Gorman Creek Before the Drought

Here’s another shot taken during the Texas Landscape Safari last April. Gorman Creek is a spring fed stream running northeast into the Colorado River just below Bend, Texas. Most every spring that I can recall, this creek is usually flowing strongly through its two mile length, creating the magnificent Gorman Falls as it cascades into the Colorado. This year’s drought came early and hit us hard. I suspect this is as much water as we’ll see in Gorman Creek until the winter rains return.

Gorman Creek

Gorman Creek Before the Drought – Bend, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 93mm, f/13 for 1/125th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

The Spring 2011 Texas Landscape Safari Recap

Texas Landscape Safari

What a great group of photographers to teach, travel and shoot with!

Here are a few statistics to recap this year’s outing. 17 people each traveled over 300 miles in 3 days to photograph four different and unique state parks working on average 12 hours each day to capture literally thousands of great landscape shots.

Enchanted Rock Classroom

Josh’s Enchanted Rock Classroom – Llano, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon Powershot G10 set on aperture priority (Av) using a circular polarizer. The exposure was taken at 32mm, f/4 for 1/250th of a second at ISO 80. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

Oh, we got scattered a few times but all ended up enjoying some great Texas weather during our three day safari with lots of sunshine, a few clouds but no rain in sight. Gorman creek was running over the falls near Bend, Tx. The mighty Colorado was low but still running as were both the Pedernales and Guadalupe rivers. The heights of Enchanted Rock haven’t gotten any easier to climb but the sunset and clear skies made the trek worth while. As always, the rocks and water in each park called to us like bees to honey. We climbed, explored, laughed and did it all again the next day. And as is usually the case, we made made new friends from as far away as Canada and California as well as those that live closer to home.

It was my honor and a great pleasure to host this year’s Texas Landscape Safari and to get to know each and every one of you a little better. You all have a gift for capturing light and turning it into art and I learned as much as I taught. Keep in touch and remember that TLS alumni are always welcome to join us again in the future for FREE, even those that brought their iPhones. 🙂

Jeff

Texas Landscape Safari – Spring 2011

Texas Landscape Safari

We still have a few spots open for our Texas Landscape Safari workshop scheduled for April 25th – 28th, 2011 in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. Now that the winter rains have returned and refilled the aquifers, the rivers and streams should be running beautifully by April and provide some wonderful shots for our attendees. Each attendee will also receive an autographed copy of my latest book, Landscapes of the Texas Plains & Canyons with detailed information on how each shot was taken.

Here’s a quick look at what we’ve scheduled for this workshop. You can click on this image to be taken directly to our Google Map for the workshop.

Spring 2011 Texas Landscape Safari

We plan to shoot at the following state parks and key locations during the three day workshop. Many of these state parks will require a hike to the best shooting locations so a good pair of hiking shoes or boots and a photo-pack to carry your gear is highly recommended.

  • Colorado Bend State Park near Lampasas (3 mile hike).
  • Wildflowers near Llano (No hike).
  • Packsaddle Mountain near Kingsland (No hike).
  • Inks Lake State Park near Llano (1 mile hike).
  • Enchanted Rock State Natural Area near Fredericksburg (3 mile hike).
  • Pedernales Falls State Park in Johnson City (2 mile hike).
  • Guadalupe River State Park near San Antonio (1 mile hike).

To register or for more information, please contact me via email using my Contact Me page.

Gorman Falls – A Rain Forest in the Texas Hill Country

Another of my all-time favorite spots to photograph is Gorman Falls in the Colorado Bend State Park near Lampasas, Texas. I’ll never forget my first solitary visit to Gorman Falls several years ago before the draught set in. I arrived at the park before dawn and parked my car at the trailhead (shown on the map below). The hike to the falls is only about 1.5 miles, following the trail staked out with bright orange markers, courtesy of the folks at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD). The sun was just rising over the hills to the east and I knew I had to hurry to catch that perfect light that comes only in the early morning hours.

Gorman Creek & Falls

After a brisk hike, I arrived at the end of the trail at first light to find a very steep, rocky descent down to the base of the falls. The climb down always looked treacherous with only a few well defined steps carved into the rock face to guide me. About half way down, there were some steel poles and cables cemented into place and I used those to help control my descent, carrying my tripod in one hand with my camera slung over my shoulder.

At the bottom of the ravine I stood in wonder at the magnificent spectacle before me. Gorman Falls is one of our state’s most pristine natural environments and it seemed as if no one had been down here for years. The falls before me was surrounded by trees with the early morning sunlight filtering through the leaves. The green moss covered rocks and the cool spray of the falls was a refreshing sight after my long hike. Excited at the prospect of capturing this beauty I quickly setup my tripod and camera and selected a medium zoom lens for my first exposures. As I sighted through my viewfinder I knew the long hike and difficult climb had been worth it. I’d found a perfect spot to spend a few wonderful hours doing what I love the most.

Gorman Falls

Gorman Falls – Colorado Bend State Park, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 28mm, f/16 for 1.6 seconds at ISO 50 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer and Vari-ND filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

How To Get this Type of Shot: An image of water cascading down with that smooth, almost silky look to the water.

