by @kelsocks

Category Archives: Photography

Zilker Park Kite Festival 2012

Some photos from Zilker Park’s Kite Festival. It was a beautiful day.

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Dr. Dog @ Stubb’s 2011 (photos)

This past year Dr. Dog played Stubb’s and it was a helluva good time. They’re coming back around this spring, so in anticipation of what will no doubt be a great show, here are some live photos I took last time.

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Good Luck From Whitby

Whitby, UK is home to my favorite postcard [pictured below].  The seaside town, located on the eastern coast of North Yorkshire, is mostly known for two things: Dracula and Captain Cook’s whaling endeavors.  I’m not normally one for freezing rain, but for some reason I found the cold sea spray quite refreshing that day.  It didn’t even deter me from a triple serving of delicious Yorkshire ice cream.   Read more of this post

Malahide, Ireland is Lovely

Last July I visited a small town north of Dublin called Malahide.  We were only there for a few hours, but it was beautiful.  Here are some of my photos from the trip.

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If Heaven Exists, It Looks Like Hawaii

Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.  Now, I can’t say that definitively since I haven’t been everywhere, but I feel pretty confident that it ranks at the top (especially among relatively accessible places), plus it’s a personal favorite.  I was lucky to live there as a child, but back then I was too stupid to handle a DSLR so I had to return on vacation.  Here are a few photos from my most recent trip.

Most of these are on/near Oahu’s North Shore.

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Ben Kweller/Pete Yorn @ Stubbs 2011 (photos)

Last year I had to take some photos of a Pete Yorn w/ Ben Kweller show at Stubb’s for a music magazine.  Unfortunately the weird pass I received would let me bring my DSLR into the venue but not into the photo pit. Got a few good ones regardless.  Side note, Ben Kweller is delightful!

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I Love Arcade Fire (photos)

Arcade Fire is easily one of my favorite bands.  They make the kind of music that perfectly encapsulates the sentiment of a generation, they’re aesthetically complex without being inaccessible, and they know how to make cohesive albums.  Anyway, the point of this blog isn’t to convince anyone of how good they are (that would be a waste of time), rather I just felt like posting some of my best concert photos with the occasional comment.  These are from their performance at The Backyard in Bee Cave, TX in May 2011. It was the first time I saw them live and it was a hell of a show.  So throw on some Sprawl II and enjoy!

[Click to enlarge]

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Last year I was truly lucky to visit Venice, one of the most beautiful cities on the planet.  I was only there for a few days, but I’ll always cherish the opportunity to frolic and lose myself in the city’s winding paths and waterways.

Venice is on the north eastern coast of Italy along the Adriadic Sea and receives about three million visitors a year.  The city has a rich history of commerce and the arts, but by far my favorite part of the trip was simply the experience of walking around it.

Here is an arial view of Venice.  Notice two things: First, it’s shaped like a fish!  Second, notice the density and (dis)organization of the buildings.  There are no cars.  Everyone walks or takes water transport which makes for an exciting experience for an American used to driving everywhere. (everything after this picture is my own photography.)

This is a bus stop.



Had a delicious little espresso-Nutella-hazel nut drink for a few euro.


Piazza San Marco


Geocaching is a game for well-traveled nerds.


View to the west from St. Mark's Campanile


View to the northeast from St. Mark's Campanile


View to the east from St. Mark's Campanile





This was a normal width for a walkway. The narrow paths create both a sense of isolation and excitement as it's impossible to see more than a few yards in front or behind you.



Slivers of sky


Venice has a lot of whimsical (read: creepy) trinkets for sale.



I was so grateful for this tiny Italian toilet after a long day of drinking €1.50 cartons of red wine.


Beautiful even while overcast.


And of course while sunny.


Word of warning: don't drop your lens cap off a ferry.



I realize this is hasn’t been a thorough tour of such a wonderful city, but I can only speak from my experience. I strongly suggest everyone make their best effort to see Venice before it rots and slides into the ocean. It’s definitely the most romantic, whimsical place I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to go back!

Calling Orlando (Maybe)

This weekend was the first ever Orlando Calling music festival. I had the privilege of getting whisked away on a free weekend package (thanks @Grooveshark and @QuietCompanyTX!) that turned into a free VIP weekend package (thanks @fcsdotcom and #iScored!). With a lineup including Pixies, The Killers, Doobie Brothers, Gogol Bordello,  The Roots, The Avett Brothers, Dr. Dog, Bob Seger and my personal favorite The Raconteurs, we were obviously excited. But this isn’t about the bands, it’s about Calling.
I’ve been lucky enough to attend several fests including ACL, Voodoo, Jazz Fest, and Bonnaroo and each is unique– somehow embodying the spirit of the city (or farm, in the case of Bonnaroo) in which it’s held.  ACL encapsulates the happy-go-lucky music and food loving attitude of Austin; Jazz Fest celebrates Nola heritage while Voodoo showcases Nola hedonism; and Bonnaroo appeals to that suppressed hippie deep down in all of us that just wants to drop everything and dance in the grass with our friends.

Calling is different. The city built on Disney tourism unsurprisingly doesn’t have a strong music scene besides chart-topping arena shows.  I think this commercialization came across in the experience.  Despite the stellar lineup, it didn’t sell out. There was just something missing.
The festival was put on by Melvin Benn known for Reading and Leeds festivals in England.  Perhaps the fact it was created my a non-native resulted in a lack local charm- the kind that makes other festivals so special.  Some concert goers (and Orlando residents) blamed insufficient promotion for the weak turnout while others blamed the high prices/bad economy. I’m sure in the days to come plenty of people will be trying to figure it out.
None of this is to say it was a bad festival (I had a real blast) but just that something was missing if Calling is ever going to be a staple of Floridian live music pride.  But of course slack must be given considering this is the first year…

Here’s a breakdown of the good and bad.
The Good

•Fast turnover between sets. Only 30 minutes as opposed to an hour
•REAL bathrooms (hand washing, what!)
•Great weather
•Casual atmosphere. Because it’s less established, there are no competitive super fans staking territory or pushing children into the mud to get a shady tree spot.  Though obviously this will change as people grow familiar with the protocol.
•Custodial staff keeping things clean
•Main stage is inside the Citrus Bowl which means fantastic visibility/acoustics.

The Bad

•No local charm (with the exception of a delightful Art tent and a few food trucks).
•No super fans to heighten the excitement surrounding the event.
•Terrible food/drink prices. Obviously festival concessions are always bad but $10 for a tiny burrito or $9 for a single cocktail is too much.
•Awkward layout. Concrete parking lot isn’t fun to loll around in and standing on plastic flooring at the main stage is strange.
•Dividing the lineup based on their appeal to different ages means less incentive to buy a weekend pass which means less time for people to hang out drinking $8 beers. Not a smart business move.

One of the highlights, however, was the Art tent.  Artists painted wall-sized album covers while canvases and paint were available to fans to let their creative side out.  I also had the enjoyable experience of seeing the outstanding local band The Mud Flappers.  These guys really know how to put on a show and I genuinely hope they do well so I can see them play again.

In sum, Calling was a good time (hard to go wrong with these bands) but there are plenty of kinks to work out. Right now it’s too much like a blatantly commercial arena style show. At least have the decency to veil the commercialism in idealism and whimsy!