8.25.2017

A few quick program notes from the VSL H.Q. Re: Weather Prep.


Just a situational report from Austin about our weather event:

We're being told on the news reports to expect between ten and fifteen inches of rain in the next 72 hours as a result of Hurricane Harvey, which is now a category 4 storm event. The reach of this system is pretty massive. So, what does this mean for Austin, Texas?

Based on past events we'll see flooding in central parts of the city. We'll see a dramatic rise in the level of Lady Bird Lake, which is part of the Colorado River system and we'll see hundreds of roads closed because they have low water crossings at certain points. For people in low lying areas of Austin, such as Dove Springs, there will be wide spread flooding.

The VSL headquarters is located to the west of the city of Austin in a separate, small community called, Westlake Hills. As the name implies these are the western hills bordering Austin. Our semi-secret laboratories are on a property that's about 450 feet above sea level and about 430 feet higher than any flood level in the history of Austin. Our bigger concern in storms such as this is wind damage.

We may also experience some water on the floor in the main office because the studio sits a bit lower on the property and depends on a French drain to direct water away from our east wall. In previous storms like this we have gotten water on the floor. Our jumbo shopvac is standing by.

We have stocked the pantry with lots of low prep food items that keep well. The wine cellar and liquor cabinets are well and recently stocked. I've been charging batteries for LED panels all day and will stage the panels around the house in the event that we lose electrical power.

We have a library of several thousand books, some of which I have not yet read, so I don't think we'll succumb to boredom even if the event turns out to be protracted. We have had to cancel several weekend events and will sorely miss the income but I am certain my readers will avail themselves of some "must have" purchases from Amazon.com, using my links, and helping to salve the pain of my lost fees.

The gas tanks in the cars are filled and we seem ready. Please wish us luck.

I've heard from VSL friends in Calgary, Paris, Moscow and Saratoga Springs who inquired about our status and that is so nice. If we screw up and were unprepared we'll let you know.

Please remember in your thoughts and prayers all those folks who live in Corpus Christi, Houston and other coastal towns as they will bare the brunt of the storm's impact. And for months afterwards.

The perfect storm camera? That would be the GH5 with the 12-100mm. Both are weather sealed.

Hope everyone rides this one out successfully..... Thank you for the inquiries and good wishes. Kirk

Saturday morning update: Of course, swim practice was cancelled. Sad. The rain didn't start here until about 5 am today and most of it has been brief flurries of rain interspersed with wind gusts. Predications are that the bulk of the rain will start up after noon and go through Sunday. No leaks or incursions to note. I have two different sets of portraits to retouch today so cabin fever probably won't set in until tomorrow. We'll see just how long I can go without swim practice.....

It's the kind of photoshoot that goes to the dogs, quick. Plenty of fur flying on this one...

Sand bags are NOT optional. 

A friend called and asked if I would come over and take some photographs of her kids. I've known the children in this family for at least ten years; they swam with Ben every year at Summer Swim League and I swim with their dad, year round, at our club's Masters Swim Team. Of course I said, "Yes." And once she had me on the hook she dropped the other shoe, "Oh, and I'd like to get the three kids photographed together with ten very young, golden retriever puppies....can you do that?" 

What a crazy afternoon! I got over to the house around 5:30 pm and set up one big flash in the middle of their terraced back yard. We unleashed a puppy stampede through the middle of my friend's house and worked to corral the puppies into the back yard, then we worked on corralling the three teenagers. Once we had the whole crew together my friend worked hard at interchanging fussy puppies and acting as a defacto stylist for the kids. 

We took photos of the three kids each holding handfuls of puppies and also surrounded by puppies. The puppies didn't seem to understand my commands to stay still and smile but we worked around their recalcitrance. Can't go two minutes horsing around with ten puppies and not a have a big grin on my face. Did I mention that photography is fun?

"Quick! There might be treats."
Double checking the sand bag for me.

Photographer under close supervision!

M.C. Ecsher Dogs.

Camera: Sony A7Rii
Lens: 24-70mm f4.0 Sony//Zeiss
Light: Neewer Vision Four battery power flash.