I first met Phil Brayton a few years back, at a comicon in Houston. He was dressed as his Barbarian character. I knew that when I saw him, I immediately wanted to get his photo. This first photo is from the first time I ever met Phil.
When I decided to work several weekends at the Texas Renaissance Festival, I didn’t expect to see Phil there. When I walked inside the gates of TRF, he was one of the first people that I saw. This next pic is from that first encounter at the TexRenFest.
Phil has been working at TRF for 12 years. In the mornings, he poses as his Barbarian character, then after the noon parade, he comes out as Tan Man.
He is 6’6″ and 325 pounds… a mountain of a man.
Phil is called a Badged Entertainer and there are only 5 at TRF.
His Barbarian character is the 3rd highest photographed person at the TexRenFest and his Tan Man character is in the Top Ten in photos taken of him.
I tried to get a pic with Phil each time that I saw him.
Out of the many people that I met at TRF, Phil is one of the nicest. He was always so complimentary of me and the way I dressed.
At one point, he said I was the Best Dressed Photographer at the TexRenFest.
Phil started out his career working in the Medical Field. Then, in his late 30’s, he switched to Mortuary Science and has been working in that calling for over 25 years.
As you can tell, Phil is a real life character.
He also plays Donald Trump. Phil is a Social Media Influencer that works in New Orleans, Houston and Galveston.
He plays Capt. Jazz, the Ghost of Christmas Present, the Barbarian, the Mountain Man and also Houston’s Tan Man.
Phil went to a White Linen party in the Heights of Houston years ago and a friend started calling him Tan Man and the name stuck.
Phil is known far and wide by many thousands of people and also has thousands of Followers on his social media accounts.
Here’s a pic of Phil with some friends at the White Linen Party.
They made the paper with the caption, ‘Life of the Party’. No truer words have ever been printed.
Phil has been in the media spotlight for several years now and been a part of many Promos for a lot of events.
Here he is for the Super Bowl that was hosted in Houston.
Every major social media influencer has been a part of a meme.
Here he is as the Ghost of Christmas Present during Dickens on the Strand in Galveston, TX.
He also has hundreds of thousands of views for his videos.
The Marlboro Man at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.
The Undertaker with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Here he is at the Lone Star Motorcycle Rally in Galveston.
At Saint Arnold’s Brewery with the owners.
Mountain Man at the Houston Rodeo BBQ Cook Off.
Mister Astro with some babes.
Here is a pic of Phil while working in his calling.
As I stated earlier, I’ve met many people in my line of work and Phil is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He’s fun-loving, carefree and always so kind.
I asked Phil what it is that he could say about working at the Texas Renaissance Festival and he said this… “I love working at TRF because it is a Judgement-Free Zone. You could be a 500 pound man wearing a Tutu and you will be the most popular guy there.”
My hat goes off to people like Phil who live life to the fullest and get the most out of our time here on this planet. I look forward to seeing and photographing Phil many more times in the future.
Cheers to Phil Brayton for just being himself.
Phil Brayton Fan
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.”
This is a post about the last weekend of the Texas Renaissance Festival. I attended 6 out of 8 weekends and enjoyed myself, thoroughly. I met some great people, ate a lot of good food, saw some great shows and got a lot of pics and videos.
For the last weekend of the festival, Celtic Christmas, I ended up with 734 pics. For the entire 6 weekends that I attended, I added a total of 3,105 photos from the event.
I arrived first at the festival again on this Friday after Thanksgiving. These first pics are from that Friday.
I enjoy seeing the Front Gate Plaza early in the morning. There is something peaceful about knowing that as quiet as it is it will get so much more exciting as the day goes on.
I have a special project that I’ll be working on soon that is about the TexRenFest. This may be the cover photo.
I’ll let you know when the project is ready to view. Should be late Spring or Early Summer of 2022. I think many people will enjoy reading my book about my adventures at TRF for 2021. The book will have hundreds of pics from the event with lots of great costumes, outfits and garb, as well as some fun-loving, great characters and patrons.
Hamish McGregor always has the early morning guests entertained with his pipe playing and entertaining stories and jokes.
Rudy does a great job as Hamish and is a well-loved character at the festival.
