Bluebonnet Railroad Tracks Sunrise – We have come to this old abandoned rail road track in the past years, but this year instead of catching a sunset we decided to try for a sunrise and we got lucky. Today we had a great sunrise over this railroad tressel right before the sunrise pop over the horizon with some fantastic colors. I managed to get a few shot before some heavyier clouds moved in the predawn but cleared a bit for a sunrise shot later on. Any case the pre dawn sunrise over these bluebonnets were a great catch in the Texas hill country. Texas bluebonnets at the rail road track in the texas hill country is alway a reason to celebrate! We love our Texas Wildflowers that Lady Bird Johnson promote heavily in our state part of the highway beautification from fifty years ago.
Prada Marfa Sunset – On our way down to Big Bend National Park in Texas we decided to see if we could capture image of Prada Marfa Sunset and at first we didn’t think we would see any color in the sky but a last minute bscklit color pops up. After the sunset it started backlighting all the clouds so we were able to capture a great Texas sunset with these wonderful clouds with pinks and oranges colors. You can see the scenery in west texas is pretty much flat till you get to the mountains so it is such a contrast to have this just sitting on the edge of the road in Valentine Texas about 30 miles west of Marfa.Why it has been called Marfa Prada. I guess that they just pick the biggest town nearby to name it. The permanet exhibit was created by two artist Elmgreen and Dragset in October 2005 to resemble an actual Prada store. The two refer to their work as pop architectual land art with a bit of humor. They built this structure about 24 miles outside of Marfa in a city called Valentine Texas population around 200. To make it more interesting they found the least likely place to find a store like this and stuck in in far west texas. They added only right shoes and the purses have no bottoms. They have been vandalize several times now I guess people in this area like prada more than they knew. As far as the artist are concerned I am not sure what they were saying or not saying about their art. Maybe they were making fun of consumerism but you would have to ask them. As a photographer it great fun to shoot such a unique image. After the latest vandalism they have install cameras and the purses have GPS devices inside that detect movement so making it more difficult to shop there in the future. Who knew shopping in the desert could be so swanky ok it for looks only, This area has become a popular destination since it was installed in 2005 people were ariving by the car loads while we were there. What else are you going to do in far west texas on a Saturday night!
Rio Grande Thru Santa Elena – This view from inside the Santa Elena canyon was spectacular with the water reflections of the cliff from above with the blue sky reflecting back into the water it was awesome sight. The Rio Grande thru Santa Elena Canyon is located in Big Bend National Park and the canyon walls are 1500 feet high. As you drive up to the area from the Ross Maxwell Scenic drive it seems like it just around the corner because they are so massive they can be seen from quite a distance. In any case climbing the cliffs to get to this area was worth the effort it was amazing geology and the rio grande flowing only so slightly on this day allow some great reflections in river. Many people come to canoe through the canyons putting in upstream at Lajitas and taking the 13 mile ride to Santa Elena Canyons to see our the natural beauty of the area. This Santa Elena Canyons are spit down the middle with the cliffs on each side being owned by the USA and Mexico. The canoe trip I have been told has some class four rapids at certain water levels so check it out before hand or you can always take a day trip call the boomerage up the river and back.
Milky Way Over Haybales – The Texas Hill country can be a great place to capture the milky way over some haybales west of Llano where the skys are a little darker. Only a few times a year can the milkyway can be seen from this angle so we took advantage of the bales of hay for the evening capture. Even still this area has some light pollution but not like some other places. The milkyway is the galaxy that contains our solar system. It is not alway easy to see the stars or the milky way because of light pollution in our area so we travel west where there is less pollution, but to get really dark skies you have to go to Big Bend area in Texas. For us this time it was not possible to go there, but we were able to capture the milky way out west past Llano Texas. We alway like to have something in our images that has meaning that shows a sense of place to our images. We came across this simple traditional Texas scene of haybales in a field at a ranch in the Texas Hill Country west of Llano Texas and like the look. We like this field of haybales with the backdrop of the milky way in the view what could be better. In this image we allowed the cars to light paint the haybales so we could bring it out better in the image. Every starry nightscape in the Texas Hill country we have photographed has some light pollution however when we are photographying it appears pitch black. Even in this photo you can see some light pollution creeping in but the awesome milkyway over rides a little light pollution in this Texas night skies image with the milkyway clearly in view.
Big Bend Bluebonnets with Mule Ear – One last Big Bend bluebonnets photo from our trip to Big Bend National Park in February this year. This show the bluebonnets with an octillo and shrubs with Mule Ear in the background. The bluebonnets were spectacular and this spot with the wildflowers growing in this desert landscape along side the octillo with the Chiso mountains was a nice landscape find. This is a desert so you expect to find octillos and shrubs cactus but the bluebonnet just gave this barren landscape life. The bluebonnets in Big Bend are a special lupine that can grow several feet tall and thrive in this hostile environment and this year was the first time we have seen them like this, just the right amount of rain in the fall and other conditions that were just right led to the best blooms we have ever seen here in the last ten years we have been coming to the park.
