The Footprints Of Dinosaurs In Infrared At Dinosaur Valley State Park

Earlier this summer we took a afternoon excursion to Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, TX. Even as an adult seeing the footprints of dinosaurs along the riverbed of the Paluxy River was an exciting experience. Even with recent rain the water was still low enough to allow us to walk along a good section of the riverbed and view many of the footprints. We then took a hike along the Cedar Ridge Trail in the park and enjoyed getting away from the crowds to enjoy the scenery. Though there was a fair amount of hiking on inclines the panoramic views were well worth the walk. For being one of the few state parks near the DFW area this park seemed to offer a  less urban feel for a nice getaway from the city life.

 

The Paluxy River was flowing with all the recent rain in North Texas, yet we were still able to see plenty of dinosaur footprints in the riverbed.
The Paluxy River was flowing with all the recent rain in North Texas, yet we were still able to see plenty of dinosaur footprints in the riverbed.
We took a hike up to the scenic overlook on this loop. The aged trees lined the trail on a beautiful summer day in Texas as white puffs of clouds filled the sky overhead.
We took a hike up to the scenic overlook on this loop. The aged trees lined the trail on a beautiful summer day in Texas as white puffs of clouds filled the sky overhead.
The footprints of dinosaurs line the riverbed on the bed of the Paluxy River leaving a trail for you to walk in their path.
The footprints of dinosaurs line the riverbed on the bed of the Paluxy River leaving a trail for you to walk in their path.
The overlook of the Paluxy River below on the Cedar Ridge Trail in Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, TX. Beautiful clouds wisp across a blue sky on a hot Texas afternoon as my wife and I hiked the trails around this beautiful park.
The overlook of the Paluxy River below on the Cedar Ridge Trail in Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, TX. Beautiful clouds wisp across a blue sky on a hot Texas afternoon as my wife and I hiked the trails around this beautiful park.
A path of rocks makes up a river crossing on the hiking trails in Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, TX.
A path of rocks makes up a river crossing on the hiking trails in Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, TX.

Another week of images photographed in infrared

It is my last week of having mostly free days; next week I start working full time day hours instead of my night shift. I figured I would put up the images I captured during my last week of being able to go out and shoot everyday. I has been a lot of fun getting out in the afternoons and exploring Ellis County with my camera bag, a tripod, and a map of the county sitting on the passenger seat as I search for scenes to capture with my infrared Nikon D200.

Ellis County Courthouse The beautiful courthouse was erected in 1895 during an economic boom in the area. Several years back the county spent approximately $11 million to renovate the structure back to it's original glory; both inside and out and re-opened the courthouse in 2002.
Ellis County Courthouse
The beautiful courthouse was erected in 1895 during an economic boom in the area. Several years back the county spent approximately $11 million to renovate the structure back to it’s original glory; both inside and out and re-opened the courthouse in 2002.
Ellis County Courthouse and Trees Another view of the absolutely stunning architecture of this 1895 courthouse in rural North Texas.
Ellis County Courthouse and Trees
Another view of the absolutely stunning architecture of this 1895 courthouse in rural North Texas.
Rogers St. Railroad Crossing Just to the side of Rogers St. near downtown Waxahachie, TX sits the beautiful view of small town Texas with old buildings, a feed store, grain elevators, and the rails.
Rogers St. Railroad Crossing
Just to the side of Rogers St. near downtown Waxahachie, TX sits the beautiful view of small town Texas with old buildings, a feed store, grain elevators, and the rails.
Missouri/Kansas/Texas Railroad Caboose and Depot The former MKT or Katy Railroad depot in Waxahachie Texas with a restored caboose sits downtown.
Missouri/Kansas/Texas Railroad Caboose and Depot
The former MKT or Katy Railroad depot in Waxahachie Texas with a restored caboose sits downtown.
Red Oak Creek Beneath Shawnee Rd.
Red Oak Creek Beneath Shawnee Rd.
Red Oak Creek flows gently through the rocks beneath Shawnee Road in rural Ellis County on a windy and humid summer afternoon.
Forreston Bank Remnants
Forreston Bank Remnants
The remains of the bank from 1907 in the once booming cotton town of Forreston, TX sit falling to waste along Highway 77 in rural Ellis County.
Forreston Bank Remnants Interior
Forreston Bank Remnants Interior
The remains of the bank from 1907 in the once booming cotton town of Forreston, TX sit falling to waste along Highway 77 in rural Ellis County.
Monolithic Village Italy, TX
Monolithic Village Italy, TX
A factory manufacturer is based in Italy, TX off of Hwy. 35E in North Texas. A village of these homes sits next to the hwy. just off the exit for Hwy. 34. Driving past it looks like a scene straight out of a sci-fi film.
Starship Pegasus Arcade
Starship Pegasus Arcade
An abandoned arcade sits at the intersection of Hwy. 35E and County Rd. 34 in Italy, TX.
Hwy. 34 Collapsed Bridge Avalon, TX
Hwy. 34 Collapsed Bridge Avalon, TX
A bridge sits alongside County Rd. 34 between the towns of Italy and Avalon in North Texas on a closed road.
Hwy. 77 Picnic Area Forreston, TX
Hwy. 77 Picnic Area Forreston, TX
A rarely used picnic area sits alongside Hwy. 77 between Forreston and Italy with picnic tables and trash cans rotting away in the Texas sun.

