I’ll start this post by saying, “Getting old sucks.”
This last weekend at the Texas Renaissance Festival was themed as Pirate Adventure and it is one of my most favorite weekends of their season. It is also a favorite of many people.
For this weekend, I had an assistant working with me. I usually get about 500 pics per weekend and I thought since I had help, I would get close to 1,000 pics for the weekend. We didn’t even come close.
We also had big plans to campout in the campgrounds and capture the action at the bonfire and also at the Call of Booty camp.
On Saturday morning, my assistant was 2 1/2 hours late in meeting me. My day started off badly. Sitting in a gas station parking lot for 2 1/2 hours will tire a person out. So before my day even started, I was frustrated and tired from waiting.
When he showed up, we went into the campgrounds and found a spot to set up camp. We were one row away from the bonfire. I had high hopes for the weekend.
Now to where getting old sucks. We made it into the festival at about 1pm. We worked until 7pm. I ended up with my quota of 250 for the day but my assistant only got about 62 pics. Much lower than I expected from him.
I also shot video of the Tease of the Seas show at the Thirsty Pirate Pub stage. More about that later.
When we got back to our camp, I was tired but willing to cover the night’s activities in the campground. I laid down for a quick rest. When I looked up in a few minutes, my assistant already had his PJ’s on. I thought, “So I guess we’re not doing anything more.”
We even had tickets to a party in the campgrounds that featured a Pirate costume contest. After I saw that he was dressed for bed, I dosed off again and woke up at about 3am, and we missed everything.
I’ll try and camp out again by myself and try to get some coverage of the campgrounds.
When we arrived at the festival on Saturday at about 1pm, there was a line to get a pic on the throne so I passed on that.
The previous weekend, Lourdes had told me that she would give me a dish of the crawfish mac and cheese if I wanted to try it. That was the first place I went on Saturday.
It was delicious and I’ll have that again before the festival is over. Lourdes is a sweetheart.
I always stop by the food stands and I definitely make sure to stop by Julie’s stand to get her pic. Others have commented on how beautiful she is. I agree.
Kylie works at a nearby stand and is Julie’s daughter. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I love seeing families working at the festival.
The French area is always packed with people eating the great food and drinks. It’s one of my favorite areas.
I had heard that the attendance for Saturday was around 32,000 people.
Last week, I misspelled Blaise’s name. I thought it was Blaze. She has a very cool name to go with her good looks.
Bandanas and corsets. What’s not to love about Pirate weekend?
Alex is always so nice and never refuses me a photo of her.
The Red Lion Tavern has some good shows and I plan to shoot video of them soon. They always have a packed crowd. And great BBQ.
Haley was looking as cute as ever in her Pirate outfit. I liked the skeleton hand coming out of her shirt.
I also plan to shoot video of Saxon Moon again this year.
A nice group enjoying their day at the TexRenFest.
I stopped by the Wyrmwood Public House for my daily kamikaze from Mickey. In his real job, he is a teacher of young kids. He told me that the discipline problems are getting out of line. Kids today are wild.
Monsieur Bunny prefers to be called Daddy.
This pic makes me laugh. He’s a randy fellow, lol.
I ran into Ms. Lilly Bontemp, aka the High Seas Barbie. I always enjoy getting her photogrpah.
This is what the patio of the Wyrmwood Public House looks like from ground level. It’s a great place to view the festival and all of the goings on.
The thousands of patrons were enjoying their day, seeing shows, eating and drinking.
The Sea Devil Tavern always has a big crowd.
Lots of Old School Pirates are found here.
Love the beard and pipe.
You may notice that I spend time around the Thirsty Pirate Pub. I just love the building and the area. It has drinks, food, a stage and great shows and lots of people having a great time.
It is a great addition to the Kingdom and I’m a fan.
And going from the Royal Mint to such a money making investment is a success story.
On Saturdays, there is always a crowd in the upstairs area.
It has a great view of the stage area.
And yes, beautiful women.
You had to know that I’d get a pic with them.
I even like the design of the ceiling.
Three more lovely ladies enjoying their time at the pub.
More skeleton hands grabbing tatas.
The staff at the pub is always nice and ready to serve you up something good.
I’ve never seen a dog or baby skeleton.
If my assistant was a woman, we would have taken a carriage ride.
Another look at the Sea Devil area.
There’s always colorful characters hanging around there.
I ran into Tim and his lovely lady and had to get a pic. Very cool outfits.
