I decided to go camping for a few nights at Caprock Canyons State Park up in north Texas near a little town called Quitaque. From the weather forecast, I was expecting it to clear up and be cold. I was hoping for some night sky shots before dawn and hiking the canyons during the day. When I got there late Thursday afternoon, you can see that it was completely overcast.
I set up camp and hoped the weather would improve in time for me to get some decent night-sky shots. Caprock Canyons SP is in a very dark night area according to the dark sky website. The moon was to go down around 3:00AM and the Milky Way was to rise before morning twilight. In the morning the clouds were still around but they were starting to break by sunrise.
In the freezing pre-dawn I hiked out to one of the canyon areas. I climbed down to a place above the canyon that I had scouted the afternoon before, set up my tripod, and waited for the sun to peak through the clouds and shine on the cliffs.
I set the camera to expose for the highlights so that I wouldn’t lose any of the detail in the sky. I then brought up the shadows a bit in Lightroom.
I also managed to use the 14mm lens that I was planning for the night sky photos. The below picture is at 14mm compared to the photos above which were at 24mm.
I climbed down into the canyon and got terrifyingly close to the edge of some cliffs for some photos. Below is picture looking down one the cliffs. The sun was in and out of the clouds.
The heavy cloud cover quickly moved in again and I went back to prepare for a day of hiking. On this day I went on trails for about 6 miles that mostly wound through canyons and river beds. The below picture shows a tiny canyon that runs along side part of the trail until it get to the pass in the distance. One of the primitive campsites is beyond that ridge.
I also hiked along the river bed. The walls of the canyon are lined with layers or what I guess is quartz. I tried to take advantage of this to put some natural lines down through my pictures.
I packed way too much in my backpack for this long hike. I included a coat that I didn’t really need for long, a pouch with my heavy 70-200mm lens, a bunch of water and snacks. This made this 6.3 mile hike through the hills and river canyons much more grueling than it had to be. Lesson learned for tomorrow.
Two animals that are common in Caprock Canyons State Park are bison and prairie dogs. Not far from the campsite, I caught the bison walking through a field of prairie dog burrows and snapped a few pictures.
More from the next day on my next blog.