Before we get started, please note and express your approval of the fact that I didn’t stoop to a more obvious alliteration of the post title by referring to “favorite fotos.” I’m fancy that way.
Now, I realize that I was completely foolish and self-unaware when I committed to following in Berry Simpson’s footsteps to create a list of “100 Things That Made 2023.” I should have known better, even though in 2022 I managed to come up with 75 “things” in my first attempt at that exercise. This year, I documented about a dozen “things” and realized that if they bored me, they would likely be the death of anyone else. I abandoned the effort, and switched to Plan B (which admittedly didn’t exist until Plan A fizzled out).
I’ve scrolled through more than 800 photos in my 2023 archives and picked out 38* images that I’m particularly fond of, and I hope for your sake that this doesn’t become the equivalent of your elderly uncle’s vacation slides from when he drove his 1987 Class C motorhome from London, Texas, to see the world’s largest rocking chair with stops along the way in Gurdon, Arkansas (home of the Hoo-Hoo International Office and Museum), and Branson, Missouri, to catch a matinee performance by the Famous Baldknobbers. OTOH, perhaps that would be a pretty cool show to sit through. Different strokes, as they say.
Anyway, following are some pictures I took (or created) in 2023 that I like looking at. I could have presented them chronologically, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I’ve grouped them into some sort of semi-logical categories, to better realize my artistic vision. Or something. I probably will never do that again because it was hard.
A drone is a great way to capture dramatic scenes in the early morning hours, particularly on a foggy morning.
Occasionally, the clouds are the main characters.
Sunrises aren’t always colorful…or even noticeable at ground level. This was a view of a foggy sunrise over Lake LBJ, taken from the path leading to the lighthouse.
We don’t have a good view of sunsets from our house, but we traveled to places in Texas in 2023 that more than made up for that lack, including Marathon.
I’ve often expressed my pleasure at foggy weather because it does heighten the drama of certain scenes. Plus, I rarely have to drive in it. That doesn’t mean that we stay indoors to escape it.
Relatively warm lake water and colder air sometimes combine in ways that capture one’s imagination. The next two photos show highly localized “eruptions” of steam fog arising from the surface of Lake LBJ on an otherwise clear, bright mornings.
Weather conditions are not always kind to us. Last May a windstorm took down some significant limbs from a cedar elm in our front yard (and those limbs tore off additional limbs from an adjacent pecan tree). The cleanup was quite a chore, but also a good excuse to get the chainsaw out.
Flora (aka Flowers and Plants and stuff)
We spent a week in Coronado and San Diego, California in July (more about that later), and we’re always a bit envious of how beautiful everyone’s landscape is. The dahlia below was showing off in a residential neighborhood a block or two away from Orange Avenue.
Closer to home — well, in our home, to be accurate — Debbie planted a number of amaryllis bulbs, at least one of which was supposed to have dark red blooms. This is the closest any of them came to being red. She was a little disappointed, but pretty is pretty, and these are…
The Texas Hill Country received beneficial rainfall just in time for bluebonnet season, and the flowers were pretty spectacular, especially when they weren’t all blue…
The Horseshoe Bay Nature Park is home to wide swaths of the Texas Thistle (Cirsium texanum) as its “official” flower.
We’ve been coming to or living in Horseshoe Bay for a decade, but I don’t recall ever seeing a squash blossom. That changed just a few weeks ago when we spotted this one in a field during a morning run.
Coming from the wild barrens of West Texas, we never get tired of seeing live water throughout the Hill Country. This summer we hiked around Inks Lake State Park with friends and enjoyed views like this one.
I’ve already mentioned our vacation in the San Diego area. We prefer to stay in Coronado when we visit, and one of our favorite activities is to run or bike from downtown Coronado, past the Coronado Municipal Golf Course, and then under the San Diego/Coronado Bridge to where we get the following view of San Diego Bay. It’s about a four mile round trip, and we seem to find beauty in every step.
Not all water needs to be wild and alive to be attractive and soothing. The dual-level Cap Rock swimming pool is a short golf cart ride from our house, and this is one of the views we enjoyed early in the summer (before it actually got too hot to enjoy the pool; kinda hard to imagine, right?).
Even closer to home…our back yard is only a few feet from Pecan Creek, which bisects our neighborhood. In the late afternoon, on a calm sunny day, the interchange between the light, the water, and the fall leaves provide ample photo fodder.
Fauna (aka critters, including some snakes)
I wasn’t sure whether to include the next photo in the categories of Weather or Sunrises or…here. It’s one of my all-time favorites, an image of a flock of wild turkeys we came across early one foggy morning in Luckenback, Texas.
This is the snake photo I mentioned above. These two plain-bellied water snakes rendezvoused and mated in the bushes of our front courtyard. The head of the female is on the top in this photo.
People and Events
I don’t take a lot of photos of people. I’m not sure why, and I may come to regret it years from now when most of my photographic memories are of frogs and fog, but I do make the occasional exception. Here are a few of those that happened in 2023.
I described the context for this photo of the Albert Dance Hall recently in another blog post.
We headed to College Station in February for a scholarship luncheon at the Clayton W. Williams, Jr. Alumni Center on the campus of Texas A&M University, and posed for a selfie in front of the world’s largest Aggie ring.
Each Wednesday in June, the Horseshoe Bay POA sponsors an outdoor concert series entitled Boogie At The Bay. Debbie and I try not to miss the concerts, and we typically paddle board from the Resort marina over to the venue, and listen to the music while floating on Lake LBJ.
Of course, the most significant event of 2023 was our 50th wedding anniversary, and we celebrated with a wonderful meal at a San Diego restaurant.
In closing, here’s a rare and potentially collectible photo of yours truly, as viewed through the lens of a trail camera. I’m either tracking down an elusive large feline that’s been stalking the neighborhood’s dogs, or I’ve forgotten where I parked the car.
Many of these images have appeared through the year in various other Gazette posts, so I hope you didn’t find a recap too boring.
Here’s to a terrific 2024!
*Why 38? It should be obvious that 39 would have been overkill, and 37 wouldn’t have done justice to my artistic vision. [return]