2010 is shaping up to be a banner year for Texas wildflowers! After a very wet Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 it appears that the Texas wildflowers are just about to start blooming like crazy! Read my notes and view my pictures of Texas Wildflowers from a March 2010 day trip to Central Texas. Most of the pictures are of Indian Paintbrush, Bluebonnets, Groundsel and Phlox.
( Pictures located below )
Update: After reading this post and viewing the pictures, please see my recent post and Texas Bluebonnet Pictures.
Note: Please feel free to share your sightings or to assist in classifying the wildflowers. You can contact me or leave a comment below. Have fun and be safe! ~ Treye
Texas Wildflower Sightings & Trip Notes
Late March 2010
RAINY, WET FALL = MORE WILDFLOWERS From what I read on the Internet, it sounded like most of the wildflowers were just starting to bloom in Central Texas, in between San Marcos and Houston. I live in Austin so I was interested in staying close to home. Therefore, I decided to take a day trip down to Central Texas to take pictures of wildflowers and explore the more rural areas!
I STARTED EARLY TO FIND GOOD LOCATIONS I began my trip early in the morning around 8 AM, fought my way through the Austin traffic and drove down Interstate 35 to San Marcos, Texas. In San Marcos I exited Texas 123 and headed south toward Seguin. I didn’t see many wildflowers blooming along the way to Seguin, so I didn’t stop during this leg of the trip.
SMALL PATCHES OF WILDFLOWERS EMERGE Just South of Seguin I began to see small patches of wildflowers. The first ones I stopped to take pictures of were near the intersection of Rodeo Dr. and Texas 123. There is a nice farm just West of 123 on Rodeo Dr. with lots of Indian Paintbrush and purple / pink phlox.
CLOSER TO STOCKDALE About 6 miles down the road from Rodeo Dr and Texas 123, there is a very large field of yellow flowers (I think they were daisies) at the Flying W. Ranch on the West side of Texas 123. The ranch entrance has a no trespassing sign, but you can take most of your pictures from the roadside. About 6-1/2 miles down Texas 123, near the intersection of County Road 427 and Texas 123, there are some nice Indian paintbrushes and purple phlox on County Road 427.
FIELD OF DREAMS The best field of Texas wildflowers I found on the strip was located off of FM 1107 just outside of Stockdale, Texas. Just as you enter Stockdale, driving South, there is a sign for 1107 to Pandora, Texas. Make a left onto FM 1107 and head Northeast, the field will be on your left. There are lots of Indian paintbrushes, daisies, groundsel and phlox. The only Texas wildflowers that this field was lacking were bluebonnets. All these flowers are very easy to photograph from the road. The owner of the field came out to say hi and to tell me that I could go on her property and take more pictures if I wanted. I stayed at this field for about an hour in the morning and decided keep heading east towards Pandora and Nixon, Texas. This general area, in between Stockdale and Nixon, had the most abundant Texas wildflowers in bloom. There are lots of places to stop and take pictures but you have to be careful pulling off on the side of the road because of the narrow roads.
AT NIXON GO SOUTH Once I got to Nixon, Texas I headed South on Texas 80 toward Gillett, Helena, and Karnes City, Texas. Another good spot with lots of Texas wildflowers, prickly pear cactus, native trees and barbed wire is located on the West and East sides of Texas 80, near the intersection of County Road 291 (Google has this labeled as 2285) and Texas 80. It’s before Helena, Texas. There is a nice mix of Indian paintbrushes, phlox, yellow groundsel and cactus.
MID AFTERNOON IN KARNES CITY Once inside Karnes City, I got on FM 99 and headed Southeast toward Coy City and FM 2924. There is another great photo opportunity with lots of bluebonnets, cactus and yucca located just Southeast of Coy City. In Flashing, Texas I turned right on FM 2924 and headed northwest. Once I got to FM 791, I turned left onto FM 791 towards Interstate 37 / 281. I found a really nice field of yellows, pinks and purples just before Interstate 37, on the Northwest side of 791. There was also a barbed wire fence and a broken down barn that made for great photo backdrop.
RETRACE MY PATH TO FAMILIAR SPOTS At this point I had driven almost 200 miles and I decided to turn around and retrace my path. This way I could take pictures of the Texas wildflowers around sunset in places that I was already familiar with. I really wanted to make it back to the field of dreams that I found just outside of Stockdale on FM 1107. I was able to make it to that field by about 6:30 PM for a 7:30 PM Sunset. The sunset ended up fizzling out but there was some great blue hour light.
Google Map With Approximate Locations
[ Click here ]
Camera & Photo Gear Talk
NIKON D90 All of these pictures were taken using my Nikon D90. I love this camera. For the price, you can’t beat it! Be sure to read my notes from my experience with the Nikon D90 and the Canon 5D Mark II.
NIKKOR 80 – 400mm My best pictures of the Texas wildflowers were taken using my Nikkor 80 – 400mm VR lens. I have not used this lens very much. I was impressed with its ability to capture the flowers in razor sharp focus, bright vibrant colors and nice soft backgrounds. Got to love Nikon glass with Vibration Reduction (VR). The higher zoom also helped to take pictures of the Texas Wildflowers located on private property, just off the side of the road. My only gripe with this lens is that it is heavy, but the results were worth it! Finally, you can use this beast of a lens to protect yourself from wild Texas ranch dogs or chupacabra. I will definitely be using this lens for future Texas Wildflower photo trips. My wide-angle shots were taken using my trusty Tokina 12-24mm lens.
WHITE BALANCE I started out setting the white balance using my Lally Cap. Then after the first hour of doing this, I changed the camera settings to use the daylight preset white balance. Toward the end of the day, closer to sunset, the sky became cloudy so I changed the white balance preset to cloudy. The original RAW files looked a little washed out, but I was able to adjust the color settings using the Auto button in Adobe Lightroom. I did take a couple of bracketed exposures for HDR but never ended up using any of them.
SHORT DEPTH OF FIELD AND LOW ISO I really like how the pictures of the Texas wildflowers turned out using the smaller f-stops or shorter depth of field. It helped to bring attention to the flowers and make them pop off of the softly, blurred backgrounds. I tried to use a higher shutter speed to minimize camera shake and to “freeze” the Texas wildflowers that were swaying in the breeze. Most of the day I used a lower ISO setting, around 200, but near the end of the day and to sunset, I increased the ISO to 400.
You can click the larger images to advance.
…or scroll down to see some of my favorites.
Update: I have more Texas Bluebonnet Pictures here.
Update: I have more Texas Bluebonnet Pictures here.
1. Hi Treye,
Just read your post on wildflowers. We saw some spectacular areas
today on 775, a few miles south from I-10 towards Elmendorf. From
there to Mathis Road North near I – 37.