A Few Minutes of Perfect Light

I got up before dawn to go hiking as I had a nice idea for a sunrise behind the small waterfall at Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife Refuge. As I was driving out there, I could see some clouds on the horizon, so I thought there was a chance. But two things happened when I got there, 1) some heavy lower clouds moved in to block most of the sunlight, and 2) part of the hiking area had been burned. So, the backdrop for the waterfall was going to be charred black grass and gray clouds.

With all of the recent rain, I am guessing that this was a planned burn to safely get rid of a lot of flammable material before summer comes around again. I am sure that in a month or two the wildflower will bloom out there and be nice. But, burned grass is not beautiful.

So, I hiked up the ridge because I needed a hike anyway and I thought that the fires may not have made it up there. I was thinking that I might get some nice low fog in the hills. Coming down one of the trails in the back of the hiking area I was greeted with just a minute or two of perfect light before the clouds moved over and blocked it all out. I was unfortunately out of position, but I knew the light wouldn’t last so I tried to take a few photos down the trail.

This photo would be totally mediocre except for the brilliant gold sunlight illuminating the haze from the left. It just lit up the entire scene with beauty, but all I have is a trail heading off toward the low hills in the distant.

Trail at Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife Refuge
Trail at Balcones Canyonland National Wildlife Refuge

Unfortunately for me, that light was not to persist until I made it to my planned overlook. So, I focused instead on the low clouds around the distant hills. It was a very humid morning and the fog was really building. The sun was mostly filtered by some thick clouds, a mostly dull scene without all of the beautiful warm light I had earlier.

Hiking Trail at Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge

The low clouds were nice, but the rest of the scene was mostly dead.

Low Clouds in the Distant Hills
Low Clouds in the Distant Hills

I de-saturated the colors in the below image to take some of the dead yellow color. I also hid a barn behind a tree.

Low Clouds in the Distant Hills
Low Clouds in the Distant Hills

I had a good hike anyway and I had the place to myself. I briefly saw a coyote up the trail but only for a couple of seconds. It appeared to be on its way somewhere and didn’t seem to notice me. I followed its tracks in the mud until it left the trail and I never saw it again.

Hopefully in a month or two the burned areas will be flush with new life and I can get some nice photos.

Burned Grass Along the Hiking Trails
Burned Grass Along the Hiking Trails

As I left, I saw the people just getting to the place for a hike. And I headed back home for coffee. Thanks for reading.


18 thoughts on “A Few Minutes of Perfect Light

  1. The golden hazy perfect light leaves me with the impression that I am driving into heaven. I also like the clouds hugging the hills. That always impresses me. Looks like you had a nice hike, in spite of burnt grass.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. When I saw all the golden light mist suddenly show up, I was taking off my backpack and grabbing my camera as quickly as I could to get something. It came on all of the sudden and left just as quickly. Just an amazing moment of beauty that I am glad that I didn’t sleep through. On Saturday and Sunday mornings, I usually just wake up around 5:30 and think about getting out and shooting. I look at the weather app on my phone and decide. I don’t enjoy the few seconds it takes to get out of bed and get moving, but I love being out so early. Makes me feel like I am living.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That golden sunlight is awesome! I can imagine it was even better seeing it in person. I really like the clouds in the distant hills one too. A rewarding hike for sure I would say! Thanks for letting us benefit from it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

          1. They are just one person! LOL! You all keep forgetting that. Sigh!
            And yes I was reminded of that by :
            Jill today in the comments on today’s post. I can’t get away from that little white cross!


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