Davis Mountains Summer Trail Race

— on September 23, 2016 by in event | travel

One of the strange things (to me anyway) was how greed the Davis Mountains were. I don’t expect anything in west Texas to be green in late September. The area is at significant elevation (5000′ give or take) and late summer is the monsoon season in the desert here. I guess they had more rain than normal.

The road into the Davis Mountains looking Backwards

Stormy Skies

Part of the reason everything was so green (at least by west Texas standards) is the frequent afternoon thunderstorms the area has been getting. Sunset after I arrived promised to be interesting thanks to the boiling clouds.

A Yucca from Skyline Drive in Davis Mountains State Park

Dramatic thunderstorm clouds boil up.

Sunset behind the watch tower on Skyline Drive in Davis Mountains State Park

I headed up to skyline drive (park road 3 along the ridge) for late afternoon and sunset photos. The light was very orange/yellow, I’m guessing due to dust. It created dramatic skies.

Thunderstorms at sunset from Skyline Drive at Davis Mountains State Park

Part of my "Most Beautiful Parking Lots" Series. Subaru Forester XT in front of a sunset.

I have a thing going where I take pictures of the vehicle I’m in with a pretty background. I’m jokingly calling it “the most beautiful parking lots in the world” series.

Blue Hour Lightning

After the sun had set (from my point of view anyway), it was still shining on the top of the large thunderstorms. They also started producing a lot of lightning. I set up both cameras to make time-lapses of the storms in the hope that I could capture some nice strikes.

Lightning and Thunderstorms at sunset from Skyline Drive at Davis Mountains State Park

One of my camera had my 14-24mm f/2.8 lens on zoomed all the way out and I ended up capturing a pretty cool time-lapse of the thunderstorm and moon rise on that one.

The Trail Race

The entire reason I was out at Davis Mountains State Park in west Texas in late September in the first place was to photography the Spectrum Trail Racing Sky Island race held there each September.

The first runners in the Spectrum Trail Race make their way up onto the ridge.

Texas Desert Bighorn Sheep

The bighorn sheep were not running the race. They were just hanging out eating grass. Bighorn sheep were driven locally extinct in west Texas by the late 1960s due to unregulated hunting and irresponsible hunters. They’ve since been reintroduced through a captive breeding and release program. So, now you can bolster your self esteem by killing this majestic wild animal with a high powered rifle with a telescopic scope again. It’s sporting (and also expensive and irresponsible, but do what you gotta’ do to feel “manly”)!

Back to pretty pictures of runners:

A trail runner passes my position at sunrise along the ridge in the Davis Mountains.

A trail runner decends from the ridge on the return leg later in the morning.

A runner continues their run through the green scrub of the Davis Mountains.

One of the things I liked about photographing this race is the wide range of long sweeping backgrounds available thanks to the elevation and topography. I was able to capture runners up close, but also in much wider shots showing the landscape around them and the terrain they were running through.

A runner pauses to appreciate the view from the top of the ridge during the race.

A runner returns to the ridge on the second pass through the loop.

Wildflowers and a trail runner at Fort Davis.