Presidio County, Texas – The Real Old West

Rio Bravo was a 1959 American western film, directed by Howard Hawks and starring John Wayne, Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson. In this classic movie, Wayne plays John T. Chance the Sheriff of Presidio County, Texas in the heart of the “old west”. It’s the story of Chance, Dude (played by Dean Martin) and Colorado’s (played by Ricky Nelson) fight against the minions of ruthless landowner Nathan Burdette, a classic story of good versus evil set against the backdrop of the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande) river.

Like most westerns of the late 50’s and early 60’s, it was shot in Tucson, Arizona at the famous Old Tucson Studios, not in Presidio County where the story takes place. And that’s just a shame since much of beautiful desert landscape of Presidio County, Texas matches the authentic look and feel that made those old westerns so popular (at least for this young boy with dreams of someday riding those dusty trails like John Wayne did).

As you can see in this image, the real “old west” of Presidio County hasn’t changed much in the past hundred years. Standing out here alone, it’s easy to imagine Chance, Dude and Colorado riding down this path and into the sunset.

Presidio County Texas

The Real Wild West – Presidio County, Texas
Copyright © 2011 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 47mm, f/14 for 1/60th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.

Texas FM 170 – The River Road

One of the treats of visiting the Big Bend area is the chance to drive along the Rio Grande on Texas’ famed “River Road” (FM 170) running from Brewster to Presidio counties. This 50 plus mile section of paved road winds through the hills and valleys along the US / Mexico border providing some of the most picturesque vistas in the state. The road’s numerous hairpin and “S” curves along with a 2000 foot elevation change make this section of highway a delight for driving enthusiasts.

The fact that you’re driving within a few yards of the border adds a bit of a thrill these days as well. That small stream you see just left of center is the “mighty” Rio Grande and yes, I’m less than 100 feet from the border. No fence along this stretch of road my friends.

The River Road

The River Road near Lajitas, Texas
Copyright © 2011 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/14 for 1/40th of a second at ISO 100 using a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter and 2-stop graduated neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.
Click on the image above for a larger version.