Saturday, December 31, 2011

Falls on the West Fork

Falls of the West Fork.  

The West Fork of the Trinity River runs through Fort Worth and forms the Trinity River when it meets the Clear Fork at downtown Fort Worth. 

In fact, one could go as far to say the original fort was established there precisely because of that fact.

I spend a great deal of time on the Clear Fork as I live on the banks of the river.  It is a place I can visit rocky rapids and a waterfall in just a five minute walk from my home.  This year I began exploring the West Fork more by bike and by Google Maps.

As I put in my last post, I began to visit several areas that I had overlooked for years.  Not only did I find some great fall color locations, I also "found" this waterfall.  I say found because I am shocked how there seems to be almost zero knowledge about it with area photographers and outdoorsmen.  Even the mountain bikers who visit the area did not mention it.  A search on Flickr only turns up a few images, none of which put it in context.  

So when I visited it and found this waterfall, I was stunned.  It is the find of my photography year-and what a way to end it!

On an mid December morning with some fall color in the trees, crisp temps, fog in the river valley and the falls putting up their own misty steam made it a fantastic location.

These falls were not the 3 foot falls I expected.  These are around a 10 foot drop!

A 10 foot drop might not be much to those folks in the mountains, but to find such a waterfall on the south plains in the middle of the city of Fort Worth is rare indeed.

The flow over the falls was nice but with the drought we have had is still minimal.  I bet they will roar when we get some spring rains.
Working on finding the best angles I sought out the best clouds and trees for backgrounds.  I was even able to wade across the river above the falls and shoot them from the far side.

These images here are my attempt to be able to show this fantastic location.  I even added an image of me on the falls taken by a buddy of mine to show them in context of how tall they really are.

I am so hoping for a cold snap, ice and snow, maybe even a good old blizzard to give this area some winter character!  Because if it does, this will be exactly where I am taking my camera.  Spring rains should make them roar and then early December will find me right back here hoping for fall colors at their peak and the falls flowing.

Adding such a place to the local areas I can photograph is a fantastic find.  One that I will get many Saturday's of visits out of.  I am not sure how I overlooked it but it makes me want to do even more exploration around town and see what else I might be missing.

See more images from the West Fork in the Trinity River section of my website Galleries.

Trinity River Galleries

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fall Colors on the West Fork

 Fall on the West Fork of the Trinity River.

The Trinity River starts where the Clear Fork and the West Fork meet at downtown Fort Worth.  I live along the Clear Fork and spend most of my photograph around town time along the banks of the Clear Fork.  It is a magnificent river that I have chronicled in this blog before.  

Having some great locations on the Clear Fork within a five minute walk of where I live means I have really overlooked the potential of the West Fork for a long time.  This year I started spending more time along the West Fork if for no other reason than to expand the local areas available to me to photograph.  Between looking at Google Maps and riding my bike along the Trinity Trails, I started to find some areas worth further exploration.  This past month I started to visit some of those areas as fall colors reached north Texas.

Wow, I have ever been missing some neat areas!  After just a couple of visits it only reaffirms the idea that you sure can find great locations anywhere-even where you live.  I wrote about that idea in an article over at NatureScapes Network and it still surprises me how true it really is.  You can see the article here Home Town Nature Photography Article

Here are just a couple of images of the fall color and the fog that I found in a park that is smack dab in the city of Fort Worth.  

I really only wish I had been able to get here sooner in the fall color season because many of the trees were already bare.  There was still some great color as the red oaks were really vivid but I think it would be more impressive if I had made it just one Saturday earlier.

I am already hoping for snow over our brief winter, looking forward to spring and even next fall when this will become a regular stop.

And if you think the fall colors here are nice wait until my next post and you can see the waterfall I found on the river......

Monday, December 19, 2011

Autumn Reds and Yellows

The highlight of the local fall color scene here in Fort Worth is our Japanese Garden.  It is a neat, well designed and very pleasing garden. 

The architecture is spot on with pagodas, a tea house and other Japanese inspired pieces.  All of that makes it more than interesting to me as a place to visit but the big draw are the Japanese Maples.  Especially when they turn red in the fall.

I look forward to the approach of Thanksgiving and start regular visits into the garden to see the colors.  In my last post I showed several images of my favorite viewpoint.

Here are a few of the other views I liked this past year.  See the vivid colors or the trees and the different angles in the gardens.  It is a place with some nice locations and a place to do many neat "small landscapes" like Eliot Porter did.

As the season progressed and the leaves of the native trees started falling the reds of the maples got more intense.  On a day in the rain, I spent several minutes photographing the leaves as they fell on a boardwalk.
On another heavy overcast day a heron was perched in a maple and I could not resist trying a shot.  Understand I am a rocks and trees photographer.  Wildlife, especially birds are not my thing but I think this one turned out ok. 

As I write this on the 19th I am still seeing some lingering colors here in Cowtown.  We are past peak but I may even get again this week hoping for one or two last images to the fall color season.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Progression of Fall

 The progression of fall.  Autumn comes late to the south plains.  Most well known fall color areas get color in late September and early October.  Here in Fort Worth it gets good around Thanksgiving.

Here it is mid December and there is still some good fall color to be seen.  Our peak was about the first week of the month and we typically will see color until around Christmas week.

