Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Well, we've moved. How 'bout that??

Jan and I signed the papers on our new home in New Braunfels today. After many months of packing, cleaning, staging, and fretting, our house in Austin sold in 17 days.

The photo above is of our new home on Jan's family ranch. I feel like a gentleman rancher, though I know virtually nothing about ranching. Jan's brother and sister-in-law really loved this place, but they moved to Nashville TN. 

John and Jennifer left us a beautiful yard and garden. I am sure they hated leaving it behind. I also have no doubt that there will be a similarly beautiful yard and garden very soon in their new place in Tennessee.

This morning we had a visitor, a vulture sunned itself on the corner post of our backyard. I was a bit concerned because of what vultures eat. I didn't see any evidence that its' meal was nearby. Maybe it was just enjoying the morning.

Ok, that's it for this one. Till next time, I hope you are doing well.

All the best,
Mike Z

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Pace Bend State Park bluebonnets

More bluebonnets, this time the Central Texas variety. I was on a "mission" to Pace Bend State Park (not Big Bend State Park) near Austin to photograph my daughter Amy race a 9 mile course through the hills of West Austin. I had some time before I was to be at the designated spot to do the photo shoot, so I walked out towards the lake and saw fields of bluebonnets along the shore. 

One thing to notice about this variety of bluebonnets is that the stems are much shorter than the Big Bend bluebonnets in my last post. Another thing I didn't notice until I posted this photo is the boat in the lake with the rooster tail shooting out the back. Nice touch....

I'll have some more Big Bend photos to share soon, as well as (I hope) some photos of the Pace Bend Race. I hope you enjoy the photo! 

Till next time,
Mike Z

PS - As always, click on the photo to see it larger.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Abby and the Big Bend Bluebonnets

Well, it's bluebonnet blooming time in Texas, and everyone has pictures of their kids, their pets or themselves in the bluebonnets. This is the second installment of our trip to Ft. Davis/Big Bend, and I thought I would show you some photos of our granddaughter, Abby, in the bluebonnets as we entered Big Bend National Park. 

You'll probably notice that the bluebonnets in Big Bend are not quite like the ones in Central Texas. They are definitely bluebonnets, but they are taller and spindlier than those we have around home. The kindly Park Ranger told me that there are five different subspecies of bluebonnets in Texas. I didn't know that.

Abby seemed to enjoy the bluebonnets, and so did we. There are lots more photos to come, and I hope you enjoy them all. If you'd like to see these or any of the photos on the weblog enlarged, just click and you can see a slideshow. By the way, Happy Easter!

Til next time,
Mike Z

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Our Vacation Trip to Big Bend National and State Parks Part 1


It's hard to believe that it's been two years since I've posted on this weblog. No, it's not that I haven't had anything to post. I guess my only excuse is that I've been busy with other things, and have neglected the blog. 
But enough with the excuses! If you've followed this weblog for any length of time, you'll know what prompted me to post again. For those that are new, Big Bend is the reason. We took a 4-day road trip to Ft. Davis TX, near MacDonald Observatory, and visited Big Bend National Park and Big Bend State Park also. This time we went with our daughter, son-in-law, and 3 grandchildren in a giant Chevy Suburban. What a trip!
So here's a few of my favorite photos from the trip. The weather was cold and rainy, and it gave me the chance to photograph some familiar sights with a whole new look, as well as some new ones we'd never seen before.

Sunrise Ft. Davis TX Day 1

We drove to Big Bend National Park and walked the 1.9 mile Window Trail. It was cold and drizzly, but not unpleasant. I took several photos of Casa Grande, and this one of the Window. Very different from other shots I've taken but I think it has charm all its' own.

The Window from the Window Trail

While hiking the trail, my grandson and I enjoyed taking photos of the wildlife we saw. Most interesting to me was the Whitetail Deer we spotted nosing around the grounds near the trail. According to the national park website, this subspecies of whitetail deer is found only in the Chisos Mountains and foothills. The race in Big Bend National Park, the Carmen Mountains whitetail, is one of the smallest subspecies of whitetail in North America.

Carmen Mountain Whitetail Buck

The crown of the Chisos Mountains area to me will always be Casa Grande. I try to photograph this rock every time I go to Big Bend. This particular trip was so rainy and overcast that I got a whole new look to the photo. I took it from my favorite photo spot for Casa Grande, right outside the gift shop door. I hope you like it.

Casa Grande 2015

Close by Casa Grande at the top of a rock formation is a dead pinion pine that caught my interest. It was pretty far away, but I chanced a shot with my long lens. I think it came out pretty good. 

Pinion Pine, Big Bend National Park

The next day we went to the Big Bend State Park, which was brand new to me. Amy and Aaron biked the 18 mile West Contrabandos Trail, while Jan and I watched the grandkids, and I took photos. The day started out drizzly, but got clearer as the day went on. 

Mountains of Big Bend State Park

We had such a fantastic time every day of our trip. We ate at the Drugstore restaurant and saw several framed photos by my friend Bob Zeller, and we got to dip our feet in the spring-fed pool at Balmorhea State Park. We drove both main highways south from Ft. Davis, the Alpine route and the Marfa route, both of which were equally beautiful but very different. All in all, I'd say we spent our time there very well. I hope to go back again and again.

Til next time,
Mike Z