Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Grapevine Hills

The balanced rock in the Grapevine Hills of Big Bend National Park is one of the signature images of the area.

I have photographed it once several years before, but decided to make another go of it this past spring. Since I was staying at Cottonwood, I knew it would be an hour drive and at least a 30 minute walk. I left very early in the morning to give myself plenty of time. I left the parking lot for the one mile hike in the dark by the light of the moon and stars. I had my backpack with the 4x5, a small bag with the DSLR and two tripods. The moon was so bright I did not use the headlamp. I followed the braided wash up into the hills and then the path as it twisted up to the balanced rock.

One thing about the rock is there is very little space for the "classic" image. You are wedged in between two rocks and some cactus. I got the spot and set up. It was so dark I had to go place my headlamp on a rock for a focus target. Then I went right for a star trail image and photographed right through the sunrise.

What a great place and while the classic image is a narrow spot there are other images all around. As I waited for the sunrise with the 4x5, I worked other possible images with the DSLR. A little slow photography and a little fast photography. With plenty of images to look through at home.

This view here shows the 4x5 set up at the classic view in the early light. The camera is hot and I am working on a slow exposure. If anything I wish I could have made more.
Note to self-take more images.

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