On December 16, 2011 we made our yearly trip to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in San Antonio, New Mexico.  Bosque is a nature photographer’s paradise!!!! Every winter thousands of Sandhill Cranes, Snow Geese, and many other migrating birds make Bosque their winter home.  New Mexico’s amazing sunsets, multicolored mountains and bright blue skies make for very special settings to do photography.

Sandhill Cranes leaving their roosting ponds early in the morning. New Mexico's Chupadera Mountains in the background.

“Bosque del Apache translates to “Woods of the Apache.” Native Americans often lived at this river-side forest.  The area was populated  by the Pueblo Peoples centuries before the Spanish explorers came here.  The Spanish established the Camino Real  (the Royal Road from Mexico City to Santa Fe) in the sixteenth century.  The Camino Real ran right through the present-day Refuge.” 1

The refuge is about 58,000 acres and it runs parallel to the Rio Grande River.  The refuge is located on the northern edge of the Chihuahuan desert.  Water is diverted from the Rio Grande to create extensive wetlands, farmlands, and riparian forests.  These make conditions ideal for wintering birds that come here.

Beautiful Red/Orange skies are common over Bosque del Apache NWR.

We normally started photographing at what are known as the crane ponds.  Here hundreds of Sandhill Cranes roost every night and you can photograph them as they leave their roosting site to go look for food.  It makes for a wonderful setting to photograph the cranes.

Sandhill Crane in flight.

Leaving the roosting ponds in search for food.

A pair of Sandhill Cranes in flight.

This year I tried something new one of the mornings that I was at the crane ponds.  The morning was cloudy and grey and very little light was coming through the clouds.  I decided to slow down my camera by lowering the iso to 100 in order to get blurry images.  I wanted to show movement on my photographs and I was able to accomplish it.  Images are a bit different from what I normally shoot but I really liked the end result.  Below are three of the images from that morning.

Sandhill Cranes taking off. Low ISO setting to show movement of birds.

Cranes in flight. I panned with the birds and a slow shutter speed gave the image the desired effect.

I like to call this one "Rush Hour Traffic"🙂

After shooting the cranes in the morning we enter the refuge loop and we drive around searching for wildlife to photograph.  We saw mule deer, coyotes, hawks, eagles, Canada geese and many other residents of the refuge.  Even if not photographing, driving around observing all that wildlife makes for a pleasant and peaceful time.  One of the best things about our trips to Bosque is the time spent with good friends enjoying the great outdoors.

Canada Geese

Pintail Duck in flight.

Pair of Snow Geese banking.

Thousands of Snow Geese moving from corn field to corn field in search for food.

Late afternoon shot of Snow Geese flying with the San Pascual Mountains in the background.

We would finish our days of photographing at the same place were we started, the crane pools.  Now we are targeting the cranes again but as they come back to roost for the night.  you can get amazing backlit silhouettes of the birds as they fly in to roost.  The gorgeous sunsets in New Mexico gives you the ability to capture amazing colors as the birds come in to the ponds.

"Come in tower.....requesting permission to land!!!"

Crane Silhouettes.

Crane landing at roosting pond.

Getting ready to roost for the night.

The Crane Ponds.

As you can see the photography is always good at Bosque del Apache.  Every year I come back very satisfied with the images I’m able to obtain.  Going to Bosque is one of my favorite things to do and I always look forward for our yearly trip.  The photography is awesome but the time spent with good friends enjoying the outdoors is what I really look forward to.  This year Dr. Beto Gutierrez, Tan Gutierrez, and Joe Roybal accompanied me on this trip.  We had a wonderful three days spent at Bosque del Apache.  Joe took the photo below of Dr. Beto, Tan and me.  Yes it was really cold and this Central American boy has to wear all kinds of gear in order to stay warm.🙂

A very cold morning (22 deg. F) at Bosque del Apache. From left to right, Myself, Dr. Beto and Tan Gutierrez.

Until next time. Good shooting and hoping the good light follows you around! Take care my friends.

1. taken from the Friends of Bosque del Apache NWR website.

Raptor Day!!!

On November 19 we headed out to two ranches here in South Texas looking to photograph raptors. Our first stop was the The Martin Refuge – Javelina Ranch.  Patty Raney, the ranch guide and photographer, invited me to photograph at the ranch.  Our plan was to photograph at the Javelina in the morning and then move to Santa Clara Ranch in the afternoon.

