Photographing the Davis Mountains

The Davis Mountains, the most extensive mountain range in Texas, were formed by volcanic activity during the Tertiary geologic period, which began around 65 million years ago. These mountains were named after Jefferson Davis, U.S. secretary of war and later president of the Confederacy, who ordered the construction of the Fort Davis army post. Most Indian bands just passed through the Davis Mountains, although the Mescalero Apaches made seasonal camps. As West Texas settlements increased, raiding in Mexico and along the San Antonio-El Paso Trail became a way of life for Apaches, Kiowas and Comanches.

Few Americans had seen the Davis Mountains prior to 1846. After the war with Mexico, a wave of gold seekers, settlers and traders came through the area and needed the protection of a military post – Fort Davis. Fort Davis was active from 1854 until 1891, except for certain periods during the Civil War. In 1961, the historic fort ruins were declared a National Historic Site, and a vast restoration/preservation program was initiated by the National Park Service.

Davis Mountains Region

Folks visiting the Davis Mountains in far West Texas, have known the area as an oasis of mild weather in the middle of the blistering heat of the Chihuahuan Desert. The area was settled in the late 1850’s and photographed only sparingly for the next one hundred years. Once the government declared the original fort as a historic site in the early 1960’s, many professional and amateur photographers visited the region and fell in love with the simple and elegant beauty of the countryside.

In recent times however, the Davis Mountains has been somewhat bypassed by photographers heading further south to capture the rugged beauty of the Chisos Mountains instead. I for one, am glad for the opportunity to spend the cool, quiet days hiking through this oasis in the desert. With days in the low 70’s and evenings in the low 60’s, what nature photographer and hiker wouldn’t enjoy the splendor and solitude offered by this gorgeous region? As you can see on my image map above, the Davis Mountains abounds in photographic opportunities like the one below.

Davis Mountains Overlook

Davis Mountain Overlook – Fort Davis, Texas
Copyright © 2013 Jeff Lynch Photography
EOS 5D Mark III w/ GP-E
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark III with GP-E2 unit attached, set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens and tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/16 for 1.6 seconds at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5.

Click on the image above for a larger version.