The Stars at Night are Big and Bright…

In early November, I spent a week photographing in the Davis Mountains.  The Montezuma and Gambel’s quail were among my priority subjects, but I wanted to get other wildlife, landscapes, and star trails, too. 

The lack of moisture had taken its toll on the quail and I was only able to locate a single pair of  of Montezumas near Davis Mountains State Park.  Then, a one day side trip to Presidio got me into some good Gambel’s quail habitat.  Just before sunset that day, I was able to make a few images but the birds were extremely wary.  

With some help from the State Park personnel and my campground manager, many of the other species were a little easier to get.

The weather was fantastic, the fall colors were just reaching peak, and the night skies were clear.  I would like to get back there next year and spend more time shooting star trails and light painting landscapes.  Indeed, the stars were big and bright in the Davis Mountains.

  Here are some of the images from that week:

The cottonwoods were just hitting their peak of color during the first week of November.

The cottonwoods were just hitting their peak of color during the first week of November.

The highway follows Limpia Creek for several miles along the north edge of Davis Mountains State Park and Fort Davis.  Large cottonwoods line most of the stream’s banks and make for some wonderful autumn colors.

A passing cold front stirred up enough dust to produce a dramatic sunrise on my last day in the mountains.

A passing cold front stirred up enough dust to produce a dramatic sunrise on my last day in the mountains.

This sunrise shot was taken with a 100-400 mm lens and Canon 1D Mark III on the Gitzo tripod with monoball head.

A few juvenile Anna's hummingbirds were still in the Fort Davis area some well maintained feeders.

A few juvenile Anna's hummingbirds were still in the Fort Davis area.

This young Anna’s hummingbird had a favorite perch.  I was able to get a few captures like this by prefocusing and using a high shutter speed to stop the wings as he landed.

The skeletons of dried cholla cactus made great perches for seed eating birds.

The skeletons of dried cholla cactus made great perches for seed eating birds.

 

Yucca leaves added a bit of color to this shot of a curve-billed thrasher.

Yucca leaves added a bit of color to this shot of a curve-billed thrasher.

 

Fort Davis courthouse at sunrise.

Fort Davis courthouse at sunrise.

 

Gambel's quail at historic Fort Leaton in Presidio, Texas.

Gambel's quail at historic Fort Leaton in Presidio, Texas.

 

A Montezuma quail posed for this uncropped shot from the car window.

A Montezuma quail posed for this uncropped shot from the car window.

 

Desert mule deer bucks at sunset.

Desert mule deer bucks at sunset.

I made this image with a 16-35 mm lens after crawling in close to these bucks just after sunset.

Star trails around a light-painted bluff, one hour before sunrise.

Star trails around a light-painted bluff, one hour before sunrise.

 

Western scrub jay jumping at the sound of a rapid-fire camera.

Western scrub jay jumping at the sound of a rapid-fire camera.

 

Many yuccas at Fort Davis State Park were burned over by summer wildfires.

Many yuccas at Fort Davis State Park were burned by summer wildfires.

 

I wrote this newsletter from my laptop, and that’s no easy feat for me.  My new desktop is operating with Windows 7 and I haven’t figured out how to make the WordPress software work correctly. 

Next week, we will be heading out to Socorro, New Mexico to photograph at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge.  I have room for another shooter if any of you want to sign on at the last minute.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Larry