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.
Heard this quote today for the first time and loved it, so passing it along to you …
The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.
I recognize the risk of this being cliché in recommending this film on my site, but it was truly one I deemed worthy of passing along. I am not a film reviewer and so as not to risk any spoilers I don’t plan on going into any of the details of the movie.
I do however feel that many of my readers will find great metaphors and symbolism to the plot of the surface and deeper meanings in the interplay of the charachers. If you’re searching for something to watch, give it a shot and let me know what you think.
Back in April 2018 I shared in a post titled Just Do It that I was pulling back on social media but not ready for a departure. Well I have now made the next plunge. With the exception of Twitter (and it’s under review) I have been slowly closing accounts (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.)
The main subject of this site has never been used as a political platform and I don’t intend it be that now so I am not planning on going into the specifics of my decision, but we’ll just leave it with I have finally had enough of the manipulation and have chosen to make my exit.
The real reason for this post is for you out there who read this site and we’re following me on social media I wanted to let you know that I haven’t “un-friended” you. I still plan on keeping this site going (perhaps be able to give it more attention) and look forward to our conversations and sharing on this platform.
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 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 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 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.