TEXAS PARKS & WILDLIFE FOUNDATION – FOCUS ON THE WILD – June Contest

The subject of the June 2016 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Focus on the Wild photography contest is “Texas views from the hiking trail.”  I live near Palo Duro Canyon State Park, so I figured I’d enter three of my favorite Palo Duro Canyon photographs — all of which were literally taken from hiking trails.  Check out my three entries!

The following photograph was taken from the Givens, Spicer, & Lowry Running Trail.  It’s one of my favorite trails because it’s incredibly scenic and it doesn’t have nearly as many people on it as the Lighthouse Trail.  There are quite a few places to do some off-trail exploring, too.

The following photograph of a dry creek bed and storm clouds was taken from the Lighthouse Trail.  The combination of scenery and stormy weather in this photograph always makes me pause to take a closer look.

There have been a few new trails created at Palo Duro Canyon State Park since I moved to the Texas Panhandle eight years ago.  This photograph was take while I was hiking one of them — the Rock Garden Trail.  The Rock Garden Trail directs hikers through an area that fell victim to a rock slide many moons ago.  There are quite a few interesting rock formations along the trail.  I love that you can see the Spanish skirts in the background of this photo (top right-hand quadrant).

Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation – Focus on the Wild

I just came across an advertisement for the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundations April 2016 Focus on the Wild photo contest.  The April subject is “Texas wildflowers in bloom.”  I immediately knew exactly which photographs I wanted to enter.  Sometimes it’s discouraging to enter photo contests and not win, but what I like most about contests like these is getting my photographs in front of a much wider audience than normal.  Here are my three entries.

Each spring, “the old cemetery” in Rockport is taken over by wildflowers.  Though tickseed is the most common (it’s the golden yellow one seen here), there are also bluebonnets and winecups (among other flowers).  There are many old statues and tombstones throughout the cemetery that make for picturesque photographs.

Virgin Mary & Tickseed at Old Rockport Cemetery

I was on the way home from a dear friend’s wedding when I passed this scene — the perfect fence & bluebonnet shot.  This photo was high up on my “photo bucket list,” so I turned around to take a few shots.  I debated long and hard on whether or not to include the Indian paintbrush in my photograph.  In the end I decided to leave it — it adds some visual interest without cluttering-up the photograph.  Aside from that, I think we all feel a little out of place, just like this Indian paintbrush, from time-to-time.

Rustic Fence, Bluebonnets, & Lone Indian Paintbrush

I was driving from Austin to Borger when I passed this scene.  I was kicking myself for not stopping (mostly because I don’t think it gets much better than cows grazing in a field of bluebonnets) and several miles later made the decision to turn around and go back to get a few shots.  There was a nice, big caliche driveway leading up to an entrance for this field, so I went ahead and pulled in to the side of it.  I was able to get quite a few shots (I’m always willing to stay some place a bit longer when I don’t feel like I’m in danger), but this one is my favorite.  I like the sense of movement from the longhorns’ tails, the hillcountry in the background, and the bluebonnets in the foreground.

Longhorns, Texas Hillcountry, & Bluebonnets

Pointe-du-Hoc

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The fourth and final stop on our Normandy D-Day road trip was Pointe-du-Hoc.  The Fighting-Texas-Aggie in me had been looking forward to visiting Pointe-du-Hoc all day, as it was Lieutenant Colonel James Earl Rudder who led the Army Rangers to victory at Pointe-du-Hoc.  Rudder retired from the Army as a Major General and was the third president of Texas A&M University.

Pointe-du-Hoc was an important strategic location for the Germans, as it was the high point between Omaha Beach and Utah Beach.  A victory at Pointe-du-Hoc was crucial for the Allied forces in order to prevent the Germans from using Pointe-du-Hoc for observing both Utah and Omaha Beaches.  The 2nd Ranger Battalion was to scale the cliffs by using ropes, ladders, and grappling hooks.  Out of the 225+ American men who landed at Pointe-du-Hoc, 135 died.  The Americans were at a clear disadvantage — imagine being expected to scale cliffs while enemy soldiers stood atop them, armed and shooting downward at you.


Ronald Reagan Quote

Grappling Hook

“The officers said everyone that even gets close to the cliff out to get an award.”

Lieutenant Colonel James Earl Rudder

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Photography Contests Galore!

Photo Contest Entries Collage September must be the month for photo contests. Birds & Blooms’ Backyard Photo Contest entries must be postmarked by September 15th, and entries for Solvay’s Specialty Polymer’s Business Group’s 2016 calendar are due on September 15th, as well.  Entries for the 2015 Amarillo Tri-State Fair are due on September 17th.

Birds & Blooms – Backyard Photo Contest

I was cleaning up my office when I came across a page out of the September 2015 Birds & Blooms issue about a photo contest that I had intended to enter but had completely forgotten about.  There are three categories in the competition – Best Flower, Best Bird, & Best Butterfly.  I regularly take photos of all three of those items, so I decided that I’d go ahead and purchase one print to enter into each of the categories.

The flower photograph that I’m going to enter is a photo of some gladioli that I planted this year.  I love that they’re tri-colored, because all of my other gladioli are only one color.  I also think that our “rustic” fence makes a nice photo-background.

Backyard Gladioli

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