I stopped by the Polish Pub and saw another packed house.
My assistant got this shot and it’s one of my favorite ones from the weekend.
Even scooter riders can be Pirates.
Lots of shows to take in while at the festival.
Another fun group.
A fine Pirate and his best gal.
This is a view of the upstairs patio of ‘Tea and Strumpets’. Another great view of the TexRenFest.
Three cute Pirates.
If you can’t smooch your gal, you’re not a good Pirate.
Photographing the workers never gets old.
Such a beautiful smile.
Later in the day, I had the grilled pork on a stick.
It was delicious.
I photographed this lovely lady last season. Showing her Call of Booty pride. Love it.
I ran into Kevin again this weekend. He’s a favorite Pirate of mine.
Kevin and his main squeeze.
I ran into Erika and her friends and was happy to get a pic with them.
Daniel is a fun cosplayer I met last year.
Always good to get a thumbs up… instead of a middle finger salute.
Love the hat and her smile.
Another favorite of mine.
A beautiful Pirate.
I really enjoy photographing people having a good time. Nice pic.
More animals that the kids can ride.
The Pirate Pub always draws in some fun people.
A fun way to get tips for the performers.
This is a pic of the crowd at the Tease of the Seas show. Another packed house.
The show was great and the ladies are as beautiful as they are talented. The videos are good.
I plan on getting pics of the show this upcoming weekend.
This is my favorite pic of the pub to date. The lights and the sky make it a good one.
I’ve said this before but it’s too bad that the festival is only 2 months long once a year.
On Sunday morning, I was up early and headed into the festival for an appointment that I had.
A look at the entrance area before the thousands enter.
The Polish Pub.
They have a nice stage and great performers.
Kasia is the manager of the Polish Pub. She was so nice and pleasant. She offered me a jello shot to start my day. Any day that starts with a jello shot from a Polish beauty is going to be a good day.
Kasia also manages the Facebook pages for the Polish Pub and the Thirsty Pirate Pub. Her day job is working at the Consulate General of Poland in Houston. Great gal.
Jacob is a nice guy also.
He told me that he has worked at TRF since he was a young teenager. He even kept his streak alive while he was in the military by scheduling his leaves so he could work at the festival.
Some of the staff of the Polish Pub.
And a few more.
These two ladies missed the group shot so I snapped their pic later.
Kasia had her staff serve me breakfast.
I had never had pierogies before and loved them.
The two groups of performers at the pub.
A fun and talented group.
The Polish Pub has a great stage area where there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Love the dresses, the hair and the hats.
Another keepsake pic.
The Pirate Pub before the crowds arrive.
Ready to entertain.
Chris is married to the Spanish Queen Juana.
As I said before, every good Pirate wears many rings.
Legal brass knuckles.
A different view of the Pirate Pub.
The staff at the Pirate Pub is one of the nicest and most hard working at TRF. They serve a lot of people each day and always enjoy their work.
Rudy is always good for a nice pic.
Getting ready to start the morning dance.
I’ve seen this area really crowded with patrons enjoying their time at TRF.
On a busy day, you can see thousands from this vantage point.
The staff of ‘Tea and Strumpets’.
Alex and his weapon.
I’m glad that the food stand workers haven’t gotten tired of me asking them for pics.
It’s a favorite part of my day.
One of my favorite staffs.
A mother and daughter working together. I really like that many families work at the TexRenFest together. Family is always important.
If you don’t have a good time at TRF, it’s your own fault.
The staff of Catskill Mountain Moccasins.
Becca works at festivals all around the country. Fun job.
Greg knows a lot about their moccasins.
Vebecka works at the Asgardian Armory and is very nice and fun to talk with.
I really like this pic. Great gals and a great background.
Erika at her post.
I enjoy getting pics with Erika.
The Asgardian Armory staff is also fun and hard working.
I try to showcase different shops each weekend.
Avalon has some nice merch.
And great hats.
Also some nice leather goods.
And a friendly staff.
MJ works at Ravenswood Leather. A favorite shop of mine.
This guy was ready for Halloween weekend.
A nice Pirate pose.
This guy cooks a lot of food each weekend.
I wonder how much chicken they use for the 8 weekends.
This cheerful Pirate gives out Pirate coins to the kids. A nice touch.
Pam at her bar, the Bilge Pump.
The staff of the Sea Devil tavern.
It was Amanda’s birthday on this day.
I stopped by the Pirate Pub for a drink.
