Friday, October 4, 2013

Cool Toy Store with a Gem of an Owner Worthy of Your Support

Have you heard about Brilliant Toys in Westlake?

They are, well, Brilliant!
I stumbled upon their store recently and was impressed with the activities they have. It's such a child-centric place that doesn't just sell toys and books. Its about community, growth and enrichment. I couldn't resist photographing them. The owner is truly a gem!  This is a store well worth supporting.
Check out the virtual tour!

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Here is the store's web site:

Here is their Google+ page:

They have a little corner for story time and small performances:
 It is a charming store nestled in the trees in the corner of the Westlake shopping center. They have a huge collection of toys, books and dress up clothes that'll make any little boy or girl happy. When I stopped by, there was a little boy eager to get in to the store, which wasn't open yet. The mother was teaching him patience until the store opened. It was a tough lesson. But it was also true to the excitement the store offers kids. 

Stop by and support them! They were fun to photograph!


The Opening Season "Not-to-Miss" Concert this weekend!

Dear Musical Readers,

Saturday and Sunday will be the opening season concerts with the Starlight Symphony Orchestra. I am proud to be conducting this very musical and dedicated orchestra in Dvorak's New World Symphony (No. 9), Mozart's Overture to Magic Flute, Mendelssohn's War March of the Priests and Sibelius' Andante Festivo. These are blockbuster composers that sure pack a musical punch. The performance begins at 7:00pm on Saturday, October 5th at the Hays Performing Arts Center. We are their orchestra in residence.

The second performance is at 3:00pm on Sunday, October 6th at the Chapel in the Hills in Wimberley.

If you haven't heard Dvorak's "New World", then you're in for a real treat. The drama that Dvorak brings to this masterwork is awesome. There are moments of tenderness between strings and woodwinds and times of fierce presence showing off the full force of the entire orchestra with the brass leading the way.  The Classic overture by Mozart shows off his mastery and humor with destiny looming with his set of three chords at the beginning and middle. The Andante Festivo is work for strings that is lush and velvety similar to a fine pinot noir. It starts off unassuming but then sweeps you off your feet. Mendelssohn's War March is a tutti adventure!

This is surely a "not-to-miss" concert event!
By the way, all concerts are FREE.

Look forward to seeing you there!


Saturday, August 31, 2013

Silent Film Event!!

Hi Everyone,

My intent with this blog was never to promote one of my performances, rather, I hoped it would serve as a voice of my thoughts and opinions of the moment. Here I sit though, with excitement about an upcoming performance or two. I have organized, with significant help from my wonderful wife Megan, a truly fun event. The Austin Philharmonic Orchestra is partnering with the Alamo Drafthouse (on 6th Str.) to produce an exciting movie event. Two silent films starring Buster Keaton, COPS and COLLEGE, will be showing at the movie house. What better accompaniment than an orchestra? A significant subset of the Austin Philharmonic will be on the very small stage to play along with both films. If you have never seen a silent film with music -- only music, then this is a must see event for you. Buster Keaton is in his prime and truly funny. Personally I like COPS (1922) slightly more than COLLEGE (1927), just because in COPS he is so innocent and young looking with his flat hat and dead pan looks and of course idiotic, comedic actions. COLLEGE is fun too, where he is very into physical comedy. You can tell he's a more polished actor in this film. Both come off wonderfully. But they are really enhanced with music - live music with an orchestra. I'm proud to be conducting the orchestra in this event.

So, if you're interested in going, it is Saturday, September 7, 2013 at 4:00pm. tickets are $15 and can be purchased online or in person at the venue. Here's a link for tickets:

Here's a link for the Alamo Drafthouse promo:

Here's a link to the wikipedia for COLLEGE:

Here's link to the wiki for COPS:

Want more information? Send me a note!
The great news about this event is that it is a fund raiser for the Austin Philharmonic! 50% of all ticket sales go directly to the orchestra. The musicians on stage are volunteering their time!

I'll blog later about the Starlight Symphony's upcoming performance of Dvorak's Symphony from the "New World". 