Harris Hawk at Santa Clara Ranch

Crested Caracara at the Martin Refuge

The Javelina Ranch has one of the best blinds, if not the best, for photographing Crested Caracaras.  Within minutes of setting out our bait (chicken leg quarters), dozens of Caracaras showed up to the setup.  I believe at one point we had over 16 at the same time.  In all my outings here in South Texas I don’t think that I have ever seen such a large number of Caracaras come to bait and come in so quick.  We had birds coming in from the left, the right and straight at us.  What a wonderful setup!!! I cannot imagine anyone visiting the ranch and not coming out with some fantastic images.  Here are some of my photographs from that morning:

What a great morning we had at the Javalina.  Congratulations to John and Audrey Martin and to Patty Ranney for keeping such a wonderful place and to make it available for photographers.  To learn more about the Javelina Ranch, visit their website at: http://www.martinrefuge.com/

As planned we moved to Santa Clara Ranch that afternoon.  Patty was targeting a Green-tailed Towhee that she had seen at one of our blinds so she photographed at our afternoon blind #4.  I was still all excited about raptors from that morning that I went to the raptor blind.  At Santa Clara the raptor blind is mounted up on 4 telephone polls so the blind sits roughly 5 feet off the ground.  It was built this way to get nice muted green backgrounds when photographing raptors.  While we don’t have the high numbers of birds that the Javalina Ranch has, we do have a nesting pair of Harris Hawks that nest close by that are pretty regular to our blind.  In the last 6 months we see them all the time when we sit at our setup.  This day I was actually surprised because we had the Harris Hawks show up and we also had 3 Crested Caracaras show up to the setup to feed on the beef kidneys that I had set out for them. Below you will see some of my images from that day.

Well as you can see it turned out to be a pretty spectacular day for photographing raptors here in South Texas.  I was actually very excited this day because it was also the day that I used my new Nikon D7000 camera for the first time.  The D7000 with the Nikkor 500mm lens and the Sigma 150-500 was able to produce some fantastic shots.  I am really amazed on how well this new dslr worked for me.  The high ISO capabilities of the camera are incredibly good.  The 3-D focus tracking for shooting birds in flight was something I had never used and I am really amazed on how easy it was to obtain nice flight pictures in tack sharp focus.  Nikon outdid themselves with this camera.  For information on the Nikon D7000 click here.

For information on the Santa Clara Ranch go to our website at: http://www.santaclararanch.com.

That is all for now folks and remember to get up early in order to get the good light for your photographing adventures.

After 10 long months of competition the winners of the 2010-2011 Coastal Bend Wildlife Photography Contest were announced on November 5th.  I am very happy to have finished in the top three.  I was able to get 3rd Grand Prize in the competition.  I had 29 winning images and my image of an American Alligator was selected as the People’s Choice for best in contest.  A big congratulations goes out to Rolf Nussbaumer who claimed the 1st Grand Prize this year.  His photography is amazing and he deserved to take first place.  In my opinion Rolf is one of the best, if not the best, nature photographer in the country.  Congratulation also to Bill and Sharon Draker as they took 2nd Grand Prize.  They are wonderful photographers and I have admired their work for many years.  4th Grand Prize was won by James Fuller and 5th Grand Prize was taken by Dean Johnstone.  They entered some fantastic images in the contest.  A big congratulations also goes out to all the other photographers that had winning images in the contest.  These contests are tough to participate in and the competition is fierce.  Anyone with a winning image worked really hard to obtain it.

American Alligator - People's Choice Award - 1st Place All Other Reptiles

I paired up for the contest with the Fennessey Ranch in Refugio, TX.  What a wonderful place!!!! The owner Brian O. Dunn has done such a wonderful job in preserving the native brush in order for wildlife to thrive in his property.  At the Fennessey you will find 4000 acres of land that acts as a sanctuary for birds, mammals, reptiles and invertebrates of all kinds.  The folks at Fennessey are strong believers in preserving the lands so that our kids can enjoy it in the years to come.  I want to thank everybody at Fennessey, specially the staff, for helping me during the contest.  Sally, Mog, Chuck and Jeannie were a big part of our success this year.  Without their help I wouldn’t have placed so high.

