David Alaniz Photography

Natures turn…….

Tag Archives: Nikon 24-70mm

Union Band Cemetery & Wildflowers

Spring time in Texas is special as there is a burst of wildflowers stretching out after a cold and wet winter.  A short vacation seemed just the right thing to travel the back roads and see what we could find.  After traveling parts south of San Antonio we headed into the hill country.  The day was getting late so we picked a few back roads then headed towards the Llano area with our destination being west of Pontotoc.  A few miles from Pontotoc you’ll see the entrance to the cemetery.

Early one morning, five years ago, we located the Union Band Cemetery.  It was covered with bluebonnets and made a lasting impression.  This year the cemetery was full with not only bluebonnets but other wildflowers mixed throughout.  Since it was getting late I was anxious to see how the evening light portrayed the cemetery.  In my opinion, the evening light was much better.  The flowers were swaying in the wind making some captures not as sharp as I wanted but still nice.

We spent more time walking around reading and looking.  The cemetery was established on March 31, 1891 when T.H. and Pricilla Thomas conveyed one and one-half acres of land to the Trustees of the Union Band Missionary Baptist Church.  A beautiful place to see, walk and enjoy the wildflowers.

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The Lift

This is the 13th Anniversary of the Galveston FeatherFest and Nature PhotoFest.  You are allowed to submit 2 pictures a week for four weeks.  There are three places per week with the winner being eligible for the grand overall winner.  It’s been a trying year for me and I haven’t been able to get out and take pictures like I usually do.  So I struggled to make my selections for each week.  It doesn’t help being your own worst critic.  I hesitated so much I missed the first week deadline.  I was definitely in a flux.

I had been sick for over a month and was slowly trying to get over it but just couldn’t shake a nagging cough.  I told my wife the tides were going to be perfect on Bolivar flats with a clear blue sky.  She said to go.  We were suppose to have already left for my mother in-law’s.  Mind you now it’s 04:00 Christmas eve morning and I’m struggling – cough, cough, cough.  I knew there was no way I could lay down in the watery muck with the temperatures in the low 30’sF.  I struggled again asking myself do I really need to get out.  It would be so much better to get back in bed because that is what I really needed.

Plan B goes into effect.  I was pulling myself all the way as I loaded up and set off for Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.  The geese, it was all about the geese.  I had seen some recent pictures and hoped they would still be there.  When I arrived it was pitch black with beautiful stars above.  Deciding to take a particular route I lowered my window and slowly made my way forward.  I was trying my best to listen to get some indication where they were.  The chill in the air was dang cold, cough, cough, cough.

Finally I could hear them but couldn’t see them.  I cranked up my ISO in my camera and took a blurred but viewable shot.  Bingo, I could see them and make out where I wanted to stop.  After stopping I slowly slipped out of my truck.  Took my equipment and set up in front of my truck hoping for a little warmth from the engine.  Didn’t happen.  Did I say it was cold?  Even though I had my heavy jacket on I was cold.  Cough, cough, cough, water, cough drop.

As darkness slowly faded away it was a sight to see.  The fields where full of geese into the distance.  Daylight was fast approaching when silence gave way to distant guns.  Seemed like hunters were everywhere just off the refuge.  Some geese in the distance where lifting but trying to find another landing area.  It sounded like roaring trains.  The ones in front of me were getting restless as the noise level started picking up.

I knew it was just a matter of time.  My mind was racing verifying my camera settings when I thought – whoa.  I quickly pulled my wide angle from the truck and rechecked settings.  As I laid the camera on the hood it started.  The roar, they were lifting in stages from the distance.  Then is was time for those in front of me.  I had so much adrenaline flowing I could have bottled it.

The Lift was in full effect.  The Roar sounded as if a train was coming down the road towards me.  Cough, what cough?  I was too busy to cough as natures wonder was unfolding right before my eyes.  I had seen National Geographic shows with geese lifting.  It didn’t compare to what I was witnessing.  I reached for my camera on the hood.  It was set to a fully wide angle view as I leaned against the truck for support.  Firing away as they continued to lift.

I was all alone experiencing what I would call a heavenly moment.  I praised and gave thanks to God.

I submitted this photo for the second weeks contest.  It was selected as the winner.  I’m honored.

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How Big

Most of my photo friends are Canon shooters with less than a handful of Nikon.  Recently read where Canon is coming out with two new 50+ megapixel cameras.  Whoa, how big can they get.  Got to love technology but also wonder how much is enough.

I was recently reviewing and cleaning up files when I came upon a few I thought would be worth a try.  When I completed the one below it was 40.56MB’s.  Several ranged from 40 to a little over 50MB’s.  I use SmugMug and they accepted everything below 50MB’s and rejected 50+ files.  Said file tooooo big.  So that got me thinking is the cart before the horse.

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm, f/16, 1/100’s  View from La Sol Mountains, Utah.

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Dead Horse State Park

Dead Horse State Park is a beautiful overlook of a “gooseneck” in the Colorado River and Canyonlands National Park.

The narrowest point as you drive out on the mesa is about 30 yards wide.  One legend tells of cowboys rounding up wild mustangs and herding them across the narrow land and onto the point.  The narrow part was fenced with branches and made a natural corral used by the cowboys to select the best horses.  For some unknown reason the horses were left without any water and they died.  All within site of the Colorado River.

I was focusing on the “gooseneck” in the Colorado River when I looked back to see my wife alone at the look-out point.  When I first showed her the picture she smiled.  I took it as an approval.

If you are ever in the area be sure to take a little time and go visit.  Best time would be sunrise.  Has the best restroom facility and only a short walk to the overlook point.  Worth the drive.

Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm @ 38mm, f/11, ISO 100, 5 shot HDR

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