David Alaniz Photography

Natures turn…….

Category Archives: Landscape

Cattle Egret

Stopping by in a local park just to check the activity can be pretty good.  This particular park has a small rookery which I like.  I don’t have to deal with a crowd trying to get a close up view or that keep sake photo.  Especially I don’t have to keep swatting those pesky mosquitoes.

Nikon D800, 500mm + 1.4tc, f/5.6, 1/2000’s, ISO 800

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In Search Of…

While traveling down a long and lonely back road we came upon a side road that beckoned us.  Before I tell you what we did next let’s rewind to the day before.

Finishing our photo driving tour south of San Antonio we headed up to the hill country in search of more bluebonnets.  Arriving early afternoon at Johnson City we gassed up and bought a few ‘I shouldn’t buys’.  We set out to cover as many locations as we could.  It wasn’t about being at the right time, in the right place and getting beautiful lit shots.  We just wanted to see as much as possible.

First order of business was to get off the highways.  Pick a road, any road and that’s what we did.  We drove the famous Willow City Loop.  From there we headed towards the Union Band Cemetery in Pontotox, Tx.  This was our second visit with the first time being early one morning.  This time the sun was lower in the sky and the light was much better for taking photos.  If you have never been and you are in the area take a few minutes to enjoy the cemetery covered in bluebonnets.

From this point we headed back east.  We stopped a few more times to take some photos but I wanted to get back to Marble Falls before it got dark.  It was a long day and I just wanted to relax and plan the next one. 

It was just about dark when we saw a hotel.  A quick review showed it to be rated a four out of five.  Not sure what was going on but the three hotels were booked up.  Except this one, how lucky could we be?  The clerk said all the rooms were taken, however, she had one left.  The honeymoon suite, but it would cost ten dollars more.  If you could have only seen my face.  What the heck, for ten dollars more, I was game. 

The hotel’s jammed pack parking wasn’t giving me a warm and fussy feeling.  I was the first one to open the door.  I gave out an OMG you’ve got to see this!  It was a cracker box room with a king sized bed.  Wait, there is more.  Next to the bed was a king sized Jacuzzi.  Wait, there is more.  The walls were covered in mirrors.  Yes, a little more….mirrors on the ceiling.  I love humor, we had a good night’s sleep.

This brings us to the morning of the photo.  Starting off with a good breakfast is a priority for Lila.  Me, not so much, but I won’t turn it down.  If you’re ever in Marble Falls check out the Bluebonnet Café.  I had two scramble eggs, hash browns, toast, sausage, bacon with a large glass of orange juice.  Mighty Good!

As we started out for our search of bluebonnets I told Lila my stomach was doing a little rumbling.  Perhaps we should check out some back roads not too far from town.  We picked one and started down that long lonely road with a few more gurgles of my stomach.  That was some breakfast.

We stopped a few times for pictures and moved on.  Gurgle, gurgle.  That’s when we came upon this side road where I couldn’t help but stop.  Just pass the cattle guard looked to be a road not to miss.  We decided to continue and come back to it later.  Gurgle, gurgle.  Stopped and photographed a few more places and moved on.

Past the point of no return.  I told Lila there wasn’t any more gurgle.  It had progressed to gurrrgling.  I stopped to check my iPhone map for any close place I could point the car.  You ever have this sinking feeling?  No way, it was way past the point of no return.  I was now traveling fairly fast down this dirt road in search of where a bear in the woods would go.  I was starting to get cold and clammy with a few beads of sweat on my forehead.  And Lila laughing her head off didn’t help the situation. 

Thanks goodness, there was a vehicle trail leading to nowhere.  I pulled in and quickly got out.  There wasn’t any fresh tracks so that was a good sign.  Let me say right here I never complain what Lila packs.  I like to kid with her about packing the kitchen sink.  She told me where the magic roll of Charmin was located.  I’m sure she was having a good laugh as I walked up the trail and around the bend, quickly.  There it was, the perfect spot.  Kind of below a tree and in the midst of cow paddies.  Just me and the birds.  Along with a nice breeze and the fresh smell of manure.