On Sundays, the crowd is a little lighter.
Kudos to whoever designed this stage area and seating.
The palm trees add to the look and make it feel like a Pirate’s Tropical Paradise.
The upstairs staff are two very cool people and I like them.
I’m sure this guy liked his pic because I framed it with the logo in it.
Michael used to work at Tea and Strumpets but now works at the Pirate Pub. He is a very friendly, hard-working guy and I consider him a friend.
This young lady posed with the funnel cake. It looked good but I didn’t try it.
With the horse drawn carriages, I’ve never seen a road apple, never.
A good-looking Pirate and his better half.
Another favorite staff of mine.
The menu board for the Red Lion Tavern.
The staff always have a smile on their faces.
Haley is on my pic list each day and never disappoints.
Another good Pirate and his best gal.
A lovely lady strolling through TRF.
I enjoy Saturdays as well as Sundays in the Kingdom.
Every day is magical with new people and experiences to photograph. It’s a photographers dreamland.
Rare to see an empty table in this seating area.
On my way out, I try to get a pic of the entrance area to show all of the people still coming in.
Face-painting is very popular and Lady Iris is always busy.
Don’t forget to get your hand stamped if you’re coming back later that day.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief look at the Pirate weekend at the Texas Renaissance Festival. I’ll have more blog posts about the upcoming weekends so check back soon.
To see all of the pics and videos from the festival, visit the site below and click on Photos.
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.”
I have lived in Houston, TX most of my life. For a lot of those years, I had never heard of the Texas Renaissance Festival. That’s hard to believe since it’s the biggest RenFaire in the country.
TexRenFest is located about an hour Northwest of Houston, in a town called Todd Mission. TRF has been around since 1974. They boast 55 acres of festival fun, but I think it’s larger now.
There’s 200 acres of camping facilities. They have 21 stages for shows all throughout the day and 400 shops to buy anything you can think of.
This year, I decided to attend TRF for some fun pics and videos. I skipped the first 2 weekends and had plans to start attending on Pirate Weekend. As a Pirate, my thoughts were that I’d like that weekend. I was right.
I paid for my admission that first weekend and I think the tickets were around $35 after tax was included for each day.
As you will see in future posts, I like to arrive at the events I cover early in the morning. I like to tell a story with my pics and videos and to start a story, you must have a beginning.
I had been to TRF back in 2016, so I knew what to expect and I was excited for what the weekend would hold for me.
The first person that I approached about getting a pic was Lilly Bontemp. She is also known as the Pink Pirate or as the High Seas Barbie.
Lilly ended up being a favorite of mine to photograph. Her outfit is stunning and demands photography.
My favorite part of Lilly’s outfit is her hat. It is a great color and has a mermaid on it. And true to the Pirate way of life, it is a skeleton of a mermaid.
I met Lilly that Saturday and Sunday of Pirate Weekend. These next 2 photos are from Sunday. Notice how she changed it up for the second day of the weekend.
I enjoyed meeting Lilly and getting some pics of her. She was always so nice to me and I appreciated that. You will see more of Lilly in future Blog Posts about TRF 2021.
The next person that I photographed was Hercules. He’s got one of the coolest head-pieces at TRF. I also like that he has the body to play his role.
I ran into Hercules later in the weekend and caught him playing an instrument and singing. He’s a good addition to the festival and adds a lot of color and character to the scenery. You’ll see more of him also.
This next girl was a favorite Pennywise to photograph and I got her photo every chance I got. She wore a mask but still looked great. Only during the last weekend did she go maskless. And her make-up job was fantastic.
I don’t usually like to post pics out of sequence, but here is that pic from the last weekend of TRF and Pennywise with no mask so I can show you her great make-up. You can tell she’s a very pretty girl even with the make-up.
I arrive before the festival opens, go in the gates right at 9am and start getting pics of a lot of main characters that are gathered by the entrance in the morning. Many days, I had 1/3 of my daily quota for pics within the first hour and a half.
After shooting for a while, I would stop by and grab breakfast. My first day there, Saturday, I tried the Kolaches. Where I grew up, these are called ‘Pigs in a Blanket’. The food was hot and the milk was cold.
It was a good breakfast and gave me energy to do a lot of walking and talking.
On Sunday morning, I decided to try the ‘Biscuits and Gravy’ with sausage. That was really good. Both days, I ate food from The Queen’s Pantry. It’s a great Food Stand and I ate there often during the 6 weekends I was at TRF.
