The fifth weekend that I attended the Texas Renaissance Festival was the Highland Fling weekend. This was my first time visiting the Kingdom on this weekend and I didn’t know what I was in for.
I had an assistant working with me this weekend, so you’ll see some behind the scenes shots of what it is that I do at TRF. These first pics are from the Saturday of the Highland Fling weekend.
I climb up on the King’s throne to get these pics.
At TRF, there is regular parking that is free. With this free parking, sometimes it is a helluva long walk to the festival and then back to your car.
There’s also Preferred Parking, which costs $20. I did that one day and liked the proximity to the front entrance of the festival. And after a long day of walking, having a short walk to my Tahoe is a blessing.
TRF also has Handicap Parking for free and also Valet Parking for $40. The pic below is of the valet area before anyone showed up. It is right near the front gates. I mean, right there.
I was able to get my assistant to snap a pic of me on the throne. It’s not as easy to get up there as you would think.
We ran into this guy at the front entrance area. When I asked for his pic, he struck this pose.
Then, he put on his goggles, extended his wings and struck another pose for us. Impressive is a good word for his look.
Pennywise was right inside of the front gates and I was glad to get her photo. She must have a party size can of helium to have a fresh red balloon every morning. It completes the whole picture.
Tinker Bell was always a lot of fun to photograph. I see the TRF characters from early in the morning until the afternoon. They are always energetic, in character and having fun.
It takes a special type of person to work as a character at the TexRenFest and they have a lot of special people on staff, Tinker Bell being one for sure.
I’m quite sure that there were 2 different girls playing this role. They were good characters and always happily posed for myself and my assistant.
The guy in the middle knows how to pose to make a statement. He was always fun to photograph and gave us some good pics.
After spending some time near the front gates, my assistant, Ryan, and I headed to what I call ‘Food Stand Row’. There are several food stands lined up and next to each other. I would walk down this row and get pics of all of the people working in said stands.
This day, Blaze was wearing glasses.
And we took some pics without them. Blaze knows how to pose to create a good picture.
If anyone gets a close-up, it’s Blaze.
After taking some pics, Ryan and I ordered what would be called Brunch because we ate between breakfast and lunch.
This photo of Blaze serving hot, delicious food is a favorite of mine because it says a lot about the festival in one pic.
On the left is crawfish etouffee and on the right is shrimp etouffee. We enjoyed this meal and headed to the Sea Devil area for a morning beer.
Amanda was there to serve them to us. The little bar that she works at is called ‘The Glory Hole’. That’s really funny.
This is a shot that I’m proud of. They each spent a lot of money on their clothing and hats to look this good. Kudos.
The staff at the Sea Devil bar were always up for a photo. They have a good job at TRF. They work at one of the coolest places to hang out, there’s a live band that plays right in front of them and everybody loves a bartender serving good drinks.
As a note, I bought some Honey Mead from the Sea Devil bar. I think I’ll need to drink some more before I give it a thumbs up or down. One small plastic cup isn’t enough for a fair review.
These 2 girls are good friends and it shows. Fun pic.
Here is an example of a mid-range shot that I always take of people.
And from that pic, I can create a close-up like this. “All right, Mr. DeMille, I’m ready for my close-up.”
That is a very famous line from an old movie called ‘Sunset Strip’. The delusional Norma Desmond is about to be arrested for murder. She sees a news camera and thinks she’s on a movie set with Cecil B. DeMille directing the film. She delivers that famous line and it has been used over and over again.
That was your Hollywood History for today.
Hercules struck several different poses for me when I came across him in the Kingdom. Some call this pose the Double Biceps. Others know it as ‘The Gun Show’.
Next TRF, I’m going to ask him where he got that head piece. It’s amazing. And I bet it kept his head warm on those colder days during the festival.
This was the second time that I ran into this pretty lady. I think it was 2 weekends in a row. If you are a fan of people wearing great hats, then the Texas Renaissance Festival is for you.
I’ll give you one guess as to what this guy’s name is… He even gave me a wristband with his name on it.
Mr. and Mrs. Painkiller. Looking good.
I ran into some Star Wars people, but not as many as you would think. Still a good number of people came as their favorite Star Wars character. I always saw a Mandolorian or two, each weekend.
Here is another time when I use the word striking. As in, “She was striking.”
Definition of Striking… Someone who is striking is very attractive, in a noticeable way.
