Category Archives: Texas

That Last Texas Sunrise

That Last Texas Sunrise

As I was driving west along Interstate 40, between Amarillo and Adrian, I saw all these cool wind farms.  The sun was rising behind me and I just couldn’t resist pulling over onto the shoulder in order to capture some images of the wind turbines and that sunrise.

At 7:20am on July 20th, I officially crossed the border out of Texas.  I whooped for joy then burst out crying.  My Texas departure and Pacific Northwest return have been 21 years in the making.  This is the beginning of an interesting adventure.

The sunrise was a nice send-off.

Wind Turbines And A West Texas Sunrise

Today, I’m heading into Petrified Forest National Park.  I arrived yesterday afternoon in the Painted Desert area, and after about 2 hours, decided the heat and driving was wearing me down enough that I needed to go on to the hotel down the road.  I’ll get back to the park early this morning while its “cooler.”

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

 

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Filed under Life, Photography, sunrise, Texas, Travel

Snow in Southeast Texas: An Oxymoron

Snow Pic 2

Just another Friday morning, up at the crack of dawn and headed out the door at 4am to beat the traffic heading north into Houston.  After opening the door, I looked around me and saw that it was SNOWING!  In SOUTHEAST Texas!  All thoughts of leaving for work left my brain as I grabbed my Canon 5DSR and 24-70mm f1.2 lens to get some shots of this rarity.  I mean, snow on palm ferns is pretty weird, ya gotta admit.

Dear Northerners:  before you roll your eyes over my excitement (and the excitement of everybody from Kingwood to Houston to Katy to Clute to Galveston), please allow me to explain to you:  in southeast Texas, I am currently living closer to the equator than the North Pole.  It once snowed about 8 inches on Christmas Eve in my town back in 2004, and then it snowed a teeny bit (and I do mean teeny) in 2009 – more north than south.  Snow is, indeed, rare, in my neck of the woods, and for many living around here, this is the only chance they may ever get to actually see, feel and even taste snow (I’m serious).

For me, it was a reminder of beautiful winter scenes I’ve photographed in previous years, and beautiful winter scenes I hope to photograph in the future.  It was early in the morning, quiet, and utterly beautiful.

Tech specs:  ISO between 1000-1250, shutter speed 25-30, aperture f4-f5.6, handheld, burst method.

Snow On The Palm Ferns 2Snow Pic 1Snow On The SpiderwebsSnow AtThe Apartment ComplexSnow At The Apartment Complex 3

 

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Filed under 5DSR, Canon, Events, low light photography, Photography, snow, Texas, weather, Weather

An Early Summer Visit to Padre Island National Seashore, Texas

Becky At Padre Island National Seashore

It seems like only yesterday, instead of 2 months ago, that I visited this national seashore southwest of my home.  I drive the 3 hours back down there last week (June 6-10) on assignment with the National Parks Traveler to photograph at least one public release of the endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtle.   It was a wonderful experience and I’ve written a couple of articles about this trip that will be published on the Traveler’s site.  I’ll let you know when that happens.

In the meantime, here’s a sampling of what I saw and experienced at Padre Island National Seashore in the early summer.

Moon Sky Stars Sand

A full moon, starry sky and sandy beach at Padre Island National Seashore.

Pre-Dawn Sky

Taking in the vast view.

Just Before The Sunrise

Looking northeast along the beach, just before sunrise.

Looking South Before The Sunrise

Looking southeast.  That barricade you see on the upper far right is the divider between the pedestrian-only portion of the seashore (where I was standing) and the pedestrian/vehicle portion of the seashore, which is basically the rest of the national seashore, all 60 miles of it.

Sunrise

Sunrise

Closeup Sunrise

A pelican-kind of morningOn Their Way To The Sea

En route to the Gulf of Mexico

About The Size Of A GoPro

A Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchling “swimming” across the sandy beach to get to the water of the Gulf of Mexico.  These little guys are smaller than a GoPro action cam.

