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.
Bluebonnet patch from the Big Bend State park along the River Road, Hwy 170. These lupines in the Big Bend State park area are different than the ones we find in the rest of Texas. They are taller, darker blue, more drought tolerant, and bloom in Feb/March. In this image in Big Bend National Park and state park out in west Texas and we found a few bluebonnets patches mostly along the side of the road. Big Bend State Park is a massive park that run along the Rio Grande River with Mexico on the other side. http://www.beecreekphoto.com/blog/bigbend-national-park-bluebonnets/
Bluebonnets landscape along Big Bend Ranch State Park River road, Hwy 170. It was a nice scenic view from here with the road and mountains as a backdrop. These bluebonnets are a hybrid that allow them to grow in the desert region and they are darker and taller than any you will find in other places of Texas. Unfortunately they seem to only grow along the roads and many times they have to cut the grass along the road to prevent fires so they were cut in a lot of places.