Backroad Adventures

Backroad Adventures

Greater Houston is a nine-county metropolitan area with a population of over 6.4 million people. The Houston-Woodlands-Sugar Land area is the fastest growing region in the United States and anyone who commutes on our numerous freeways can attest to that fact. But, it is still surprisingly rural around the edges. This week we are going to explore some back roads and farm areas.

Most of these photos were taken as we chased birds, especially the Sandhill Cranes and raptors that visit us during the winter. 

Golden cow Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/640 sec ISO 1000

Golden cow

Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/640 sec ISO 1000

The road behind The Dump often has cows wandering beside the road, and sometimes in the road. This gal was standing off to the side behind a fence. I am not an expert on cattle and have no idea what kind this is. She (and I am pretty sure I did verify that) was part of a small herd, maybe 20 cows with young calves mixed in. This was very late afternoon, and they headed off somewhere along a little ridge; the youngsters were positively frolicking. 

The afternoon light was nice, but I helped it along with Fractalius and Photoshop CS6 Oil Paint. 

Longhorn looking almost coy Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/400 sec ISO 1600

Longhorn looking almost coy

Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/400 sec ISO 1600

While hunting for Sandhill Cranes we took a road off Hwy 762 that went all the way to the Brazos River. We did not see any cranes, but about half way we found these Texas Longhorns in a large field beside the road. We stopped to take photos and they all came over to the fence. Maybe they thought we had treats or were going to feed them.

Curious cow Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/500 sec ISO 2000

Curious cow

Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/500 sec ISO 2000

I am guessing these are Texas Longhorns, since we did see one huge bull off at the edge of the trees that had no interest in us or our cameras. The rest of the herd was curious. Again, I am saying they are longhorns because they do have the characteristic horns, but they were rather small compared to others I have seen. Any cattle experts out there are welcome to enlighten all of us in the comments below. This one had the prettiest markings; a few others were black and white instead of the common reddish brown. 

umm... I took some artistic license with this one, too. I replaced the background so it wasn't as distracting.

Cabin in the woods (post-processed with Topaz Simplify and Fractalius) Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/320 sec ISO 2000

Cabin in the woods (post-processed with Topaz Simplify and Fractalius)

Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/320 sec ISO 2000

In case you want to try country living, this place might be available. Right on the banks of Big Creek and I can assure you it will have a waterfront view most of the Spring. A close view.

Galveston chicken Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/500 sec ISO 1250

Galveston chicken

Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/500 sec ISO 1250

Another time when we were scouring the fields in Galveston for Sandhill Cranes, and found a small group of chickens in the ditch by the road. Chickens never stand still and are really challenging to photograph. We met a nice young girl who worked on one of the nearby farms and she told me what kind of chickens these are but didn't write it down so it is lost forever.

Chicken on the lawn Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/640 sec ISO 1000

Chicken on the lawn

Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/640 sec ISO 1000

There were some horses penned next to a house-on-stilts and these chickens had the run of the yard. Galveston has beach and bay houses around the edges, but a lot of the island is pasture land. Cows and horses abound.

Peacock on backyard fence Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/640 sec ISO 1600

Peacock on backyard fence

Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/640 sec ISO 1600

This pea hen was definitely checking us out. We stopped the truck because of two White-tailed Kite perched on some wires, but heard this one setting off an alarm. Very good watch dog. 

Sweet horse Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/320 sec ISO 1250

Sweet horse

Sony A77II with Sony 70-400 G2 f/5.6  1/320 sec ISO 1250

There are some huge dead trees in front of a barbecue place on Stewart Rd in Galveston where the ever-illusive White Tail Kites hang out. And right next door is a paddock with several horses. This guy didn't mind having his photo taken at all.  

I had a couple more photos to show you but... my d:/ drive is failing and I while I can access photos on my backed-up external hard drives, I can't process any photos since Photoshop is installed on the failing drive. I can work on the blog because it is done through a web-enabled application but I can't even look at the metadata for the photos since Bridge won't load. This is really the pits, ya'll.

Going out this afternoon to get a new drive, but I am going to wind this up right here with some BIG questions for you.

Do you have all your important data backed up in at least TWO external places? Could you survive a hard drive failure on your primary home computer? And do you think the Cloud is safe for backups? Let me know in the comments below. 

Breeding Plumage Pelican Style

Breeding Plumage Pelican Style

The Dump

The Dump