Wednesday, December 3, 2008

White Rock Lake at Dusk, Part 1

The other day I decided to head out to White Rock Lake Park, which is a stone's throw from my home, to take some shots of the setting sun. This lake is a gem of the city, in my opinion, and I hope, if you don't know much about it or think it's overrated, that I can inform or change your mind. The night I went out to shoot, there were some nice clouds in the sky - perhaps a few too many for the best sunset shots, but I think I got a few nice ones nonetheless.

Today's post is photos taken on the north side of the lake, off East Lawther, near Big Thicket and the boat docks.

Bike/hike trail bridge near Mockingbird Lane.

The first thing I came across was this beautiful bridge. It was installed in the last couple of years to move bike/hike traffic off of Mockingbird Lane, where it had gotten fairly dicey for folks to ride or walk. It spans the north side of the lake and is just great. It was highlighted this evening by the streaks of white in the sky, I think.

Another shot of the bridge, from slightly below.

This bike/hike trail is a paved path, recently made wider and safer with these bridge and other improvements, goes around the lake and then north in several directions. The lake trail alone is 9.33 miles of pavement and scenery smack dab in the middle of the city. S and I avail ourselves of this path regularly. It's wonderful.

I wanted to see what else was around the north side of the lake, so I started walking down toward the boat clubs. There were some gloriously colored trees along the banks. I took a few shots of these trees.

Beautiful leaves with the blue sky.

But none came out as beautiful as the one above, in my opinion. I really like how the yellow-orange leaves sit against the blue sky streaked with white. I hope you like it too.

North shore of lake looking back towards Mockingbird Lane.

Right where I found those pretty trees, I turned around and realized the sky was even nicer, a few minutes later, and pulled back a bit from that bridge, which is now in the distance. I know I've said before that clouds can make all the difference. And they do in this photo!

Male version of mystery bird.

As I headed on toward the boat clubs, I spotted three of these birds on the side of the road, foraging in the leaves. At first, I thought they might be turkey vultures. But, at closer glance, I decided that wasn't the case. The back side of their bodies look almost like Mallard duck feathers. There were three males walking along, together, but separately, right near Big Thicket.

Female version of mystery bird.

Then, a little further down, on the same side of the road I came across these two lovely female versions of the mystery bird. Or, at least, that's what my 8th grade biology education led me to believe - they look similar, but these birds are more cloaked in the colors of their surroundings. They must be the females.

After a great deal of searching on the Internet - I've ascertained that these ducks are some version of Muscovy ducks - which are at times domesticated.

In the lake, there were mallards and this version of a duck swimming together. This is the female - she is brown - there is just so much back light in the photo it is hard to see that. The males were black with white features on the face. I think, after my Internet searching, these ducks were Mergansers, Buffleheads, or some sort of hybrid duck as discussed in the link about the Muscovys.

That said, I really like how the water looks like molten metal up above - like liquid mercury or glass or something. I like that photo very much, in spite of (or because of?) the duck floating there in the middle.

A close up of some of the boats.

I finally made it around near the boat clubs. They are picturesque to me, just sitting there. There was one sailboat out and about while I was photographing. But, none of the photos I took of it really struck me as "share-worthy."

And it was getting a bit later, so I began to see the hue of the sun against the pollution - the pretty pink hue we see in the big city as part of our sunsets. Yes, that's pollution being lit up by the waning sun. Or, at least, that's what I've always been told. So, I did a little searching and found this article which points out that this is at least partially true. A plus for pollution, I guess. Prettier sunsets.

After visiting the boats, I walked back to the car and drove over to the southern edge of the lake to try to catch the sunset as it went behind the downtown skyline. I'll share my success or failure of that little venture in tomorrow's post.

For more information than I could ever offer about the lake and the park - check out this site. There is even a tour of all the important landmarks and a history of how the lake came to be. It gives me lots of ideas for more photo taking in the future, right next to home.


  1. It occurs to me that, one, it must be nice to go play around on some trail in DECEMBER and also, I thought the leaves didn't change down there and that was part of the magic of coming home to Indiana. What gives Ate Up Amateur? -Steve

  2. Well, we did have some leaf-changing beauty this year, but some years we don't. It depends. And, it happens much later than it does in Indiana, if it happens at all. And, the colors, even on a good year, are nothing like the Midwest. And, sometimes - more often than the other way around - the leaves just turn brown and fall off all in one weekend. So, that's what gives. And, yes, anytime but summer, it is nice to live in Dallas.


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