Here is Phil, aka Houston Tan Man. I met Phil in 2015 at a Comicon in Houston. I loved getting his pic then and I was thrilled to see him at TRF.
Phil is one of the nicest people that I’ve ever met while covering Special Events. And I’ve been doing this for over 25 years.
He’s another much-needed character at TRF. Phil poses for photos all day and does it happily. He also walks in the parade at noon. Then later, he makes appearances around TRF as Tan Man.
If you see Phil next season at TRF, tell him The STORM Factory sent you. I’m sure he’ll laugh.
That first weekend I ran into another friend from the Comicon circuit. Greg works at Booth 212, Catskill Mountain Moccasins.
It was great running into Greg and it worked out to my benefit. Greg allowed me to store my backpack and coat at their booth, in the back area. That was a huge help to me. Many thanks to Greg and Catskill Mountain Moccasins.
This next pic is of Sara and myself. Sara works for Catskill Moccasins as a Manager. Her regular job is in the Nursing Field, but she also works at RenFaires around the country representing Catskill Moccasins.
Sara was so nice to me. She even offered me a free ticket to come back to the festival. Meeting Sara and becoming friends with her was a high point of my TRF experience this year.
I photographed this young lady several times also. Her character doesn’t speak so I don’t have much info on her, other than she is beautiful.
Now look closely… is this the same girl? I don’t think so, but I’m not sure. You be the judge.
I met Katrina that first weekend and was able to run into her a few more weekends. One day I walked by her and in her best deadpan accent, she said, “Have a horrible day.” I couldn’t help but laugh.
It’s a good line for her character to say and she plays it well.
This is Chelsea. I tried to photogrpah her every weekend. She worked at a little stand that sold Bird Whistles. She sold a lot of them. I was surprised out how many kids wanted a Bird Whistle.
Chelsea was another of my favorite people to photograph. We would talk about the festival and other things, so I looked forward to passing by and seeing her each day.
I don’t know if I’m alone with this, but I spent a lot of time photographing the Food Service staffs. I shot quite a few pics of the crews working the food stands.
And everybody allowed me to photograph them. I tried to focus on them because they were working while everybody else drank, ate and played.
I know what that’s like so I made a conscious effort to put a spotlight on them as well. They work very long hours, on their feet all day, busy greeting and serving hundreds of people and all with a smile on their faces. They deserve some limelight.
I met Amanda that first weekend. She works in the Sea Devil bar area. Her little bar is called ‘The Glory Hole’. Now that’s funny.
Amanda served me my first beer at about 10am on that first Saturday morning. Every day after, I met Amanda about 10am for my morning beer.
We would talk about the festival and have some laughs. Amanda was another friend I made at TRF this year and I look forward to seeing her again in 2022.
Glenda, the Good Witch is another main character at the TexRenFest.
Erin’s costume is great. And she was always nice enough to pose for me.
As a photographer, I have a few pet peeves. For the first shot, I believe in getting everything in the frame. Then you can step up for a close-up, etc.
When I give someone my phone to take my pic, I always say to get the feet in the frame also. You can always crop in, but you can’t add what’s not in the original photo.
I gave my phone to an older gentleman to get my photo with Erin. He cut off the bottom of her dress.
I didn’t feel like bothering him to shoot it again.
You’ll see Erin in future posts. She’s a favorite of mine.
I overheard Erin talking about how she made her scepter.
What is a Queen scepter?
A sceptre (British English) or scepter (American English) is a staff or wand held in the hand by a ruling monarch as an item of royal or imperial insignia. Figuratively, it means royal or imperial authority or sovereignty.
I ran into Jay several times during my time at TRF this season. Jay even asked me to come by his booth to photograph the ladies he works with. I even did a short commercial for his booth.
Jay said that some people call him ‘Pot Head’ because of his outfit. I laughed at that and started calling him Pot Head.
I used this photo as the Feature Image for the Saturday pics from TRF in my Photo Galleries. She was a cutie and I loved her hat.
These next 2 pics are of Mickel. I photographed him 2 or 3 times over the course of TRF this season and he was always a great pic.
I enjoyed seeing some familiar faces every weekend. It made my job easier when I knew that I’d be getting some good photos each day.
This couple looked great and I was happy to get their pic. That beard looks good.
This is the first time that I photographed Kevin, in the green, but it wouldn’t be the last. Kevin posed for me several more times over the weekends.
