2010 was a great year for wildflowers in Texas. I have never taken this many Texas bluebonnet pictures in my entire life. After my first trip to South Central Texas, to take pictures of Texas Wildflowers, I was hooked. I made another trip down South of San Antonio and then back up to the Texas Hill Country area, around Enchanted Rock and Llano, Texas. This post covers some of this trip and a couple of short drives to other parks near my house in Northwest Austin.
Most of the pictures on this post are of Texas Bluebonnets. Please view my earlier post to see pictures of Indian Paintbrushes, Groundsel and Phlox.
( Pictures and a Video Located Below )
Early April 2010
I READ REPORTS OF LARGE FIELDS OF BLUEBONNETS located just Southwest of San Antonio, in between Lytle and Devine, Texas. These reports turned out to be true, but by the time I had gotten there, the grass in between the bluebonnets had grown up tall enough to cover most of them. Next year, I will try to get to this area a little earlier before, April 1. I did find a couple of large fields, with short grass, and tall bluebonnets, located on the East side of I35 before Lytle, Texas. Unfortunately, the lighting conditions were not perfect, because I was shooting into the morning sun. I did find a field with a parked boat that looked like it was sailing on a pond of bluebonnets. You can see some of the pictures from these fields below.
NEXT, I HEADED NORTHWEST TO FREDERICKSBURG I didn’t see many bluebonnets until I was on State Highway 16, close to the Willow City Loop and Enchanted Rock State Park. Out of all of the places I went this year for Texas bluebonnet pictures, this road was my favorite. It’s a narrow, winding, two-lane road through the heart of the Texas Hill Country. The only downside is that there are few places to stop to get out and take pictures on Highway 16. If you make it to Highway 16 next year, between Fredericksburg and Llano, Texas, I suggest going on a weekday before the crowds arrive. This way it’s easier to stop and take pictures without worrying about the traffic. If it’s after April 1, try Enchanted Rock State Park. I found bluebonnets there and it was a great place to get out and walk around to take pictures safely.
I STOPPED IN LLANO FOR BBQ AT COOPERS I made a quick panorama of the Llano River Bridge. Then I headed East, back to Austin on Highway 29. There were also many bluebonnets on both sides of this road and even more places to stop safely. I found a nice white fence and oak tree that provided a good backdrop for many of my pictures. By the time this day trip was over, I was exhausted, but it was well worth it because I had about 100 good Texas bluebonnet pictures.
FOR THE REST OF THE SPRING WILDFLOWER SEASON I stayed close to home. I took some pictures of wildflowers in and around my neighborhood. I also found good fields of bluebonnets in Brushy Creek Lake Park, in Cedar Park, Texas. Next year, I hope to see the Willow City Loop.
Camera & Photo Gear Talk
CANON POWERSHOT SD980 IS By the time I had gotten to State Highway 16, I had been driving for about 4-1/2 hrs. I was tired and a little bit lazy. I decided that I didn’t want to get my “big” camera out to take pictures. Instead, I decided to use my point and shoot camera, the Canon Powershot SD980 IS.
I found this camera to be very useful for getting down low and close to the flowers. It was also easy to frame the shots with the view finder on the back. Once you put the camera into the macro focusing mode, you frame your shot. Then you touch the view finder screen on the flower that you want to keep in focus. The camera locks and tracks the flower you have selected even if you move slightly. I think the pictures I took with this camera turned out great and I didn’t have to do much editing in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.
NIKON D90 For most of my Texas Bluebonnet Pictures from State Highway 29, in between Llano and 183, I used my Nikon D90 with the big 80-400mm lens. This allowed me to shoot from further away, usually in a safe stop area on the side of the road. It also provided me with wildflowers that were in sharp focus and nice blur in the background.
My other settings and white balance were similar to the ones I described in my previous 2010 Texas Wildflower post.
You can click the larger images to advance.
…or scroll down to see some of my favorites.
Click an image below for a larger version.
Thanks to everyone for viewing my work. I get a couple emails a week asking me various questions about my photography techniques. I video’d myself so you can watch how I get low and close with my cameras. If I am shooting with my Nikon D90, I use the manual settings mode about 99% of the time. I usually white balance my camera before taking any new pictures in a location. Then I frame the composition, adjust the f-stop, adjust the shutter speed and then take the picture. I then review the image and histogram on the back of my camera and then repeat this process.