One of the things that I enjoy about my visits to the Big Bend National Park is exploring new locations. We actually did quite a bit of exploring during the last trip. One of the new trails we explored was the Chimneys Trail. The hike was a moderate, 4.8 mile round trip through an open desert floor located near mile 13 of the Ross Maxwell Scenic Drive. We started out about an hour before sunrise and arrived there with plenty of time to scout the area, setup our camera gear and photograph the wonderful desert sunrise. The trail actually continues on to meet the Old Maverick Road near Luna’s jacal, another famous Big Bend landmark which I will write about in a few days.
The Chimneys, as they are called, are a series of volcanic dike formations. Dikes are formed when hot magma rises through cracks in the earth’s crust. The dikes cool and are eroded by the elements. The shapes you see in the image below are the remnants of surge deposits from the Kit Mountain eruption which took place a very, very long time ago. The plant is a flowering Ocotillo.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5DS 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/22, shutter speed at 1/25th of a second and the ISO set at 100. This is a single image processed in Lightroom and using Nik ColorEfex Pro and some cleanup in Photoshop. One thing to remember is that you need to have a very clean lens when using very small aperture settings (e.g. f/22). The dust on the lens will actually show up. I cleaned mine but still had some small specs of dust that were very prominent on the photo. I chose to the f/22 aperture setting to maximize the intensity of the starburst. I wish the clouds were more prominent.
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