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Springtime in Texas

One of the many photo opportunities you’ll see while walking around the Granduca Hotel, camera in hand

One of the many photo opportunities you’ll see while walking around the Granduca Hotel, camera in hand

Howdy folks,

I’ve been living in Houston since I graduated college, right after the dinosaurs disappeared, and I actually was on the same softball team as Davy Crockett before he headed to the Alamo; which as you know was not a good career move. I guess that makes me a certified Texan…well hell yeah!

Over the past several years I’ve been kickn’ round an idea to do a workshop “Deep in the Heart of Texas”

In the Lone Star State…Texas that is…and specifically in my second hometown of Houston.

I thought about when to have it since Texas is hotter than whoopee in woolens, hotter than a preacher’s knee in the Summer. That said, I just decided to make it another of my ‘springtime’ workshops since the spring is enjoyable here; easy as pie.

Then I started thinking about places and things to shoot and all of a sudden the idea jumped at me like a duck on a June bug. Why not have the workshop the same week as the largest and best known Art Car Parade in the world?

So, Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, the meet and greet will be the evening of April 6th, 2017.

Here’s what we’re fixin’ to do:

 

Thursday, April 6th, 6:30PM: Meet in the lobby and then we’ll walk across the road some to the meet and greet. We’ll have some introductions, and then chaw the rag.

Friday, April 7th, 9:00AM: We’ll meet in the lobby of your hotel where the daily critiques will be and look at what you consider to be your SIX (only six please) favorite photos you’ve brought with you on a flash drive.

After lunch we’ll head to Rice University and shoot around this historic and beautiful campus. We will meet up with Jeff Fitlow who is the staff photographer for Rice and a former student of mine. Jeff will show you some photo ops only he knows about.

We’ll shoot until the last rays of the setting sun then walk over to the James Turrell Skyspace to shoot the Blue hour. This art installation is an incredible place to end the day.

Saturday, April 8th : After breakfast we’ll mosey on down to the staging area for the afternoon Art Car Parade; just two hoots and a holler away from your hotel. This will give you a chance to see the cars and their owners “up close and personal.”

For all you portrait people this will be a real eye-opener so keep your saddled oiled and your gun greased. The car owners like to dress up for the occasion and photo ops are thick as fleas on a farm dog.

We’ll head back to the hotel so you can work on your images before heading back to shoot the actual parade that begins at 2:00PM in the downtown area. Then for the rest of the day and evening you can walk around Uptown Park where your hotel is located.

You can make reservations at any number of great restaurants within a three-mile radius, eat at the hotel’s excellent Italian restaurant, walk across the street to eat, or you can come with me to my favorite Mexican restaurant in the city…or anywhere else for that matter. This is not Tex-Mex, but incredible authentic food and only spicy if you want it to be.

Sine we’re getting up before sunup dinner will be fairly early…at least for me!

Sunday, April 9th:

Today will be busier than a stump-tailed bull in fly season. We’ll meet in the lobby at 5:30AM and go to Hermann Park that’s just down the road apiece.

We’ll be shooting around the fountains, the reflecting pool, and Miller Outdoor Theater.

After breakfast we’ll meet for the daily critique at 9:00AM, then head to Galveston at 12:00PM.

We’ll be shooting around the famous Tall Ship the Elissa and the area next door where all the shrimp boats are docked.

Then faster than a sneeze through a screen door we’ll head over to the Galveston Island Railroad Museum.

We’ll make a quick stop (two blocks away) at Star Drugs for a box lunch to go: http://galvestonstardrug.com/ and dine in one of the trains dining cars that will be set up for us.

Right after lunch it will be time to swap spit and hit the road down to Kemah to spend the afternoon and evening at the boardwalk. It’s a fur piece but worth the drive.

Because of the traffic and distance we’ll need to leave right on time so we’re not burning daylight. It’s a wonderful place to fill your card with color, light, people, energy, design, and motion.

Photo ops on the boardwalk are as thick as the dew on Dixie.

Monday, April 10th:

There’s no sunrise shoot scheduled so you’ll be able to sleep in then and have a leisurely breakfast before the critique. After lunch we’ll be heading out to the George Ranch. It covers twenty thousand acres and is a working ranch. It’s also a historical park that follows four generations of families dating back to 1824.

The park is closed on Monday but they will open for the entire afternoon for our class for a private shoot with absolutely no tourists. We’ll also be able to shoot some of the employees that get all gussied up in vintage clothes for some great environmental portraits.

Tuesday, April 11th:

By today y’all just might be plumb tuckered out you so we’ll meet at 9:30AM for the critique, and afterwards you’ll have time to rest.

At 3:00PM we’ll be putting the chairs in the wagons and heading to the Sabine Street Bridge where we’ll load up for a private champagne barge cruise down the historic Buffalo Bayou.

It will take us through the heart of downtown, past Allen’s Landing, Sesquicentennial Park, the Sabine Promenade to the Industrial part of town.

We’ll be dropped off back at the bridge in plenty of time to shoot a (close-up) sunset view of the skyline.

I am arranging to have several vintage cars to be there and you’ll be able to shoot just the cars or with their owners.

For those that prefer something different or in addition to, there is also a large skate park right next to the bridge.

Right after we lose the light it will be time to put out the fire and call in the dogs. We’ll head back to the hotel, freshen up put on our Sunday go to meeting clothes then head em’ up to the final dinner…TBD

Wednesday, April 12th:

We’ll meet for the final critique at 10:00AM and the workshop will officially end at 1:00PM.

Well partners that’s all she wrote. The cost of the workshop will be $1550.00, which will include the meet and greet, transportation, entry into the Railroad Museum, the Elissa, the private champagne cruise, and the final dinner. You can’t beat that with a stick.

For those of you that want to bring the Mrs., your old man or just to be neighborly your neighbor, their fee will be $350.00, which will include everything that’s covered for the photographers.

Houston is very different than the other workshops I’ve done in other cities and countries in that there’s really not an historical district here. I’ve always picked a hotel where we could just walk out and be right in the middle of the city.

Having said that, I’ve picked a wonderful boutique hotel that’s right in the Uptown Park District, The Granduca Hotel. There are interesting places and photo ops within walking distance, plus you’ll have the run of the hotel as far as walking around with a camera in your hand. It’s a beautiful property, one that you’ve come to expect when taking my workshops, so feel free to explore the photographic possibilities.

The hotel also provides a shuttle that will take you anywhere you want to go within a three miles radius where many of the best restaurants are located. The hotel and the area are just prettier than twelve acres of pregnant red hogs!!

I’ve met with them and you’ll be given an incredible rate of $218.00 for their standard run of the hotel type room, and a rate of $245.00 for a junior suite (until they run out) an amazing rate for a hotel of this caliber, plus it’s where we’ll have the daily critiques. They will be holding a block of rooms for us, so please let me know as soon as you can. I’ll give you the code so you can register asap.

As always, you don’t have to go on all the shoots, this isn’t boot camp. If you decide to sleep in, visit friends, or just see the city, it’s no problem. Although a car is not necessary, some people might want to think about having one in case you want to see/visit places like NASA before the start of the workshop or afterwards. For local transportation, Uber is a good choice.

The workshop will be limited to ten photographers and because of photographers that live here it will fill fairly quick so don’t squat on your spurs and wait too long.

I can tell you that it’s going to be fun and as you know it’s not my first rodeo. Having said that y’all come on down…you hear?

** All phrases in italics are actual expressions said by Texans throughout our history at one time or another.

One last thought for the day: Always drink upstream from a herd.

Joe

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