Austin


Fall Color

Our fall color this year in the Austin and central Texas area hasn’t been spectacular. I still hold out some hope we’ll see some bright trees between now and Christmas. The season change happens very slowly here and you might see some bit of color change as early Oct but more often now, around Thanksgiving, and up till Christmas.

It’s been pretty wet and cloudy on a regular basis here this fall. Great for filling up the lakes and creeks but doesn’t seem to do much for bright colors.

I happened by this little cluster of leaves last weekend out on the trail in my neighborhood. You take what you can get. You can find a few other pics of recent color if you paw through the Instagram photos in the righthand sidebar.

I was returning to Austin from Las Vegas and a work event, and happy to be home. Only one day of what was otherwise a few days conference.

Meanwhile, I had an errand to run upon arrival in the south end of Austin later but that meant I had time on my hands for a just bit – and for a change, my flight was on time – and all I’d had earlier in the day was some breakfast around 7 in Las Vegas. So… I was also hungry. Two hour time change and all.

It’s been a [very long] while since I’ve made my way to Winebelly on Oltorf just off south 1st street but for someone returning from the airport it wasn’t far off the beaten path and I’ve been meaning to try the place again. I pulled in around 5 and not surprisingly I had my choice of places to sit. It was a welcome respite from dealing with rush hour.

A few things:

First, the choices by the glass at Winebelly are excellent. I’ll be back to try again. I found Prieto Pricudo by the glass and it’s surprising I found it at all in my opinion. It was a ‘wine find’ during my summer visit to northern Spain this year and I’d never heard of it before that.

Snacks at that hour included Truffle Fries… come on… gotta have some of those fries. And I did.

The other pics here are of Ryan Fulmer, General Manager (based only on my reading) about Winebelly.

In the course of chatting, Ryan recounted a harrowing story of his son in the military recently in Afghanistan. While I won’t elaborate based on the personal accounting, it was a riveting story and no doubt he’s [still] breathing a sigh of relief that fate worked in his favor.

These were all taken at or near my place last weekend. The weather last weekend was quite nice in comparison to today – a week later. It was like 80+ last weekend and this weekend 40 degrees and raining. What a switch.

These were all taken with a 45mm macro lens on an Olympus OM-D EM-1. Not that tells you a lot if you’d just rather look at the photos.

PB170005

fall-butterfly

anole lizard

This one of some leaves was actually taken just yesterday. It’s surprisingly bright considering there was little to no sun out yesterday. It was a cloudy and cold (high 30’s) day. Fall color this year seems to be pretty muted and you have to go looking for it.

fall color 2013

One of my coworkers lives in the Spring building and has a pretty nice view of the city. I was over at his place at the end of the day this past week to have dinner and drinks with some other coworkers and happened to have my camera with me – something besides a smartphone camera. The balcony is small but he’s on the southeast corner of the building and it offers a great view of the city. I snapped a few and this one seemed to be a decent exposure. In another year, he may not have this good a view so enjoy it while it lasts.

Because we get so little of it, I make a point of capturing a shot of fall color here in Austin most every year. I looked through this blog and discovered I hadn’t posted a photo last year. Looks like it was all the way back to 2010 for the last installment. Our weather late this fall has been warm and dry. Too warm and too dry by many people’s accounts. It has, however, allowed for some decent leaf color to develop. The following photo was taken here, in Sun Tree Park in River Place, over the Thanksgiving weekend.

I don’t have to ramble too far for basic herbs lately. I’ve got a few this season right on my porch. This year in addition to a couple basil plants like I always get, I’ve added thyme, a ‘tri color’ sage, some Boxwood basil (tiny leaves), tarragon and oregano. The other stuff growing in the box toward the top of the picture is lavender. The lavender isn’t growing very fast but the other stuff is doing ok.

I’ve used most all of it in various kitchen duty in recent weeks except the oregano. I’m sure I’ll put it to use at some point though.

On the eve of a lunar eclipse, it seemed appropriate to snag a photo of the moon rising over the Austin skyline tonight. I snapped this from the pedestrian bridge over Town Lake. (Yes, I know it’s now supposed to be called Lady Bird Lake now but I still think of it as Town Lake.) It looks like we might be in for a good eclipse viewing – if I can stay up or get up at that hour. If it were just at 3am instead… I seem to get up at 3 regardless.

Moon over Austin

Austin fall color

If there’s one season I miss living here in Austin, it’s Fall. We do see some fall color, but you have to go looking for it and it doesn’t usually last long. I took these pictures just before Thanksgiving out on a trail near my place. Unlike yesterday, when we were pushing 80 degrees, today it feels like Fall again so it seemed appropriate to finally get around to posting these. It’s become something of an annual thing to post similar finds.

Austin leaves

We might be in the bleak mid winter, but the frigid temps and days of rain yielded to sunshine and balmy breezes out of the south this weekend. At least temporarily. Though you had to look hard for it, there were signs of life amongst the browness. I took a long walk on Saturday down to the Panther Hollow Creek trail a couple miles from home. The rains had a steady stream flowing along the trail. Along the way back I spotted this tiny little flower trying to brighten up an otherwise barren looking spot. I don’t know what it is, but the flower was not a whole lot bigger than your thumbnail.

