Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo Duro Canyon.  The second largest canyon in the United States, trailing only the Grand Canyon.  One of the darkest places in Texas, after Big Bend.  

We drove for 6 hours Friday, including our traditional stop at Walmart for ice.  The landscape is similar to Copper Breaks State Park, and Caprock Canyons State Park.  Texas gets flat, then rolling hills, then flat with windmills, and then even flatter again, before the earth just drops away at the canyon.


Speaking of wind mills, we saw some windmill blades being trucked out there.  It’s always exciting seeing something so big on the road, and yet it seems so small when it’s spinning in the sky.  One day I’d love to see a crane lifting the blades into position.

But that photo, it’s quite the action shot.  You can see me taking the picture from the rear view mirror. 

Once we hit Walmart in Amarillo, it was a 25 minute drive out to the canyon.  You don’t realize you’re coming up onto this giant pit in the ground until you hit the visitor center and the earth just drops away. 

Unlike the Grand Canyon, most of the action at Palo Duro happens at the bottom.  A small series of switchbacks leads to the bottom, and there are 100+ campsites down there.  The switchbacks made for some nice photography.  One of the shots I envisioned was a dusk exposure of light trails from car’s headlights coming up the switchbacks.  I did not quite get what I wanted, but I am still very happy with the result.  

ISO 800 | f/8 | 15s | 35mmISO 800 | f/8 | 15s | 35mm

ISO 800 | f/8 | 15s | 35mm

Google and I have different white balance interpretations.Google and I have different white balance interpretations.

Google and I have different white balance interpretations.

Walking up to this overlook was easy, it was 50 yards off of a pullout.  We were on the edge of a 30-40 foot drop off onto the road below.  As we walked up, my 35mm was mounted on my camera.  I always though this picture would require the widest I had, but when I put my camera up to my eye (just to see, you never know), I remember saying that “sometimes you just see the world in 35mm,” because the framing and perspective was perfect.

Long exposures were the name of the game in Palo Duro.

ISO 800 | f/8 | 15s | 35mmISO 800 | f/8 | 15s | 35mm

ISO 800 | f/8 | 15s | 35mm

And some great clouds moving through.

ISO 100 | f/8 | 20s | 24mmISO 100 | f/8 | 20s | 24mm

ISO 100 | f/8 | 20s | 24mm

We even caught a sunset over our campsite.  

ISO 1600 | f/8 | 1/13 | 35mmISO 1600 | f/8 | 1/13 | 35mm

ISO 1600 | f/8 | 1/13 | 35mm

And finally, the Milky Way made an appearance Saturday night.

ISO 3200 | f/2 | 10s | 24mmISO 3200 | f/2 | 10s | 24mm

ISO 3200 | f/2 | 10s | 24mm

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