A busy weekend, just finished. On Saturday I went to a meet with the strobist readers in Austin. There were almost 40 people there with a couple of great instructors leading the whole event. They ran through several lighting scenarios, then we took over the halls of the hospital to shoot with a pair of models that came along. It was a great opportunity to practice and experiment. There's a lot of energy to be found sharing thoughts and ideas with like-minded shooters. What always inspires me is to see the results that people got, when shooting right beside you - often they are dramatically different, just because of how differently they saw the same situation. Then on Sunday I went along to a meet-up with flickr users in Austin. This time I didn't know any of the people that were going to be there, so decided to break the ice and give myself a quick project to take some portraits. I used a modified version of an exercise we did on the Next Step workshop. Just after each person arrived I went up and introduced myself, then asked if I could take their picture. I made a quick portrait then switched it around and asked them to take my picture using my camera. Almost everyone there bought in to the idea - only one person said no - and it was a great way to get a chance to talk to everyone, right at the start. Really broke the ice and I even got a couple of good portraits. I particularly like this one above, of Andy, in front of a red door. The door was in a porch at a house in South Austin - good shade from above, brightly lit world behind me, good colour contrast with the clothes he was wearing - perfect. The rest of the portraits have a variety of issues, slightly missed focus, off white balance, but that really wasn't the point. After a quick lunch, we went to the Cathedral of Junk, in South Austin and shot for a few hours. Vince has constructed a multi-story pile of scavenged and found items, in his back yard. I suspect he doesn't have a HOA to oversee his activities! It was fascinating from a photographic stand-point. So much to see and explore. I got lost in there for several hours, with a macro lens. If you are at all interested in macro shooting, then this is the place to go if you have some time in Austin and are at a loose end. You can get an idea of the possibilities looking at the shots I took.