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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lost Maples State Natural Area

The day after Thanksgiving, Jan was talking with her sister Kathy, who mentioned that they had gone to see the Lost Maples the previous weekend. She said that the maple leaves were beautiful. I had gone to see the Lost Maples a few years back (see my previous post here), and had thoroughly enjoyed it.

Since Jan had not been with me on the previous trip, we decided to go see. We figured an hour and a half would do the trick, and we'd have time to walk and see the trees. 

I brought my camera and some accessories (not a tripod or monopod - huge mistake), and we headed west from New Braunfels to Boerne, then on to Bandera and Medina, then turned south to the State Natural Area.

What we hadn't counted on was that the trip would take 2 1/2 hours, and that we would get there about 15 minutes before sunset. The park ranger asked if we knew that we were getting there very late. We said yes. No discount, of course.

We walked a little ways up the Maple Trail, but decided that as it was getting darker and darker, we switch to the East Trail, which is wider and graveled, so it would be easier to see coming back.

I felt a little like a salmon swimming upstream as we passed group after group who were returning from their walk and heading back to their cars. We were the only ones heading into the park! 

To make matters worse, thick clouds came up from the south, and completely blocked any light from the sunset. It got dark in a hurry! I was amazed that my Nikon could get any good shots at all. It took some adjusting in Photoshop to get what you see here.

The tree above was the last one we saw. It is at the junction where the Maple Trail meets the East Trail. We decided that we would head back to the car, and save the rest of the trail for another visit.

The nice thing about going back to Austin so late was that we got to see the Christmas and Holiday decorations that the towns had put up. They were very lovely.

So that's the story of my second trip to see the Lost Maples.

Thanks for stopping by!

Mike Z

Guadalupe River, New Braunfels TX, Thanksgiving

We had our Thanksgiving with Jan's family at Slumber Falls Camp in New Braunfels, TX. We had it at the camp because with almost 50 people in attendance, no one's house could fit us all. Slumber Falls Camp is located near the Guadelupe River, and after lunch I ventured down there to take some photos.

The Guadalupe River is a favorite tubing and recreation area for local residents as well as visitors to New Braunfels. Lately there has been a lot of interest in cleaning up the river. 

These photos were taken at sunset, and the steep hill where the camp is located put most of the river in shadow. It was somewhat difficult to get the right exposure for the photos. 

Some of the family members got off by themselves to digest the wonderful lunch and enjoy the peace of the river. Everything was just about perfect.

As the sun set, the lighting got more and more interesting. I was especially captivated by the reflection of the sunlit trees in the water's reflection. 

Even though the water level is very low due to the horrible drought we had this past summer, the river still flows and brings enjoyment to everyone who encounters it.

Hope your Thanksgiving Day was the best! Ours sure was.

Till next time,

Mike Z

PS If you click on a picture, Google has a new slideshow feature. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Cactus at Sunset, Sedona Arizona

As we hiked up the hill to see the Chapel of the Holy Cross, I noticed some beautiful cholla plants with deep purple blooms.

I shot several photos, and this was about the best. There were some with bees, but I don't like them as much.

Much more to show you about Sedona. It will be in another post. Click on the photo to see it larger (you can do this with any photo on my weblog).

Till then,
Mike Z

PS My friend Gordon told me about the faux matting technique I used in this photo. I also borrowed some of the steps from George Lepp in Outdoor Photography magazine. I hope you like it.