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The Magnificent Seven – Pedernales Falls State Park

April 26, 2013
Western Scrub-Jay

© jmillerphoto.com – Western Scrub-Jay

On a side note, and stepping back to my original post… One of best friends from high school described a song that gets into your head and won’t get out as an Ear Worm.  I think that’s mighty appropriate for what happened when the Magnificent Seven theme got stuck in my head.

I will stay within the Texas State Park system as I move over to Pedernales Falls State Park. This wonderful park, located near Johnson City and Dripping Springs, Texas, is a favorite of mine not for its namesake falls, but instead for its two bird blinds.

The original blind was okay for watching birds and reasonably comfortable and spacious.  But the light was nearly unusable photographers without the use of a flash.

The new blind is much better for photographers, though far from perfect.  If the window configuration on the old blind was duplicated on the new blind it would be perfect.  But instead most of the photo opportunities are through the large picture windows with some small openings on the far side of the blind that are designed to allow your lens to get through.  They don’t work very well.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Female)

© jmillerphoto.com – Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Female)

Shooting through the glass is very doable until the summertime glare makes it almost impossible to focus.  The rest of the year, however, shooting through the glass is no hassle at all and I’ve made some outstanding shots through the window, to include a couple of the shots shown here.

American Rubyspot

© jmillerphoto.com – American Rubyspot Damselfly

And the Pedernales River does run through the park, meaning that there are decent opportunities for odonates.

There are other hiking opportunities, but admittedly I’ve never taken advantage of those.  Maybe someday as I’m making my plans for a shooting season I can add those as well.

Much like South Llano River State Park, the volunteers and staff of this park is another part of what makes this park magnificent.  I’ve been there maybe a half dozen times in the last two years and each time the staff and volunteers have been incredibly helpful.  They also do a great job with keeping the blinds serviceable and the birds fed, leading to a steady stream of incoming avian species.

It is a bit of a drive for me, to include driving practically all the way through the city, but it is worth the trip.  And of course worthy to be in my Magnificent Seven.

Queen Butterfly

© jmillerphoto.com – Queen Butterfly

About the Images:
Four images gracing this particular entry in the Magnificent Seven.  All were shot off of the Standard Gear with tripod, no flash.  First up are a pair of birds from the new bird blind.  Both the Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) and the female Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) are year-round residents and visitors to the blind area.  Tech data on the Western Scrub-Jay is ISO 200, 1/200 sec at  f/8.  Tech data on the lady Ladder-backed is ISO 200, 1/200 sec at f/6.3.  I found the American Rubyspot damselfly (Hetaerina americana) down on the river.   I would have preferred a little better lighting situation and a specimen who had not lost in a battle at some point in time, but he was still pretty and I’m happy I made the shot.  Tech data was ISO 400, 1/200 sec at f/20.  And last, but certainly not least, was this Queen Butterfly (Danaus gilippus) feeding on a flower near the bird blinds.  Tech data was ISO 400, 1/500 sec at f/10.

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