After an early morning photowalk around town and a nice breakfast with Momma, I pulled out of Marfa around 9am and drove north to Balmorhea (and the wildly underwhelming Balmorhea State Park, with its artesian spring-fed swimming pool that was ‘closed until further notice’ and RV-friendly campsites), then back south through Fort Davis and the Davis Mountains State Park (quite pleasant, with lots of hiking & biking trails, plus dedicated sunrise and sunset observation posts that may be worth a trip later this evening or tomorrow) and back to Marfa in time for a pleasant afternoon nap and some minimal photo-culling/editing.

If you ever have a chance to make that drive, DO IT. It’s beautiful: You start out in the high plains of the Chihuahua Desert, wind your way through the Davis Mountains and end up in the southern part of the vast plains of West TX… Believe me, it’s vastly more beautiful than it sounds.

Between the Marfawalk and shots from a moving car, and stopping at most of the scenic pull-offs and picnic benches that dot the highway, plus shots at both state parks, I took 380-odd pictures today.

I thought I was ‘making’ pictures: trying to take my time, concentrate on framing and composition, set exposures manually when the AP mode couldn’t get it, etc. But I also had designs on testing out the Kiron-made Vivitar 70-210 f/3.5 Series 1 and making some panoramas and HDRs, and these tended to take priority over the picture-making.

Oh well. I still learned some things, and the Kiron/Vivitar is a very fine—if heavy and rather unwieldy—lens.*

And I did get this shot, which was taken (and I stress ‘taken’ over ‘made’) near the apex of the scenic overlook in Fort Davis State Park, and it’s straight out of the camera, so I guess I did some things right…

There were several of these trees that looked like they had been struck by lightning in the recent past, but this was the only one that I could get fairly isolated and with the beautifully fluffy clouds behind. I quite like it.

D7000. Nikkor 24mm f/2.8 ai. ISO100, 1/1000 (AP mode), f/8.

*I’ll share some panoramas and 1:4 macros I made with it, and run some proper tests in the future.

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