Texas Wildflowers

My favorite place to photograph wildflowers is the Hill Country of central Texas. In the spring this area enjoys cool mornings and evenings with warm afternoons. If there is sufficient rain the wildflowers can be wonderful. It is not uncommon for blooms to stretch uninterrupted for fifty miles or more in some areas. On weekends the back roads can be busy places in the best viewing areas.

Texas is a very large geographical area encompassing multiple climate types and zones. You can find Chihuahuan desert, semi-arid grassland, pine and hardwood forests as well as subtropical marine environments all within the state. That makes for interesting weather forecasts especially in the spring and fall seasons. In spring you can follow the wildflower bloom as it progresses across the state over a period of several weeks. That is assuming no drought conditions exist.

Many Texans make serious efforts to maintain native flora and fauna for all to enjoy. Almost all land in Texas is privately owned. That fact requires that Individuals make a commitment to protect the natural environment for future generations to experience. Fortunately most do. One such Texan was Ladybird Johnson. The wildflower center in Austin which bears her name is a must see for native plant enthusiasts.

Blossom

Ocotillo Blossoms - Big Bend National Park
Ocotillo Blossoms
Big Bend National Park
Spring in the Texas Big Bend can be a colorful experience or just a drab prelude to summer heat. It all depends on rainfall. In the past year extreme drought conditions have eased somewhat which means the possibility of spring flowers. Depending on the altitude, flowers start appearing as early as January and are gone by April. This year I caught the end of the wildflower bloom. Regardless, a trip to Big Bend is always a reward in itself.
Ocotillo and Stars
Ocotillo and Stars
Big Bend National Park

Harsh Bounty

The western part of the Edwards Plateau requires a practiced eye to see the severe beauty to be found there. The land and what lies beneath, has sustained generations of families. The landscape is so vast that people seem to disappear into windswept short grass and sky.

There are many opinions about crude oil and gas extraction that involve the future of the planet. Here concerns are rather less grand but more important in the moment. There is a stereotype of brash oil millionaires in urban folklore. The reality in the oilfield is of people working long hours for regular pay. The mineral wealth of Texas has allowed generations of families to prosper here.

Before petroleum there were ranchers on the plateau. The land is not fit for farming but cattle do well as long as there is water to drink. A cycle of drought stretching back into the nineteen fifties or further to the dust bowl has depopulated the land. Still some cattle ranchers hang on. Others have turned to sport hunting of exotic non-native species to make ends meet. You see a curious mixture of ranchers in old pickup trucks and modern SUVs full of well heeled hunting guests on the back roads.