Saturday, September 28, 2013

Rio Grande by Night

The Rio Grande by night with the stars reflected in the river.

On a clear morning, I was up and gone early from camp (much as always) and decided to work on some night images.  Night photography is something that digital has really opened up in a way film never could do.  I used to do night photography with film but it was hit and miss with long exposures.  Digital changed everything with night.  Crank up the ISO and even short 30 second exposures were now possible.

Sure a lot of the time it is still hit and miss, but sometimes you get some neat images.

Here I am overlooking the Rio Grande toward the lights of the Mexican village of Santa Elena with the Milky Way rising in the eastern sky right before dawn.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Western Wall of the Chisos

The Western Wall of the Chisos Mountains is a pretty impressive sight.  Fault-Blocking has dropped the western side of the park twice.  Creating almost a stair step down to the desert floor.  The first drop is from the Chisos to Burro Mesa.  Then there is a second drop on the west side of Burro Mesa into the desert floor.  The Sierra Ponce wall would be a step back up.

All the geology in action makes this an awesome park.

I was out on the western side of the park and decided to stay for the sunset lighting up the Chisos.

Big Bend did not disappoint.

In the afternoon the features of the Chisos such as the Window and Casa Grande get nice light.  The setting sun then turns the entire western side of the Chisos to a red-orange wall of fire.  With the volcanic origin of this side of the park, it only seems appropriate.

I stayed and watched the chow taking in the light as it went from daylight, to intense orange, and faded to twilight.

Here are a couple of images from the afternoon.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Closed Canyon

As I do every trip to Big Bend, I made the drive to Closed Canyon out in Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Follow the River Road past the Big Hill and it is the next site to stop and explore.  

As I have written about several times on this blog, it is a fantastic little canyon that reminds me Utah.  15 ft wide and a couple of hundred feet deep.  It is almost, but not quite, a slot canyon.  

Unlike most of my photography days, this is a mid-day shot.  It is usually 930 or so before I start into the canyon as you need the light to bounce down the canyon walls for interesting color.

Every trip into the canyon is different as floods change the nature of it.  Water holes dry up.  Dry falls can fill in and rain can scour out new obstacles to scramble around.

So every trip means some different
sights and things to work around.


Here are a couple of images to see what it looked like this year.  Find the links on the right to compare to prior years.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

River Road and the Big Hill

The road that runs west from Big Bend National Park is FM 170.  It is known as the "River Road".  It is one of the most scenic roads in the state as it winds west from Study Butte/BBNP toward Presidio.  It is not to be confused with the unpaved River Road in the park. This road is paved and a state route and it twists and turns along the Rio Grande. Much of the road lies in or along the edge of Big Bend Ranch State Park.  This is the national parks less visited neighbor and the largest state park in Texas.

As you head west of Lajitas the road will pass the old Contrabando movie set and then goes over the Big Hill.

The view of the Big Hill and the view from it are two of my favorites in the Big Bend country.

Trust me, you will not wonder which is the Big Hill.  Now if you need a hint, at the base of it you will find the famous and often photographed Tepee rest area.  The Big Hill is in and up the canyon behind it. 


At the summit you can park and take in the view east and west along the river.  The movie buff can find the DOM rock here.  The rock was seen in and a destination in Fandango, which is a great road trip through west Texas.  The really adventerous can climb to the summit of the small peak here (do be careful) and peer into the narrow canyon below.  

It is a great place to watch a sunset.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Desert

The desert is a place of amazing beauty that few people see and fewer appreciate.  Yes, it is a different kind of beauty than Yosemite or even the Grand Canyon, but the desert has a certain charm that once you recognize it, will always appeal to you.

For example there is something about a sunrise or sunset in the desert that few other places can match.  The dry air and open quality of the land make for some amazing light.  It is something to see.

It can also be scenic even in the harsh light of mid day.  I know that is not normally when I photograph but when I look at these two I find a certain beauty to these scenes.  I can imagine that in the right sunset, these places could be stunners even if at first glance it is nothing more than desert.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Secret Falls

Here is a single image to share of a secret little waterfall in a hidden little canyon in Big Bend.

As I seem to say in so many posts about this park, it is so big and has so many neat things to see that there are many sights that are completely missed by all but a few people.  This is another one of those little places.  It is too small to get attention when you have a canyon like Santa Elena just down the road, but for those who take the time, walk around, and wonder what is around the next bend....things like this show up.

This neat little spot requires a little scrambling to get to but the reward is a 15 foot dry fall with a fairly reliable waterhole for animals.  I also really like the narrow rocky canyon that leads up to it.

All in all a great little place to find.