This trio had some really nice clothes on. That is 3 very stylish pirates right there.
This is the second Lilly that I ran into that first weekend. This Lilly works as a dancer for a bagpipe band called Tartanic.
I enjoyed watching their act. And having a beautiful girl like Lilly dancing to the music only adds to the experience.
I tried to photograph Lilly every chance I got. Her make-up was always spectacular and I looked forward to seeing what she did next.
Lilly also has a serious hat game. I loved the different head-pieces she wore during TRF 2021. You’ll see others in future posts about TRF.
I approached lots of people for photos that first weekend. I only had a few refusals. I was polite when they refused to pose for me. I just walked off thinking it was their loss to get a great pic of themselves having fun at a great festival.
I’m happy these 2 girls agreed to pose for me. And I’m sure they were happy with this pic.
I like to call myself a Memory Maker. I capture the fun things in life and help people remember a fun time in their lives.
This was my first pic of the Spanish Court. I didn’t even realize the guy in the middle was the Spanish King.
These next 4 pics are some of my favorites from the Pirate Weekend.
I saw this woman standing outside of a shop and thought she was attractive and looked great. I asked her for her photo and she said yes.
I always take 2 shots. A full body shot and a close-up.
She struck such a cool pose and had a great smile.
Then her husband and daughter showed up. I was happy to snap their pic.
As I said, I’m a Memory Maker. And this family has some great photos to remember their day at TRF. They’ll enjoy these pics for years to come. And that makes me as happy as a Pirate with both his hands on booty.
These next 2 pics are some more of my favorites from the weekend. Now this guy really looks the part of a Pirate. The hat is awesome.
And his clothes all have the same color scheme as his hat. His overall look is fantastic.
This Pirate works at the Sea Devil bar area. He’s a singer in a Pirate-themed band. I was glad to get this pic for him. See: Memory Maker.
I met Paolo that first weekend also. He’s very talented and I watched his show several times over 6 weekends.
At one point in his act, he juggles knives while balancing on a ball. Very impressive.
This couple was fun to photograph.
As I was taking their pic, the guy said something about cropping him out of the photo. I laughed and told him I was good at cropping.
When I got home, I cropped him out just for the laugh of it.
Blaze works at a Cajun Food Stand. As you can tell, she was one of the prettier girls that I photographed during the weekend. And yes… I remembered where she worked and photographed her several more times.
I photographed this mother and her twin daughters. The twins were very cute in their Pirate hats.
When I stepped up for the close-up shot, the mom made a funny face. When I showed the twins the photo, they busted out laughing at their mom’s expression in the picture.
This is Apollo. He’s part of the talented act Cirque Olympus. I shot video of their act and will load it onto YouTube soon. It’s already in my Photo Galleries.
Pirate weekend will always be a favorite weekend at TRF for me. As a Pirate, I prefer to mix with my own kind.
I saw this woman’s hat and had to get a photo of her. She looked so cute.
As I was talking to her, she mentioned that her friends said her hat was too small. I told her it was very cute and she liked that.
This first weekend, I met Alex Draco. I ended up getting his pics several more times over the course of the 6 weekends.
Alex is a photographer also and takes some good pics of the festival. I learned a lot about RenFaires from Alex. More about that in a future post.
Smiles are contagious. Every time I made someone happy by showing them their photo, I walked off with a smile also.
I photographed this Royal Gentleman a few times while at TRF. I love his clothes.
The Texas Renaissance Festival is the largest and best in the country. It’s in Houston’s backyard. 500,000 people attend each year. There’s talented acts, great food and drink, fabulous costumes, outfits and garb, fun-loving people everywhere you turn… what is not to love about the Texas Renaissance Festival?
This guy reminded me of Jason Mamoa.
I love that shirts are optional at the TexRenFest.
My first guess is that she is the Phoenix. The colors are magnificent and her hair goes with the whole outfit. One of my favorite pics.
I enjoy shooting groups because it is a pic that will be enjoyed by all of them for a long time.
This photo could be a Promo Photo for the festival. She looks that good in the pic with the bottle of mead.
I ended up with 234 pics and 1 video from the weekend. I would increase my quota over the next weekends.
After this first weekend at TRF, I was hooked and excited for the next weekend.
My next Blog Post will cover Halloween weekend and will be longer than this post with more photos and stories.
Thanx for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. And remember…
“Always be yourself… unless you can be a Pirate, then always be a Pirate.”