Draft May 2019 Newsletter

THE HAYS HUMM
MAY 2019 HCMN NEWSLETTER
TOM JONES & BETSY CROSS

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I take about 300 pictures a day, mostly of nature. One time I came out of HEB and there was a huge flock of pelicans and I didn’t have my camera. Now I take it everywhere.
— Eva Frost

HCMN PHOTOGRAPHERS
THE SECOND IN A SERIES OF SPECIAL INTERVIEWS

EVA FROST

Eva Frost has enjoyed all things nature since she was a young child. She certified with the HCMN Class of Monarchs in 2014, during which time she became an avid birder and took up photography. She studies her subjects thoroughly, often through the lens of a camera and aided by the sharp detail of her photographs.

Eva routinely contributes photos to the newsletter. In October 2018, she researched and developed an article called “Dragonflies…On The Fly”. It’s a detailed study about the life cycle of dragonflies and contains a collection of her colorful, stunning macro shots of dragonflies. Check it out here: https://haysmn.org/eva-frost-dragonlyon-the-fly_oct18.

She also wrote a brief article and shot video of an Alligator Lizard. If you failed to see it in the December newsletter last year, I recommend taking a quick peek at it: https://haysmn.org/alligator-lizard-articlevideo

Eva shoots lots of photos at work from the window, “I love birds, bugs, butterflies, and flowers. I’m not much into taking pictures of people, mostly just birds, butterflies, and insects.”


The following is a conversation I had with Eva. Her responses are indented below my questions in bold.

Could you tell us a little bit about your camera equipment and your field routine?

I don’t have fancy equipment. I still use my Canon EOS Rebel with telephoto zoom 55-250mm native lens and image stabilizer, but my go-to camera now is the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS with wifi and smart shutter. I used it for all the photos I shared for this article. The PowerShot SX60 has a 65x optical zoom wide-angle lens with optical image stabilizer, effectively providing a zoom range of 21-1365mm. I sometimes use a sports setting that captures subjects in motion, and I mostly use smart shutter. It works well in sunshine situations and shows great detail.

I try to head to a favorite hiking area - Pedernales, San Marcos, Kyle, Johnson City, Hamilton Pool, Reimer Ranch, or Westcave Discovery Center. If I can’t do that, I shoot from work, which is on private property with all habitats available - prairie, riperian with a pond and stream, woodlands, and canyon tops. Every day, twice a day, I go out. When I see a bird (or any wildlife), as soon as I can, I take a quick shot for identification purposes and in case the subject gets away. Then I try to shoot the subject at many angles and different backgrounds. I watch for behaviors, keeping an eye out for habits or make tick noises to get their attention. I try to get a good background with color and frame the subject. One time I put my camera in a hole to get the background I wanted. The camera does the focusing.

How do you capture spontaneous moments?  How do you anticipate an unexpected opportunity?

One time I came out of HEB and there was a huge flock of pelicans and I didn’t have my camera. Now I take it everywhere. If I see something moving, like butterflies landing in the yard or on flowers, I zoom in and take the picture. I look for movement. Sometimes I “flush and chase” the subject. I had bluebirds today on the house and I heard them calling, so I also listen for opportunities.

Would you describe how you manage and process your photos?

I keep all my original photographs on the SD card. I copy the best shots into a “Work in Progress” file and date it. For example, WIP 02-19. From there I go through and identify them, edit them in Windows 10 photo app, and copy them to separate files such as “Best Birds 2019”, “Best Copies”, and “Card Inventory 2019”. Then I re-size and sign the photos for publication on my Facebook page or in Facebook groups. All files are then backed up on a thumb drive.

Do you print your photos? What kind of media have you used?

Sometimes I make prints myself (8x10, 5x7, 4x6). I’ve printed on canvas or metal using Bay Photo’s online service, and I’ve also used Holland Photo in Austin.

What are your favorite ways to share or display your pictures? 

I have a Facebook page - Evazeye Photography and Flickr - evazeye2013.

I print 4x6 photos to make 5x7 note cards.

Can you share a story about a photo opportunity that was especially exciting or rewarding?

I get so excited when I see something new. Finding the Alligator Lizard and getting the video of it was very exciting. And getting to see it in the newsletter was also very rewarding.

Has being a Master Naturalist changed or influenced your approach to photography?

Yes, I feel closer to birds and I use my photography to study them. The rewards of being a Master Naturalist include having access to a lot of people with common interests and working as a team to meet the end goal. Using photography has been a vehicle for me to teach people about all areas of nature so they can be, and will want to be, good stewards of our natural world.

Could you share a tip or two and give us your best advice for a beginning hobbyist?

  • Shoot pictures of things you like and take LOTS of pictures.

