On the road to Big Bend there are many choices. Which way to go, what towns to pass through, where to eat, etc. Luckily there are no wrong choices as they are all good. I try to go into Big Bend by different routes to add to the variety and see different county in different light.
Last month I left Cowtown and got out to Fort Stockton to stay the night. I knew I would up and gone early and decided to take a different route to the park. Instead of taking US 385 toward Marathon, I decided to head southeast on US 285 to Sanderson. Think of it as a triangle. I was going to take two sides of it rather than one. It would be a little longer but give me an opportunity to see a sunrise in an area I normally see at mid day.
I have passed through Sanderson on a few trips heading home from Big Bend, but had never driven that stretch of US 285. I left in the dark and got to some interesting canyon country in that early morning twilight. I could also see a thunderstorm to the southwest, so I kept going hoping things might all come together for a great sunrise.
That was a tough call to make as I was driving. I was seeing some spots that might work for a sunrise. However, I kept going as it was still very early. Also, part of it was the lure of the "next bend" might have something better.
I got to Sanderson and started west on US 90. The light was coming up fast and I knew I would need to pick a spot soon. Then things started to happen fast.
I was now driving right at the rapidly approaching storm and the sun was starting to light up the sky in red, orange, and purple.
I stopped, got out the tripod and made about half a dozen images of the amazing clouds and light. One of them is the second image here. Then lightening happened three times in rapid succession very close. Despite the amazing light, prudence won out over trying to capture that light and I retreated to the Element for safety. I drove west slowly photographing out the widow hand holding the camera at a higher ISO.
It started raining.
I kept driving until I was west of the rain and seemed to be out from under the lightening. Then I stopped and started photographing again along the side of the road. The storm was now moving away from me. The mesquite was wet from the passing rains. The clouds were thick and lit from the morning light. Talk about a moment. The top image is the high point of that morning.
I stayed there, with camera, working until the sun appeared. The light then changed and the scene took on a whole different look. I made a few more images and then started west again looking for the next composition.
What a way to start the trip! This was everything you hope for as a photographer! It was still early in the day and little did I know but it would take me over three hours to drive the next 50 miles into Marathon I would stop so many times.
See more images from this part of Texas in my galleries West Texas Galleries