Landscape photography in Texas is an endurance sport, especially for your vehicle. The best locations are far from any major cities and in many cases, far from civilization itself. Having a dependable ride like the Subaru Forester is essential to your success and your survival.
My 2010 Forester has a little over 103,000 miles on it and still runs like a champ. I’ve taken it all across Texas from Houston to Amarillo, Dallas to El Paso and Harlingen to Nacogdoches with not a single breakdown to its credit. We’ve traveled the dirt roads of Big Bend National Park, the two track trails of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, the back roads of twenty different Texas State Parks and the dirt roads of over 150 Texas counties.
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 1/20th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter and 2-stop, soft, graduated neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 4.
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/8 for 1/125th of a second at ISO 400 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 4.
Garner State Park is on of the busiest state parks in Texas. Folks come from across Texas and the other 49 states to swim and fish in the Frio river and hike the steep limestone cliffs surrounding the park. From the top you can see the Texas Hill Country in all its glory!
If you’ve read last week’s post entitled The Things Photographers Do you might be curious just how far up we hiked after I took that shot of Garner State Park from above. Well, here’s the view from the top and what a magnificent view it is. That hill just to our right is where I wanted to shoot from but I new that another 100 foot rock climb was beyond my capabilities, even though my 69 year old friend thought we might make it.
So here’s a challenge for you younger landscape photographers. Climb those hills early in your career and enjoy the view. Life is way too short to settle for anything less!
Several months ago I was reading an issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine and saw an image of Garner State Park taken from a vantage point far above the park. Last weekend I was at the park scouting locations for future workshops and thought I’d see if I could find the spot where the image was taken.
So with the trail map and camera in hand and tripod and water in my backpack, I set out to climb the trail leading up to the peak. The first part of the “trail” was about 1/8th of a mile long ascending roughly 100 feet up a rocky cliff face. I darn near gave up right there but with the help of a friend I ascended the slope without breaking my neck.
The next section of the trail was about 1/3rd of a mile long and labeled on the trail map as “Very Steep”. I was starting to get a little nervous as we climbed from ledge to ledge using the tree roots as hand-holds wherever possible. We ascended over 300 feet in that 1/3rd of a mile and finally reached a ledge where I could setup my tripod and get to work.
We hiked along the top of this mountain for another 2 miles until we found a good trail to descend on without breaking our necks. I took about 90 shots during that morning and several of the views were really spectacular but I kept thinking to myself “the things we landscape photographers will do to get the shot!”.