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Ocotillo Sunset

I mentioned in previous posts that I made a trip to Big Bend National Park with some of my photography friends to spend a few days photographing this wonderful area. Our first stop after checking in to our accommodations was to photograph the “Ocotillo field” at sunset. The problem, no clouds. So, I tried to find a good composition that would compensate for the lack of clouds. I found these two Ocotillo’s and decided to create a starburst with the sun on one of them and use them to frame the mountain in the background. The orange glow in the background was a bonus. The Ocotillo on the left was featured in the Fall Colors post.

This “ocotillo field” is located near the main entrance to the park close to mile marker #21. This is a regular spot for us during our first day in the park. The official road is Texas Highway 118 and it’s named “Panther Junction Road”.

Ocotillo plants have many uses. The resin and wax collected from the bark was often used to condition leather. The lengthy stems of Ocotillo are also used as fence posts, if watered frequently they can re-root themselves and become a living fence post. There are also many medicinal uses for the plant including a tincture made from the bark that was used as an anti-inflammatory.

Ocotillo Sunset
BBNP – Ocotillo Sunset

This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III using my Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 Lens set on 16 mm. The camera was set on Aperture priority mode with the aperture set at f/14, shutter speed at 1/160th of a second and the ISO set at 100. This image is a single-image processed in Lightroom.

This image is best when viewed large. Click on the image to enlarge it. Please use the section below to post your comments, questions or suggestions.

T Kahler Signature
© 2015 T. Kahler Photography

2 thoughts on “Ocotillo Sunset”

  1. Very;

    Cool composition and love the sunburst. A couple questions on the sunburst. I notice on mine (which are not near as cool), have 6 points. I am using a 17-85 lens that has 6 aperture blades and where the blades intersect is what is causing the point. My assumption anyhow. Your photo has like 20+/- points on the sunburst, yet I think your lens has 9 blades. If that is the case, why so many points? Also, very curious what process you use to get them so tight where as my are blown out in the middle and extend through the picture.

    Thanks for the help as always.

    1. Thanks Tom! That’s by far the best shot I’ve taken in that location. Good questions. The starburst effect is created by light diffracting off of the aperture blades. Smaller apertures tend to enhance this effect. Lenses with more blades create more points. Odd numbered blade configurations create twice the number of points while even numbered blades only create 1 point per blade. This is because even numbered blades cancel out the second point. So, your 6-blade aperture will create 6 while my 9-blade aperture will create 18. The reason mine is “tighter” is partly because of the glass/coating quality inside the lens but mostly because I caught the last ray of light. The same will occur if you capture the first ray of light in the morning. More rays of light, more diffraction. I hope this helps.

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