On my recent trip to Big Bend I was hoping to get to some trails that I hadn’t been on before. One of the trails on my list was hiking on the Oak Springs trail which connects to a couple of potential waterfalls. I had visions of a glorious waterfall image in the late afternoon, but there was very little water to fall at this particular time.
To begin the hike, the dirt road down to the parking are was closed and I had to park and hike a couple of miles down the dirt road to get to the trail head, not so bad. You eventually get to a fork in the trail where you can choose to hike out to Cattail Falls or find your way to the Window pour off or you can climb the trail up the mountain up to the Window. I went up the trail to the Cattail Falls as it appeared to be in a secluded canyon and I had high hopes for the light. It is a nice hike up and down some hills through the desert before you get to the little canyon and climb your way over and around several boulders to get to the fall. Below is what I got when I arrived:
The photo above is shot at 14mm, which is ultra wide and tends to make the falls look small. There are trees up top for comparison. I think I made all the mistakes with this hike. I probably should have planned this in the morning when the entire thing would be in shade rather than half in bright sunlight and half in deep shadows. I had this notion that in the afternoon, there would nice dappled light through trees and it would be a warm and wonderful photo instead of the harsh image above.
Also, there is almost no water flowing; just a trickle, and you really can’t see it against the shadowed rock. I also didn’t try to check out the Window pour off because there just wasn’t much water anywhere. I was here late last October and the creeks were full, so I thought I had a good chance of a waterfall. Maybe next time I can try to figure out the rainy season if there really is one and try out both falls.
On the other side of the park, there are bright pink flower bushes in the desert. I stopped to try to shoot these against the Sierra del Carmen about an hour before sunset when the light was nice against the cliffs in the east.
I wish I would have tried to do a focus stack with the above image to get the distant cliffs in the image, but at the time I didn’t think that I would mind the blurred distant mountains.
These flowers were quite beautiful in the desert, but I don’t think that I did a great job of capturing them. I spent a lot of time on these images trying to get the right amount of shadow and saturation and such but there is always a shadow where you don’t want it.
The flowers were a stop on the road to the Hot Springs area where I thought I might catch a decent sunset. To get to this area, you have to drive on a narrow dusty road along some cliffs. You then arrive at the ruins of an old failed resort near a hot spring. Down on the river, there is a hot spring that flows into a square man-made pool on the bank of the river. This pool was filled with people, and I wasn’t really interested in all of that.
I climbed around on some hills near a creek and eventually got this mediocre sunset. I guess the Hot Springs area is not a great sunset location. Maybe if the creek-bed was full of water.
I ended my disappointing afternoon with a pano of the Sierra del Carmen in the last of the day’s light shot at 200mm focal length and then headed to dinner.
Thanks for reading.