Hard to believe that about 500,000 people will pass through these gates in 8 weekends.
Always buy a program. These girls and guys are usually the first people you meet in the Plaza and once inside the Front Gate. And they’re always happy to see you.
Queen Isabella looked very good in front of the Christmas tree at the front. Nuria is one of my favorite people to see at TRF.
I love the creativity that goes into some of the costumes and outfits worn by the cast and crew. They help create the fantasy world of the TexRenFest.
Erin as Glinda the Good and the Spanish King.
Katrina as a Bride of Frankenstein.
Micah as Crayon. The kids love her and many come back by at the end of the day to say goodbye to her. We wish Micah luck with her career in the Navy and look forward to her return to the festival one day.
Micah always gave me some great pics.
She was one of the people that I gave the close-up treatment to because I enjoyed her pic so much.
Jade is another person that always gets the close-up treatment. Jade is one of my favorite characters at TRF. I love the effort she puts in to create her face and overall look.
Two very pretty ladies.
I stopped by to see these ladies at a food stand and snapped their pic. I love that all of the workers at the festival like having their photo taken.
I bought the crab cakes from them for breakfast. They were hot and good.
I enjoyed photographing the Pickle Vendors. And I ate a few pickles as well. Always delicious.
I learned of a pizza place in the village and found it this last weekend. The pizza is great and one of my new favorite places to eat.
Lilly always looked so pretty. I loved watching her dance to the music of Tartanic.
I ran into Tony again. And this time, he was Elfis. What a funny outfit and great name. Very creative.
The ears look great and a green mustache with those glasses tops this look off.
Elvis would be proud.
It looks like Tony would be saying, “Hey, Baby. What’s shakin’?””
I took Alan’s pic a few times. He works the door at the Wyrmwood Public House. The best bar in the village.
Mickey made my daily kamikaze.
I look forward to TRF 2022 and seeing all of my new friends again.
I love purple and this singing duo rock it. The Minstrel Rav’n always looked great.
This family was having a fun time.
And she deserved a close-up treatment.
Monsieur Bunny, or Daddy as he prefers. I have lived a long life and never had to call anyone Daddy… until now, lol.
Next TRF, I plan to try the coconuts.
Cute workers always with a smile to greet you.
Who doesn’t like a nice kilt?
Kevin was always fun to photograph.
This is a good pose and a nice pic of him.
What’s better than a pic of a Pirate? A pic of two Pirates.
Hercules brought out his fur for the last weekend because it was a little chilly.
Always get the wings in the frame.
Krampus made an appearance.
If a dad dressed like this for Christmas morning to surprise his kids… he’d scar them for life, haha.
Skidmark was looking festive.
A working man in his office.
A great group shot.
Erika always looked so beautiful.
Greg and Sara were so nice to me during the TexRenFest and I look forward to spending time with them again the next festival.
Haley looked great in her Christmas outfit. The word on the top of her head is ‘Naughty’.
I bet Santa would still give her some gifts though.
I like this guy’s blue, leather vest. Very nice. And he was always nice enough to pose for me.
A Pirate Santa. Good Look.
I met Pam while I was working the festival. She was a lot of fun to hang out with.
The crew of the Sea Devil bar.
Blaze looked happy to be at work on this Friday.
While working at TRF, you make some great friends and lasting relationships.
Big Pirate hats always look god.
Hamish McGregor and a friend singing a tune while in the village.
More good friends.
My favorite Krampus and St. Nicholas. Nice guys and fun to shoot.
And deserving of a close-up.
Great Promo Gal and she loves her job.
One stylish gentleman. I’d definitely wear these clothes. Very sharp.
Another St. Nicholas and his lady.
Jesus and Santa. I photographed Jesus and Satan a few weeks earlier than this.
One of my favorite pics out of all of the TRF photos. He’ll enjoy this pic for years of him and his little boy.
Greg and I in the Catskill Mountain Moccasins booth, number 212.
And with the ever beautiful, Sara.
Now, we’re on to the pics from Saturday of the Celtic Christmas weekend. I was there first again.
The entrance to a great fantasy world where you’re free to be whatever and whomever.
As you can tell, I love this view.