Little Flower

Just to give some perspective on the photo in my last post, I took this photo while on a walk yesterday. It’s maybe a couple hundred yards from my front door. It’s a shot looking back downtown from the hills west of Austin. The camera’s zoomed a little but I also cropped it so there’s some ‘optical zoom’ going on here. It’s easily 10 miles plus from this vantage point to downtown and with this lens and zoom there’s definitely some loss of clarity. Still, it’s not a bad view. The tallest of the buildings in the picture is the Austonian, which I also pointed out in the previous post.

And again for perspective, the left most tall building in the picture is the University of Texas Tower.

Downtown Austin

With the new year comes the thought I should consider posting here more often. I haven’t had that much occasion to be on the ‘road’ lately though so not as many interesting things – at least from my point of view – to post about. But it occurs to me that with my office move to downtown Austin, perhaps I could post a few notes about my downtown ramblings. One of the nice thing about the move to downtown has been the opportunity to take longer walks at lunch. While the old office location was near the Barton Creek greenbelt and a good place to hike, I couldn’t grab lunch along the way like I can now. Consequently I’m taking to the streets more when I can find the time. And lately, toting the camera along too.

So I took this photo looking back onto downtown from the pedestrian and bicycle bridge over Town Lake. This is about a block or so from the office. There’s otherwise no good way to walk or bike over Town Lake in this section of town so the pedestrian bridge is a real blessing. Walking the regular Lamar street bridge where the cars/trucks are is practically a suicide mission. I’ve walked it and you realize once you get out there on the narrow bridge sidewalk that you’ve got cars whizzing by 1 foot to your left and a long drop to the river 1 foot on your right. Yikes.

Anyway, in the picture you’ll see the old art deco Seaholm power plant right smack in the middle (retired). Behind it is the 44 story 360 tower. Far off to the right is the incomplete Austonian. I’m not sure what the other one with the crane is. These are only a couple of many high rise condos that have sprung up in recent years. You’d never know there was a recession going on judging by the number of cranes and buildings still going up. Then again, many of these got started before things began to tank.

Anyway, the choices are many and varied as I wander among the downtown hipsters so my personal ‘blog project in the near term is to occasionally try to take note of it.

Office walk

Here on a Christmas Eve morning I’ve got my latte in hand and some Vince Guaraldi Christmas’y tunes streaming thru Pandora. A nice way to start the Christmas weekend. Thought you might like to see the picture of the Zilker Christmas tree I took last night as I left the office. You can read all about the “tree” at the link. Of course, the city doesn’t actually call it a Christmas tree, just a tree. But then they only light it at Christmas time. It’s not actually a tree of course. It’s just a bunch of wires strung in the shape of a tree. But it’s 155 ft tall and from a distance it sure looks like a Christmas tree doesn’t it.

I took this from the top of the parking garage next to the office. Five floors up, you can get a pretty good view of the city up there. The lens I used is slightly telephoto, but not much. And I cropped the picture to the interesting part. The tree’s been a sight to stop a moment and gaze at in recent weeks before hopping in the car for the drive home.

Zilker tree, Austin

It’s been a very hot summer. Ridiculously hot. Since mid June, triple digit heat nearly every day. Since the beginning of June, 19 high temperature records have been broken. The AC runs night and day. But thank God for AC – and fans.

So there really hasn’t been much incentive to be too active outdoors recently. But then again, it’s still bearable in the mornings and cycling is my preferred way to get some exercise. A bum knee has kept me down and out though. In the last few days, it’s finally begun to improve. So I ventured out for a ride on Saturday. Nothing too strenuous. But it sure felt good to have the breeze in my face again! My ride was on the fat tire Breezer bike. You can see it in the picture below.

Then on Sunday, Kem and I took her cruiser tandem out for a nice ride. We stopped off for some brunch along the way. No pictures of that, but it was sure a tasty omelet. Russell’s bakery has a new (or relatively new) location on Kerbey Lane. Unlike the Hancock location, they do a full breakfast at the new location. I’m sure we’ll be back again.

Just to give an example of a what a better camera can produce in comparison to that previous post that was done via my phone, I’m posting this picture of the same Purslane out front. This picture was taken with a Panasonic Lumix G1.

Cairn on Barton Creek

One of the nice things about the location of my current office is its proximity to the Barton Creek greenbelt. When there’s time, it’s convenient to get out for a pretty good walk over lunch. Such was this case earlier this week. I was toting the camera along with me and grabbed a couple pictures of some pretty interesting stacks of rocks. Clearly someone’s spending some time out there to get these rocks just right. One of my coworkers tells me these are called cairns. Then again, I guess you could just call it a stack of rocks. A quick scan of the web finds that some folks have made rock stacking a real art form.

If you look at little closer at the larger of these two pictures you’ll see there’s a series of these stacks up the creek bed.

Cairns on Barton Creek

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