Week two of infrared dreamscapes

I have been out using my infrared converted Nikon D200 for another week and here are some more results. The infrared spectrum definitely gives the world a more dream-like look with the different color spectrum it provides. It intrigues me that with such technologies (infrared cameras, x-ray machines, ultraviolet cameras) we are able to view the world in ways our eyes are unable to perceive. Just because we don’t see our surroundings in these ways does not make them any less of a reality. All deep thought aside, here are some more images.

 

Hwy. 287 Roadside View Stopping on the frontage road to Hwy. 287 between Midlothian and Waxahachie in rural Ellis County this tree is quite a sight to behold as the summer afternoon clouds move across the sky behind it.
Hwy. 287 Roadside View
Stopping on the frontage road to Hwy. 287 between Midlothian and Waxahachie in rural Ellis County this tree is quite a sight to behold as the summer afternoon clouds move across the sky behind it.
Miller St. Abandoned House A house sits rotting to waste next to Miller St. in rural Ellis County near Midlothian, TX on a warm summer's afternoon.
Miller St. Abandoned House
A house sits rotting to waste next to Miller St. in rural Ellis County near Midlothian, TX on a warm summer’s afternoon.
Farm & Market 664 Clouds roll across rural North Texas during the afternoon after a thunderstorm over a farm field next to Farm & Market 664 in Ellis County.
Farm & Market 664
Clouds roll across rural North Texas during the afternoon after a thunderstorm over a farm field next to Farm & Market 664 in Ellis County.
Old Waxahachie Rd. A farmer's field, trees and power lines border Old Waxahachie Rd. in rural Ellis County on a warm and humid summer afternoon.
Old Waxahachie Rd.
A farmer’s field, trees and power lines border Old Waxahachie Rd. in rural Ellis County on a warm and humid summer afternoon.
Patrick Rd. Tree and Barns A farm alongside Patrick Rd. in Waxahachie, TX sits still after an afternoon thunderstorm in rural Ellis County.
Boyce Rd. Field An old and worn barbed wire fence separates a North Texas field from the world in rural Ellis County on a June afternoon as the post-rain clouds move across the sky.
Boyce Rd. Field
An old and worn barbed wire fence separates a North Texas field from the world in rural Ellis County on a June afternoon as the post-rain clouds move across the sky.
Pigg Rd. Waxahachie Creek Bridge Waxahachie Creek is full of water and litter this afternoon after a summer morning rain.
Pigg Rd. Waxahachie Creek Bridge
Waxahachie Creek is full of water and litter this afternoon after a summer morning rain.
Hwy. 287 Tree A tree blows gently in the summer breeze on a hot afternoon just off Hwy. 287 between Midlothian and Waxahachie with a beautiful, cloud filled sky behind it.
Hwy. 287 Tree
A tree blows gently in the summer breeze on a hot afternoon just off Hwy. 287 between Midlothian and Waxahachie with a beautiful, cloud filled sky behind it.
Patrick Rd. Barn Farm equipment sits awaiting use on a summer afternoon in rural Ellis County Texas.
Patrick Rd. Barn
Farm equipment sits awaiting use on a summer afternoon in rural Ellis County Texas.
Miller St. Field A field sits next to Miller St. in rural Ellis County near Midolothian with rolls of hay in the midst of tall grass near crops.
Miller St. Field
A field sits next to Miller St. in rural Ellis County near Midolothian with rolls of hay in the midst of tall grass near crops.