The gates to fun and frivolity.
A lot of people will come down this walkway on this day.
Another cold day in the village.
Ready for action.
Playing his pipes.
Micah as Crayon. So cute.
Micah is full of energy and so fun-loving.
Erin, looking splendid, as usual.
One of Hercules’ best poses for me. He has a good double bicep pose.
Pennywise was a favorite of mine to photograph.
This was the first weekend that she didn’t wear a mask and she looked awesome.
Her face make-up is so great. And close-up material.
Jade, looking her best.
She never disappoints.
In the early morning, right after I enter the Kingdom, I usually get a lot of photos of the characters. This beautiful girl was fun to shoot also.
Phil Brayton was always a pleasure to run into. Through some stats, I learned that Phil’s Barbarian character is the 3rd most photographed person at TRF. And his Tan Man character is in the Top Ten.
I had kolaches and milk from the Queen’s Pantry on this Saturday morning. Always a good start to my day.
MJ and a co-worker. I bought a nice hip pouch from them that I use quite often now. Great quality.
Some very fun ladies.
Skidmark is one character I really enjoy watching work. He’s extremely entertaining.
One time, a guy told me to focus my pics on the beautiful girls. I told him I had that covered. Case in point, this photo.
These 2 characters always enjoyed posing for me and I thank them for that.
Daddy in his element.
Leos is more of man than I am. I even wore Long Johns on this day and he went shirtless.
Lilly, looking fabulous.
Haley with a different Christmas outfit and always looking cute.
This girl’s mother told me where she worked so I could go get her photo. It came out great.
I had several bowls of etouffee from Blaze’s booth.
The crew of the Sea Devil bar. Another good pic fo their gang.
Family pics are fun.
A really good Grinch.
She gave me some advice and it was really bad.
Pirates are always fun to photograph.
Sara and Abby.
Booth 212 – Catskill Mountain Moccasins.
Another good crew photo.
Paolo entertaining the crowd.
The Spanish Court.
Another pic of this beautiful redhead. Her hat is awesome.
A fun group to shoot.
I had to get a pic of these two.
Apollo promoting their show.
Blaze and a friend.
I ran into Tony again on Saturday and this time I got some better pics.
His shoes were very cool.
I only had a few people refuse to pose for me during my time working the festival. I’m glad this girl decided to pose for me.
How much does it cost a Pirate to pierce his ears?
A buck an ear.
A festive group that was enjoying their day at TRF.
She has a great hat and looks good in it.
Eye contacts can always improve a look.
Another great Grinch.
Abby in a good-looking outfit.
The only Christmas tree that I photographed.
I love these guys.
The stuff of nightmares.
Two more cute food stand workers.
A smiling group shot.
You gotta love seeing people having a good time.
Another festive group.
Cute Pirates are always a pleasure to run into and photograph.
And deserving of a close-up.
One of my favorite poses. Love the hat.
Talent in the village abounds.
I love the hat on the far right.
Now for my pics from Saturday. Big Phil and I.
I’ve got a tough job, lol.
Sara and I.
Abby was fun to pose with.
Greg always had on great garb.
I would leave everyday about 2 or 3pm and I always saw more people coming in.
My view when I leave.
These next pics are from Sunday, the last day of TRF for 2021. I like that the plaza always looks so clean.
I’m already looking forward to going back this next year.
My last pic with Willy for the year.
Another chilly day in the village.
I was asked to shoot the group shot for the Front Gate staff and it came out great.
Leo was nice enough to let me into the Kingdom early a few days and I appreciated that.
Nuria always took a good photo.
You’ll notice a lot of smiling faces in my pics.
I intend to interview Jade next season to learn more about her character and other things like how long it takes her to get ready.
I’d be curious to know how long it takes to do her face make-up.
Micah was a natural with the kids and an asset for the Texas Renaissance Festival.
I’ll miss getting her pics while she’s in the Navy, but I respect her service to our country.
She’ll do the USA proud.
A regal gentleman. It’s good to be the King.
I ran into Phil in another area and snapped his pic one last time for 2021.
This girl always had a great pose.
Case in point.
The staff at my favorite pizza place.
These girls looks festive in their Santa’s Helpers outfits.
