Caprock Canyons State Park

Caprock Canyons State Park & Trailway is one of the largest and most diverse state parks in Texas. It’s certainly one of my favorite parks, even though it’s a nine hour drive from Sugar Land. The park lies about 100 miles southeast of Amarillo and about 100 miles northeast of Lubbock at the far edge of the Llano Estacado where it drops to form the Caprock Escarpment.

Streams running east from the Llano Estacado flow onto the lower plains through the Caprock Escarpment, then into the Red River, the Brazos River and the mighty Colorado River. Over thousands of years, the waters of the Little Red River have exposed the different geologic layers (“red beds”) of shale, sandstone, siltstone and mudstone. Each layer exposed by this weathering contains different colors of rock including the beautiful shades of red, orange and white you can see in the shots below.

These steep and colorful canyons are one reason I love this area so much, but it’s the sky and the clouds that really captivate the senses. Driving through the park is a feast for the eyes but to get the best landscape shots you’ll need to grab your camera and hike to some of the parks more remote locations. Be sure to take along plenty of water. That red clay you’re walking on heats up something fierce under the hot Texas sun and doesn’t cool down until well past sunset.

Caprock Canyons State Park has more photographic opportunities in it than any other state park I’ve ever visited. I’d be willing to bet that you could spend years wandering the hiking trails and never run out of scenes to shoot. Check back with me in 20 years or so and I’ll let you know! 😉

Caprock Canyons Entrance

Caprock Canyons Entrance – Quitaque, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 23mm, f/16 for 1/80th of a second at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter and 2-stop, soft, graduated neutral density filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Caprock Canyons Entrance – Quitaque, Texas

Clouds Over Caprock Canyons

Clouds Over Caprock Canyons – Quitaque, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 78mm, f/16 for 1/40th of a second at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Clouds Over Caprock Canyons – Quitaque, Texas

Caprock Canyons Butte

Caprock Canyons Butte – Quitaque, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 116mm, f/16 for 1/40th of a second at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Caprock Canyons Butte – Quitaque, Texas

You Really Do Need Photoshop CS5

I’m a lazy photographer and I’ll be the first to admit it. I’d much rather be out in the field shooting landscapes or even on location doing product shots for a client, than sitting in my office working in Lightroom or Photoshop. I used to enjoy working in the darkroom for hours on end, dodging and burning an enlargement to get it just right. But I just don’t get the same “thrill” from developing my raw files into something a client might like on my MacBook. Like I said, I’m lazy. That’s why I’m more than willing to shell out my hard earned cash for a piece of software like Adobe’s most recent version of Photoshop (CS5) with its content aware healing brush.

Take this shot below for example. As you ca see in the first image, there are two power lines running horizontally through the middle of the scene. I can remember looking at this scene back in June and wondering if I should even take the shot given my mediocre Photoshop skills. I couldn’t find any angle that hid the power lines but decided to shoot it anyway, with the hope that Photoshop’s new “content aware” healing brush might help me salvage this somehow.

Tule Canyon Butte No CS5

As you can see in the second image, the healing brush in Photoshop CS5 did what I once thought impossible. It erased the horizontal power lines with enough “content awareness” (can a computer program be aware?) that the image still looks “natural”, at least when printed or viewed at less than 100%. Obviously, no amount of “content awareness” will allow you to perfectly erase a horizontal line running through a scene like this, but the results are very impressive anyway.

Given the huge improvement of the Photoshop CS5’s healing brush over CS4, just think of what a few more years of “content aware” development may bring. I guess I’ll need to keep budgeting for those Photoshop upgrades every year or so, and I’m fairly certain that’s what Adobe is counting on.

Tule Canyon Butte

Tule Canyon Butte – Silverton, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on aperture (Av) priority using an EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod mounted. The exposure was taken at 96mm, f/16 for 1/60th of a second at ISO 100 with a Singh-Ray warming polarizer filter. Post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5.

Click on the image above for a larger version.

View Location on Panoramio & Google Earth: Tule Canyon Butte – Silverton, Texas