The Dream World of Infrared Photography on a Summer’s Day in Maypearl, TX

I went out today with my D70 and an infrared filter and decided to play around a bit more with digital infrared photography. Infrared photography is always a finicky and tricky thing to do (especially well), whether it be film or digital. Most people find it hard to believe that this is how the images come straight out of the camera; no editing is needed to create these surreal images. The filter used for infrared photography simply blocks normal daylight (uv light) and only allows infrared light to pass through the camera’s lens and reach the digital sensor or film. Infrared filters are impossible to see through and make shooting a challenge as any framing has to be done before the filter can be put on the lens. The other challenge is that the focus plane of infrared photography is different than that of any other type of shooting. Most lenses have an extra dot, but it is still not precise and often needs adjusted to reach any kind of sharp focus. As with any digital shooting it is always much cheaper to experiment and try new things. I do still have some 35mm infrared film packed away to use at some point, but for now I am enjoying the ease of doing it on a digital camera. These are by no means exemplary, yet turned out better than expected. Infrared photographs create a dreamlike reality within the everyday world with the whites created from grass, leaves, and other plants. It makes an ordinary summer day seem like a world away in a place you only see in the deepest sleep. These photos are all taken in Maypearl, TX on a driving adventure I took today after the rain cleared and the sun came out (you really need bright sunlight to have effective infrared photos.

Classic Car and Old Barn Maypearl, TX
Maypearl Sunflower Field
Old Maypearl Road
Abandoned Waxahachie Train Bridge

Am I Still in Texas? Scenic Gorman Falls at Colorado Bend State Park in the Heart of Texas Hill Country

A little over a month ago I took a vacation to Texas Hill Country (south and central Texas) with my wife and dog. This was our first venture out of the DFW metroplex, and we were in shock at the beauty of this region of a state we had come to view as a brown scar of cattle land. We drove through winding hills and dense forest vegetation to get to Colorado Bend State Park in Bend, TX. The drive into the park was slow and rugged on a minimum maintenance dirt road (I would call it a car trail) in our Toyota Yaris. After what seemed a long drive, though it was only 6 miles at low speeds, we came to a paved road that rapidly descended into the Colorado River valley. The camping area was itself a wonder of wildlife and beauty. Our tent sat within throwing distance of the Colorado River and we watched deer walk through our site in the evening hours. We took a walk along the river on our first night in the park and were amazed at the abundant wildlife. We saw deer, big horn sheep, cardinals, vultures, and our first armadillo sighting since moving to Texas. During the first full day at the park I took a side hike out to Gorman Falls; the main attraction of the park. I hiked a mile and a half through terrain that would have looked right at home in an old Western movie with horses and cowboys riding across it. As I came to my destination it was a sharp downward hike on limestone to the base of Gorman Falls. Once I reached the bottom of the hill I was taken aback at the beauty that lie in front of me. The array of colors within the moving water were well worth the hike to get there. Calcium deposits built up over thousands of years to create the 60 ft. waterfall that looked like a shimmering rainbow as the water mist over the the deposits. Even though the park was in a six year drought there was still plenty of water flowing along the rock face from Gorman Creek.

Water flowing across the calcium covered rock face to create Gorman Falls in the beautiful spring sunlight at Colorado Bend State Park in Bend, TX
Calcium deposits shimmering in the April sunlight showing violets, reds, greens, and more in Colorado Bend State Park in Bend, TX

Photographers Who Inspired Me to Begin Capturing the Twilight World of Night Photography

Photography in itself is magic. You capture a space and time as it once existed, and will never exist exactly the same again. Recently I was reading an essay from Minnesota photographer Alec Soth. Soth discusses how photography is a hoarder’s way to the world.

I think photography is the most anti-Zen activity. It’s all about stopping time, possessing things, holding onto them. And you know, if my goal was to be a healthy person, photography would not be the thing. I have this joke about becoming a binoculographer: you go around and look at the world without photographing. That would be a spiritually healthy way of taking things in. But this wanting to possess it is not so healthy.”

