Texas Highways asked me and five other photographers to come up with a holiday photo for their holiday issue. Problem for me was I was on my way out to New Mexico at the time for a photo workshop. From there I was supposed to head to Yellowstone to help lead a NANPA event.  Hmmm, I thought, what to do.

I figured I could sneak back to the tip of the Texas Panhandle to shoot in a very cool, yet under visited place, the Rita Blanca National Grasslands in the Texas Panhandle.*

One of my ideas was to order some holiday lights and wrap them around a windmill. I wanted to get the Milky Way into the frame, too (I am greedy that way).

Once I got out there I realized I would probably break my neck if I tried to wrap a windmill with lights, so I settled on simply ringing the stock tanks. Using a 30 second exposure and high ISO, I found a spot where I could include the Milky Way. I cast a bit of flashlight onto the windmill to help it stand out, too.

Voilà! Happy Holidays from the High Plains of Texas!

Check out more stories about all 6 images in the Texas Highway’s “Lightscapes” series on their website.

Windmill with holiday lights on stock tank beneath night stars and Milky Way, Rita Blanca National Grasslands, Texas, USA.

Windmill with holiday lights on stock tank beneath night stars and Milky Way, Rita Blanca National Grasslands, Texas, USA. *Photographed with permission from US Forest Service. Canon 1DX II. 16mm. ISO 4000. f/5 @ 30 seconds.