Here is another mid-range shot that I always take of people. Her necklace is awesome as well.
And another close-up that came from the mid-range pic.
Here’s Erika at Booth 211, Asgardian Armory. She had so many different looks for each day of the festival. I think she wore something different each day for 17 days.
I don’t think it’s possible for Erika to take a bad pic.
Ran into Leos again. As you may have noticed, he was at the festival for a lot of days. At the next TRF, his brother Argos is supposed to join him.
How many brush strokes to create the look of Leos’ face? In a previous post, I guessed at 200. It could be more. His face always looks great.
Alex Draco had on his tartan for the Highland Fling weekend.
I would not be able to go to TRF as either of these 2 characters for several reasons.
My stomach hasn’t looked like that in 25 years and I’m a whimp when it comes to cold weather. My hat is off to both Alex and Leos for their efforts to create such a great Kingdom, full of all kinds of characters.
This guy looked really good. A tartan hat set him apart from all others that were there celebrating the Highland Fling.
This fine couple performs for the guests of the TexRenFest. Purple is one of my favorite colors and they look great in it.
Their IG account is called The_Minstrel_Rav’n. Here is what they say about themselves…
“Telling Songs and Singing Stories of Pirates, Taverns and Elven Lasses.”
Fun couple with a cool job.
I saw a lot of people with those wooden drinking vessels. This couple had them and looked like they were enjoying a walk through the Kingdom while having a drink.
Nuria as Queen Isabella. The entire Spanish Court were wearing tablecloths around their dresses. It was their way of celebrating the Highland Fling while still being in character.
Here is another favorite pic of ours. Such beautiful dresses and he looks great as well. I’d wear what he has on just to run errands around Houston, lol.
A second pic, the mid-range shot, is always a great way to capture the details of people’s clothing, outfit, costume or garb.
I also liked this next guy’s look.
I asked them to get together for a shot of the 2 of them.
Then, I asked him to remove his helmet. I sometimes prefer a photo of someone holding their helmet. It shows the face behind the headgear and they always look cool holding their helmet. Like they’re ready for action.
If I hadn’t asked him to remove his helmet, he would have been content with the shot of him and his girl. Like it is, they loved the shot without his helmet also and even posted it on social media and tagged The STORM Factory. I like it when things turn out like that. I feel like I’ve done my job well.
Here is the King of Spain. I didn’t talk with him much, but he was always nice enough to pose for me.
This was a fun group to photograph. The guy on the left had some great eyes.
This is when I really enjoy the close-ups.
If you didn’t think she was a favorite of mine, you’d be wrong.
Blue is a good color for her.
The Spanish King and his Court. Here, you can see them all wearing, what I think are, tablecloths.
I introduced Bird in a previous post about TRF. She works with the bagpipe band Tartanic by selling CD’s and other merchandise to the audience watching their show.
I’ve mentioned before that I love the fact that Pirates show up on every weekend, no matter what the theme is…
“The theme this weekend is the Highland Fling, but we’re going as Pirates.”
“Great. I’m in.”
One of the prettiest Pirates that I photographed.
Alex looked great on this Saturday of the Highland Fling.
Here’s a pic of their crew. During the Celtic Christmas weekend, they called me over to photograph them in their Holiday outfits. That pic came out great. You’ll see it in a future post.
I wanted to try their fried crawfish, so after taking some pics, I order some.
It was a good meal and I almost ate all of it. I didn’t want to feel bloated while I walked and worked.
I never noticed this before, but Kevin is wearing a pair of Steampunk goggles around his neck on this Saturday. I’m a big fan of Steampunk. Here is what Wikipedia says about it…
Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that incorporates retrofuturistic technology and aesthetics inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery.
Any good Pirate worth his salt has a good ring collection. I know I do.
Definition of ‘worth one’s salt’…
To be ‘worth one’s salt’ is to be worth one’s pay, or good at your job or profession. Being a Pirate is a full-time job.
Another good pic of a nice couple enjoying their day at TRF.
Most all Pirates have a swagger in their poses. If you look in the back, on the left, you’ll see Amanda working in ‘The Glory Hole’.
Scott would come by to chat with Amanda every day that he attended the festival, which was several times. I would be there some days also, having my morning beer from Amanda. We’d talk about the festival, the characters, and other things TRF related.
These next pics are funny.