This is true of most art, but especially photography. The artist is collecting as many images of the world as they can, trying to hang on to the place and moment that was in their sight. This recreates what all humans do in collecting memories, only it serves to visually reproduce the past.”

Soth’s Interview

Moonlight Feed Store 2013
Moonlight Feed Store
2013

The way I most enjoying capturing the world to collect images is through night photography. These images represent a period of time in a specific place. The period of time can range anywhere from a few seconds to hours entirely depending on where you are and the amount of available light. In the past I have greatly enjoyed working in urban areas where there is ample light and my exposures range from 30 seconds to a minute. Recently, upon moving to Texas, I have found peace and solitude in working in rural areas where there is much less light for the camera to take in. This not only pushes my exposure times up, but also allows from movement in the stars and clouds above.

Stone Arch Ruins 2012
Stone Arch Ruins
2012

I originally drew inspiration from two artists when I began capturing night images while attending Anoka-Ramsey Community College in the Twin Cities. These two artists have very different bodies of work, but both work with film. Film has a certain magic that will never be met by digital. The fact they you are holding something tactile throughout the entire process and seeing the image appear in the liquid is an experience only somebody who has worked in a darkroom can understand.

Lake of the Isles Canal 2013
Lake of the Isles Canal
2013

The first artist of the two is Brassai. This artist photographed Paris in the night between the two World Wars. In his 1933 book Paris de Nuit (Paris by Night) he successfully captured the essence of Paris after dark. His images have a sense of feeling and emotion in them. Often they capture seedy locations in the veil of mist and fog using the ambient light to showcase particular parts of the image. As a student I took to the cities nearest me in search of something similar and began photographing the Minneapolis/St. Paul neighborhoods I knew and loved.

Facing University Ave. 2011
Facing University Ave.
2011

After several years of shooting night images a friend showed me work by a Minnesota photographer Chris Faust. Faust does a lot of night work in smaller towns that dot the landscape of Minnesota. He uses a panoramic medium format camera, which allows the capture of an intense amount of space and detail in each image. The photographs he creates give an incredible sense of the cold, quiet solitude of these off the beaten path locations throughout Minnesota. I felt fortunate being able to discuss process and technique with Faust through an exchange of e-mails a few years back. The communication taught me a great deal on exposure and alternative processing methods to create the desired contrast. These images have pushed me to recently get away from the cities and work in areas less traveled, which is a natural transition now that I live 45 minutes south of the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex in Waxahachie, TX.

Forreston Remnants 2014
Forreston Remnants
2014

As with any artist my inspirations are endless and would bore anybody to hear about them all, but this is a basic grasp at what pushes me to create and a quality I strive to rival.

Check out mentioned artists:

Chris Faust

Alec Soth

The Wide Open Road Always Seem to Catch My Eye, and My Camera

Before moving to Texas I always envisioned the wide open desert and cattle lands. Part of this image is the roads and trails that led to the American West.

Midday Drive 746 2014
Midday Drive 746
2014

Once you are off the major highways and interstates in Texas you suddenly find yourself on small rural roads. This quickly amazed me. You are almost instantly surrounded by fields and ranch land. In Minnesota there seems to always be many main roads off of the highways. Texas seems to forego these “extra” roads and build everything directly on the highways using frontage roads.

Farm Fence 2013
Farm Fence
2013

On some of my afternoon drives I find myself enjoying the sunlight beating down on the seemingly endless roads through rural North Texas. The roads are all lined with fences and trees, yet are all unique. The obvious history of the railroad is also omnipresent. The rails cross roads everywhere showing a link to the past and how people, livestock, and product moved through the vast expanse of the American West through the mid 1800’s until the demise of mass rail transit in the mid 1900’s.

Katy Line Waxahachie Bridge 2013
Katy Line Waxahachie Bridge
2013

These afternoon drives in the midday Texas sun are not only great to relax, but are also photo scouting for locations for night photographs (such as the Forreston bank building: Abandoned and Forgotten Remnants of the Past on the Roads of Small Town Texas). These winding, forgotten roads hold many pieces of the past that have often been left to the elements and now hold a beauty in their rugged state.

Waxahachie Drive 719 2014
Waxahachie Drive 719
2014