  • As with most running water, the key is the long exposure (greater than 1 second) that creates the smooth, silky look. You have two choices in how to achieve the long exposure; a) use a very small aperture like f/22 or b) use a neutral density filter.
  • A wide-to-medium telephoto lens is a good choice for a shot like this since it allows you to capture many different shots from one spot.
  • A good sturdy tripod is a must in a situation like this. I recommend a lightweight carbon-fiber tripod for this shot since you’ll be lugging it several miles under the Texas sun to get this shot.
  • As before, the final key for this type of shot is setting your camera’s long exposure noise reduction to “ON”.
  • Shooting at Gorman Falls is best done in the early morning when the light just begins to filter through the trees. Spring and Fall are usually the best times of the year to capture great shots at the falls although a few brave souls have been known to visit during the heat of a Texas summer.

On the Road Again!

I’m heading for central Texas to photograph the four main rivers that run through the Hill Country; the Nueces river, the Frio river, the Sabinal river and the Medina river. All four of these small rivers eventually meet up and flow into the Gulf of Mexico but here in the Hill Country they are the lifeline for ranchers and farmers alike.

Central Texas Rivers

Each river has its own character but all have one thing in common; the wonderful Cypress trees lining the river banks. These majestic trees offer much needed cover for the river dwellers in the hot summer and provide a beautiful backdrop for wildlife and nature photography. Add the crystal clear waters running in these four rivers and you’ve got a great place to spend a few hot and humid summer days.

I’ll see everyone when I return next week!

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Frio River – Concan, Texass

Frio River

Frio River – Concan, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 24mm, f/16 for 1/13th of a second at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter and 2-stop, soft, graduated neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

Patience & Persistence

Houston Photochrome ClubI’ll be speaking at the Houston Photochrome Club on August 12th at 7:00 PM at the Tracy Gee Community Center on the west side of Houston. The Houston Photochrome Club is the largest camera club in the Houston area and its members are among some of the best amateur photographers in the region.

Sharing my passion for landscape and nature photography in the Texas Hill Country with a group of photography enthusiasts is something like preaching to the choir. It’s amazing to me how many folks from different walks of life have fallen in love the camera like I did 35 years ago. It’s also very gratifying to see younger folks take up this hobby of a lifetime and begin to learn how to “see” all over again.

When I speak in front of group like this or when I’m teaching my workshops, I always stress the two most important skills that a photographer must cultivate; patience and persistence. Learning photography is a lifetime commitment and once you travel down this path you never know quite where it will lead you. Honestly, I find that to be one of the most intriguing aspects of any craft; you are never “done”. There is always something new to learn and something new to try.

For some, this challenge can be a bit daunting and they’ll look for a quick answer by buying the latest and greatest camera each year, hoping that it will make them a better photographer. I’ve been capturing images on and off for over 35 years and each time I pick up the camera it’s still a struggle to get my creative juices flowing. That’s where persistence comes in. I’ll visit the same locations month after month and year after year hoping the conditions will be just right for me to get that perfect shot. The conditions are never “perfect” and I seldom come away with what I think is the “perfect shot”, but I keep coming back, month after month and year after year.

Without trying to sound too cliche, like most things in life, there are no real shortcuts in photography. It takes years to learn your craft and years to develop your own unique style. There’s no “fast track” in this process, just patience and persistence.

Gorman Falls

Gorman Falls – Colorado Bend State Park in Bend, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-1050mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 35mm, f/16 for 8 seconds at ISO 100. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Gorman Falls – Colorado Bend State Park in Bend, Texas

New Gorman Falls Poster Now Available

By popular demand (anytime three or more people ask) I’ve added this image to my posters collection and to the next edition of my Hill Country Landscapes book.

All posters are printed on Kodak Professional Supra Endura VC Digital Paper which boasts superb color reproduction and a standard archival value of 100 years in home display and 200 years in dark storage. Most orders will ship in 48 hours and will be shipped flat in a very secure padded cardboard container to protect your poster during transport. To keep things simple there is a flat shipping charge regardless of the number of posters ordered.

To order, just click on the Add to Cart button below and thank you all for your continued support!

Gorman Falls

Gorman Falls Poster 16″ x 20″ (GF01)
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
$32.00 + $7.00 for Shipping and Handling (USPS 2-5 Business Days)

 

Gorman Falls in the Spring

I’ve made several trips to Gorman Falls in the past few years and always found the beauty to be quite spectacular. Colorado Bend State Park is our first stop during the Texas Landscape Safari and the folks that attend the workshop are always stunned by the quiet beauty in this remote valley.

Gorman Falls in the Spring

I’ll never forget my first solitary visit to Gorman Falls last year before the draught set in. I arrived at the park before dawn and hiked about 2 miles to the falls, following the trail staked out with orange markers. The sun was just rising over the hills to the east and I knew I had to hurry to catch that perfect light that comes only in the early morning hours. I arrived at the end of the trail at first light to find the steep, rocky descent down to the base of the falls. The climb down always looks treacherous with few well defined steps carved into the rock face to guide you. About half way down, there are a some steel poles and cables cemented into place and I used those to guide my descent, carrying my tripod in one hand and my camera slung over my shoulder. This is not a hike I usually take alone and at my age, a slip and fall could spell disaster, so I double-checked to make sure that my cell phone had reception.

At the bottom of the ravine I stood in wonder at the magnificent spectacle before me. Gorman Falls is one of our state’s most pristine natural environments and it seemed as if no one had been down here for years. The falls before me was surrounded by trees with the early morning sunlight filtering through the leaves. The green moss covered rocks and the cool spray of the falls was a refreshing sight after my long hike. Excited at the prospect of capturing this beauty I quickly setup my tripod and camera and selected a medium zoom lens for my first exposures. As I sighted through my viewfinder I knew the long hike and difficult climb had been worth it. I’d found a perfect spot to spend a few wonderful hours doing what I love the most.