I was told by a guy that I needed to go get this guy’s pic. When he turned around and I saw his breasts, I started laughing. I took a full-body shot and then this mid-range shot.
Then I asked him to grab his tit. Gold.
I was able to run into this girl a few different times while I was working at the TexRenFest.
She happily posed for me and got some great pics.
Pothead. Jay wears a pot on his head and one person called him Pothead. So do I.
Jay told me that every flower in his pot was given to him by a kid at the festival. Pretty cool.
Here’s Tits McGee and his friends enjoying some beer at the Sea Devil.
These girls work at the Wyrmwood Public House. That’s Shelbelle Shamrock in the middle.
The Burlesque Show at the Wyrmwood is great and you should check it out this next TRF. I highly suggest it.
This guy looks so good that he looks like he just walked off of a Hollywood movie set.
This is the crew of one of the shops located around TRF. I tried to get a lot of workers.
Mario and Luigi. Great!!
There is a funny story with this couple.
After I photographed them as a couple, I asked to get some pics of just her. So I did.
I then showed the pics to her and after seeing them, she said, “The girls look nice.”
I had to agree.
I would be curious to know who is the most photographed character at TRF. This girl has a seat on a pedestal and she sits there as people come by and snap pics of her.
I have said this before, but I’m convinced that there are 2 different girls that play this role. And both look great.
Good friends, good times.
I ran into Lilly Bontemp on this Saturday. She had a wooden drinking vessel also.
Her hat has a mermaid on it, but it’s the skeleton of a mermaid. That is very much like a Pirate.
This lady has 3 different nose rings. I’d be so scared of accidentally ripping my nose up when something got caught on it. She fit in at TRF perfectly.
Some choose to stay in character for their photos. I like the guy’s outfit. That’s another one that I’d wear.
Bree and Erika at Asgardian Armory.
I’ve mentioned this before, but I think colored contact lenses can complete a certain look and often times put it over the top.
In this shot is an example of contacts creating a great look. She looks Awesome with a capital A.
If ever there was a reason for a close-up.
I brought Ryan by the Wyrmwood for a drink.
Mickey made us 2 kamikazes. We downed them and hit the road to get some more pics.
I’m not a fan of people raising their arms like this. In order to get the arm in the frame, the pic ends up being a lot further back. She does look great though.
In this shot, you’ll see what I mean. Her arm is lower, which allows me to crop in and get closer to see more details.
Next TexRenFest, I’ll spend more time covering this woman’s act. She’s in a group with other dancers and they’re all as pretty as her.
Haley was wearing a tartan skirt to celebrate the Highland Fling.
This is a good example of my shooting practices. The pic above is a full-body shot. This pic is a mid-range shot. And the next pic after this one is the close-up I was able to create from this pic.
The flowers and her face make-up gave her a great look.
I’ve mentioned several acts that I want to cover the next TRF. This dancer is in one of the acts I’ll cover.
Apollo always took some time to pose for a pic. That was cool of him.
Lilly changes the flowers on her hat and uses similar colors on her face that match the rest of her clothing. It all goes together. Her stockings are great also.
If you’ve never seen Lilly dancing around while Tartanic plays, you’re missing out. It’s a high-point of the day for a lot of people.
This lady worked with the band, Tartanic, also. Pretty fantastic face make-up.
Here’s Philip. I’ve mentioned this before, but he was voted as one of the Top 10 Pirates of TRF for 2021 by our group at the STORM Factory.
I would love to have a coat like that. I’d wear it everywhere. Philip was the only Pirate that had a great hook. We love his hat, the hair, the hook, the coat… everything. Kudos to Philip.
My friend, Chelsea. She told me one day, “I want to thank you for always asking to take my picture before you do.” I told her, “Of course.”
That is my policy. I don’t shoot people without them knowing it, which a lot of photographers do at TRF. When you see those guys with the long lenses… well, those aren’t for close-ups.
They like to stay a long ways away and shoot people without them knowing. I believe that to be downright wrong.
This sign is for the booth that I’ll be meeting people next TRF for photos.
This is the Wyrmwood Public House. That upstairs patio is awesome.
Maps on a scroll. Very cool, indeed. Good move by TRF.
One of the things I told Ryan, when he was working with me, is to never cut off parts of people’s costumes, outfits, or garb. This next pic is an example of getting all of the top feathers in the pic. Possibly, other photogs would cut them out.