  • Don’t get discouraged, it gets easier and better with practice.

  • Go to different settings.

  • Use a fence post as a tripod or flip a walking stick upside down for a monopod.

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The Hill Country in Hays County is heavily fractured due to the extreme pressures and stress generated when the Edwards Plateau was uplifted about 40 million years ago. The fractured limestone is in part responsible for a landscape rich with sinkholes. A sinkhole is considered the most fundamental structure of karst terrain and is common throughout Hays County. They are formed by naturally acidic rainwater entering the limestone bedrock via a network of fractures or cracks.  Over long time periods, the cracks widen and expand as more limestone is dissolved, thus creating a channel from the surface to the aquifer.

Sinkholes, springs and caves have similar underground structures with the difference being the size of the solution cavities or the elevation of the water table. The illustrations below show the basic differences between them. Click on images to enlarge and view in Lightbox. Click or swipe to scroll thought the images.

Sinkholes have a significant impact on the regional aquifers. They allow rainwater to be efficiently collected and routed to the aquifer. Sinkholes are the source of an important re-charge system to both the Cow Creek Aquifer in the Wimberley Valley and the Edwards Aquifer in San Macros. These aquifers supply source water to some of our most iconic water attractions. This includes Spring Lake flowing water from the Edwards Aquifer and the Cow Creek aquifer in Wimberley. The Cow Creek is the primary source of drinking water for the City and supplies source water for Jacobs Well, Blue Hole and Pleasant Valley Springs.

The Environmental Risk From Sinkholes

Being the gateway to the aquifer, sinkholes elevate the risk of environmental damage from spills or contamination. Sinkholes can quickly transfer pollution directly into the aquifers. And the result could show up at our much-loved springs. However some studies show that sinkholes increase water flow through the aquifer which could result in faster dilution of contaminates. However, in Hays Co. over-pumping and the effect of droughts are responsible for lowering the water table and flow within the Cow Creek aquifer. For example, Jacob’s Well which once flowed year round, now experiences short periods of no flow. During these periods, it acts more like a sinkhole rather than a spring.

Want to know more about Karst? Click on link to read my article: Karst-The Role of Water in Shaping the Hill Country - LINK

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MN BOARD MEETING

When: Thursday, March 14, 6:30 pm
Where: AgriLife Extension office
Agri-Life 200 Stillwater Drive Wimberley, TX 78676

CHAPTER MEETING

When: Thursday March 28 at 6:30p - 8:30p
Where: Freeman Ranch
6:30pm dinner & announcements
7:00pm presentation

Goodwill donations are greatly appreciated to cover our food costs.

Dr. Kristy Daniel will speak on “Galls: a plant insect interaction”

BOARD MEMBERS

President – Susan Neill
Vice President - open
Secretary - Tracy Mock
Treasurer - Larry Calvert
Past President - Beth Ramey
State Representative and Volunteer Service Projects Director - Dixie Camp
TPWD Advisor - Gordon Linam
New Class Director – Mark Wojcik
Advanced Training - Beverly Gordon
Calendar - Beverly Gordon
Historian – Dana Martensen
Membership Director - Jane Dunham
Webmaster - Dana Martensen
Communications Director - Art Arizpe
Outreach Events - Paula Glover 
Host Committee - Mary Dow Ross, Roxana Donegan
Newsletter– Tom Jones, Betsy Cross
AgriLife Sponsor- Jason Mangold

New Braunfels Happenings - Headwaters at the Comal

by Marilyn Brister

If you have ever been to Landa Park and watched the spring waters come bubbling up through the rocks in the stream below the cliff and thought those springs were the headwaters of the Comal River, think again. The real headwaters are about a mile upstream on a 16-acre property located at 333 Klingemann Street that was first owned by Fritz Klingemann and was sold to the City of New Braunfels in 1907. Since that time this property has been used as a waterworks, warehouse, fleet and facilities yard, office, and inventory storage.

In 2012, The New Braunfels Utility (NBU) board chose to give this historically significant area back to the community. They wanted to restore it and create an educational facility. In addition to exhibits of how it has been changed to collect runoff and preserve the environment, it will have an event and conference center, an educational outreach area, and a large outdoor classroom.

Much asphalt parking has been removed. Archaeological digs have been made and will continue to be made. Texas State students have cooperated in this, and The Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center has advised on the introduction of native plants. In a walking tour arranged by a friend who knew about this site, I saw the renovation that has taken place there. It includes berms to slow down storm runoff and fields of native gaillardia, horsemint, and basketflower.

I was amazed by the care that has been taken of this area by NBU and the non-profit, Headwaters at the Comal, and other cooperating entities. I think it will be a great asset to the city of New Braunfels. For more detailed information, please see the website headwatersatthecomal.com

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