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).

Monochrome Monday – Cotton Bolls

Fields of defoliated cotton always call out to me, but before taking this photo, I had never stopped to get a closer look.  There’s something appealing about the fluffy, white bolls — contrasting starkly against the brown, dead stems.  That contrast is what drove me to convert this to a black and white photo (good black and white photos have both black and white in them…not just shades of gray).  If memory serves me correctly, this particular cotton field was just outside of Abilene.

High CottonBlack & White Cotton Bolls

The following picture is of the same field, taken at the same time.  The stories that old house could tell!

22828590304_9507465e6e_oAbandoned Farmhouse

I figured that this would be as good a place as any to go ahead and share the following photo, as well.  I was with my parents (driving somewhere I don’t remember), and we drove past a cotton field in bloom.  It dawned on me that I had never seen a cotton blossom up close, so Dad pulled over for me to get a closer look.  The flowers looked pretty…in a strange sort of way.  I never would have guessed that they were pink.

Oh, the things we miss when we’re zooming by in our cars.

Cotton FlowerCotton Blossom

“That was where my dream began to take hold, of not havin’ to pick cotton and
potatoes, and not havin’ to be uncomfortable, too hot or too cold.That
in itself had driven me to try to find some better way of life.” 
-Buck Owens

Flower Friday – Bluebonnets & An Indian Paintbrush

On April 13, 2014, I was given the opportunity to take the bluebonnet photograph of my dreams.  Seriously — I’d wanted to take a photograph of bluebonnets with a fence behind them for YEARS.  This shot could not have matched what I had envisioned in my head any better.

Quintessential Bluebonnet PhotoPerfect Fence & Bluebonnets & A Lone Indian Paintbrush
taken somewhere in Texas…

“28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” – Matthew 6:28-30

Wildlife Wednesday – Pronghorn Antelope

In order to post blog entries more regularly, I’ve decided to attempt to do certain posts on specific days of the week.  I know that Wednesday is almost over, but I figured that it’s better late than never.

The first time that I saw a pronghorn antelope was on the drive from Borger to Amarillo following my job interview at the then-ConocoPhillips Borger Refinery (now a Phillips 66 Refinery).  I was with a classmate who was interviewing at the Borger Refinery on the same day that I interviewed, and he kindly turned the car around so that I could get a better look (and a few photos) of these exotic-looking creatures.  I’ve lived in Borger for 7.5 years now, and I see pronghorn antelopes on a fairly regular basis, but I will certainly never tire of seeing these majestic creatures grazing on the wide-open Panhandle plains.

Fun fact: Though the pronghorn is commonly referred to as the pronghorn antelope, it is not technically an antelope.  It’s closest living relatives are the giraffe and the okapi.

Someday I hope to be able to photograph a baby pronghorn antelope.  Until then, here are a few of my favorite pronghorn antelope photographs.

The following photo is definitely NOT my best pronghorn photo, but it’s the first chance  I ever had to photograph pronghorns.  My camera equipment has improved significantly since this photo was taken.

Home on the range...

He's Back, Mom :-)

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