As many of you know, I love to watch and observe all kinds of animals. So, an invitation to photograph an authentic West Texas cattle roundup was quickly accepted. Bobby and I took a leisurely drive through the Texas Hill Country on our way to the Texas Panhandle. Along the way we were fortunate to see the highways filled with assorted wildflowers. As we got further west, we stopped several times to photograph horses, abandoned homes, several county courthouses and took a drive through Palo Duro Canyon State Park just outside of Amarillo. At the ranch near Clarendon, the cowboys rounded up all the cattle to be able to work the calves with the needed vaccinations, branding, etc. Every minute was exciting and also a challenge to obtain images that represented the actions and appearance of the working cowboy and their horses. Some of these photos are present in the galleries: Just Texas; Domestic Animals: and Flowers. It was an awesome adventure!! To see some of the photos, click here to visit my set on Flickr.
Well, for over forty years we have been saying we need to go to Big Bend National Park. So, this was the year!! It was interesting and quite different from the places we usually visit. Basically, it is comprised of three different areas: the Chihuahuan Desert, the Chisos Mountains, and the Rio Grande River. The park is located where Mexico and the USA join and where the northern and southern flora and fauna of North America come together.
Click here to view the new photo album.
The wildflowers this Spring were so beautiful and abundant that I took several trips around Central Texas to capture some of the glory that was to be seen. The best internet sites to locate areas with lots of wildflowers are: Wildflower Haven and Lonestar – Wildflower sightings. They list specific roads and spots to be sure to see.
Some trips I made alone and some with my friend, Carol Serur, and my daughter, Andrea Garza. We made long drives totaling approximately 2500 miles to these areas: Southeast of San Antonio, Cuero and Gonzales, LaGrange, Inks Lake, Willow City, Llano, and, Mason. In many areas the bluebonnets seemed to never end and went on for miles filling the air with their sweet fragrance. With numerous varieties of wildflowers all blooming at the same time it was absolutely incredible to see. Some of the best scenes I photographed will be in the Hill Country Gallery; close up shots of flowers will be in the Flowers Gallery; the Domestic Animals, Days Gone By and Just Texas Galleries will have new images as well. As always, if you don’t see the “one” for you just contact me because I have many more available in my files.
The Hill Country Alliance is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to raise public awareness and build community support around the need to preserve the natural resources and heritage of the Central Texas Hill Country. A photo contest is held each year to select images that represent the best of the Hill Country in these four areas: Hill Country People; Natural Treasures; Hill Country Enterprise; and Working the Land. A calendar is produced and sold as a fund raiser for the organization. The collection of photographs featured in the 2010 calendar were chosen from over 400 entries.
I was overjoyed to learn that my photograph of grapes entitled “Pick Me” was selected as the winner in the Hill Country Enterprise category and is the featured photo for the month of August. The calendar can be purchased at their website:
Since the last post we have been several places where there have been some wonderful opportunities to do photography. In the fall of 2007, we went to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The aspens were past peak season and the elk rut was coming to an end but the scenery and the animals were still thrilling to see. Huge herds of elk were still in the valleys and photo ops were abundant. Near the end of the stay it snowed about 8-10 inches giving everything a new look. Probably one of the most fun photo opportunities was watching the coyotes hunt for voles under the snow, jump up and pounce on them. Almost every time they came up with a tasty snack.
In August, 2008, we rented a houseboat on Amistad Lake for several days. Our son and daughter along with their spouses and our four grandsons had great fun exploring caves, water skiing, tubing, and swimming. Most of our time was spent on the Devilâ€™s River arm of the lake where there are awesome cliffs, crystal clear water, and many beautiful scenes. The evening skies brought fantastic sunsets to enjoy.
Upon return from Amistad we flew to Belize, Central America. We stayed on the island of Caye Caulker where we enjoyed the laid back atmosphere. However, we stayed on the move going fishing, snorkeling, and strolling the island. I opted not to take my new Canon 40D and all the gear and instead took only my point and shoot Canon A650 IS. It worked out perfectly and I got some decent photos without drawing attention to myself.
I have to share my exciting news from a contest that I entered at the Rockport Center for the Arts last year. The theme of the contest was Architecture and the three categories of art were 3-D, painting, and photography. My entry was one that I took as a result of watching a great blue heron through my 400mm lens. What looked like a terrible shot turned into my 1st place winning entry when I put the camera down and saw the house reflection on the pond.
Most of my coastal photography consists of the many species of birds found there. Usually, my husband takes me out in the bay boat so I can either catch an exceptional sunrise or look for wildlife in the bays. This hot August trip seemed to be a little void of wildlife or scenic wondersâ€”just overwhelming heat and humidity. The one exception of â€œwildlifeâ€ was my dachshund, Lyndi Lu, who literally attacked the trout and flounder as they were brought into the boat.
She actually ended up with her entire body in the net and got totally covered with fish slime and scales. Many porpoise surfaced near the boat and she really got into her protective mode by growling and barking. It seems she was successful because not a one of them actually got in the boat—-ha! There are numerous pictures of her but somehow I donâ€™t think those will do much for my collection of photos. However, one sight was spectacular and that was watching a gigantic piece of oil field equipment being moved down the ship channel by numerous tugs.
With any luck I hoped to add a little variety to my portfolio while we were in the Port Aransas area. After crossing the ferry into Port A, I photographed scenes such as the red snapper catch and the Deep Sea Headquarters. It was with some difficulty that we passed up all the new stores (no shopping this trip) and headed out to the beach. As we drove down the beach we became aware of how much the dune structure had changed over the last several years. They are no longer barren but are covered with vegetation which is a sign of a successful program to prevent dune erosion. But, that does not make for the stereotypical picture with picturesque sandy dunes facing the incoming gulf waves. There were a few people on the beach which was good because they added a little life to some of the pictures that I did take.
Pictures without living creatures remind me of how my uninhabited Dept. 56 Christmas village looked in itâ€™s beginning. I suddenly realized my village looked as if a plague had wiped out the entire populationâ€”not making for a Happy Holiday appearance at all!