Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Texas Mandrone, Some Desert Critters and a Strange Storm

All over the Guadalupe Mountains National Park area in Texas, we found this gorgeous little tree, the Texas Madrone. This tree is a native of Texas, and has the most gorgeous red bark I've ever seen. This particular tree was near the wash area of our campsite, and I spent a lot of time one evening photographing it lit up with light from the setting sun.



It's deep red and orange-brown bark peels off in thin sheets, exposing the light green surface underneath. The contrast of red and green was so beautiful!



I was standing under the tree with my camera, trying my best to hold still to take slow speed shots, when I saw a tiny movement on the branch near my face. It turned out to be this showy little catterpillar. It looked so pretty, its bright green colors blending well with the reds and greens around it.



Later on, on one of the trails we spotted this pair. They were pretty tiny, and so cute and colorful! I have no idea what kind of insects they are. Just haven't had the time to read up on it. Any clues?


On our drive back from this trip to the Guadalupe Mountains, we experienced the wide open Texas skies. It was very hot, but it was also beautiful in a stark and rugged way.


We also had the oddest experience with this tiny little storm. I have never seen anything like it before, though it probably is common in this part of the world. Though it was generally bright and sunny, there was this one cloud to the left of the highway that was darker than the rest. And there were sheets of rain coming down from it on to the ground directly below. It was moving towards the highway, and kicking up a lot of dust too. We could feel the force of the wind, and drove faster to get out of its way.



This wasn't the only one - we saw more small rain clouds like this a couple more times on this 9 hour drive back to East Texas.


As it got dark, I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw this - the sun setting in the West, on the Guadalupe Mountains, as we sped away from it back home to the East.



Have a great week.

33 comments:

~vagabond~ said...

the sunset photo is just spectacular...funny you should do a post on guadalupe...i've been contemplating visiting it maybe sometime this fall.

HELENA AFONSO said...

I loved your images, very strong colours, very dramatic sites, thank your for sharing your experience... I will follow your blog,
HELENA

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Oh my - how I would love to see those trees! In fact, how I'd love to grow some in our garden!!

And the critters are wonderful too - the insects look like mosaics, or creatures painted by Klimt!

Karine said...

Your photos are delicious, Bindu! The green caterpillar is a favorite, but all in all, a great collection. Nature is so amazing.

sweetmango said...

i adore the way you include us on your journeys Bindu, you really have the ability to make us feel like we are in the back seat or trailing along behind you while you walk around exploring :)
such a gift that you have and that you share with us!
xxsm

Srividya said...

The clouds look like "funnel" clouds. I have heard they are common in that area. I got to see one near our house this summer when we had a tornado, very unusual for this part of the U.S. Its good that you drove as fast as you could.

wandering soul said...

those trees are wonderful .. the red and green combination is awesome. And the storm is wonderful. I always wanted to see that kinds. Loved the sunset in the mirror.

bindu said...

Vagabond - this park is much better in the Fall, so enjoy your visit.

Helena - thanks for stopping by. The photos in your blog are stunning.

Raph - this tree's color will match your giraffe family very well!

Karine, Sweetmango, wandering soul - thanks!

Vidya - yeah, it looked a little scary!

BTW, the insect is a Painted Grasshopper. I hope I didn't disturb this mating pair with all my photo-taking!

LadyFi said...

I know people say you should not look at life in the rear view mirror, but I'm glad you did - I love that sunset you captured!

And such pretty insects and caterpillars.

I loved this picturesque post.

Celeste Maia said...

The red and gree tree trunk is gorgeous. So are the other images, especially the ones of the storm. It looked like you were under the ocean, so beautiful!
This morning as I came home from several errands there was a strange envelope in the mail box. I opened it and found the three gorgeous, colorful, fantastic book marks. Bindu, you made me so, so, so happy! Thank you! I want to reciprocate, so please mail me your address - my email is mcmaia09@gmail.com
You will get in the mail something of mine.

ArtPropelled said...

It is the most striking tree with the red and green contrast. Bindu those insects look like locusts to me. Great photos as usual.

Mridula said...

Very difficult to pick up one favorite this time. Loved them all.

ArtSparker said...

Those Painted grasshoppers look as if they had taken LSD and were hallucinating on the outside.

Mitr - Friend said...

Hey Bindu,
Just came across ur blog via Helena and am impressed.
Amazing shots and fantastic greenery.
The insect is a variety of Grasshopper called the 'Rainbow Grasshopper'. U can check the details here and here.
Do drop into my blog when time permits... Take care... Bye..
My Travelogue

Ruth said...

The vibrancy here is remarkable.

I'm following you now too.

Babli said...

I liked your blog very much. I appreciate for your beautiful presentation with wonderful photos. You have taken lovely shot.
You are welcome in my blogs.

GMG said...

Hi Bindu! What a superb post! We got everything on it, including the fabulous macro of the insects...

Sorry for the long absence, but after one year work, I got my official week off and, as always, the week before was terrible and the return awful... ;). Furthermore, there was 09.09.09, which for me was a bit depressing, as I entered a Club 60 I would prefer to postpone the joining... ;))
I’ll try to find some more time in the coming week to enjoy your other posts!!

Blogtrotter is now in Turkey. Enjoy and have a fabulous week!

Nancy Medina said...

Bindu, how many people have driven through this area and never realized all the beauty there was. I love the red tree and the caterpillars. Thank you for sharing lady!
xxooo

Rajesh said...

Marvelous snaps.I have not seen a tree like this before.

mina said...

gorgeous photos!

rocksea said...

i love the caterpillar and the grasshopper couple :) lovely!

Abhilash said...

hey I am new to your blog but these are really class images.... brilliant photography...

Vamsee Modugula said...

Hey Bindu,
I almost thought you used photoshop on the picture of the bark. Very unusual color.

Very colorful critters.

angryparsnip said...

Beautiful pictures...

The red bark tree was indeed gorgeous.
In Tucson we have the Palo Verde trees they are Electric Lime Green, no red bark though.

I moved back to Arizona and we see lots of similar storms in our Summer Monsoons. Sheets of rain dropping straight down. amazing !

I'll be dropping by to check on your blog

cheers, parsnip

bigBANG studio said...

gorgeous shots. i just found your blog through karine's blog ("ponosmom") and couldn't believe you were just in Guadalupe Mts Nat'l Park! The New York Times travel section just did a piece on it, and I spent a summer in high school working on a trail crew out in GuMo! Some of those waterbars in your pictures going up the peak look quiiiite familiar...i might have put those in the ground! look forward to following more posts in the future. cheers!

A Cuban In London said...

Isn't nature the greatest artist of all? And you are a marvellous tool through which this art can be seen. Many thanks. I enjoyed those photos a lot.

Greetings from London.

Don Madden said...

great pictures!

Leanne Pizio said...

Beautiful photos Bindu! The tree is breathtaking, all those reds are just the spots of the brightest green. The grasshoppers are wonderful too. I never knew they came in anything but green or brown. Thanks for taking us along on your journey.

Chris said...

I've never seen a tree that brilliant before, simply gorgeous!!!

Vinita said...

oh boy did you just narrowly miss a tornado?

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Beautiful post and lovely shots !! Nice post !! Thanks for sharing.Unseen Rajasthan

Indrani said...

Great shots! Those crickets... how colorful and beautiful.

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

The red tree is so stunningly frightening! :)

Forest Warbler