One of the things the Groom’s mother most wanted was a photograph of the bride’s wedding and engagement rings. The Groom’s mom was soooo excited to know that someone good (that’s *moi*) was taking lots of photos; she recounted to me how she only ended up with 8 decent photos of her own wedding and she wanted more for her son and new daughter-in-law. I was happy to oblige.
Monthly Archives: May 2012
In my previous post about the Brazoria NWR, all of the photos in that post were taken during the morning hours of 9:30AM and after. The very next evening, the weather, sky, and clouds were perfect; I just had to return to the NWR for some evening images. I used the same camera (Canon 5D Mk II) and the same two lenses (70-200mm and 16-35mm). I tried to take photos of the same (or almost the same) locations as were taken during my morning shoot. See what a difference the time of day, lighting, clouds, and weather can make to change the looks of the same image location.
I had published a post of my morning at this place and figured that was pretty much it. But as the afternoon then early evening progressed, I saw the day was still sunny and dry, the skies clear, and the clouds were amazing. So I hopped in the car and arrived back at the refuge by 5PM and proceeded to spend a couple of hours there.
The neat thing about this place is that it’s a bit out of the way for the Houston metro area, so there were very few people there, both during the morning the day previous, and especially this evening the day after. I saw a couple bicycling down the gravel road, and one other birder couple out with their binocs. And that was it.
This image was captured back at the refuge center. I was essentially looking directly at the sun. I had a circular polarizer on my 16-35mm lens, and also used a 4×6 Lee 4-stop grad filter which I handheld in front of the lens (rather than use a square filter holder, which I don’t own, I just put the filter flush with the lens and move it up and down accordingly. Works for me.)
This is a view of Big Slough, looking toward the Big Slough Trail. *This* time, I remembered to use some bug wipes and I had absolutely no problem with the mosquitoes at all.
Although I have a full plate of things to do around the home during the 2012 three-day Memorial Day weekend, I still tend to get a little stir crazy if I can’t go out and photograph something during my time off.
While I may bitch about living in southeast Texas (being a gal from the mountains, I’ll always be doing that), I readily admit that it’s rather nice to have two very interesting photographic ops right at my back door: Brazos Bend State Park, and the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge.
Right after visiting with my mother on Saturday morning, I grabbed my cameras, loaded them, tripod, and myself into the car, and drove the 20 miles south-southeast to check out the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge.
I’ve been there before, but that was back in 2007 (if I remember correctly). At that time, the road to the refuge center was only paved for maybe 2 miles, and the remainder was all gravel. So I was pleasantly surprised to find that now, in 2012, the entire road to the refuge center is paved.
For the photos you see here, I used my Canon 5D Mark II cameras and my 16-35mm and 70-200mm lenses. I carried everything in my new Lowepro Fastpack 350, which, btw, is AWESOME! I am going to Mesa Verde NP and Arches NP later this year, and wanted something that would carry a camera and long lens, as well as water, snacks, etc. Ok, sorry, I went off on a tangent. The 16-35 lens was attached to the tripod for landscape shots, and I hand held the 70-200 lens (with IS turned “on”) for the wildlife and more close-in images. I find I hand hold this lens more often as not, eschewing the tripod ring. I was pleasantly surprised upon post processing that I really only had to do a very little editing for light/brightness and a teeny bit for sharpness details on some (but not all) of the photos. The light was just right that day – very sunny but with some interesting clouds. So I kept the ISO at 200 and the aperture around 7.1. Oh, and I gotta tell ya, a long lens is a must-have for this area. Unlike Brazos Bend State Park, there are not many places to comfortably get up close and personal to the birdlife, and there is slim-to-no parking alongside the one-lane gravel road past the refuge center. My 70-200mm was ok, but what I really needed was a lens 400mm or more. But….one makes do with what one has.
Next to the refuge center is a boardwalk across Big Slough (pronounced “slew”), leading to a plowed path called Big Slough Trail. I didn’t go very far down the path because:
1) The mosquitoes were horrible (they must have been as large as egrets!) and I forgot to wear bug repellent (I was in too much of a hurry to leave the apartment and that is one of the things I forgot, although I did remember to apply sunscreen and grab a hat).
2) As far as I can tell from my walk and the map, this trail doesn’t lead down to the water’s edge, which is where you really want to be to get those bird shots.
So I did some landscape and flower photography along the boardwalk before heading out along the gravel-road auto tour.
Note: the Texas wildflower book I own is total crap and didn’t list half of the flowers I photographed. I ran some searches online and couldn’t come up with much either, so many of these flowers won’t have captions to them. If you think you know what the un-captioned flowers are, do let me know.
Unknown seed pods.
Unknown yellow flower. There were a number of “look-alikes” in my useless wildflower book, but none of them really fit this image. So I don’t know what these flowers are called.
Unknown little white flowers.
Unknown red flowers.
Basketflower (at least my wildflower book has something).
Unknown white flowers.
Unknown little purple flower.
Big Slough views from the boardwalk.
Big Slew inhabitant
Nope, I didn’t see any American alligators. It was hot already and I’m pretty sure they wanted to stay in the water to remain cool, rather than sun themselves in the growing heat.
After my visit to the refuge center boardwalk area, I climbed back into the car (followed by hoards of mosquitoes) and started along the gravel road auto tour. It’s basically one-way, although they don’t have arrows – instead they have signs with numbered stops (which means there is probably a tour guide within the center that I should have gone in get). It’s practically impossible for one car to pull over to allow a car from the opposite way to pass you….as I can attest….
Texas coastal marshland and wetlands as far as the eye can see.
Gull-billed tern taking flight.
Ibis in the water.
Red-wing blackbird. You can’t see its red markings in these photos but I did when it spread its wings out.
If any of you are interested, I just published to my Blurb Bookstore a 150-page journal titled Texas Coastal Images. Half of the journal is filled with totally awesome photos taken in such places as Brazos Bend State Park, Port Aransas, Padre Island, and the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge and the other half is nothing but blank lined pages for writing/artwork. It would make a great gift for yourself or someone who is a fan of coastal Texas landscapes, flowers, and wildlife (mainly birdlife). Click on the book link on the left side of this blog and it will take you directly to that particular book in my bookstore. You can preview the pages of this journal and see for yourself the Masterpiece that I have created.
Hey, it’s all about marketing!
At least, it looks like the picture in my Sibley Guide To Birds. Got this photo at Brazos Bend State Park recently. I might try to get out there again this 2012 Memorial Day weekend. I really need to do other stuff….like clean the pig sty I call my home….but I guess when I get tired of cleaning, I can go photographing instead, right? Any excuse to get out of work 😉
Yup, that’s its name: Erect Dayflower. If you like images of the Texas coastal area, then stay tuned for my next Blurb photo journal. Many of the photos you have seen on my WordPress site of Brazos Bend State Park, the Port Aransas area, and Padre Island, will be in this book, along with an equal number of blank, lined pages for one’s doodles, musings, artwork, and other writings. Stay tuned!
Sounds like the title for some sort of novel, doesn’t it? Actually, it’s the name for the aquatic flowering plant below. I caught sight of this lone bloom while rambling around 40-Acre Lake at Brazos Bend State Park. I didn’t go around the entire lake, so I don’t know if there were any other American Lotus plants there. I only saw this one flower but lots of the lotus pads.