Saturday, March 28, 2015

Texas Buckeye Trail

Today was my first excursion with the Nature Photography Group of North Texas, which is organized by some members of NANPA. Our destination: the Texas Buckeye Trail.

Sunrise, Texas Buckeye Trail
The outing was originally planned for last Saturday.  But our stretch of cold, wet weather in late February and early March had delayed the blooming of the buckeye flowers.  So many people wanted go that two separate groups were formed -- one for sunrise, and another for sunset.

Buckeye Blossom, Texas Buckeye Trail
Even with the week's delay, some blossoms still weren't quite ready.  Even so, there interesting shapes, early morning light and a few faint strands of spider silk made them striking.

Spider Web, Texas Buckeye Trail
Speaking of spiders, someone had worked quite diligently on this web.  I especially liked the little larder the owner had tacked on to save some snacks for later.  The sunlight gave some strands an iridescent glimmer.

False Garlic, Texas Buckeye Trail
The other plant in abundant bloom was false garlic, which were still waking from their nightly slumber and had yet to open their petals to greet the new day.

Buckeye Blossom, Texas Buckeye Trail
The buckeye blossoms looked their best to me once the sun had been up for a couple of hours.  That's when their intricacy really began to stand out.

Buckeye Blossom, Texas Buckeye Trail
I had quite a bit of success finding blossoms that weren't obstructed, catching good light and standing out nicely from their backgrounds.

Buckeye Blossom, Texas Buckeye Trail
Sidelight is one of my favorite things.  I'm not used to shooting flowers with it, but I'm glad I got the chance to do so today.

Texas Buckeye Trail
Spring has definitely sprung along the trail.  The thick green carpet of grass that lined the surrounding area was likely nowhere to be seen just a couple of weeks ago.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Texas Buckeye Trail
I got another nice bonus on the way back to my car: an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail warming up in the morning sun.  There were actually two of them flitting about in the same general area.  Since this one was already nicely posed, it's the one that got shot.

I'm not exactly sure how far I walked.  It's a little more than a mile to get to the Buckeye Grove Loop from the trailhead.  The loop is 4/10 of a mile, and I did two laps to see everything in different light as the sun rose higher in the sky.  So a little less than three miles total, maybe?  And I spent three hours there, so my pace was once again "leisurely."

A great experience, enhanced by the helpfulness of organizers Sean and Ben.  Looking forward to my next outing with the group!


DallasTrinityTrails said...

Great photos and writeup! The spiderweb photo and the pics of the Buckeyes were exceptional.

--Ben Sandifer

SteveHarbula said...

Thanks, Ben! I really enjoyed the visit. You and Sean did a great job organizing it. I'm jealous of some of your past shots of butterflies on the actual buckeye blossoms!