Monday, February 16, 2009

Where the Wild West Began and Lives

Fort Worth is Where the West Begins. It is a slogan long associated with the town of Fort Worth. There is a big difference from standing in Dallas and looking east and standing in Fort Worth and looking west. Look west and see rolling grass and hills. In many ways it is similar to what the Comanche saw when this was the eastern range of their buffalo hunt.

Fort Worth is also known as Cowtown. It is the place that is here because of the cow. First it was a stop on the trail of the great cattle drives and then it became the destination of the drive. The great stockyards took the cattle in and the Armour and Swift companies took them out. The meat packers are gone now but the Stockyards still remain.


For that matter so does the Fort Worth Stock Exchange. Of course, it is livestock on our exchange.

The area is full of history- from the pens, to the exchange to the ruins of the plants, to the saloons. It is a history of the cow and the west. It is a place where history still walks.

It is also a place I take the cameras and explore on a regular basis. It is not the wild of Big Bend but it is a piece of the Wild West and that is pretty good for a Saturday morning in town.

These last few weekends I made it out there on a couple of occasions and got lucky with great light.

I started off early in the pens and was able to capture them in the long twilight of an overcast morning. Some of the best light and clouds I have had here. The old wood of the pens, the old Exchange building and the coliseum the rodeo is in plus the glow of the clouds. The pens still see use on occasion and with the annual Stock Show going on there were several horses staying the night in the pens.

The city still maintains a small herd of longhorns (and some working cowboys) and drives them twice a day. It is a great scene for the tourist but one I'll take in too. Since I was there early the cattle were still in the pens. I went up on the catwalk trying to get a different angle on them. I managed to hang my tripod/camera off the catwalk into the herd and got a great view of being in the herd (note-do not try this at home kids).

Finally I got up close along one of the fences and one checked me out. Got so close I missed the focus but still liked the image. And yes he fogged my lens.




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