I love that there are big parades on both weekend days. And always starting at noon helps me cover them.
Who doesn’t cheer for beer?
Jade, looking great as always.
These next shots are by Ryan while I was shooting video of this act. This is Cirque Olympus.
I’ll load the videos from TRF on YouTube soon.
Both of the girls in Cirque Olympus are amazing. It’s a great show and if you’re at TRF again, you should definitely check them out. You won’t be disappointed.
It takes years of conditioning to be able to do this several times a day.
She did all of these maneuvers without anything to catch her if she fell.
What a great shot. Awe inspiring.
I would not want this girl mad at me.
Ryan did a great job of capturing some great images.
Now, for some more shots by Ryan that I was in. We started out our day with getting some great pics of this guy.
Here I am photographing the Food Stand workers.
This was one of the few times that I was able to get a pic with Blaze.
TRF is a fun assignment.
Here I am showing this girl the pics I just took of her. I do this with every person, couple or group. They always have final say as to what gets posted on the STORM Factory site.
Being photographed with beautiful women never gets old. This pic concludes our Saturday at the TexRenFest. Sunday pics up next.
I was the first one at TRF again on the Sunday of the Highland Fling weekend. I may get up early to be there that early, but I prefer it because I never get stuck in traffic and it’s a short walk to my Tahoe when I’m ready to leave.
500,000 people will enter this area over 17 days time.
I love witnessing the calm before the storm.
All quiet… for now.
Approximately 29,400 people will come down this walkway on this day, according to our math.
I had Ryan snap my pic again.
Willy is great. He adds to the whole TRF experience.
Hamish McGregor entertaining the guests before the gates to the Kingdom open.
For breakfast on that Sunday morning, I had an egg, ham and cheese quiche and milk.
Ryan had the kolaches, milk and coffee. We were both happy with our meals from the Queen’s Pantry.
Here is what Wikipedia says about RenFaires…
A Renaissance fair, Renaissance faire or Renaissance festival is an outdoor weekend gathering open to the public and typically commercial in nature, which purportedly recreates a historical setting for the amusement of its guests.
These girls were on my daily routine of shots to get. They were always happy to see me.
I’ve mentioned in previous posts about one of the coolest places to hang out while at TRF is the area around the Sea Devil bar. There’s always cool people around there having drinks and looking awesome.
I make it a policy to walk by there every so often. Ryan was off shooting the Joust and I was taking pics around the Sea Devil. I took one woman’s photo and it came out great. As I’m showing here the photo, she says something to me.
She said it so softly that I couldn’t hear her. I asked her what she had said, then she said, “Can I kiss you?”
I said, “Sure.” I could tell then that she was a little tipsy. I’ll chalk it up to a good experience. How many times have you been working and have an inebriated woman ask you for a kiss? Exactly.
This girl looked great in all of her pics.
I couldn’t say how many times someone made a comment about the STORM Factory’s business card. Every time, it was something to the effect of, “Cool card.”
One time, I shot this lady and after I gave her my card, I heard her tell her kids, “Look how cool his card is.”
Another time, I gave my card to a Pirate. He looked at it and said, “Pretty pimp card.”
I noticed that this cute girl was working at different food stands on different weekends. I didn’t know some rotated to other work locations.
If I were a kid at TRF, I would have been all over this horse. For all of the drinking and half-dressed people, TRF has many things for the kids also. I’m always impressed by that. Even elephant rides.
Erin played Glinda, the Good. I heard her explaining one day about how she had made her scepter. She is very talented. More about Erin in my next post.
These people were more than happy to pose for me. They work at a shop and probably don’t get many photo requests.
I’ve been calling this guy a Warrior. Next TRF, I’ll get more info on him, hopefully. He might tell me to F off.
This is probably the look I’ll get when I ask him something, lol.
Skidmark going to work.
Another pretty Flower Girl.
I first met Jana during the Cosplay weekend, on the Sunday. Ryan and I ran into her again on this Sunday of the Highland Fling.
I’ve mentioned that I’m a fan of anything Steampunk and her hat is fabulous.
Jana always gives us great photos and we’re grateful. Kudos to Jana and her sense of style.
Lilly and her co-worker. But those abs…
Blaze had her glasses again this day.
The glasses offered a different look for her. I liked it.
