Polo Match & Hot Air Balloons

My wife spotted an announcement of an event near us called The Victory Cup. The event features polo, hot air balloons, food and spirits. Neither of us had ever seen a polo match or hot air balloons so we got our tickets, booked an Air B&B and headed to the Hill Country. It was a spectacular weekend and a perfect end to our Thanksgiving Break.

Three Days in God’s Country

I have written and shared about my past trips out to these parts, but I believe I have been remiss in expressing gratitude to those who help me and afford me access to their lands so I’d like to take a few minutes to remedy this. Firstly to each and every land owner who through my connection with locals have allowed accompanied visits to your lands (I am omitting names and specific references to places to protect these individuals – they will know who they are by recognizing views in my images). Without you my trips would be restricted to the roads and public lands and I hope the only evidence of my trip are footprints and images captured with my camera. Lastly, and certainly not least, I would like to thank Melanie Gentry of Luz Del Valle Images for her willingness to take me to these wonderful locations and her family for allowing me to stay at their home. Thank each of you, for you truly embody the meaning of West Texas hospitality and generosity.

For readers who might not be familiar with the daily rhythm of landscape photographers, allow me a few lines to describe a typical day when on a shoot. I think this might help explain some of the images and the journal entries that follow. It’s also key to understanding the reasoning for these strange hours is because of the light. Morning (sunrise through golden hour) and evening (golden hour through sunset – and later) offer the best light for taking landscape photographs. For those of you who share in this craft, I hope this gives you a grin and if you aren’t currently on an assignment it piques your appetite to get out again soon.

A typical day of a landscape photographer …

About two hours (sometimes longer depending on travel) before sunrise you get up and grab gear, coffee (or whatever your morning fuel is) and head out to a previously determined location to shoot sunrise. This doesn’t always mean you are taking pictures of the sunrise itself, but subjects illuminated by this sunrise light.

Once the sun has come up all the way you begin packing it up and heading back to camp or town for breakfast (usually a pretty big one because it’s been a long time since dinner and lunch might be skipped). After breakfast, the scouting process begins. When shooting with a group of photographers this can be especially fun. You spend the next several hours either traveling to a pre-discovered location to check on if it “is time” for this location to be shot, or you are navigating to waypoints that looked interesting on a map or just flat scanning from a vehicle to find spots for that evening’s shoot. You don’t typically waste too much time during this process because this is also your main time window for edits, gear maintenance and sleep.

Around dinner time you begin determining time of meal and departure. Depending on distance to your sunset and night shots, you will either grab a bite to eat now or head out to sunset location and return for some dinner before shooting any night sky (and light painting). As this is your longest window of time to shoot, this is when you spend the most amount of time in the field or returning for post processing, etc. before eating or going to sleep.

Next day, rinse and repeat!

Day 1

Day one was my main travel day. It takes me about 6:30 to 7:00 (depending on stops) from my home to here. We did run out after some dinner to shoot at a new location. The following are two night shots – one to the East (the small town at the bottom of the images is Dell City) and one to the West (looking towards the Cornudas mountains). I neglected to calculate my focal length to shutter timer so I apologize for the blur in the stars (500 rule does matter!).

(click images to enlarge)

Day 2

Day two started early. Out for a sunrise at the same location as yesterday evening. The mountain was captured in perfect silhouette as the sun crested behind Guadalupe peak. Scouting resulted in a new location to try for sunset and the second image from today. The white mound in the mid-ground of this image is from a gypsum mining pit located out in the salt basin. The mountains to the West you might recognize as the Cornudas range.

(click images to enlarge)

Day 3

Day three we did not go out for sunrise, but slept in a little bit for a longer road trip day. Weather reports and confirmation from other locals showed snow and or mix up in the mountains so that’s where we headed. The first two images from today are captures from the storm up and around Queen, NM and Dog Canyon, GNP (TX). I love black and white images and when shooting during the non-prime time of sunrise/sunset it is the prime time to develop in b&w. The third image is of Sitting Bull Falls, which is located in Lincoln National Forest.

(click images to enlarge)

I hope you have enjoyed these images and my chronicle of spending three day’s in God’s country. This is one of my favorite places to hike and chase light and I can’t wait to get back out there again.




Trip to Corpus Christi

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Corpus Christi, Texas for a business trip but of course I took my camera with me.  I was in class most of the day, but did get out a bit in the evenings to attend events and enjoy this beautiful city.  Here are a few shots I took, hope you enjoy.


San Antonio Museum of Art

My daughter was needing to go to the San Antonio Museum of Art for her college art course and do a paper, so she took her mother and me along for the ride.  I have visited other museums in San Antonio (Witte & McNay) but never here.  I was very impressed with it and will certainly visit it again when they finish installing some of their newer exhibits.

Click on my Adobe Spark post below to see some of the featured exhibits I photographed.  Hope you enjoy! -ck

A Trip to the Museum

Lost Maples SNA – Star Party

After capturing the Milky Way last weekend, I decided to take a stab at doing a star trail image around the North Star.  Hope you enjoy!

Last night we ventured back up to Lost Maples SNA for another Star Party.  The San Antonio Astronomical Association made it out this time and had many telescopes setup and shared their knowledge of the night sky with all who attended.  After capturing the Milky Way last weekend, I decided to take a stab at doing a star trail image around the North Star.  Hope you enjoy!



Lost Maples SNA – Star Party

Last night we took a quick road trip up to Lost Maples State Natural Area to attend a star party, with the main event being the peak of this year’s Perseids Meteor Shower.

Last night we took a quick road trip up to Lost Maples State Natural Area to attend a star party, with the main event being the peak of this year’s Perseids Meteor Shower.  The park hosts were very accommodating and helpful, guiding everyone to a special viewing area up above the overflow parking.  The featured astronomy guests were unable to make it but nonetheless we still had a good time, observing several awing glowing streaks and trailing tails.

Despite many attempts to capture a meteor trail on my camera, I didn’t walk away empty handed.  I’m still learning the unique nuances of astro photography developing but hope you enjoy these two that I was pretty proud of.



West Texas -November 2016

My daughter and I hit the road this week for West Texas and it was a glorious trip.  We spent most of our time in and around Gudalupe Mountains National Park, with some jaunts into New Mexico ranch lands at the foothills of the mountains.

Having spent a few years of my younger life living in this part of Texas, it left an impression on me that calls me back from time to time.  I think at a deeper level it sings in my heart because of the vastness of this space, it forces me into a state of the insignificance of self and an awareness of the entirity of creation.

On our trip, we met up with professional photographer Melanie Gentry who guided us to some spectacular photo locations and she shared with us tips and advice.  I can’t praise her enough for what she did for us and highly recommend her if you are ever interested in learning more about photography or commisioning her to photograph an event.


You can checkout some of my images from the trip at : https://goo.gl/awynlv

If you are into vlogs and would like to watch mine from the trip, check out my YouTube playlist : https://goo.gl/s1Qdx5

My daughter, Meridith, is becoming quite a photographer in her own right and you can see some of her images from the trip at : https://goo.gl/xpkkTH

-Peace, ck