Until then, 


Friday, August 30, 2013

Google Business Photos - Rolly Pollies!!!

Hi Everyone!

I just finished photographing and published a GBP tour of the coolest gym for kids!! This place is called Rolly Pollies and is located in Shops Parkway in the Bee Cave Galleria area. Check this place out!

Rolly Pollies

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They have a long trampoline, a bounce house, several shaped cushions to crawl through and around and a large foam pit! This is a very playful yet unassumingly structured gym for kids. I had fun while shooting this location and even jumped into the square foam pit with my camera - check it out!!!

This venue is another perfect example of how a business can benefit from Google Business Photos. One would never know what this place looks like without actually coming all the way into it!

Very nice and enthusiastic owners and easily affordable too!
Here's their Google+ page:
Google+ page for Rolly Pollies

Here's their web site:

See you with my camera!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Starlight Symphony Orchestra's New Conductor

I am very pleased to announced that I have accepted a position as Music Director and Conductor of the Starlight Symphony Orchestra based out of Wimberley, TX.  This will make three ensembles that I am working with in addition to the Austin Philharmonic and the Austin Flute Choir.

This will be a wonderful season full of varied music in varied locations. Perhaps we will have the flute choir join forces with one of the other ensembles?! There is a delightful piece by Sam Jones that calls for orchestra and flute choir. We'll have to look into that one.

Now off to plan the schedule and the season...and the next photo shoot.


Friday, July 12, 2013

Google Business Photos: Village Vet Hospital

Hello Everyone!
I just finished another Google Business Photo shoot. This time it is of a fantastic veterinary hospital in Bee Cave, TX!  Walking in you can immediately tell this is a caring vet with a great supportive staff.
Here is a link to the panoramic view: Village Veterinary Hospital. And, here's a snap of the store front.

It was a very straight forward shoot covering the lobby and two exam rooms. The staff I worked with, Dr. Winston and Judy the vet tech, were so easy going. This will be perfect for them because they are building a bank right in front of the vet and now the vet cannot be seen from the road! Ugh! It's this type of small business that can really benefit from the enhanced online presence.

I did the shoot when they were closed so you won't find any people or pets in the shots, but this is not a requirement. I *was* able to capture a few snaps of some of the residents visiting the vet. Judy was kind enough to let me take a few pictures of a cat and dog. Check them out! Here's their Google+ page:

Here's a snap of one of their guests:

See you for now, until next shoot or news worthy of sharing.


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Great news...finally revamped both my Conducting and Photography sites!

Hello Everyone!
After what seems like years...I have finally been able to totally revamp my professional conducting website. It has morphed over the years beginning as a humble personal presence in the early 90s, moving to a one-stop-shop tool treasury for computer techs, then to the current site as a presence for my conducting career. Web design is truly a labor of love. There are so many elements to incorporate these days and so much to learn - ahhh the marvels of modern web technology!

While I was researching and prepping for my conducting web, I was concurrently preparing to build my photography web presence as well. Call it photography business 2.0 since I was a pro photographer during the film ages.  I spent many, MANY countless hours in the darkroom. And, as much as I enjoyed those time in the early 80s and into the 90s, I don't miss the smell of the chemicals. I miss the creativity and the anticipation of the image appearing in front of you though. These days, if you shoot in RAW format on your DSLR, you can get the same, similar or even better effects using an image processing software like photoshop, GIMP, lightroom, or even iPhoto! Yes, the deeper you get into professional photography the more post processing you find yourself doing. Shooting in a RAW format, for those of you who may not know, provides a significant amount of digital information that can be utilized in post. While you still set up your photographic environment for a quality shoot (that's where it counts the most in my opinion), you actually process, albeit "develop" your image via the image processing software. During the darkroom days I would burn in or dodge certain areas to highlight or deflect, these post darkroom days, you can accomplish the same thing -- without the darkroom smell or the sequestered little safelighted room! If you shoot straight to jpg, you don't have to worry about this software 

Included are a couple of images from past shoots.

See you at the concert hall or the next shoot!!

Safe surfing,