Sunday, July 28, 2013

Exploring the Nolan River

One of the areas I have spent some time exploring this summer has been the Nolan River.  It is a small river, maybe 30 miles long that runs through two counties from headwaters southwest of Burleson to the Brazos River at the north end of Lake Whitney.

This is a river few people take the time to explore.  Only a few fishermen and paddlers seem to make any use of it.

It is a river I had seen some images of once and filed away in memory to check out at some point in the future.  This summer has been that point.  After looking at Google Maps and finding what I thought was a bluff with access, I made a trip down several weeks ago and have made a few more since exploring some different areas where I could get to the river.

We have had some rain move in and out of the area over the last several days so i had high hopes from some good flow to the river and a big sunrise.  I left Fort Worth at 4:30am to be there with plenty of time for sunrise and by the time I made the one hour drive the sky went from overcast to almost completely clear.  I found the river very low, meaning the rain we had in Cowtown had not fallen further south.  I wish it had more water would have been a good thing.  I did my first image of the twilight sky and the moon.

The sunrise was a very limited small show with just a touch of color.  However, as quickly as the clouds moved off before sunrise they came back and soon we were under overcast sky again.  I actually liked this as they were moving and had texture.  I knew I would be able to make some longer exposures and get some nice movement in the sky.  So as the clouds got thicker I was able to add a mild neutral density filter and make several images in the 20-30 second range which put both some nice streaks in the sky as well as the water.

I spent a few hours along the bluff with a few images to show for it.

Then it was off to find some county roads that crossed the river and see if there were any images possible.  We had some luck and did find a nice shaded stretch with good access at  a bridge.  I was able to make a few more images of the river.  Then with a semi-successful morning of photography completed I was able to make the run to Glen Rose and get some BBQ and cobbler.  Because, hey-n


othing tops off a morning of good photography like some good eatin!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What a Little Rain Does

Wow, what a difference a little rain makes.  After writing my last post, I had to spend a few days out of town on business.  While I was on the road it rained for three days.  A nice light, soak it up kind of rain.  A rain we needed.

It also put a little water into the local creeks and rivers. So taking a chance this morning, I went back to the shot I did a few weeks ago and there was just enough water to pick up a good reflection of the sunrise.

Totally different image than my last post.  A little rain got me what I needed and wanted in the image. 

Did I mention this is a shot withing 20 minutes of home?  It is another of those locations I have been lucky enough to find and take advantage of for a quick sunrise or sunset.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

We Need Rain

It is the long days of summer here in Texas.  It is a dry year so far too.  We are close to 5" under on rainfall.  It is that time of the year when it can be downright tough for photography with hot days and clear skies.

Of course, that does not deter me from photography.  I still go out with camera in hopes of great light.  It is just a little harder to get.

On the morning of the 4th, I convinced a few other photographers that we should meet early and do a little photography at sunrise.  I had little hope for clouds and about zero chance of rain.

We met early and drove just outside of town to an area we have had good luck with in the past and was close enough that we could shoot sunrise and then get on about the holiday.

As it got lighter we noticed a few clouds were actually in the sky and it looked like there was the possibility of a good sunrise after all.

We dispersed along a road each seeking a view we liked.

I started with the fence capturing the sun and the nicely lit clouds above.  Then I moved over to the creek to see if there was any chance of a reflection.  Except there was no creek.  Only a rocky stream bed was to be seen.  I worked with it getting something that had a little bit of a leading line quality and just wondered what even a little water would have done for it.  

Friday, July 12, 2013

Hidden Gems

One of my favorite things to do is find hidden local gems for photography.  I constantly hear from other local photographer, that there is nothing to photograph locally.

I do not agree.  I think there is some neat stuff.  You just have to find it.

I use Google Maps and Google Earth to explore views of areas and see what might be worth exploring.  I also take weekend drives to see what I might find.


I had been looking at maps and thought that there might be some bluffs with access on a river south of here.  Some work with both maps and a little searching showed a couple of images of a bluff and the maps showed what looked like easy public access.  That last part is a big deal here in Texas where almost all land is privately owned and trespassing is a big no no.

After confirming I could get to the river, I convinced a buddy to go.  We made it to the area in one hour.  Found our way down to the bluff and were quite impressed.  It was totally unexpected and very awesome.  We spent a couple of hours exploring it even though we missed the best light.  I liked it so much I went back a week later.  Left home at 4:45, did the drive, walk in and was taking images by 6:00, photographed for an hour for the best light and was home and on my bike by 8:30.  Not a bad way to spend a morning!

Best of all, I had a new place to add to my list of local locations.  At one hour it was close enough to day trip on a Saturday morning.  It had easy access.  It was a neat feature.  It was also something few other people seemed to photograph.  I can already see making trips here a few times a year.  I wonder what this might be like in fall or winter?  I see more trips here in my future!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Thinking Local

Landscape photography is something that makes me want to get in the car and head west.  Big Bend, Grand Canyon, Yosemite.  Someplace far.  Half the fun of it might just be the drive.  

Well, unfortunately, I cannot go that far every week.  Or even every month (for that matter).  That means I have to do a lot of my photography close to home.  If you have ever looked at the archives of this blog, you know I explore the area close to home in search of a chance to get out and do some photography.

Recently, I put together a morning in a local park for a little local photography.  It is a park I knew had a couple of small creeks in and might be a spot for nice fall color.  Except it was June.  Let's just say late June-along with July and August) are not really photography season in Texas.  It is too green, too hot, too clear, and too buggy.  Basically I go out in the summer but feel photography is for the most part "out of season".   So, I did not expect much on a local morning.

I knew sunrise was at 6:30 AM and getting up at more normal 4:45 AM would give me plenty of time, especially since I expected nothing but clear skies.  Well when I took my dogs out I noticed a few clouds in the sky and suddenly realized it could be a good morning.  I departed quickly and was on location before 5:30 AM.  I was glad I was!

I did a few early images among the trees of the park but decided the sunrise needed some water.  I walked down to a bridge across one of the creeks and set up to capture a pretty good sunrise.  The stream has a rocky base and had just enough water to capture the reflection of the orange sky.

It turned out to be great light and I walked away with a good image that captured the best of the water and morning light.  I will have to think of this place in November as a possible sunrise during fall color and see what I might be able to get then.