Before we get to the images I would like to thank my photographer friends that helped me during the contest.  A big thank you goes out to Todd Steele, who runs the photo club at Fennessey, for all his great help and guidance.  Todd has been photographing at the Fennessey for multiple years now and his help with locating wildlife and pointing me in the right direction was of tremendous value in my effort this year.  Thank you Todd.  Another photographer friend that helped me by giving me pointers and actually travelling to Fennessey with me is Lance Krueger.  Lance is the best deer photographer in the nation.  Pick up a copy of Field & Stream or Outdoor Life and if you see a deer on the cover, 95% chance is one of Lance’s images.  I learned so much from Lance in regards to calling game animals.  Just by observing how he operates when in the field was of great value to me.  Thank you Lance for your help, it’s greatly appreciated.  Last and definitely not least is my good friend and mentor Dr. Beto Gutierrez.  Dr. Beto travelled to the ranch with me for the last 10 weekends of the contest to serve as my photo assistant.  Having him as an assistant during that time enabled me to create some wonderful images.  If Dr. Beto hadn’t been there the final result would have been very different.  I was able to accomplish what I did due to Dr. Beto’s help and guidance.  I don’t know anybody else that loves the outdoors and the Texas brush more than Beto.  His passion for photography and wildlife is in-measurable.  Thanks Doc for all your great help, guidance and support.  We did some heavy bonding, like he calls it, while at the Fennessey.

Like I mentioned earlier I had 29 winning images in this contest. You saw the alligator People’s Choice Award above, now here are the remainder of my winning images. So until next time, may the good Lord bless you with good light in all your photographing endevours.  Hasta pronto!!!


Im Back!!!!

Hi friends and family.

I’m back!!! Well I never left but I have not posted to my blog since December.   People have been asking me why I hadn’t posted anything for the last 7 months.   The reason is that I have been competing in the Coastal Bend Wildlife Photography Contest (http://www.wildlifephotocontest.com/) this past 10 months.  100% of my free time has been put in to this contest.  With two weeks to go I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.   I have taken over 25,000 images for the contest and now it’s time to select 100 for my entry portfolio.  I wont be able to post any images from the contest until the judging is over in late september, but now I will have some free time to post some of the other work I have not posted since December.

So to get back into the swing of things, I will first share two of my images that almost made it into this summer’s Nature Best Magazine.  I entered these two images (along with others) in the Backyards Nature photo contest for Nature’s Best magazine.  In January I was informed that these two images had made the semi-final round and were being considered as finalists.  I was dissapointed to later find out that my images were not winners in the end.  Oh well, you cant win them all.  Nevertheless I am proud that Nature’s Best selected these two images as semi finalists for this years Backyard’s contest.  The images were taken here at Santa Clara Ranch in South Texas.

BTW, congratulations to fellow South Texas photographer and friend Randal Ennis for making the finals at Nature’s Best Backyard’s Contest two year’s in a row.

Another image that I will like to share did win something this past year.  One of my  images was selected as one of three Images of the Year in Naturescapes.net in the Digital Creations category.  The image is of one of the trails in Bensten State Park here in Mission, TX.  The image was processed in HDR and then I applied a softening filter for the final effect.


So keep checking back for some new images coming soon.

May the good Lord bless you with good light in all your photographing endevours.


All images © 2011 Hector D. Astorga.  All rights reserved.

With all the bad press and the bad things happening in Falcon Lake recently, I decided to re-publish some of my images from Guerrero Viejo.  These were taken back in May of 2009.  As most of you know or heard in the news, an american tourist was recently killed there while visiting the Guerrero Viejo ruins by jet ski.  It’s a shame that such an interesting place has been taken over by the Mexican drug cartels.  I wouldn’t dare to visit the Guerrero Viejo ruins at this time, but back in 2009 it was fairly safe.  I ventured out there with two other photographers from our photo club TexNEP. (click on images for a larger view)

Street scene in Viejo Guerrero.  Old storefronts along the road leading to the main plaza.

Guerrero was a very important town along the Texas-Mexico border during its peak time in the late 1800’s and first 4 decades of the 1900’s.  In the 1950’s when Falcon Lake was built to provide a steady supply of water to both countries, engineers knew that two towns along the border would be flooded by the rising waters of the lake.  The towns of Guerrero in Mexico, and the town of Zapata in Texas, would need to be moved.  Guerrero was evacuated and it’s residents were moved to higher ground where the new town of Nuevo Guerrero now stands.  Zapata, on the Texas side, was also moved to a new location.

