Sunday, September 20, 2015

Winscott Plover Road

It had been three months since I'd gone out to shoot in Texas. A couple of trips to Colorado had helped scratch my photographic itch. But those were a little too resource-intensive to be a viable long-term solution. With the temperatures starting to cool off a bit as fall approaches, I thought the time had come to start exploring my new home state again. My journey began anew on Winscott Plover Road south of Fort Worth, a Great Texas Wildlife Trail in the Clear Fork Loop region. The area is known for regular bird sightings along its fence posts and telephone poles, especially raptors.

Sunrise, Winscott Plover Road
I took two chances by getting up and on my way before 6 a.m.  First, that there would be a sunrise.  Second, that the prairie landscape would give me a nice view of it.  Fortune favors the bold.  Or at least, those who are willing to wake up early.

Sunrise, Winscott Plover Road
The sunrise was so nice, I got to watch it twice.  I love when low clouds on the horizon give you that opportunity.

Sunrise, Winscott Plover Road
The God rays were in full effect.  The colors were strong.  This was easily one of the nicest dawns I'd seen in Texas.

Sunrise, Winscott Plover Road
The show persisted for a wonderfully long time, giving me the luxury of changing compositions and orientation in search of different looks.

Tree, Winscott Plover Road
Once the sun was fully up I took the time to capture a tree that was bathed in beautiful golden side light.

Fence, Winscott Plover Road
It's said that when you find a scene you like, take the time to explore it fully.  Look wider at the bigger picture.  Focus closer on interesting elements.  In this case, I moved in close to the fence to take advantage of the interesting lines of the wire, the fence posts and the horizon.

Tarantula, Winscott Plover Road
Back in the car I went, driving slowly up the road looking for the birds I had come for.  Instead, I saw this big, hairy spider crossing the road.  A tarantula in the wild was a first for me!

Tarantula, Winscott Plover Road
There was so little traffic that I was easily able to get right down on the pavement and get in the face of the little beast.  Unfortunately, when a pickup truck did eventually come by it didn't go well for my subject.  Let's just say he didn't get to tell any of his tarantula friends about his photo shoot.

Crow, Winscott Plover Road
My search for raptors continued.  This crow was no raptor.  But he was posing nicely in good light.  He flew off before I could shift position to get the intervening branch out of the way.

Sunflower, Winscott Plover Road
I'll almost always stop to shoot a wildflower isolated from its background.  This sunflower was no exception.

Orb Weaver Spider, Goforth Road
This weathered fence post with its faded swirls of purple and white paint caught my eye as I was driving by, so I stopped and got out to shoot it.  It was only then that I noticed the yellow garden orb-weaver right alongside it.

Orb Weaver Spider, Goforth Road
This spider was just as accommodating as the first one I'd seen today, suspended motionless in its web while I clicked away.

Orb Weaver Spider, Goforth Road
The sun had gone into hiding behind some clouds, eliminating the chance for a bright, glistening reflection and causing me to bump up the ISO.  But I still got some results that I'm sure my mom will hate.  Spiders are not her thing.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Winscott Plover Road
When the time had come for me to return home, I caught one last look at a scissor-tailed flycatcher.

So my quest for raptors had come up empty.  But the great thing about nature photography is that if you're prepared and flexible, you can still have a rich experience.  And this morning I felt very wealthy indeed.

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