Monday, January 18, 2016

Sunset New Braunfels TX, January 17 2016

Last evening Jan and I walked out the front door, and looked at the sunset and WOW! It was so fiery and bright and spectacular, I ran back in the house got the camera, and snapped a few quick photos. The results were pretty wonderful.

It's long been my opinion that no camera, no lens, no film, can truly capture the bright fiery beauty of a sunset or sunrise. I did some brightening of colors and contrast adjustments after taking the photo, but I didn't want to make the photo much different than what we actually saw. So no HDR, no grunge, just brightening and sharpening.

I think the photo came out more than ok. It could be a little brighter, but I don't want to do too much and mess it up. This is one that I want to get printed and framed sometime soon. It is my favorite sunset photo to date. Hope you like it.

Till next time,
Mike Z

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Concan TX, Day 3, Two photos and a video

Our last day on the Frio

We spent the morning on the last day cleaning up the cabin and packing the car. We finished before check-out time, and decided to take a last "tour" of the area around River Bluff Cabins before we handed in the keys.

Frio River from the road
Above is a photo I took the day before, right at the end of the day, after we had returned from Garner State Park. 

The videographer on the river
Next is a photo that Jan took of me as I shot videos of the Frio River. 

Finally one of the videos that I shot of the river. I hope you like it.

Till the next post!
Mike Z

Friday, December 4, 2015

Concan TX, Day 2, Garner State Park

Field and Sky at the Visitors Center
We planned to tour Concan and Leakey TX in the morning and spend most of our day at Garner State Park, near Uvalde, TX. We got to the park a little after lunch and drove through to get the "lay of the land." Check in was easy, and we got a map of the hiking trails and bird watching blind.

Small cabin by Visitors Center, probably used for storage
We got to the bird blind, and sat for a while to see which birds might pass by. We waited what seemed like a long time (20 minutes) and saw one bird -- a sparrow. We decided it was time to hit the trail.

Sign marking the beginning of the Frio Canyon Trail
We got to the beginning of the Frio Canyon Trail, and started on the way. This trail is a hiking/biking trail, and it appeared that trucks used it too. We walked for a while and began to think we were lost.

As we started the 2 1/2 mile walk along the Frio Canyon Trail
About an hour or so into the hike, we saw a small bridge off to the right on what seemed to be a much better trail. All we were seeing on this trail were tire tracks and telephone poles. So we skipped over to this new trail, which we later learned is the Nature Trail, and started back in the direction of the Visitors Center.

Jan on the bridge of the Nature Walk Trail
When we got back to the center, I was sure that we had hiked the full 2 1/2 miles, but we weren't even close. But we did have a great time and there will be more to explore next time. So we got in the car and drove to the Frio River and Old Baldy. Old Baldy is the centerpiece mountain at the park. There are big posters of it in the gift shop, and they have every right to be proud.

Old Baldy and the Frio River, Garner State Park
We got to the park just as the sun was setting behind Old Baldy. I immediately got to work taking photos of the river, the cypress trees, the park itself -- pretty much anything that caught my eye. It was a feast for cameras! 

Frio River looking upstream from the paddle boat docks
The Frio River was true to its name -- very cold, clear and very inviting. I'm told you can make coffee with water right from the river and it tastes like ambrosia. I don't doubt it. The sounds of the water over the dam were so relaxing, I could have stayed a long while just listening.

The Frio River water is very kind to the cypress trees along the shore
I think from the photo above you can tell that the cypress trees are very tall along the banks of the Frio. Jan is standing in front of the rock just to the right of the base of the tree. It is amazing the heights these trees attain! And with the fall foliage they are truly beautiful as well.

Jan and Mike in the Hollow Cypress

While we were walking along the banks of the river, Jan noticed that one of the cypresses was hollow. So we took photos of both of us in the hollow of the tree. There was lots of "we were here" type graffiti inside the tree, but we didn't pay much attention.  

Parking area and playground, Garner State Park
The day got more and more clear as it went by, and by the time we left there was hardly a cloud in the sky. Very beautiful and so worth the trip to see this wonderful State Park. We highly recommend it!

Our last view of the Frio River as we left the park
The photo above was our parting shot of the beautiful Frio River. We would see it again at the cabins, but it was hard not to take just one more, just one more....

Hope you enjoyed the photos. And I hope you get to visit Garner State Park, if you haven't already.

All the best,
Mike Z

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Our visit to the Rio Frio, and Concan TX Part 1

Our Christmas Gift to Each Other

Jan and I have loved going to Big Bend National Park, and always want to go back. But I heard from a friend in Austin about this place called Concan, TX and the Frio River. We decided to take a "mini-vacation" and go see for ourselves.

Frio River, From the Front Porch of our cabin
 We got to the River Bluff Cabins about 4:30pm. It was very rainy and overcast, but I managed to get a shot of the Rio Frio. This is looking upstream from the porch.

Our front door, Cabin 4

We got checked in with no problem, and packed all our vacation stuff into our cabin. The room was very nice. We then struck out to see the grounds.

The Rio Frio, looking downstream from our porch

The River Bluff Cabins are nestled right along the Rio Frio, and there is a large playground for the kids. There are log cabins, lodges for large parties, and "regular" cabins like the one we stayed in.

Cypress tree park, where weddings are held

We walked down the stairs to the riverside, and were enthralled with the tall cypress trees and the sounds of the rapids on the river. So relaxing! 

Rio Frio looking downstream from the park area

We got down close to the water and were amazed at how clear and clean it was. Jan said her dad used to make coffee out of river water when she was a kid. He said it was "ambrosia." I wanted to try it!

Rio Frio looking upstream from the cypress park area

We were also captivated by the size of the cypress trees in the park and along the river bank. They must be very old. The photo below shows Jan standing in front of the tallest of the trees. 

Jan beside the cypress tree

After our walk we went back to the cabin, as it was getting dark pretty fast. We were excited to begin Day 2!

I'll get Day 2 up shortly. Stay tuned.

Mike Z