In the 1990’s due to severe years of drought, Guerrero Viejo began to emerge from the lake.  Most of the buildings had fallen down but some structures had withstood the lake and time.  The church outer facade has remained practically intact and efforts on the Mexican side to restore the old church have practically brought the outside of the church back to life.  It hadn’t been until this year, with the recent hurricanes and tropical systems that the lake has re-taken the town.  In 2009 when I visited, 75% of the town was not flooded so you could visit the ruins without a boat.

The Church of Nuestra Señora del Refugio

Nuestra Señora del Refugio w/ debris pile in front.

The Church of Nuestra Señora del Refugio is by far the most preserved building in the old ghost town.  The exterior walls still stand and have also been partially restored recently.  You can still see how high the water level got since the pillars at the front of the church have been permanently marked by the lake waters.

Front facade of the church. Sun peaking over the cross.

West side of church building. Water line mark  is 9 feet tall.

The church interior has received major renovations in the last 10 years.  A new roof has been erected and the interior has been cleaned up after decades where water and silt tore away at its walls.  It is a shame that all this renovation work might go to waste since the lake has recently re-taken the structure.

The renovated roof and interior.

The Central Plaza

The central plaza is still in place, complete with its kiosk and cement benches.  I was amazed to see that some of the benches are still  intact despite the fact that they had been underwater for 50+ years.

Central Plaza bench’s detail.

Some of the damage of being underwater for 50+ years.

Central plaza Kiosk and benches w/ church and lake in background.

The Market and surrounding storefronts.

Where I imagine was a very busy center for trading goods that came up and down the river, now stands just a few exterior walls that made up the market.  Only one building of the main market remains standing.

The old marketplace ruins. 

A tree grows where the old marketplace used to stand.

You can still tell where the streets stood that surrounded the main market place.  Ruins of the buildings that held storefronts still stand.

Ruins of old storefronts overlooking the market.

Some of the ruins still have the old brick stoves and ovens that were used by the local residents.  The image below shows us an old stove in a building surrounding the marketplace.  I imagine this could have been a restaurant or kitchen that sold food/meals to the residents and merchants visiting the marketplace.

Brick stove inside a building by the marketplace.


The Main residential corridor was never submerged totally underwater.  A good section of the old houses are still here.  Some in bad shape since they were abandoned over 50 years ago, but some still show off the workmanship of the builders back then.

Residences along one of the roads.

Interior of doorway looking at street.

Looking into the backyard of one of the residences.

Residential Doorway

Door lock/keyhole.

Ruins along the road.

Tech Stuff
All of the above images were processed in HDR (High Dynamic Range).  I processed these using Adobe PS4 and created the HDR images using Photomatix Pro 3.  I decided to process these in HDR since most of these images were photographed in harsh light.  For security reasons I did not want to be driving out of Guerrero at night so we photographed in the middle of the day when the light conditions were not the best.  By processing in HDR I was able to partially fix the harsh light conditions of that day.  For most of these images I used the Sony Alpha a900 camera and the Sony Carl Zeiss 16-35mm 2.8 lens.  I also used the Sony 15mm fisheye, trying to get something a little different and fun.

Thanks for stopping by and until next time, may you find the beautiful light in all of your photographing travels.


All images © 2010 Hector D. Astorga.  All rights reserved.

Last night was the awards ceremony for the 2010 Valley Land Fund Photo Contest.  I am very happy to announce that I walked away with top honors this year.  I took First Grand Prize in both the Pro Division and the Open Division.  One of my images also got Best of Contest in the Pro Division.   In the end I had a total on 25 winning images in both divisions.  All the photographer’s images in the contest were fantastic.  To be able to walk away with top honors is an honor and I am humbled by this award.

The Pro Division
This is the tough division.  This year we were given two months, from June 1 thru July 31, to get 50 images to enter in this division.  All entries must be taken during these two months and they must be taken in the 8 counties that make up South Texas (Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr, Willacy, Zapata, Jim Hogg, Kennedy, and Brooks county).  Images must fall into different categories that range from fauna, flora, scenics, and landscapes.

