Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cameron Park Zoo - Waco, TX

Yesterday we took a short road trip up 35 to go check out the Cameron Park Zoo in Waco. What a great little zoo. Not crowded, great exhibits, and great animals, and a wonderful photo opportunity. The only critique I have of this zoo is I wish the staff was a little more interactive. I would have liked to have seen the staff more visible out amongst the visitors educating and talking about the animals. I don't think we saw a single staff member all day except those keeping the grounds clean. Today's post is a poster I created for my daughter that she is going to hang in her room of the animals she saw. This poster was created by taking several images and doing 4" x4" crops around the faces to focus in on the eyes to give each animal there own personality. Also consider this a preview of images to come as most likely will be sharing the full images soon. In one visit to this zoo I was able to capture over 20 images I was very proud of. If you have visited this zoo and would like your own copy of this poster let me know.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ruins at Crockett Gardens - Georgetown, TX

Before there was a lake just to the west of downtown Georgetown there was simply the San Gabriel River. Along the Goodwater Loop that now circles the man made lake you come across some old ruins that were built many many years ago. The settlers built here due to easy access to the river and access to fresh water from Crockett Springs ( posted earlier ) In this photograph you see the remains of the horse corral and the remains of one of the buildings on the property.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Winter Storm - Georgetown, TX

On Sunday I posted a picture from Lake Georgetown from a nice spring like day where temperatures reached 80 degrees. then Tuesday came and a freak snow storm hit Central Texas. It is very rare to see snow here and even rarer to see this much. In one afternoon around 4 inches of snow fell. When I shot this photo the snow was still falling. I liked this photo because it captured the cactus covered in snow which is a typical warm climate plant. I liked the contrast it provided with the snow. 1 day later the snow is all gone so I am glad I took this photo I have a couple more I will share later that I liked as well.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Crockett Springs Falls - Georgetown, TX

The clouds finally broke today and we had some very nice spring like weather today in Texas. I took advantage and headed off to the San Gabriel River Trail around Lake Georgetown. I decided to hit the portion called the Goodwater Loop. This loop is a 28 mile loop Around Lake Georgetown! That is a hike! Unless you have all day or maybe a couple days I suggest not trying to walk the entire loop in one day. The good thing however is there are lots of good starting points. Today I started at Cedar Breaks Park. From hear you walk through some very cool Cedar covered paths and up and down some big limestone steps to catch some of the best views of Lake Georgetown. This was my first time out on the trail since the lake had filled with recent rains and it looks so much nicer. Cedar Breaks park is the closest starting point to get to Crockett Springs Falls by foot. A 2.5 mile hike will get you there. This HDR photograph was shot from the other side of the cove with a 200mm lens. The algae underneath the water created such a cool green hue to the water. It was as if these falls marked a secret underwater pathway to an emerald treasure. Ok maybe not but if I was writing a fantasy novel I would come back to this picture for some inspiration. Hope you all enjoyed your Sunday as well!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Roses - Georgetown, TX

Happy Valentine's day from Georgetown Texas. Hope you all enjoyed the day! Isn't hard to take a bad photograph of a rose? They do a tremendous job making everything look quite nice.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Brands - Trinty, TX

This is an HDR photo of the inside of a barn I helped clean out the other weekend. Once we removed the old boxes and the trash we uncovered this wall o tools that had probably gone unseen for 10 years. Along the wall were old brands and tools that my wife's grandparents used on their farm when working cattle.

Last night I also took a look a look at Google Buzz and I think I may like this. It is a tool that mixes collaboration, email and social media into one tool. So far it is the easiest way I have found to integrate my multiple platforms such as Blogger, and Twitter. Anytime I update my blog or Twitter account my Google Buzz followers will be updated. So if you do not have a google Buzz account yet go get one especially if you use gmail. You can find my profile here. . Enjoy the photo and see you guys on BUZZ - Also if you have not had a chance yet be sure to vote in the 2010 photoblog awards either by registering with cool photoblogs or via the fans choice by linking your other social network accounts.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Hog Hunting - Trinity, TX

Hogs or wild boars are one of the only wild game animals in Texas that have no real restrictions. You can hunt them when you want with what you want and the more you kill the happier folks are. Wild Hogs have become a rampant destructive invasive species that not only threatens farm land but also the balance of natural wildlife. this photo was shot inside our blind as we sat across from some flooded pastures hoping they would draw some hogs in. On this outing the hogs stayed away.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Rain Maker - Shiro, TX

If you head east out of Austin along Highway 79 or Highway 29 you come across some beautiful farm land. It is a stark contrast from the rolling hills west of Austin but contains a beauty all in its own. I drive these highways often and one of the great things about it is how much the scenery changes throughout the year as the farms go through their yearly planting and harvesting routines. Last year was a very tough years for the farms in the area as we were under severe drought conditions. The only farms that made it were those who could afford very large irrigation systems to produce their own rain. Even with these gigantic rain makers it was tough to get water to the crops as the water sources they rely on to draw the water from were drying up. The good news however is that recent rains have replenished our rivers and lakes and I know all the farmers are very thankful for the replenishment from god as this years crop should be a much more fruitful event. The below photograph is how the landscape in this area looks in late winter as the farms prep the land for the spring. Soon this plot will be full of crops springing up from the ground. The photo is a three shot HDR with an overlayed texture.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Port of Gold - Port O'Connor, TX

It is often fun to go back and take old photos from when I was just starting photography and see what I can do to improve them with new digital processing skills I have learned. I really liked this photo when I shot it and thought it was a very unique image that I was luck to capture. It was shot on a fishing trip as we raced out to the fishing grounds after a storm had broken. We saw this rainbow in the sky by this gigantic cargo ship waiting just outside the port. I convinced my friend to race the boat into a position that framed the boat under the rainbow. He agreed and I captured the base image you see here.

It was a nice image but I then applied some techniques I have learned such as generating some more tonal range by blending and tone mapping multiple images that had exposure corrections done. I then added some burning and dodging and the last touch was to combine two of my textures from my personal collection. The final Image is below which I think really change my original image from a snap shot to a piece of digital art below. What do you all think?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

National Signing Day - Round Rock, TX

For die hard college football fans today was an unofficial holiday that they call National Signing Day. It is a day when work productivity drops dramatically as fans glue themselves to their computers as they watch the online feeds of their favorite teams announce that they have received a commitment from John Doe. I am not that fanatic but I did get to be a part of it today as I went to go photograph two high schools as they celebrated the college signings of their student athletes. My two favorite photos form the day were these to which I shot as the students were giving news interviews. That is how big this is in Texas! Three of the four major networks were there to cover 18 year old kids signing a piece of paper to go to college to play football. To me it is exciting to see these young kids given such a tremendous opportunity. It is now up to them to make the most of it. What do you all think? Is coverage like this for 18 year old kids to much? Does it set too high of expectations or is it good that they are celebrated for this accomplishment? Let me know what you think in the comments.

And oh yeah the 2010 photoblog awards are up and open to voting so if you like this blog your vote would again be very much appreciated. Just click the link over on the side or here. You can vote two ways now either through registering at Cool Photo BLogs or through their peoples Choice which uses your google AIM or Twitter accounts.