Big Bend National Park


What is it that compels me to take way too many images of the things that move me? I was absolutely awe-struck at the beauty and majesty of Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas.  I had seen pictures in a magazine last summer that made me insistent on planning a spring trip there. A good friend urged me to be sure to go in early April when the desert would be blooming and to definitely get a place at Chisos Mountain Lodge, the only accommodations right in the park. Both were excellent recommendations. If you read my last blog you know that the trip there and back were almost as good as actually being there (the wildflowers are STUNNING this year! Still are!).

Well, almost.  The last 2 hours of the ride were boring, colorless desert and I really thought that nothing could make this trip worthwhile. And then we saw the graceful Octillo cacti with their bright orange blossoms on the long, thin green stalks, waving in the breeze with a backdrop of some spectacular mountains.

Soon after that,  we arrived here.... (that's my husband by our car)

Check out where we stayed (below).  For the next four days I went nuts trying to capture it all.  The beauty of this place is indescribable. As I navigate through all of my photos, I am happy to see that I did capture so many memories - finding a rock formation that looked like an elephant, showing that we finally reached the top of the path that led us to Balanced Rock, and getting to experience some truly beautiful sunsets.  Selecting a few to show to you, however, is another story.



For those of you who don't know, this national park is as large as the state of Rhode Island. It's southern border is the Rio Grande River. On the other side of that is Mexico. It is a land of startling contrasts, as it's website boasts, with spectacular river, mountain, desert and valley scenery.  It should be on a hikers "must do" list.

Rio Grande River on the border of Mexico.


We got up early to shoot sunrises. We stayed up late and got star trails. We hiked and drove and took 1460 photos. My true challenge, now, is in post-production. Many were done as HDR groupings or panoramic groupings. Sifting through them is making me question why I do this at all. NOBODY wants to look at all of those images - including me. Which ones are "good" and which "not so good?"  I am actually reveling in tossing some out.

Here's one of my favorites because it reminds me how much fun we had together
and that we can get creatively silly when we want to.
My husband walking a trail with a flashlight in hand, in our "backyard" after dark.


I've been looking at other great photographer's sites today trying to figure out why I took so many images. My goal was to get a large image of a definitive Texan landscape for over our mantle. I did get a couple that qualify for that. My goal, as a photographer, is always to capture places that totally move me, so that others who don't get to travel, can still enjoy a special place. Or that those who do get to go there, can relive it because I have worked at capturing it's quintessential essence (I just discovered, there is actually a word - quintessence.)



Just watched a video podcast by Robert Rodriguez, Jr. that helped a bit. "There's a lot more that goes into a great photograph than simply pressing the button.  How we process and creatively interpret that image in a program like LR, makes a difference to what the viewer sees."  Thanks, Robert!

OK, so it's my DUTY (as a neurotic photographer) to sift through the images I felt the necessity to capture and try to craft them into the beautiful moments I remember and share them with you.  There  are plenty more to see at www.chriscina.net.

I guess I'll continue to figure out which are the "very best" but I think I've come to realize I like TAKING photos more than any other part of the creative process...except perhaps sharing them. I do enjoy the reactions of friends and family when they take the time to view my images.





Me at the end of a good day.


Happy trails and happy shooting, friends!


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