Alex was fun to shoot and I look forward to seeing her next season.
Next season at TRF, I’ll focus more on the food.
Lots of characters working the food booths also.
It’s hard not to be hungry as you walk around because the food all looks and smells so good.
I tried some of the chicken.
Another great outfit.
Love the headdress.
How do pickles enjoy the day out?
They relish it.
One fabulous costume.
The ears, the hair, the horns, the make-up… all fantastic.
Why would you expect the coconuts vendors to pose funny?
You tell me, lol.
This look takes some time. Great job.
I look forward to going back to the Glory Hole for my morning beer.
Great horns and a great pic.
The Sea Devil is a great place to get some good pics.
Case in point.
Blaze was a redhead this last day of the festival and looked great.
Her co-worker looked great as well.
This crew asked me to take their staff photo and I was happy to do it.
Alex always looked cute.
Easy to see why I always passed by their booth for photos.
A really good face make-up job.
Another time-consuming job, but well worth it when you see the final look.
How do Pirates prefer to communicate?
Aye to aye.
Another lady that works with Tartanic along with Lilly.
A great Santa.
With a funny close-up.
Paolo playing some tunes.
Alan looking quite sharp.
Erika looked great the first day I photographed her and to this last day.
Melissa and Vebecka while at work in the Asgardian Armory, booth number 211.
The staff that works for Shiva. Great clothes.
I look forward to seeing Violet next season also. She’s a great Fire Dancer.
And gets a close-up.
Next season, I’m going to try and shoot over 4,000 pics. I’ll be attending all 8 weekends with no bad luck and I think I can do it, plus, I’ll have assistants.
I bet they were warm on this cold day.
I plan on shooting lots more videos also.
I’m looking forward to spending more time with Pam. She’s a lot of fun to hang out with.
How did the Pirate call his mate?
On an Aye Phone.
This King has some great looking rings.
I saw more furries on this last weekend.
Hercules saved his best pose for the last day of the festival.
These two girls worked at a food stand but were enjoying the last day as patrons.
This is the last person that I photographed at TRF for 2021 and I snapped it as I was walking to my Tahoe. 3,105th pic.
Now for my pics from the last day. Rudy was one of the nicer people that I met at TRF.
I imagine Jade gets photographed quite a lot. Gotta be in the top 5 of all the characters.
I’ll have a special post about Phil coming up soon. I think you’ll enjoy it.
Blaze is wearing one of my STORM Factory beanies, just backwards while she was working.
My last pic with Erika.
Many thanks to Greg for his hospitality towards me during the 2021 TRF season.
A pic with Shelbelle Shamrock on the Wyrmwood patio.
My last pic with a character at TRF for 2021.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Texas Renaissance Festival and I’m looking forward to going back this next season. Many thanks to everyone that posed for and with me. It was a lot of work, a lot of driving and long hours of walking and also working on the computer, but I loved every minute of it.
Hope to see some familiar faces at the next TexRenFest and if you see us, come say hi and get a pic.
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 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 fourth weekend that I attended the Texas Renaissance Festival was called the Barbarian Invasion. I had a fun time again and got some great pics and videos. On the Saturday, I had 285 pics and 6 videos. On the Sunday, I ended up with 281 pics and 11 videos. My totals for the weekend were 566 pics and 17 videos.
When I went into the Media Office to pic up my Media Pass, my contact there, Cory, offered me a coupon for a Free King size Kettle corn. I also saw a complimentary bottle opener, so I grabbed one of those also.
These first pics are from the Saturday of the Barbarian Invasion weekend.
The front gate staff were always very cool to me. I tried to get a pic with Willy when I could. He’s a lively character and full of laughs. He told me that he was related to the famous General Sherman. Everyone should remember Sherman’s March to the Sea (Actually Gulf).
Willy’s full name is William Tecumseh Sherman Elliot. William Tecumseh Sherman was the General and Willy’s name is written… William T.S. Eliot III.
T.S. Eliot was a poet, essayist, publisher, playwright, literary critic and editor. And was considered one of the 20th century’s major poets, he is a central figure in English-language Modernist poetry.
Willy is in some good company.
