Friday, November 30, 2012

Palo Duro Wednesday

Up early again.  I thought it might be fun to go up to the visitor center area to watch the sunrise...well, think I'll stick with Pepaw picking where we need to set up for that! It was a pretty sunrise, just the place we were at wasn't the best for it...Oh well, I still got this pretty cool shot!

Loved the reflections on the car, and you can even see Pepaw down the road getting his shots for the morning.  Then we drove down into the valley.  I walked up one of the closed off road to get this shot of one of the bluffs on the other side of the valley lighting up.

After we finished with the sunrise pictures we drove back down to low water crossing #2 so I could get another reflection picture of Capital Peak.  The water was so still it was like a mirror!

We decided to hike the Capital Peak trail and see if we could find any more "hidden" trails.  As we walked along the trail we saw this buck working his way through the brush.

You'll want to double click this one so you can actually see him!
We moved along and came across this formation, so I took a couple of pictures from each side.

Pepaw was off taking his pictures and I had done about all I could see, (I always finish first!), so I thought I'd play around with the camera a little and see what it could do.  First I tried a sepia tone shot.

WOW! That was cool...let's try some black and white!

Same shot in color
Another black and white,

Well, THAT was fun!  I REALLY liked what I was seeing.  We walked back to the car and traveled back up the road again.

Another panarama shot. Love how this one came out!

Now I was ready to play with the HDR Paint functionality.

Isn't that cool looking!

We went back to the campsite for a while and decided we would go around the bend to the cabins and see what we could see from there.

Another HDR painted picture

Then I got this shot of the sun going behind the clouds.

And the cactus growing on the rock over the valley.

We drove back to the trailhead for The Lighthouse and Capital Peak.  We weren't going to walk the trails, but just wanted to get a few more pictures of the area.  I got this one in Black and White and the same shot in color.

My final shot of the day was this sepia toned capture of the windmill.  I thought the sepia made it look really "old - time".  You can even see the moon right there by the windmill if you look really close!

I liked my new camera before today - but after this - well, I think I fell in love with it!  So great that you can look through the lens and see what the shot will look like when you do these.  Love, love, love it!

Thanksgiving day would be our last in the park and I was looking forward to it!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tuesday at Palo Duro

Tuesday morning we got up before sunrise again - I was excited because we were returning to the spot we'd found the night before to watch the sun come up.  We got there pretty early and got set up and started waiting.  I don't do "waiting" very well, so we started playing with the cameras and I was able to get these shots of Pepaw all ready to shoot pictures for the day!

Not very often I get a shot of him - he's usually right beside me behind his camera!

The sun finally started coming up - it wasn't an amazing sunrise - don't get me wrong, they are all beautiful, but there weren't the really pretty clouds that make some of them really amazing!  I tried some shots that were a little different, but still showed the beautiful morning light.

After watching the morning light we headed back to the campsite.  We wanted to take a look at the map and try to decide where we wanted to go from there.  I took a quick picture of our "home away from home".

We determined that we wanted to take a look on the other side of the park - go to the "old park rd. 5" and see what was around that section of the loop.  We drove over and parked in a turn-out.  We saw this really cool looking cave and decided, once again, to go exploring. Here are some shots from the cave.

 From inside looking back toward the road.
 Trying to get the top of the cave entrance!
 It always makes me sad when I see things like this...I just don't "get it".  Why do people think they need to leave their mark?
 THIS is what the walls should look like!
 My friend was posing for me as we made our way down.
 The climb to the entrance.
What caught our eye from the road and made us curious enough to climb up and take a peek!
We drove a bit farther and noticed some more awesome formations.  We walked over and noticed the moon rising over the formation.  So tickled I was able to get these shots!

We also got a chance to see this amazing formation as well.

A couple of pictures I saw along the trail.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, this crooked tree!
Then we walked a little further and caught the beginning of the evening light.

I did love how the evening sun lit up the yellow leaves in the valley though! We were going to move to another spot, but ended up going into town instead because our car informed us we had low tire pressure on one of the tires...didn't want to be stuck in the morning with a flat tire!!!

Only one more day of camping left!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday at Palo Duro Canyon State Park

We woke up early Monday morning...and when I say early I mean EARLY!  We were up by 4:00 A.M.  This was so we could shower and then hike to the Lighthouse, probably the best known landmark in Palo Duro State Park.  We wanted to get there for sunrise and it is nearly a 3 mile hike just to get to it.

We began hiking about 5:00 a.m. using our headlamps and packing in all our "photo gear".  I made a MAJOR error - when I got done showering and pulled on my socks I realized I had pulled out an older pair...nothing wrong with that except they were a little thin.  Well, there isn't anything wrong with it until you start rubbing a blister on your foot because the sock is so thin!  I did OK after we stopped and I put on a blister band-aid, but it was going to be a lot more painful than it should have been!  Won't make THAT mistake again (I hope!)

Anyway, we trudged along in the dark (it was actually pretty fun!) until we reached a picnic table just below the last climb up to the lighthouse.  There we realized it was simply too much for us to attempt.  20 years ago it wasn't quite so strewn with boulders and rocks - don't get me wrong, it was a tough climb then, but with the erosion and changes we just couldn't make the climb (certainly not in the gray twilight of early dawn!) We took our first pictures of sunrise close to this rest area.

Disappointed we headed back down the trail to see if we could find a place to set up and get some more early light photos.  As we walked back toward the trail head I turned around and got this shot of The Lighthouse and Castle Peak.

We found a wash and walked along the dry area managing to get a few nice shots.

 We headed back down the trail and as we rounded a bend we saw this horseshoe shaped cut-out with these lovely yellow trees blazing against the red rocks behind. I carefully worked my way around the rim to get this shot of the wash below.

 Back to the trail again.  I saw this great formation, but the clouds were right behind it so it wouldn't show up clearly in the picture - I was bound and determined to capture the formation against that beautiful blue of the sky - so we moved off trail, following some stream beds until I worked my way around where I could manage these shots.

 We finally made it back to the trail head and decided to take a little break before we went back for our afternoon "photo walk".

After a short break we wandered down to the Sunflower Rest area. There was a valley area here, nice and flat!  We wandered around this area enjoying the peace, quiet, and beauty of the trees.

It was getting later in the day and we knew we needed to find another spot for our evening shoot - so we headed "off trail" again.  Close to the Fortress Cliff camp area Pepaw had spotted a small trail that lead around a bluff so off we went.  We were so happy we went exploring!  Just the other side of the bluff, after a short and fairly easy climb we saw some amazing formations - and what a view!!!

Did you notice the moon high above the formation?

 So with the sun quickly setting we headed back to camp to heat up dinner, upload pictures and get ready for bed.  We both agreed we wanted to come back to this same spot early in the morning for some sunrise pictures as well!  Tune in tomorrow to see how THAT went!

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