Hahnemühle USA–my new sponsor and new favorite paper

A couple of months ago a friend of mine went to the Houston Camera Exchange to get me a box of 13″ X 19″ cotton rag paper and my usual brand wasn’t in stock. Talk about serendipity-the paper they had was Photo Rag Matte 308 by Hahnemühle USA–and I loved it. It’s about the sharpest rag matte I’ve ever worked with and it beautifully rendered my images, so of course I wanted more of it. I very rarely print on anything but matte–if you use current Zeiss lenses and your film images  were shot with Leicas, Hasselblads (there’s Zeiss again!) and Commercial Ektars and Schneider glass for large format, you really don’t need gloss==and I appreciate not necessarily mimicking the look and feel of traditional wet darkroom fiber base paper. This next trip to the store I was “stuck’ with German Etching since the Photo Rag Matte was sold out. What am I gonna do with this textured stuff?!? The image below of Gary Clark Jr. printed on the German Etching as if it was shot just to be on the paper, it was absolutely gorgeous. So was the featured image in this post of Richard Danielson of Vintage Trouble backstage at the Woodlands, the one of Nalle Colt from that same shoot, my Stevie Ray Vaughan Headdress shot, and on and on.


Gary Clark Jr. at the Paramount in Austin 12/05/16. German Etching!


Nalle Colt of Vintage Trouble, 8/06/2016. More German Etching. 🙂


Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1/31/1987. Most definitely German Etching!

And so I was also sold on the Hahnemühle USA German Etching, obviously. Next I decided to go ahead and try some of the glossy and pearl finish papers, the Baryta Gloss and Pearl and the Photo Rag Pearl 320. Lymon Hall, who owns the Houston Camera Exchange, and Veronica Cotter from Hahnemühle USA provided me with samples so why not, right? I used it for a few Black and White images of Jimmie Vaughan, Joe Ely with David Grissom, and SRV 3/25/1983 for State Fare, one of Lee Ellis’ great Houston restaurants. Guess what-I loved it! Very much like heavy weight glossy fiber based wet darkroom paper, but even better, and something I’ve never seen on digital fine art or older style paper: no dry down phenomenon. That’s pretty amazing, and it saves time, ink and paper for sure. I also decided I really like the Gloss and Pearl for color images. When I do shoot for color I want it to really knock people’s socks off. Clean and very sharp but not too subtle-sorta like a good Les Paul! These are great papers for that, and so is the Photo Rag Matte 308. All of these papers I’ve mentioned handle beautifully with my Epson Photo R2400 and that isn’t always true of other companies’ papers I’ve used. A few examples of images these two papers work particularly well with:

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Return to Fitzgerald’s: Ian Moore Band, June 11


Vintage Trouble, Woodlands, 8/06/2016


Doyle Bramhall II and his sister Georgia, Austin, 12/31/2013


Jimmie Vaughan, July 1983

Stevie Ray Vaughan and Joe Ely backstage at Fitzgerald’s, Houston, TX, July 1984

Of course most of these images will be in my print exhibit at Antone’s opening 2/17/2017 from 6-9pm. The one of Gary Clark Jr on the German Etching is going to be part of a package with my Epiphone Blak and Blu GCJr model and hard case donated by Mike Fuller, owner of Fuller’s Vintage Guitars we’re auctioning for the SIMS Foundation. See my previous blogpost and my website http://www.theheightsgallery.com for more on all that or contact me at thgall2@gmail.com

Once I started using these papers by Hahnemühle USA I decided to contact them and I’m very happy to say they returned my enthusiasm and they’re now a sponsor of my shows, “Absolute Music” starting with that big one at Antone’s 2/17/17. I’m very, very happy and grateful for Carol Boss’ help with that. I have also printed all of the installation for State Fare on their papers. What a great find! Truly the best series of substrates I’ve ever printed on. Thank you,  Hahnemühle– more to come soon.


It’s On: February 17 6-9pm at Antone’s! Absolutely

Thanks to all of my sponsors and to Will Bridges at Antone’s and Lee Ellis of Cherry Pie Hospitality the show is on! Opening date is now Friday, February 17 from 6-9pm upstairs at Antone’s. We will be auctioning off my beautiful Epiphone Gary Clark Jr. Blak and Blu Casino and hard case (donated by Mike Fuller at http://www.fullersguitar.com) and one of my prints of Gary to the SIMS Foundation and as always a percentage of my sales will go to the Food Bank. I would also like to give a special thanks to Mike Pittman at Rockefellers Houston, site of my two Pop-Up print shows.