I ran into Phil once I entered the Kingdom. It’s always good to see him. I enjoy talking to him, but I never have a lot of time with him because there is always someone waiting to get his pic.
Phil tipped me off about a party in the Heights where everyone wears white. It might be called The White Party, don’t remember. I’ll be sure to be there and get some great pics. Phil will be there as the Houston Tan Man. I look forward to getting his pics.
Jade is always on my pic list whenever I walk in the gates of the TexRenFest Kingdom.
Can you blame me? Her make-up is fantastic and she’s always happy to pose for me. This might have been my favorite pose from her during all of TRF.
Nuria is always near the front gate at opening and I loved getting her pic. Her character, Queen Isabella, always looked great.
Erin meets near the front gate also and it helps me out that I can get a lot of pics so quickly. Erin identifies as non-binary so I tried to never use she/her pronouns when I posted anything they were in.
Katrina played a bride of Frankenstein. I didn’t realize that until I recently asked her when I was doing a post about her. She plays her character well and I enjoyed getting pics of her.
This is a fun group shot. Jade thanked me for getting so many pics of the cast so they could better remember their experiences from 2021. This pic is an example of capturing good times had by the cast.
I like that there are Pirates at TRF for every weekend, no matter the theme.
These girls struck a cute pose. Seven happy people.
This was a favorite pic of mine.
I cropped in to get a better look at her make-up, eyes and expression. I love when people have a good pose to go with their garb, outfit or costume. It makes my job easier and sometimes what I capture is magic.
Here’s Leos again. The sun brings out the details in his face make-up. To create the ‘hair’ on his face takes a lot of small strokes. Possibly 200+ strokes.
I mentioned getting pics of the pickle vendors. Here’s one guy that was nice enough to hold up a dill for the pic.
The Red Queen made several different faces when I took her pics during my time at TRF. This pose was my favorite. The eyes make this pic great.
A real joy of mine is to photograph parents with their children. I call myself a Memory Maker. This father and kids enjoyed this pic and will do so for years to come to remember their day at TRF.
Here’s another father and child. I like their outfits, but I do prefer capturing peoples faces as well.
Tinker Bell is a fictional character from J. M. Barrie’s 1904 play Peter Pan and its’ 1911 novelization “Peter and Wendy.”
The Tinker Bell at TRF is a really fun character. She’s always happy to pose and she looks great in her costume. She was a favorite to photograph.
I ran into Kevin several times while I was working at TRF in 2021. I ended up with some good pics of him in his Pirate garb. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “He was looking at me like I owed him money.”
I feel as though if I owed Kevin money, he’d look at me like this, lol.
I never saw their act, but I did see him juggle and that takes a lot of talent. I hope to cover them more in 2022.
This pic is of Melissa and Bree from Asgardian Armory, Booth 211 in the TRF Kingdom. Attractive women selling swords, knives and other cool items. Another thing to love about the Texas Renaissance Festival.
Here’s Erika and a friend. Erika was named after Erik, the Viking.
I tried to photograph her every weekend. Can you guess why?
I did a commercial for shop 229 with the owner, Shiva. This pic is of Ty and two assistants. They work at Shiva’s booth.
When I walked into the Kingdom right at 9am or sometimes a little before 9, I knew a few things. One, that I’d be able to shoot a lot of characters that were accumulated near the front gate. And two, that there were certain people that I looked forward to photographing. Erika was one and Haley was another.
Haley dressed for the theme of every weekend and I had a lot of fun getting her pics. One day, I was talking to this guy and he told me, “Make sure you get pics of the sexy girls.”
I told him that I already had that covered.
This is Alex. She works at a food stand that I went by every weekend day to get their pics. She is very nice and works hard for long hours. I enjoyed making her happy with my pics.
Blaze worked at the food stand near Alex. I would start walking the line of food stands and stop by each stand to get pics of the workers. When Blaze told me her name, I thought, “Well that fits perfectly.”
Here are some of the workers of the Sea Devil bar. I took their pics often. One day, I was getting ready to snap a group pic of them again and one lady was messing with her breasts. Then she told me, “Gotta make sure the girls are out.” And no, it wasn’t this pic, so stop wondering, lol.