The middle of the West Texas desert isn’t the first place you’d expect to find a fully stocked Prada store but just a few miles outside of Valentine Texas that what you will find. Ok it not an actual Prada store its front door doesn’t open and it only has right shoes and the purses have no bottom even if you find one you want you can’t buy it. You will need to go to real Prada store for that. Needless to say there are some that will do anything to shop there and it has been vandalized several times now so the creators put in a security system with gps devices in the purses and camera and stronger glass for those considering a dark night break in. Other wise it is a great place to drive out to and get your selfie of you and Prada Marfa store to prove you were there if thats your thing. The two artist that put this together Elmgreen and Dragset decided this was the place for their art display. Maybe they were trying to prove that people will drive to the end of the planet to get a selfie not sure what it represents, consumerism, or humor whatever it has made a mark on the tiny town of Valentine. The one nice thing is that made it of biodegradable adobe like material so over time it will go back to it natural state. The spent around 80,000 on this so hopefully it will take a while so they get there money out of it.
Captured this wonderful west Texas landscape panorama sunrise at Santa Elena Canyon just as the sun rays pop over the nearby mountains over the Rio Grande River from this vantage point in Big Bend National Park. It is not a too difficult a climb and you get a great view looking south. Santa Elena Canyon is one of the most impressive in Big Bend National Park it is visible for many miles away up to ten miles it can been seen. The Rio Grande changes direction abruptly after following beneath the straight Sierra Ponce cliffs for several miles heading west, cutting through the mountains via a deep, narrow canyon gorge in the mountain. It has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. It contains more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals. The park has many geological features including sea fossils and dinosaur bones, as well as previous volcanic activity. The park just recently open a Fossil Discovery Exhibit to display the dinosarurs that would of live there in the past when there was an inland sea. The national park covers 801,163 acres for more than 1,000 miles, the Rio Grande forms the boundary between Mexico and the United States, and Big Bend National Park administers approximately 118 miles along that boundary. The park was named after a large bend in the river and Texas—Mexico border. The park is bordered by the protected areas of Parque Nacional Canon de Santa Elena and the Maderas del Carment in Mexico.
We capture the stars over the McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis Mountains in west Texas from a distance away. The stars began to come out over the observatory and we used our largest lens to capture it from a good distance away. We capture a sun set over the Davis mountains earlier and felt like a long wait for the night sky to finally get dark enough but we were finally rewarded with these wonderful stars over the McDonald Observatory in the distance. The McDonald Observatory is located near Fort Davis in Jeff Davis County, Texas, United States. The facility is located on Mount Locke in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, with additional facilities on Mount Fowlkes, approximately 1.3 kilometers (0.81 mi) to the northeast. The observatory is part of the University of Texas at Austin. It is an organized research unit of the College of Natural Sciences. were happy were were able to capture this close up image of the Otto Struve Telescope on top of The summit of Mt. Locke, dedicated in 1939. It was the first large telescope built at the observatory and next to it is the The Harlan J. Smith Telescope that was completed in 1968.
Another great sunset image with the McDonald Observatory and the Davis Mountains in west Texas in view. The high and dry peaks of the Davis Mountains make for some of the darkest and clearest night skies in the region and provide excellent conditions for astronomical studies but also have some nice sunsets and sunrise. We capture this sunset while we were waiting for the stars to appear. It seem like the sky was never going to get dark but once it did it was very dark. The McDonald Observatory is an astronomical observatory located near the community of Fort Davis in Jeff Davis County, Texas, United States. The observatory is managed by the University of Texas. The facility is located on Mount Locke in the Davis Mountains of West Texas, with additional facilities on Mount Fowlkes, about 8 miles away. . Included in this image is a close up of the Otto Struve Telescope on top of the summit of Mt. Locke, dedicated in 1939. It was the first large telescope built at the observatory and next to it is the The Harlan J. Smith Telescope that was completed in 1968. Today at the McDonald Observatory is reasearch into a wide variety of topics, including planetary systems, stars and stellar spectroscopy, astronomy and many other topics.
Sunset Over McDonald Observatory in Fort Davis Mountains – Sunset at the McDonald Observatory in the Fort Davis Mountains in west Texas. While we were waiting for the stars to appear we captured this colorful sunset over the mountains and the two observatory telescopes. In the image is the Otto Struve Telescope on top of The summit of Mt. Locke, dedicated in 1939. It was the first large telescope built at the observatory and next to it is the The Harlan J. Smith Telescope that was completed in 1968. This image shows the Davis Mountains with two of the the McDonald observatory as the sun was setting over the mountains near Fort Davis. The observatory is run by UT and is located in one of the darkest area of Texas. This observatory is used for astronomical research of the planets and stars and stellar along with other interest.