Posted by: kerryl29 | September 8, 2020

Big Bend Day 7: Epilogue

A recounting of my last day–really, the final early morning–at Big Bend National Park will feel like a bit of an anticlimax, I’m afraid.  The weather forecast was for a cloudless daybreak, which didn’t bode well for a lengthy morning’s photography and, what’s more, I had a 600-mile drive back to the Houston area peeking over my shoulder.  So I drove into the park from Terlingua in the pitch dark, trying to figure out where to go try to take advantage of the fleeting soft, early light.  I ultimately settled, for reasons I can’t remember, on Dug Out Wells, a spot I’d visited back on Day 2.

It was a cold, windy and cloudless daybreak and, looking around, I latched on to the old windmill that still stands–and operates–at Dug Out Wells.  I wandered into the desert and found a position from which I could silhouette the windmill against the colorful sunrise sky.  I experimented with different shutter speeds with which to capture the spinning blades.

Windmill Sunrise, Dug Out Wells, Big Bend National Park, Texas

I wasn’t sure that there was going to be anything more to the shoot that morning, but as I returned to my vehicle, I looked far down the road in the vague direction of Rio Grande Village and, in the growing light of the morning, saw what appeared to be…fog?  I rubbed my eyes.  Was I really seeing what amounted to valley fog here in the Chihuahuan Desert?  As I reached the road it became clear that I was indeed seeing low-lying fog and, as the sun was rising, it was lifting…everywhere.  It reminded me of a kind of thin marine layer often seen on the Pacific coast…in a place that couldn’t be less coast-like.

As the lifting fog began to fill the sky with objects that resembled clouds, I found a spot to pull off the road and try to find some pleasing compositions.

Morning Light, Big Bend National Park, Texas

Morning Light, Big Bend National Park, Texas

What looks like clouds in these images is the aforementioned fog lifting.  Consider the difference having something other than bare blue sky makes in these images.

Morning Light, Big Bend National Park, Texas

Morning Light, Big Bend National Park, Texas

Also consider how the “clouds” are impacting the ambient light.  It was awfully, awfully sweet that morning, soft and speckled in a manner that never would have been in evidence without the lifting fog.

Morning Light, Big Bend National Park, Texas


Morning Light, Big Bend National Park, Texas

About an hour after I first clicked the shutter that morning, the fog had disappeared completely, the light grew increasingly harsh and it was time to start the long drive back to Houston.

I hope you enjoyed this “trip” to Big Bend National Park.  I was extremely impressed with the place and I hope that came through in the daily chronology.  If you missed the earlier installments, I’ve linked them below:

Intro.     Day 1     Day 2     Day 3     Day 4     Day 5 Part I     Day 5 Part II     Day 6



  1. Really like the windmill image — very clean and simple and compelling. Also, thanks for writing about your trip to Big Bend. I found your posts very helpful in evaluating where this park should rank on my to-do list.

    • Thanks, Steve!

      Big Bend is a great place to photograph; a visit must take into account its remoteness, of course. But, ironically, its remoteness is part of what makes it such a great place to visit.

  2. We also experienced the morning fog at the end of October when we were there. Definitely makes for some interesting landscapes. And I agree, you had some very sweet light for that last morning.

    • That’s really interesting (about the fog, I mean). This implies that it’s not necessarily a rare phenomenon, which surprises me. I guess the circumstances where the dew point is met are at least *relatively* common…wouldn’t have expected that in the desert.

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