Eric Tessmer headlines downstairs that night, and Tommy Shannon will open. After that the VIP Party goes on upstairs so don’t miss this. Some of my favorite images of SRV, Jimmie Vaughan, Joe Ely, David Grissom, Vintage Trouble,  Ian Moore, Gary Clark Jr. and others, really great music and  two great causes. Be there! Contact me at thgall2@gmail.com or here for more info.nallebackstagev-1-of-1

I will be blogging more and teasing you with some more of my images such as the one of Nalle Colt here and more on my sponsors very soon.

See you February 17!


Absolute Music Kickstarter Project!

Here’s that link: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/102054011/absolute-music-photoshow-at-antones-by-tracy-anne?ref=nav_search

Please check it out, I have great rewards such as archival prints, limited edition posters, my Stevie Ray Vaughan book, the exhibition catalog, music photography lessons, and an Epiphone Gary Clark Jr Casino and hard case donated my Fuller’s Vintage Guitar! http://www.fullersguitar.com More at http://www.theheightsgallery.com. It’s a good project to consider if you love photography, music or Stevie Ray Vaughan. Thank you!12212014texasfloodforprecisioncamera

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More on the Zeiss 35mm Loxia and 85mm Batis

I had the opportunity to work with two of my favorite Zeiss lens again thanks to the generosity of Nicole Balle. I took the 35mm Loxia and the 85mm Batis to some great Texas music shows and again was blown away by them. I used the 35mm more than the 85mm, and it’s size, finish and maximum aperture of f2 certainly reminded me of another famous German brand’s famous 35mm–at a fraction of the cost and every bit of the image quality. In fact, I like the Loxia more than the Summicron, I have to just say it! The 3D look, the T* coating–everything. These companies have battled each other since the old microscope days and Zeiss is winning. Using the two lenses in poor lighting, often wide open really tested their meddle and they are both amazing. I used them on the Sony a7II and NEX-7  their weight and balance worked beautifully on the mirrorless cameras. Full frame or 1.5 ratio, they’re great focal lengths for either Sony, and convenient to get that extra reach putting the 85mm on the NEX-7.  I can’t say enough about these two, and I will be buying them soon. I should mention that Zeiss is sponsoring my series of print exhibitions entitled “Absolute Music” January 7 in Houston at Rockefellers and February 10 in Austin upstairs at Antone’s as well as the exhibition catalog for the shows, and there will be several images taken with the lenses in all three. Great work, Zeiss–thank you again! See the photos here, although they’re jpegs I think they represent the 35mm f2 Loxia and the 85mm f1.8 Batis well. Come to my shows to see what those lenses can really do.


Charley Crockett, Loxia 35mm


Charley Crockett, Loxia 35mm


Charley Crockett, Loxia 35mm


Ty Taylor of Vintage Trouble, 85mm Batis


Nalle Colt of Vintage Trouble,  85mm Batis


Nalle Colt of Vintage Trouble,  85mm Batis


Gary Clark Jr at the Paramount in Austin, 85mm Batis


Ian Moore, 85mm Batis

“Absolute Music”: Pop-up Print Show at Rockefellers Houston; Big Print Exhibition at Antone’s in Austin February 2017


Big news here and at http://www.theheightsgallery.com! I will start having exhibitions of my prints November 25, 2016 (AKA Black Friday, y’awl) at Rockefellers in Houston, Texas. This is a pop-up in conjunction with Eric Tessmer’s headlining show, and will feature the posters above as well as 13″ X 19″ archival prints. All will be for sale and a percentage will benefit the Houston Food Bank. Then in February 2017 I will have a major print exhibition in the beautiful upstairs space at Antone’s in Austin, Texas. There will be music (stay tuned)and more charity events, too. The three posters will be for sale there, and I will be adding a fourth very soon. The guys on these posters are some of the coolest, nicest and most talented musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing and photographing: Eric Tessmer, Nalle Colt of Vintage Trouble and of course Stevie Ray Vaughan! These exhibits are in support of my upcoming photo book on SRV, his influences, and the great players who’ve come after. You can bet Eric and Nalle will be in there-in fact, Nalle wrote one of the Forwards for the book, as did guitarist and songwriter extraordinaire David Grissom-many thanks to them. I should mention here that Zeiss is supporting me, and many of the newer images including the color ones on the posters were taken with Zeiss lenses, which most definitely rock. I am working on the other companies as of 11/10/2016. 🙂
In case you’re wondering about that title: “Absolute Music”, it comes from a quote in Herman Hesse’s Demian: “I like listening to music, but only the kind you play, absolute music, the kind that makes you feel that someone is rattling at the doors of heaven and hell.” If there’s a better description of Stevie Ray Vaughan’s playing, well, I hope I wrote it in my book. We shall see, it’s photographs first, second, and third!
The exhibition addresses:
November 25 Pop-up show:
Rockefellers Houston
3620 Washington Avenue
Houston, TX 77007
Starts around 8pm, Eric Tessmer Band show later