Lila was smiling as I rounded the corner skipping back to the car.  I never felt so good.  If Lila had been outside the car she would have been ROGLOL.

We headed back to the side road and started down what turned out to be a great drive.  Just beautiful along the road.  Just us enjoying a little of what nature has to offer. 

Nikon D4, 70-200mm, f/5.6, ISO 640

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Moab, Utah

Landscape from Moab, Utah.  Certainly a target rich area for taking pictures.  Wish I would have had more hand warmers for my frozen fingers early in the mornings.  Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

Nikon D800, 70-200 @ 70mm, 1/33, f/9, ISO 100

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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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Brazos Bend State Park – Treasure Hunt

Unlike past trips my goal was to hurry and cover other areas of the park that I rarely venture.  Not an easy task with so much to see and photograph.  I simply had to make myself stop and move on.  Just like being on a treasure hunt.

Nikon D800, 105mm, 0.6’s, f/11, Ev +0.67, ISO 200

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Nikon D800, 105mm, 0.6’s, f/11, Ev +0.67, ISO 200

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Nikon D800, 105mm, 1/60s, f/11, Ev +0.67, ISO 200, flash (I’ve posted this one before – taken that morning)

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Nikon D800, 105mm, 1/25’s, f/5.6, Ev +0.67, ISO 200

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Nikon D800, 105mm, 1/40’s, f/5.6, Ev +0.67, ISO 200

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Nikon D800, 105mm, 1/40’s, f/5.6, Ev +0.67, ISO 200

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Nikon D800, 105mm, 1/40’s, f/5.6, Ev +0.67, ISO 200

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Crape Myrtle

I wanted to take a picture of something small, unusual or different from my wildlife photos.  It was hot and in the early afternoon so I found some shade under a large crape myrtle.  I felt a nice gentle breeze to cool my thoughts as I leaned against the tree.  As I scanned the area for ideas a low hanging branch with blooms got my attention.  The more I looked the more I like the idea of getting an inside view of the bloom.  Sometimes you don’t choose the subject, it chooses you.

Nikon D4, Nikon 105mm, f/8, 1/1000’s, ISO 2000

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Deer Flower

Sitting on the porch listening to the birds is relaxing.  It wasn’t long before relaxing turned to some excitement.  A fawn was struggling to run across the pasture.  It couldn’t have been too old since it’s legs were stiff and wobbly.  It was running as fast as it could seeking safety in the thick woods.  I figured out what had spooked the fawn to run.  There was a dog sniffing around the area it had been bedding down as it waited on its mother to return.

I knew the mother would return so I slowly positioned myself hoping she would come my way looking for her fawn.  Sure enough the mother returned only to find her fawn gone.  As I watched her slowly move about looking and listening a dog appeared.  She stomped the ground and chased the dog into an area I couldn’t see.  After what seemed about 30 minutes I thought she may have left in that direction to continued her search.

Looking around I noticed the flowers and thought since I was already there and feeling the mother wouldn’t come my way, I started snapping a few photos.  Well, I wasn’t paying attention as she did head my way.  Being close she must have heard my shutter and saw me.  I heard her snort and it was loud because she was verrry close.  She bolted towards the tree line and into the woods snorting the entire way.  As loud as it was I’m sure her fawn could hear the call and I could envision them reuniting.

That’s why this photo is all about a deer and her fawn.

Nikon D4, 500mm, 1/1000’s, f/4.0, – 1.33 Ev, ISO 200

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Dead Horse

It was a cold crisp early morning at Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah.  Less than a handful were there for the sunrise.  In my opinion it is the best time to see the color changes and the shadows give way to light as the sun comes up.  A great place to relax and reflect.  A must see if in the area.

Nikon D800, 1/15’s, f/11, ISO 100, single exposure

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