The National Parks Traveler published my latest photography article. This month’s article deals with focusing on more than just “The Mountain” in Mount Rainier National Park. Click on the photo above to be taken to the article.
Spring means bluebonnets in Texas hill country.
It’s been maybe 4-5 years since I traveled into the hill country in search of those quintessential blue harbingers of a Texas spring.
One day, last week, a co-worker emailed to tell me she had driven to Chappell Hill and then on to Washington-on-the-Brazos to view the wildflowers. She said the color display was amazing.
So on my next Friday off, I took my cameras and myself on a little drive along Hwy 290 to Chappell Hill to see the color for myself.
I converted some of the flower photos I took at the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. I was aiming for something a little different, and I think I got that with this photo. I used Nik Software’s Silver Efex Pro and got rid of some of the structure, but not all of it. I wanted some detail delineated, but nothing that would overwhelm.
As usual on a weekend, I find myself restless and wanting to get out with the camera rather than tackle the chores that need to be done at home. Outside was rain and thunder, and I thought – even though it was 1:00PM and not a prime photography time – I’d take the short drive to Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. Mind you, I already knew that I wouldn’t be getting any stellar bird images with my 70-200mm, and I couldn’t be assured of any dramatic clouds. Nonetheless, I gathered the gear together and headed out the door.
What I *did* manage to find were flowers I either had not previously seen, or simply didn’t feel like photographing – like this common sunflower.
Yup, that’s its name: Erect Dayflower. If you like images of the Texas coastal area, then stay tuned for my next Blurb photo journal. Many of the photos you have seen on my WordPress site of Brazos Bend State Park, the Port Aransas area, and Padre Island, will be in this book, along with an equal number of blank, lined pages for one’s doodles, musings, artwork, and other writings. Stay tuned!
I wrote a post awhile back about Brazos Bend State Park in the winter. This post is about Brazos Bend State Park in the spring – well, almost spring – I visited 3 days prior to the official first day of spring (March 20). I wanted to see if anything had changed since my winter visit. Plus, I didn’t have to return the Canon 100-400mm rental lens for two more days.
First thing I noticed: water. More of it. In all the places that had been high and dry before. In case you were not aware, Texas has been experiencing a horrendous drought. Everything that should be wet and swampy, instead was dull brown dirt covered over with clumps of green dry slime that reminded me of nori (seaweed). For this visit, everything looked as it should look in a swampland.
I saw more spring flowers, like these primroses,
and this herbertia,
and these spider lilies,
and this sweet little purple flower which I can’t identify (I’m not very good with wildflower identification, even with two Texas wildflower books in my possession). Anybody know what this flower is? The photo at the very beginning of this post is a wider-angle shot.
I saw Indian paintbrush, blowing in the wind.
And these yellow flowers (which I can’t identify, either), in the swamp waters.
There were more alligators. I overheard one set of walkers tell another set of walkers that during the mating season in April, the alligators get quite aggressive and can sometimes be seen clamped to each other’s necks, rolling over and over in the water or even along the pathway. Now that would be a photograph! All I saw were alligators lounging in the still, reflective swamp waters, posing for the tourists and looking menacing; it really doesn’t take much for an alligator to look menacing, and woe betide the person who so close as to elicit a low, rumbling growl from deep within, as the alligator’s jaws gape open to warn the hapless visitor to back off.
I saw lots more birds. It’s ironic that my photos of the alligators turned out better than my photos of the birds, since the birds were the main reason I drove to the park that day (0f course, alligators don’t’ move much, while birds move a lot). I saw three different little blue herons (you can tell they are the little blues by their brilliant blue beak),
Taking the plunge.
Crawfish catch of the day:
I saw a number of snowy egrets,
roseate spoonbills (way off in the distance, so it’s not exactly a stellar image),
one moorhen in its breeding plumage (none of my photos turned out very well), and a number of other little birds that I could not identify nor could I photograph very well (they just won’t stand still for me, dammit!).
The next time I visit will be later in the summer. We’ll see what other changes (if any) have occurred during that season.