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Written by Texas Highways

Texas Highways Photo Editor Griff Smith explores different camera techniques you can utilize when mounting your camera on a tripod.

Window on Texas, May 2012

Texas Highways Photo Editor Griff Smith starts a new series to share easy tips and tricks to take better pictures with whatever camera you may have available.

Window on Texas, January 2012

Reader Mail ~ Reader Recommendations

 

 

 

Texas Highways readers are like our field reporters, so find out what these readers recommend.

 

 

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That's right! We want to see those vacation shots. How about an amazing Texas view? Submit your photos using the form below (please include full name and resident city). We'll post them here on the website or share with our friends via social media.

With pleasant late-September temperatures and a picture-perfect blue sky overhead, I shrugged on a backpack loaded with overnight gear and made last-minute hiking plans with friends in the Basin parking lot of Big Bend National Park. Above us towered the craggy heights of the Chisos Mountains, daring us to hike up into the rocky peaks.

Hiker Mary Baxter rests after ascending Guadalupe Peak. The summit affords views from the highest point in Texas, as marked by the stainless steel pyramid. (Photos by E. Dan Klepper)

I am standing on the summit of Guadalupe Peak, the highest point in Texas, tracing the Earth’s curvature with my fingertip. The horizon bends like a longbow at this height—8,749 feet above sea level—and a gauzy canopy hangs above it, capped by an azure sky.

Known for its sand hills, this West Texas town offfers desert surprises. (Photo by J. Griffis Smith)

When a friend told me that the largest oak forest in North America covers some 40,000 acres near Monahans, it sounded like a setup. Yeah, right.

Ten miles east of Lubbock, the town of Ransom Canyon presents an unusual display each December: three tiers of light reflected in a 93-acre lake. (Photo by Kevin Stillman)

While South Plains settlers in the 1880s took a minimalist approach to holiday decorating—they were lucky to find a cedar tall enough to serve as a Christmas tree—today’s residents enjoy a bit more bling. In fact, the Lubbock area boasts four sparkling celebrations that light up the skies each December. After attending all four last year, I can tell you that participating in even one of these events will make your holidays a little brighter.

Brandy and Justin Solomon of Natchitoches, Louisiana, take in the Piney Woods panorama from an open-air car. Photo by Erich Schlegel.The hands of the depot clock tick toward train time. Restless, ready-to-roll passengers lean into the black wrought-iron fence that separates them from the tracks. At the first “Whoo-Whoo” of the steam whistle, all heads turn down-track to where the rails disappear into the woods. Shouts of “There’s the train!” echo across the crowd. The Texas State Railroad’s century-old steam engine No. 201 chugs into view. Its shiny black boiler and six driving wheels glisten in the sun. As the engine glides slowly into the station, a white cloud of steam swirls across parents and saucer-eyed kids eager for their first train ride. Old-timers smile knowingly as if to say, “Yes, I remember the thrill of my first train ride!”

No stranger to the Marfa art world, Camille Willaford surveys her parents’ gallery, Galleri Ur­­­bane. On display (from left): works by Kate Carr, Gail Perter Borden, and co-owner Jason Willaford.

Mention the far-flung West Texas town of Marfa and most folks reference the mysterious lights that sometimes dance not far outside the city limits. But the Marfa lights that have me returning time and again are the sweeping shafts of sunlight that transform almost everything into something grander, more significant. It’s that hero light that brings me back to the windswept, high-desert landscape made famous in the film classic Giant.

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