Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Palmetto State Park Camping

Past weekend we visited Palmetto State Park, which is 2.5 hours or 140 miles west of Houston on I-10, close to San Antonio. Spent couple of days with couple of couple friends in couple of tents. Good fun was had and some pictures are duly posted here. It is a relatively small park, more like a large garden with a river running through it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Blue morning

These were taken at sunrise at the edge of lake Raven at Huntsville State Park, Texas; where we went camping for the weekend. Picture tweaked using Picasa.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Camping - Pedernales Falls, Texas

Almost 2 years have passed between my last post and this one. It is time to break out of stagnation and sharpen the mind's pencil.

With the advent of spring came some desired to grow and explore. So we ("me" has multiplied to "we" in the past 2 years) started growing some flowers; and some pictures of them will duly follow. The desire to explore saw us driving West on US-290, two weeks back, towards Austin: the city of the wise and the old and the wild and the young. We had reserved online a camping site at Pedernales Falls, which is West of Austin near Johnson City, hometown of an ex-president with the same name.

We reached the state park on our trusty steed with our pots and pans tailing, to find that our reservation is in fact for a "primitive camp site", which means that we had to hike about 2 miles from the parking lot through a fairly dense forest to reach the edge of a river, and of course there were no toilets there. We tried to hike without backpacks (were not prepared) with all our pots, pans, coal grill, sleeping bags, ice-chest and sun-tan lotions, and made it almost 150 yards after which my right arm fell off and our sense of humor kicked in.

We laughed out way back to the park ranger's office and pleaded for sanity. They looked around and found some pity. Viola! we had regular campsite equipped with a tap, an electric outlet and a fire-pit, after the experience with the "primitive site", this seemed like a fully furnished 5 bedroom mansion.

Later that evening after settling down with camping, serendipity sent two deer running/jumping right through our campsite. The park is far away from city lights and it has a stargazing field, that is away from all the camping areas, which renders this field really dark and perfect for looking at the sky. The sky was very clear and some airplanes were seen flying in/out of the nearby Austin airport. I photographed some constellations and here is one of the pictures.
We explored the nearby german settlement town of Frederickburg the next day, and stuffed ourselves with german food and beer. The town is actually quite un-texas, nothing was big and nobody was selling furniture. Instead the town has a lot of people walking and browsing the streets lined with mom and pop type stores selling mom and pop type stuff at mom and pop prices. At dusk we hurried back to the camp to take some pictures of the waterfalls in the park at twilight. I took some long exposures of the water in sun-setting light, here is one of the pictures.
The park was well maintained and the facilities were clean, I would certainly recommend anyone going there, reservations are a must in advance. More camping stories coming soon, tomorrow we are visiting Huntsville state park and spanning the forest on foot.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Strap On Before They Pull The Gate

Ride Cowboy Ride.

To be contd..

Thursday, March 13, 2008

An Unexpected Turn

One fine day, I am driving from Houston towards Austin on Hwy 290, Santana is strumming his guitar and the Ford motor company is yielding to pressure under my foot. The clouds are imminent and the wind is cool, a nice January morning for Texas. Armed with a camera, an urge for exploring the unknown hits me when I see this road marked “Scenic Farms”. The road leads one to a farming community, with huge ranches. I randomly drive into a huge ranch, the “No Trespassing” signboard did less to my India-sun thickened skin. The tall trees lining the dirt road, the shallow ponds of water, the lone trees on the lush undulating meadows, and the horses running in tandem were a sight to behold.

I drive all the way up to a huge enclosure that had some 20-25 jersey cows and some bulls; a really tall and thick-set middle aged swarthy guy was staring intently at me. I park my car and walk up to him, the skeptic soon disappears when I introduce myself as a photojournalist (who doesn’t want his picture in the papers, eh?).

He told me how he had lived all his life on this farm since he was born here and how south-Texas had molded him. I was educated on how cows are bred on pastures for 11-12 months before they are beefy enough for slaughter and that race-horses are “laid-down” after their peak performance gives them serious injuries, amongst many other simple things of farming. I took some pictures of few mules and horses from close range and under the farmer’s supervision entered the bull pen to take pictures of the cows. The cows had obviously not seen a camera before and buckled wildly, after sitting in the pen calmly for 10 minutes I was able to gain their confidence to take some pictures.

The farmer was good enough to take me to another farm of his a few miles away, which was stunningly picturesque. It was straight out of Yash Chopra’s films and I was surprised to see this in Texas.

The old farmer said that this piece of land belonged to his family since 3 generations and they had a horse-driven cart which was from the late 1800’s. After driving out from the ranch, I hit a really small and sleepy town and realized I was in a place called McDade. Anyway, here are some pictures, hope you enjoy them. The pictures were taken on film, with a Minolta T100 and a Minolta 50 mm lens. Unfortunately, the home made scans are poor quality, the prints are far better.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Impressionist

I had decided to keep my work/office away from this blog due to some incidents like the Blakey Vs Continental case, but I wont be profiling here and I have a hunch that my company doesnt know of my existence.

I sometimes play pranks on one of my favourite senior colleagues and he is very gentlemanly to all the jokes. Recently, one senior member of my team, a taciturn oriental lady, who speaks to me very politely, during one of our rare conversations asked me: "So, how is it being a prince at India?". I coughed up the coffee and asked, "Excuse me, what do you mean by prince?". She said, "Well you know, you being from the royal family and being the sole heir to your state's kingdom". By now, I was whiter than whitewashed walls during Diwali. After explaining to her that I am no royalty and certainly not a prince, I asked her why she thought so. Then she revealed that the other senior member of the team (one who I played pranks on), had told her that I am a prince from India, and she had been under this impression for more than 6 months!

Even now, everytime I see her, she smiles and bows, and I laughingly tell her - I am no royalty.

Courtesy - wiki, Hari Kunzru for the title.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Jonathan Galveston Seagull

One of the best things I like about Houston is - driving down to Galveston and taking the ferry across to Crystal Island. Two reasons - its very naturally peaceful and its free. A 20 minute ride takes you from Galveston to Port Bolivar, which is on the Crystal Island. An added advantage of the ferry ride is that you can take your car on the ferry, drive it off the ferry and roam the island. The ferry rides have been offered free of cost since 1930, and the view from the upper deck is magnificent. If you like feeding low flying seagulls, this is the place to be. Here is proof, enjoy!

Tested here is the Kodak 100 TMX Black & White film, results of which are quite impressive on prints, these are low quality home-made scans of prints and barely do justice to the clarity on print. Overcast afternoon rendered low-light and shots were taken at full open aperture of 4.0 and low speeds of 1/60-1/30 using a 70-300mm telephoto lens, thus losing depth and incurring some shake.