Looking Down On The Hatchling Release

Standing atop a dune on this morning, overlooking a hatchling release.  There were about 400 people at the public hatchling release, that day.  The next day after this, there were 860 attendees (weekends are usually more-attended).

A Little Bit Of Sunshine

Another sunny day at Padre Island National Seashore

 

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Filed under National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Padre Island National Seashore, Photography, Texas, Travel, Uncategorized, wildlife

Gliding Over The Gulf

Gliding Over The Gulf

Pelicans are so very stately when flying (a little prehistoric, too). Thankfully, that gives me decent practice with my panning skills. It still helps to have a camera with a relatively fast fps (frames per second) count, and it also helps to remember to put your focus mode into AI Servo (or whatever mode your brand of camera calls the ability to track moving objects while keeping them in focus).

I’m all packed and ready for my trip back to this national seashore later this week. All I need to do is cook a few items to put in the cooler. I’m driving, which means I not only am able to keep my tripods fully extended in the back of the car, but I can, essentially, bring along the kitchen sink, coffee maker, and refrigerator

On behalf of the National Parks Traveler, I’m traveling back to this national seashore to photograph a release of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle hatchlings. Even though the hatchling schedule on the PAIS (Padre Island National Seashore) webpage gives a range of days during which there might be a release, that doesn’t always mean this will occur. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, though. And heck, I’ll be on vacation and the sunrises are amazing there, not to mention the seabird photography. I plan to stick around for a sunset or two, as well, and, on the 9th is the new moon, which means – unless there are storm clouds – I might see some stars.

Copyright Rebecca L. Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under birds, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, nature, Padre Island National Seashore, Photography, Texas, Travel

3 Days In Winter in Big Bend National Park

Moonlight Over The Window

I’m published – got a sweet 4-page article in the National Parks Traveler Winter Essential Parks Guide.  Click on the photo to go to the article.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Big Bend, Big Bend National Park, Seasons, Texas, weather, winter

Red-Wing Blackbird

Red-Wing Blackbird

I can’t tell you how many times I have tried to capture a good image of this neat bird.  I know, blackbirds are blackbirds are blackbirds (aka ordinary), but those chevrons of bright orange-red are quite the eye-grabber.  And these birds have such a pretty song.

This photo was taken out at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge, here in southeast Texas, not too far from where I live.  I had my Canon 1DX attached to the 500mm prime lens.  Thanks for my efforts at losing weight and building up some arm strength, I was able to hand-hold the camera/lens combo (IS turned On) and grab some shots of this red-wing blackbird.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1DX, birds, Brazoria NWR, Canon, Canon 500mm f/4L IS II, Canon Lens, nature, Photography, Texas, Uncategorized, Wildlife Refuge

Morning Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds In The Morning

I finished every single one of my errands/chores yesterday so I could drive out to the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge this morning to see what might be there: tall grass and reeds and cattails with lots of water but not much birdlife – at least, not in the area in which I found myself and nothing near to me and my 500mm lens. The clouds on this morning, however, were dark and fluffy and big and presaged the coming storms predicted for today. So I pulled out the other tripod and my Canon 5DSR with the 16-35mm f//4 IS lens, affixed a circular polarizer to it and used my grad ND filter to bring out the texture in the clouds.

Clouds are a photographer’s best friend. They add drama and character to an already lovely scene and can really spice up an otherwise ordinary or ho-hum scene. The thing about photographing awesome clouds, though, is that you also need a frame of reference or some scale. So don’t just photograph the clouds themselves. Your viewers won’t know whether this was a horizon-filling scene or just a small spot in the sky. Add some ground or buildings or *something* to the cloud scene.

Copyright Rebecca L Latson, all rights reserved.

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Filed under 5DSR, Brazoria NWR, Canon, Landscape, nature, Photography, Texas, Uncategorized, Wildlife Refuge