Awards Won in Pro Division
– First Grand Prize – Best portfolio submitted.
– Best of Contest – Best Image of all Division.
– 20 winning images in the different categories.

(click on images for larger view):

Praying Mantis – taken at the Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates Portraits.
Best of Contest – Pro Division

Swainson’s Hawk – taken at the Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Mammals and Bird Portraits.

Great Plains Rat Snake – taken at Casa Santa Ana, Hidalgo County.
Winner – Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates Portraits.

Gulf Fritillary Butterfly – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates Portraits.

Greater Roadrunner w/ Frog – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Birds and Mammals Portraits.

Cottontail Rabbit w/ Wasp – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Birds and Mammals Portraits.

Gulf Coast Toad – taken at my backyard, Hidalgo County.
Winner – Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates Portraits.

Sunflower – taken at Casa Santa Ana, Hidalgo County.
Winner – Flora Portraits.

Whitetail Deer – taken at Port Mansfield, Willacy County.
Winner – Scenes w/ Birds or Mammals.

Pyrrhuloxia – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Scenes w/ Birds or Mammals.

Dung Beetle – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Scenes w/ Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates.

Mexican Ground Squirrel w/ Grasshopper – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Scenes w/ Birds or Mammals.

Texas Tortoise – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Scenes w/ Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates.

Black Widow’s Prey – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Scenes w/ Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates.

Greater Roadrunner – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Scenes w/ Birds or Mammals.

Milky Way Galaxy – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Skies & Water.

Hurricane Alex – taken at Padre Island National Seashore, Cameron County.
Winner – Skies & Water.

Cloud Formations – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Skies & Water.

Coyote Skull w/ Sunflowers – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Scenes w/ Flora.

Mesquite @ Night – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Scenes w/ Flora.

The Open Division

The Open Division of the contest was a little bit easier, but not much.  In the Open Division you can enter images up to two years old (taken after Jan. 1, 2008) as long as the images were taken in the 8 counties that make up South Texas.  This portfolio is made up of 25 images.  It is easier since you can enter images that are up to two years old, but you need to enter very strong images since you will be competing with other photographers’ best images dating back two years.  I was fortunate enough to enter a strong portfolio from some of my past images and some recent ones as well.

Awards Won in Open Division
– First Grand Prize – Best portfolio submitted.
– 5 winning images in the different categories.

(click on images for larger view):

Great Plains Rat Snake – taken at Casa Santa Ana, Hidalgo County.
Winner – Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates Portraits.

Night Blooming Cactus – taken at Tres Presas Ranch, Hidalgo County
Winner – Flora Portraits

Bobcat – taken at Campos Viejos Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Scenes w/ Birds or Mammals.

Snail – taken at Santa Clara Ranch, Starr County.
Winner – Scenes w/ Reptiles, Amphibians, and Invertebrates.

Spanish Daggers w/ Star Trails – taken at El Desierto Ranch, Hidalgo County.
Winner – Scenes w/ Flora.


This was a very tough contest.  The high South Texas summer temperatures combined with record humidity (we had one of the wettest summers in history) made for some uncomfortable situations.  The record rainfall (one hurricane and two tropical systems), the South Texas summer windy days, the helicopter sized mosquitoes, the Rio Grande flooding, were some of the things that made it a challenge to photograph during this contest.  In the end it was still a lot of fun to photograph and I cannot wait for the next contest.

I cannot take full credit for these images.  Yes I was the person behind the camera, but I had help from the different landowners and other photographer friends that helped me by giving me advise and by assisting me in the field. I would like to thank the following persons:
Land Owners

Dr. Beto and Clare Gutierrez – Owners of Santa Clara Ranch.  Dr. Beto opened up his ranch to all photographers in the contest.  After visiting the Ranch once I knew I would base myself there for much of the contest.   Dr. Beto’s love for the land and love for conservation shows by how much effort and time he puts into Santa Clara.  He gave me full access to the Ranch plus assisted me in the field many days.  Thank you Dr. Beto for your help, guidance, and most importantly for your friendship. 

Judy and John McClung – Owners of Casa Santa Ana.  I called the McClungs one week before the contest to ask if I could photograph at their place.  I had heard great things about their property from other photographers.  They welcomed me and gave me full access to their place during the contest.  Thank you very much for your help and for your support.  Casa Santa Ana is a wonderful place.