As I do every year at this time I frequent our local Japanese Garden to photograph the vivid reds of the Japanese maples there.  This year was no different and I made several trips to the gardens.  

The colors were not as vivid this year and ran late.  I am sure most of that was related to the long, hot, dry summer we had here in Texas.  Trees are hardy but the almost total lack of any rain combined with something like seventy 100+ degree days over the summer had them lack that over the top red they can get.

Of course, that was not about to stop me.  I was in the garden every four or five days.  Luckily we have finally had some rain and unlike the past few years I was able to visit the gardens on several cloudy days and even once in a nice study rain.

 Here you can see the progression of color from my favorite view.  Forgive me for having them slightly out of order.

The first image is actually at the bottom here and was from before Thanksgiving.  The colors had started but it was just starting.

I was back a few days later and got the second image.  Now, we are talking color, but still not peak.

The third image of the series is actually the top one.  It was a day I was there in the rain and the colors were outstanding. Nothing like photographing fall color in the rain.

The final image is the second one and was made last Friday evening on my way home from the office, I stopped in for a few minutes.  The colors were still bright but getting to be a little past their prime.

I'll hopefully get to make it out there one more time to see the last vestige of fall color.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fall Colors of Palo Pinto County

Made a drive on a day of off and on rain west of town out to Palo Pinto County.  I know of several areas with bluffs and trees out beyond the Brazos River that I was hoping would have some nice fall colors.

Many of the trees were past their prime but the were still some with a little vivid color in them.

It was one of those days you photographed in some steady rain, then it would stop, then it would mist, then it would do start again.

It was a great day for a good Gore-Tex rain jacket as well as a good rain cover too.  Luckily I have both.  After using plastic bags mostly and even a hat to cover my camera in the past I have been pretty happy with a Kata rain cover.  It has two sleeves for your hands and a clear back so you can work the controls.  I do a lot of live view focusing and it works well for that.  Keeps the camera dry and I only occasionally have to wipe down the rain on the front of the lens.

So out in the country in the rain catching one of the later waves of fall color. Now that is a great day!

Here are a few captures.  When I was in the field and when I looked at the images in the field I thought it was going to be a great picture day.  However, back at the computer I thought these were rather ho-hum.  Do not get me wrong.  It was a great day, I just do not think the images captured the greatness of it.

Not every day can be perfect with great clouds, magic light, and amazing images.  This was a pretty darn great day despite the rain (which I actually really liked) to be out photographing.  I just wish I was a better photographer who could bring back the magic of each day in the field.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Waterfall in Fall

A waterfall on the south plains.  Sounds almost silly, but I have found several waterfalls that exist on the flat south plains here in Fort Worth.

You can see some images of the river spanning Great Falls of the Clear Fork in several posts here on my blog.  Here is a new for for these pages.  You might call this Carswell Falls.  On a side creek of the West Fork of the Trinity a waterfall has roughly a 12 foot drop.  It is one that was unknown to the city as for years it was on Carswell Air Force Base.  With the base realignment around the turn of the century, the stretch of creek that the falls are on became public property.  There was a trailhead built nearby and the Trinity Trails were connected to it.

Still it is a relative unknown.  After hearing about it, my wife and I biked up the West Fork and found the side creek, which I believe might be named Farmers Branch Creek or Hawks Creek.  But rather than call it something that sounds like a city near Dallas let's go with Carswell Falls.

Since finding out about it, I have been waiting for some good rains to really make it dramatic.  Well with the drought this year I waited and waited.  Finally this last weekend saw it rain for some four days.  

Four days of a nice slow rain was just what we needed after the dry hot summer and it is also just the thing to get the falls flowing.

I drove out and found not only were the falls flowing but I was able to even capture some of the local fall colors with it.

Here you will find three views I captured over about an hour out in the rain.
Each one is a little bit different and hopefully each captures the beauty of this great little location, a hidden treasure of the south plains- a natural waterfall in Fort Worth.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Autumn on the Clear Fork of the Trinity

Autumn on the Clear Fork.  Fall finally gets to Fort Worth in November.  People tend not to think of north Texas as a fall color location but I find that if you get out and explore you can find some nice fall colors.

I spent several mornings in the middle of the month riding the Trinity Trails along the Clear Fork of the Trinity River and as I was seeing some nice fall color, decided to trade up my usual biking camera which is my little small format point and shoot for my DSLR and a regular tripod.

The Trinity Trails run for many miles through Cowtown but I decided to concentrate on my end of the river and to just photograph the Clear Fork.

So over a few days I was able to see the river in some nice autumn colors of yellow, orange and red. The bike added a mobility that just walking lacked and it also allowed me to reach some areas that are not as easily accessible from the road.

Here are a few images to get a feel for Fort Worth in the fall.
I really like the top image.  It is from a small hill that overlooks the river and the trail and you can see the bike bridge crossing the Clear Fork.  I have been waiting for fall just to take that shot after scoping it out earlier this summer.

You can also see some of the nicer reds of the red oaks in the second image.  We mostly get yellows here but the red oaks can really put on a nice display.

Another image of the river in its fall dressing.  Finally a view of the trees along the rivers edge with some yucca.