South Rio Grande Valley

Star Trails Cozad Ranch

South Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Home to cactus, cattle, oil wells and some of the best birding in the United states. I just returned from the NANPA Summit where some of the best nature photographers in the world congregated. For all of you who didn’t get a chance to come, we missed you. The Summit was a great mix of keynotes (Jack Dykinga, Daniel Beltra, Michelle Westmoreland) and a wonderful look at the Rio Grande Valley by MC Kathy Adams Clark. Breakouts were excitedly received with lots of talk about what people learned. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to attend to as many breakouts as I had wanted because of scheduled and impromptu meetings. Photography for me was prior to the Summit with my visit to Cozad Ranch and my friend Johnny Cozad and then to Steve Bentsen’s ranch to shoot with Richard Day, Walt Anderson and Don Carter. We found out that Richard and I are chigger magnets and I have the scars to prove it. My post Summit shooting was one afternoon that found 3 of us (yeah, you thought I wouldn’t mention you, huh, Jerry and you, Trish) wandering along the border, looking for the “Wall” that now separates the US from Mexico. Found out it is more like a sieve than a wall. We did come to appreciate the enormous task given to our Army to help the Border Patrol in protecting our borders.

While I was out at Johnny Cozad’s, I shot star trails and have been experimenting with combining shorter exposures into 1 longer exposure. A 1-4 hour exposure was easy to do with film (ok, relatively) but that long with digital capture just doesn’t do well because of noise and heat build up for a long exposure. I am playing with 4 minute exposures and multiples and then combining them in Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended. Thanks to Harold Davis who shared learning this from Russell Brown.. I am still not completely excited because my technique allowed tiny gaps between trails. I will work on this technique and report back here with capture information and Photoshop procedure..

If you interested in learning more about NANPA, then go to our site and see what all we do, what our mission statement is, and what benefits there are for nature photographers.


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