drives and will post results from time to time.

No pics of the insanely delicious Cooper’s BBQ that I consumed! Too busy wanting to get home and eat it!