Absolute Music February 2017:
Antone’s Austin
305 East 5th Street
Austin, TX 78701
Details soon

A Quick One

I’ll make this short and sweet: I think I’ve finally got this website conundrum licked. Not entirely to my satisfaction, but it’s a whole lot better than nothing. I would appreciate some feedback, suggestions, love letters, hate mail, etc so have at it! http://www.theheightsgallery.com

In other news, the Ian Moore show June 11 at Fitzgerald’s in Houston was superb, and if you missed it you should be kicking yourself. I’ve put several images I shot with the Sony/Zeiss combo in this Blog so you’ll have something to see besides my Homepage. Also my friend Eric Tessmer is releasing an EP next month and he and the band will be doing shows at the end of July to celebrate it. San Antonio July 22, Antone’s in Austin July 29, and Houston July 30. Hot Summer shows you need to go to!

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Ian Moore and His Guitar, June 11, Fitzgerald’s

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Ian Moore at Fitzgerald’s, June 11, 2016

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Return to Fitzgerald’s: Ian Moore Band, June 11


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At The Crossroads, Ian Moore at Fitzgerald’s, June 11

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Eric Tessmer and his 1959 Fender Strat, May 26, Saxon Pub, Austin


Meeting Stevie, ala Hunter S Thompson

First shot of Stevie Ray Vaughan, backstage at Fitzgerald'sSomething I wrote a little while back about my first encounter with Stevie Ray Vaughan at Fitzgerald’s in Houston. Truly a life changing experience. The memories will come flying back tonight when I see Ian Moore at the Old Polish Hall.Stevie Ray Vaughan, 3/25/1983

I first saw him at a soundcheck and I was blown away:
WE WERE SOMEWHERE NEAR THE STAGE WHEN THE MUSIC BEGAN TO TAKE HOLD……(March 25, 1983) I’d been sent with two writers in tow by a local free new wave paper to photograph the guitar phenom who was about to become David Bowie’s right hand man and leave Oak Cliff behind for good. This small, unassuming Texan stood up there with his battered Strat and his beautiful, huge hands and let loose a flurry of chords that flew around us and enveloped us in–in-disbelief? Shock? It was the second coming of Hendrix, Muddy Waters, and something so unique and alive there was nothing to compare it to. And this was a sound check? He was playing for us, for his bandmates Whipper and Tommy and his man Cutter, he was playing for himself, he was playing for a ride on the train to glory, he was playing because he just couldn’t hold back from the sheer need to wring and wrench those sounds out of his hands, his heart, and his soul. I was in heaven: I’d dreamt of capturing Hendrix on film but I was several years shy of that goal. Here was a man who made me forget I couldn’t be Jim Marshall, that my Leicas had been denied their shot at immortality. This music man would fill that classic 35mm frame with a talent enormous enough to match any headcutter who ever filled a club with his riffs and his voice–he and his instruments voices–and sear that sound onto the film and into our brains with an unmatchable intensity. The desire to raise my photography and my (as Ansel Adams would call it) fluency with my instrument near his level was almost unbearable. It was truly the turning point in my work–that special moment when everything becomes clear and sharp and intuitive–and it was because of Stevie Ray Vaughan. Time stood still for me–the first video Stevie made for MTV scared the bejesus out of me–did his hands really move that fast? Through the rangefinder his motions slowed to 1/30 of a second-an attainable photo, on TV it looked unimaginable that any camera could catch a fragment of his action. Something about him, his playing, the way he gave made that possible for me. Through some wonderful gift, and the size of his spirit, I hear him still. And this, this first witnessing of the sound that shot right through us-this was just a sound check?