Scott and Hamish McGregor. Scott told me one day that he loved my work and “appreciates someone with a good eye.”
I photographed this couple on Pirate weekend and didn’t realize it until I recognized her smile. She wasn’t a redhead on Pirate weekend.
A pickle vendor with a sense of style in his pose. Loved it.
Skidmark was another of my regular characters to photograph. Here is what he says on his Facebook page…
My name is actually Markus Skidders, but my friends call me “Skidmark” cuz I don’t have very good friends.
His Facebook account is under Skidmark and he’s listed as a Public Figure. I enjoyed his act.
This make-up job was a favorite of many people. And her ice-cold stare goes so well with it. There is a similar look coming up that you’ll really like.
Violet is a Fire Dancer for the band Saxon Moon and also a Fire Dancer in Solar Rain. Violet is a very nice lady. She always posed for me and with me whenever I was near. They are some of my favorite pics.
Alex Draco is a photographer as well as a Renny. He knows how to combine items to create some great garb to go with his weapons. I may see him at Sherwood Forest Faire in the Spring of 2022.
More Pirates. When the STORM Factory hosts a Pirate gathering, we hope to attract great Pirates like these people.
Another thing to love about TRF is the weapons policy. You can carry any sword, knife or antique pistol you like. And I’ve seen people cosplaying and carrying AR-15’s. Plastic, of course.
The guy in the orange is Jay. He’s wearing a flower pot on his head. He told me someone called him Pothead. I call him that every time I see him.
I shot a commercial for Jay’s booth, that also has the Royal Mint. I bought a silver coin from the Royal Mint for $32. It’s a great memento from the 2021 TRF.
Paolo is another talented performer that works at other RenFaires around the country. That would be a fun and interesting life. Always meeting and entertaining thousands at every festival you work. Paolo leads a ‘Life of Riley’.
Kristi attended several weekends of the TexRenFest. We only saw her on this day. She did inspire me to set something up for 2022.
Either myself or my assistant, or both, will be at booth 212 at 2pm every weekend day of TRF this next season for those that want to meet us for some pics.
Thanx, Kristi. Excited to get your pics this season at TRF.
This was a good-looking couple. I had never attended the Barbarian Invasion before. I was glad that I did and it’s one of my favorite weekends now.
I bought some crawfish etouffee from Blaze at the cajun food stand. Next season, I’ll get the names of the food stands I photograph. The etoufee was great.
Next season at TRF, I plan to focus more on the food with photos and tastings.
Remember that Free King size Kettle corn coupon that Cory gave me that morning?
Here is the guy that I redeemed the coupon. Kettle corn is great. I brought the bag to my friends that work for Catskill Mountain Moccasins in booth 212. We all snacked on it for the rest of the day.
Somehow a smile wouldn’t look right on his face with that garb on. He nailed the look.
This lady does promotions for her family member’s act. She always helps draw a large audience for the act.
I don’t know why she shaved her head, but boy did it go with her look and pose.
Nine people. One of the larger groups that I photographed on that Saturday.
When I saw these next 2 guys, I thought Zulu. I loved getting their pic. Such a rare sighting at any event to photograph Zulu warriors.
I mistakenly thought that they had battled with Tarzan.
The Waziri are a fictional African tribe created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in his Tarzan novels. Burroughs characterizes the Waziri as the greatest warriors in Africa. But they are fictional.
The Zulu are real. Here’s what I found out about the Zulu.
The Zulu tribe represents the largest population of ethnic groups in South Africa; making up to 10-11 million people. They are known for their strong fighting spirit, which has fashioned renowned warriors in history including the likes of Shaka Zulu who played a prominent role in various Zulu wars.
Good friends having a great time at the Texas Renaissance Festival.
Here is Paolo about to start his performance. The crowd really grows and people love him. I could never even attempt to learn the skills or have the talent that Paolo has.
Mickey and a friend taking a break from working to enjoy the festival from their upstairs patio. It’s a great vantage point to see a lot.
The decor of the Wyrmwood Public House is great and says they’re all about fun.
It’s not a large room, but enough for a good crowd and a burlesque show on the stage at the back.