A friend once told me that Nature Photography can be defined by long periods of inactivity with short bursts of action.  I agree 100%.  Unfortunately the long periods of inactivity can be very, very long. So being in the field by yourself can be relaxing and very rewarding, but as a whole is somewhat boring.  I have learned that actually being in the field with other photographers that share your passion can be twice as rewarding and a whole lot more fun than being out there by yourself.  Here is some photographer friends I would like to thank.

Kevin Hurt – I met Kevin at a TexNEP meeting a few years back.  We started going out photographing together shortly there after.  I gotta say there in not a dull moment when we go out photographing together.  Kevin went out with me many times during this contest.  His help with pushing deer my way, calling wildlife in with his famous Javelina Call (it actually scares them more than attract them), staying up till 3:00 am to photograph the milky way (it’s scary in the brush at night when you are by yourself), and lending me his spare 50 lb tripod after I ran over mine with my truck, were instrumental in this contest.  Thanks Kevin and your check is in the mail (snail mail btw).

Dr. Beto Gutierrez – Dr. Beto is not only Santa Clara’s owner but a very accomplished award-winning photographer as well.  His help on the field was a great value to me.  Thank you for all your help, thank you for all the grasshoppers, and a great big thank you for grabbing that rattlesnake by its tail so that I could photograph him.

Ruth Hoyt – Ruth is the reason I got into nature photography.  After taking one of her classes back in 2007 I was hooked.  She was also this year’s photo contest director.  Thank you Ruth for all the hard work that you did, we all know how rough you had it.  Thank you for your support and all the help you have given me in these past 3 years.

Last but definitely not least, I want to thank my family for their continuous support.  Without their love and support I wouldn’t be able to do this.

So until next time, may the soft diffused light follow you always.  Good shooting everybody. Ciao.

All images © 2010 Hector D. Astorga.  All rights reserved.

Roma What!!!! Texas??? Im not talking about the Eternal City in Italy, but a small town along the Rio Grande river here on the Texas-Mexico border.  My roots run deep in this small border town. 
“What roots??? You are from Honduras!!!”
Yes I am, but my mother was born and raised in this small town here in Texas.  It’s a long story but here is the short condensed version:

Young man from Nicaragua comes to the state of Texas to study civil engineering at the University of Texas in Austin.  After graduation (back in 1949), young man gets a job with an engineering/construction firm in Houston, TX.  Shortly there after he gets sent to the border to the small town of Roma to work at a new dam (Falcon Dam) being built on the Rio Grande.  While in Roma he meets a beautiful girl, gets married and starts a family.  After the dam is complete he packs up his family and moves back to Central America (Nicaragua and then Honduras) where the rest of the family is born and raised.

Well you probably guessed it, that young man was my father and the beautiful girl was my mother.  So I’m half Roman … but not the Italian kind, I’m the Texan kind.   Most of my mom’s family is still here in South Texas and that is how I ended up here in the Rio Grande Valley.  After Dad retired my Mom wanted to come back to Texas and they moved here in 1989.  I originally moved here in 1985 to finish High School and left for college in 1988.  As faith would have it I came back to South Texas in 1997 and been here since.

Roma has some beautiful historical buildings that are pretty well-preserved in the old part of town.  On a trip to Falcon Dam this past December we stopped in Roma to photograph the buildings.  Below is a collection of images from that day.  I processed these in HDR and then converted them to a semi black-n-white (50%) using the gradient map method.  I also applied a diffusion tool in Photoshop to give them a kind of painted look.  Something a little different that I believe goes well with the theme of old historical buildings (click on the images for a larger view).

So for your next trip to the west end of the Rio Grande Valley stop by and visit this small town with a lot of history.  Get there early to capture the buildings in the early morning light for optimal results.  We got there a little late and had some trouble with harsh light in capturing these images.

Until next time, good shooting and may a cloud diffuse the harsh light for you.  Take care and God Bless.


p.s. BTW here is the young man and the beautiful girl I talked about earlier on this post.🙂
Yolanda G. de Astorga Q.D.D.G. (1930-2003)  &  Armando Astorga (1924-  )

All images © 2010 Hector D. Astorga.  All rights reserved.