Monday, September 28, 2009

More from Guadalupe Mtns National Park

Most of my time in the Guadalupe Mountains was spent hiking. A lot of my photos from the hike were taken on the move.

I really did not have time to set up my tripod and work on the composition like I usually do. So, I did one of three things: 1) stopped and practiced steady posture (elbows in, feet slightly apart, etc.), 2) sat down and planted my elbows on top of my legs, or 3) used my hiking pole as an informal monopod.

Pine Springs Canyon
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Despite the apparent rush on photography, I did previsualize a lot of photos. I would see something interesting in the distance (e.g. an interesting foreground or a potentially good view) and then studied it as I approached it. Most times the potential shot wouldn't turn out and I skipped photographing it, but a few of them were worth stopping for.

I stayed in the back of our group and would stop for a minute or two while I worked on a shot. I then hiked at a quick pace to catch back up to them.

Shumard Peak
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We hiked during fairly harsh lighting conditions. I focused mainly on the strong forms of the mountains and tried to previsualize my photos in black and white.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

On Top of Texas

From the summit of Guadalupe Peak (elev. +8749 ft.) in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas:

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We hiked up to the peak last Saturday. More about this later...

Visual Diary

I've tried many times in the past to keep a personal written diary or journal. I would love to document the events in my life and keep a record of it all. But as much as I've tried, I am not disciplined enough to keep writing.

near the summit of Guadalupe Peak

Several weeks ago, I got a new phone with a camera in it. It's a low quality 2-megapixel camera that's even worse than the first digital camera (also 2-MP) that I bought 8 years ago. But for the first time in my life, I have an accessible camera with me at all times (because my phone is always with me).

What I've discovered is, despite the poor technical quality, I use this on-phone camera on a daily basis. I can whip the thing out and snap a pic in little time. The ease of use is primarily the reason why I'm taking photos often.

The result is that I'm creating somewhat of a visual diary of my life. These little snapshots capture seemingly ordinary events, but stuff that I will want to remember (like taking the kids on an evening bike ride or trying a new beer that I might want to buy again).

This isn't new and I'm coming very late to this new technology. But it's new to me and I'm enjoying it. The other benefit I'm enjoying is being able to send these phone shots via message to other people.

Regarding the photo above, it's a phone-photo snap I took just after we left Guadalupe Peak last weekend. I took it so that I could send it and quickly share it with other people back home. It did feel a little weird because I had my proper camera gear with me at the time :-) But it was a great moment in time to capture and share instantly.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Few More from Cullen Park

Here are a few more images from my visits to the park this week.

peeling away
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I've been trying to focus on something other than a "down-the-creek" shot. There's a lot of opportunity for that sort of scene and it gets old real fast.

Old Man Roots
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I happened upon this little guy and he held perfectly still even when I got close for a macro shot.

hangin' out
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I'm headed off to the mountains of far west Texas early tomorrow. I should have some completely different scenery to post here for you next week :-)

More Banana Spiders

I visited Cullen Park again yesterday afternoon, my third visit in two weeks.

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It's hard to see, but the male is right behind her on the web. See my previous post about these spiders.

I'm really enjoying spending time there NOT exercising and photographing instead. I'll have more photos up soon.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

South Mayde Creek: Trip 1, Part 2

Below are two more from my recent local photo outing.

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This banana spider (actually a golden silk orb weaver - we just called them banana spiders back when we were kids) wasn't along the creek, but it was still in the same park area. I'll explain later after I finish up a custom map that I'm making.

EDIT: I've done my homework and read that the larger spider pictured above is the female and the smaller guy behind her is the male. He's hanging out and courting her. This will go on for a little while and she'll produce an eggsack later in the fall (or what Texans just call football season). She may or may not eat him when their business is done. Glad I have two legs and not eight.

There is a paved trail that runs between Cullen Park (off Saums Road) and the intersection of Highway 6 and Patterson Road. The total length of the paved trail is close to 4 miles. I walk part of this trail on a regular basis for exercise (without camera in hand).

At the Saums Road end, the trail closely parallels the creek for a stretch. At the other end is a small patch of woods that are infested with these banana spiders. They are everywhere, and I dare not set foot into the trees for fear of becoming entangled in one of the giant webs and then having a 4-inch diameter spider crawl up on my head. Yeh, I'm being a sissy, but you should see the fangs on these things!

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Above is another scene from the Saums Road end of the trail. It's thickly wooded, and the creek is a muddy channel that meanders through these woods.

I'm going back out this evening after work to shoot, and I'm going to visit the same area again.

Friday, September 11, 2009

South Mayde Creek

After living in the NW Houston area for nearly 10 years, I finally took a serious photography trip the other day to focus on a nature spot very close to home (took my tripod and everything!).

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South Mayde Creek is one of many creek/bayous that flow through our area. These photos were taken in Cullen Park off Saums Road.

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I have a lot to say about photographing here, and I'll expand on it later. I hope this will become a new project for me. I did enjoy the outing and the photos I took are starting to grow on me.

Stay tuned...