It is rare that I meet Jade anywhere in the Kingdom. I usually catch her at the entrance in the morning and I never see her again. TRF is huge.
Ryan and I saw her on this Sunday, so we got some pics.
A great group shot.
This girl works in a food stand way in the back of the Kingdom. It’s a walk to get to her, but worth it. She was always so happy to get photographed.
Memories with good friends are the best.
Here is an example of the shops in the TexRenFest Kingdom. Simply beautiful. Ryan snapped this pic.
And all of the rest of the pics in this post were shot by Ryan. He did a good job.
Great art. Love it.
Tartanic having fun with the crowd. They’re really funny between songs.
You will even see characters up in the trees while you’re at TRF.
This is a good pic of mother and daughter.
Great make-up and worthy of a close-up.
Here is the stage for the Washing Well Wenches show. I’m excited to shoot video of this act next TRF and get some good pics. I love these girls.
A dunk tank. These girls would hurl insults at these men that were trying to dunk them. One guy succeeded, but there were a lot of insults flying. Another fun attraction offered by the great people at the TexRenFest.
In an earlier post, I mentioned that the Washing Well Wenches had a map of the Kingdom. Here I am shooting video of them showing me that map.
She raises the dress and reveals the map… on her ass.
She starts out by talking about the “Entrance” and “Exit”, complete with her pointing at them. It’s quite hilarious. This might be the funniest bit in all of the Kingdom.
At one point, the girl bending over was touched and she said, “I think I just became a woman.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “I love these gals.”
I take the pics after I’ve been given permission.
Then I show all of the pics and get their approval.
And if Ryan is with me, I can get some pics with people.
When you saw that pic of Jana earlier, you had to know that I would want to get some pics with her also.
Jana wears high shoes and boots, but she is still a tall woman without them.
Here I am discussing an interview with a Fire Dancer named Violet.
You may not notice this… the girl next to Violet is as tall as me. I’m 6’1″ when wearing my Harley boots. Her moccasins barely have a heel. She is what we refer to as, “A tall drink of water.”
This is Violet’s friend, another Fire Dancer. And beautiful also.
Years ago, I went to TRF with a $2,500 video camera and shot everything on MiniDV cassettes.
Now, with technology, I can buy a $1,000 iPhone and get 4K quality video without carrying some huge, clunky camera.
I learned a lot about Fire Dancing from Violet. The interview turned out great and we were both happy with the end result.
Ryan took some good shots for me. I was happy with his work.
On Saturday, he shot over 1,500 pics because he was shooting on Blast. That’s when the camera takes several shots in a matter of seconds.
I had to stay up through the night to get everything organized and loaded onto the Factory site. I ended up showering, dressing and heading back to TRF on Sunday Morning with no sleep on Saturday night. None.
As a rule, I try to load everything shot in a day by that night. This is for the people that are eager to see their pics. I know what that’s like and we aim to please.
I know of some other programs that tell people it will be 3 days before their pics are loaded. That is ridiculous. And totally deferred gratification.
Some of my favorite pics with characters are with Jade.
Another thing about using an iPhone as opposed to a regular ‘camera’ is the view screen is much larger that those little viewers on digital cameras today.
People can’t see the pic well enough to know if it’s good or not. With a Pro Max iPhone, the screen is big enough to see even small details.
Knowing the Doorman at the Wyrmwood Public House is a good thing.
With my friend Greg in the Catskill Mountain Moccasins booth.
This guy was a funny character. And I mean that in a good way, lol.
I’m coming to the end of this post. I’ll close with something funny.
Willy was posted at the exit gate, where they stamp people’s hand if they want to re-enter later in the day.
As Ryan and I are leaving, I put my hand out for Willy to stamp. When he raises the stamp and starts to stamp my hand, I move it and walk out of the festival, laughing.
Ryan said that Willy looked at him with a look like, “What a dick?” Hahaha. Then Ryan snapped a pic of Willy right after I psyched him. The pic says it all.
I would leave the festival every day about 3pm in order to finish editing and loading the pics from the day by 10pm that night. It takes that long sometimes.
And every day that I was leaving, there were many that were just arriving.
Thanx for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. To see all of the 3,105 pics and videos from the TexRenFest 2021, click on the link below and go to Photos.
“Always be yourself… unless you can be a Pirate, then always be a Pirate.”
The STORM Factory