Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival: Sunrise

This past Saturday I made my inaugural visit to the Ennis Bluebonnet Trails Festival. The Heard Nature Photographers had organized a field trip, but they weren't planning on starting to shoot until mid-morning. I really wanted to try and catch sunrise, so I decided to drive down by myself and just connect with the rest of the group later.

Belgian Horses, Ennis
Shooting in twilight can sometimes yield some really moody results.  I stopped by a pasture of Belgian horses who were already up grazing for a couple of shots, and thought this one was somewhat interesting.

Sunrise, Ennis Bluebonnet Festival
The Ennis Convention and Visitors Bureau does an amazing job organizing the festival.  They provide a driving map of the area on their website, which includes notes on all sorts of interesting photo opportunities.  They even update it every few days to reflect where the Bluebonnets are really popping.

I e-mailed tourism director Gina Rokas to ask where the best place specifically to shoot the sunrise would be, and she directed me to a field across from the Sugar Ridge Tree Farm.  Wow, was she right.

Moments like this are why I started getting serious about becoming a better photographer.  Moments like this are why I got up at 4:30 Saturday morning to drive down to Ennis.  Moments like this make all the missed shots worthwhile.

Sunrise, Ennis Bluebonnet Festival
Turning to the south was nearly as good.  I don't think I moved more than 10 feet for this shot.  Plus rotating 90 degrees.

Sunrise, Ennis Bluebonnet Festival
Oh, you want more Indian Paintbrush in the picture?  Let me move another few feet and drop the tripod a bit.  Man, this was a great spot.

Indian Paintbrush, Ennis Bluebonnet Festival
From expansive landscapes to isolating single flowers, first an Indian Paintbrush ...

Bluebonnet, Ennis Bluebonnet Festival
... then a Bluebonnet.  There really is nothing like early morning light.

Photographer at Sunrise, Ennis Bluebonnet Festival
Other photographers soon started arriving, including this fellow who pulled up on a motorcycle, then got off and started setting up a tripod.  I felt somewhat giddy and somewhat guilty that I'd had the best view all to myself already.  But, hey, I had no problem incorporating him into a shot. :)

Reflecting Pond, Ennis Bluebonnet Festival
As I packed up and prepared to start the route marked on the driving map, I noticed a stunning still pond across the street.  So I headed down a hill still drenched from the previous evening's rain for a closer look, and loved the sharp reflection courtesy of the still morning air.

Severe thunderstorms had rolled through the area Friday night, and the forecast was for clouds and rain on Saturday.  My wife asked if I was still going to bother heading down, and I replied I absolutely was.  For one, there was no guarantee the forecast would be right.  And even if it had been, there still would have been something worth shooting.  There always is.  Fortunately for me, what there was to shoot turned out to be exceedingly beautiful.

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