Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stripes

A few more images from the photo safari at Fossil Rim. I think the most cooperative animal was the Zebra, they were active and seemed interested enough to even pose for you.

I got several nice action images that afternoon of them running or interacting with each other.

Here are a couple of favorites.

Take a look at the first one. Three questions:

Do you like it?

Is it in color or black and white?

Does anything jump out at you?

Post a comment if you like.



Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Texas Serengeti

I had the opportunity to do a photographers tour at Fossil Rim this past weekend. Fossil Rim is a wildlife preserve that does research on various species from around the globe. They have a great drive that will take you through the rugged limestone hills in the Paluxy River country southwest of Fort Worth and let you see 60 some species and over 1000 animals.

They also offer a special tour for photographers where they take you out in their open air vehicles to see the animals and take you to places you could not get to on your own. I am not normally a wildlife photographer but I jumped at the chance to have this kind of access and to be able to stay out until dark photographing.

The weather has been spring like here for weeks but we got a cold front on Saturday morning and it was a cold afternoon where you bundled up.

Of course you forget all about the cold when you see a rhino up close and when the zebra herd goes galloping past at high speed.

Driving through several large pastures one goes past a variety of animals. We saw Wildebeest, Giraffes, Aoudad, Kudu, Oryx, etc. Texas may not be the Masai Mara but it has alot of similarities that make it a good home for a variety of animals. Plus driving among them in open air vehicles does give it that safari flair.

Some of the animals like the Blackbuck (in image one) were content to just lay out in the open grass and we photographed them from a distance. I like the look and it that grassy context could have been the foothills of the Karakoram.

Others like the zebra were active and gave us a thrill as they ran past several times, or went jumping and kicking up dust chasing each other.

I was concerned that all I have as a telephoto was a 70-200mm lens but it turns out to be just fine. There were a few times I wanted longer but more often than not the animals would be close and sometimes they got right close to you (see the Bongo in picture 3). Something about a 10mm lens seems to be drawing them in close( see the Longhorn in the previous post).

I would call it a very good day on safari.




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.




Thursday, February 12, 2009

And Then It Was Spring


The trees popped on Wednesday. Here comes spring in all it's glory.
It seems like we are about 7-10 days early. But in Texas anything is possible with the weather.
In a few more weeks we will be looking for wildflowers (we need more rain though). I am already planning and counting the days until I leave for Big Bend.
Ahhhh spring!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Overcast Winter Day



Ok, it is not really winter anymore in Texas. Signs of spring are all over the place. The trees will pop any day, maybe any hour.

Last weekend though was heavy overcast and often fast moving clouds. Those are always good days for a photograph so I had my camera with me.

I went with a theme that works well on the still bare trees, the bare branches against the sky. It is one we do not get much chance to normally do as it was only six weeks ago the trees lost their leaves and in a few more there will be new growth.


Groups of trees. Individual trees. I tried several images. I even went back and photographed some of the same trees I have been photographing in the fall and winter.



After I brought them into the computer I went to work with monochrome. There was little color to begin with and so I worked different possibilities of sepia, platinum, or straight black and white.

Here are two of the better ones. Note the colored effect trees on the bottom were the same ones I caught the full moon at late in the fall and posted a few weeks back.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Light Painting in the Park

Last weekend I had planned on meeting a few friends to photograph in the morning. We had decided to check out a park we had all driven past but none of us had really explored. I got there early and while waiting under a clear sky (we seem to have had a lot of that of late-and we are in a drought already this year) I saw this old log.

As an exercise in fun I decided to paint it with light while I waited. I set up the camera and dialed up a 30 second exposure. After starting it I was able to then move through the image lighting the length of the log with my LED headlamp. The great thing about doing that is as long as I keep moving I do not show in the image.

The LED puts out a blue tint to it's light but in this case I think it actually works well.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ice Fog


During the cold snap we got in the last week of January we had a couple of mornings of an ice fog. It was cold and frosty with a fog the left everything coated with ice crystals and in a low contrast haze.

I went for a walk with my pup and took the camera with me. What had been nice spring weather was a distant memory from the frosty hand of winter I was seeing now.

There was even a few places along the river edge that a thin layer of ice had formed. They would be no hockey on this ice and try as I might there would be no good image either.

I turned my attention to the frosted plants and photographed a few, including a dandelion patch that was an icy yellow this day. Here is one of the better frosted plants.
We walked the levy and the trees slowly appeared out of the fog and then disappeared behind us. I made several attempts at getting the right mix of trees and fog. After a few tries I settled on this nice mix of road, frosty grass and foggy trees.

Of course within a day it was back to 60, and like that our fleeting winter was gone.