I talked to this lady once and she told me she had a different look for every day of the festival and she was there every day. I believed her. And she always looked great and photo worthy.
Braveheart is Sir William Wallace, who is a Scottish National Hero. He led a fight for Scottish independence from England. He was born circa 1270 and died August 23rd, 1305.
I ran into this girl a few times during my time at TRF and she always had on a great outfit or garb. I was always happy to see her because I knew I would end up with some good pics.
There are a few things that you learn as a photographer. One, is to never ask a cosplayer for a pic when they are on break or busy with their friends. Two, is never bother anyone for a pic while they’re eating. I missed out on some great opportunities at TRF because I refuse to bother people.
This next pic is an exception. I have photographed people with turkey legs. It can sometimes be great pics that go with the costume, garb or outfit.
This girl wanted me to take the pic while she was pretending to take a bite.
Have you ever known of a place that the “cool” people hang out at?
If I had to pick one place where the cool people hang in the TRF Kingdom, I would say the Sea Devil area. I have taken some of my best pics there. As a photographer, I call this area a ‘Target-Rich Environment’ because there are always so many people to photograph that look great.
“This is Sparta!” is what King Leonidas yelled, in the movie 300, just before he kicked a messenger to his death into a pit of darkness.
I ran into this couple in Galveston for the Dickens on the Strand festival. I took their photo then and we chatted. I thought that was my first time meeting them.
This pic proves that I saw them at TRF weeks before Dickens.
Another fun, group shot of 3 ladies enjoying their time at the festival.
Only at the TexRenFest can a woman smear black on her face and still be beautiful.
I asked the guy drinking if he wanted to take a pic with his cup down and he said no. Maybe he’s on the lamb or in the Witness Protection Program, lol.
Even though it was the Barbarian Invasion weekend, these guys were dressed perfectly for the Highland Fling weekend. I love that people are free to wear whatever, whenever.
Friends getting dressed up, having beers and enjoying the day… priceless.
This has never happened to me before, but my last pic of the day was my best one. As I was leaving the Kingdom that Saturday afternoon, I passed this woman, who was just coming into the festival.
I don’t usually ask people for their photo outside of the Kingdom, but with her, I made an exception.
My only regret is not shooting some video of her also.
She was so striking that I used her pic for the Feature Image on the Saturday Barbarian Invasion gallery. Call me wrong…
I was able to store my stuff at Booth 212 again and my friend Greg was fun to talk with on my breaks from walking around.
And if Sara was available, I always asked for a pic with her. Can you blame me?
Erika was always right next door, in the Asgardian Armory booth, so it made my job easier. This concludes the Saturday pics. Next up, Sunday at TRF for Barbarian Invasion.
On that Sunday, I arrived before any other patrons. The cast, crew and other workers at TRF had arrived long before me or stayed the night.
This area gets really crowded as the day goes on.
I was able to find someone else to snap my pic on the King’s chair. It was a chilly morning again this day.
There are 5 gates to enter the TRF Kingdom. If the TexRenFest entertains 500,000 people per season, each gate averages having 100,000 people pass through it. That’s a large number. As a comparison, the Texans stadium capacity is 72,220. Imagine all of those people filing through one gate and that’s only almost 75% of the 100,000 that enter each gate.
I will add that not 500,000 people total attend TRF. That is the number of total visitors, but many came more than one time so number of people isn’t 500,000 but the number of times people came.
There are 8 weekends of the festival, plus one Friday. That’s 17 days. Remember they entertain 500,000 people per year. With 17 days, that’s 29,412 patrons in the Kingdom each weekend day and that Friday, on average. Some days are more and some days are less.
Hamish McGregor was always a great person to photograph and shoot video of him as well. He plays music for the patrons before the Kingdom opens. He has some funny jokes and stories. He is a great person to have around the Kingdom. He leads the parade every day with his pipes and also wedding processions.
This warrior is a great photograph. In the mornings, he’s usually near the front gate to greet the guests.
I won’t say the number because I don’t want to be wrong in print, but this guy has worked at TRF for a very, very long time.
This guy was fun to photograph. In following days, he gave me some great expressions. You’ll see them in future posts. I have 2 more weekends to talk about, then a few features like the one about Jade.