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Photos in the April 2015 issue
This Month's Features
Loss of sight caused photographer Jim Bones to see Big Bend in a different light.
By Earl Nottingham
On a boulder-strewn hillside high above the winding Rio Grande, noted landscape photographer Jim Bones peers through his camera viewfinder and sees the massive geological forces that created the face of the Big Bend region of Texas.
Mountains, canyons, rivers and desert intersect in a land where a calm inland ocean once covered all. That ancient ocean bed was thrust upward by violent upheavals, its layers broken, faulted and folded like paper. It appears to be a desolate and silent world, but it’s much more than that — it’s also a place of lush grasses, dainty wildflowers and teeming wildlife.
For Bones, a stark and visual paradox emerges when the desert’s harsh and unforgiving nature is contrasted against a temporal and fragile ecosystem. A passion for this paradox drives Bones to create his images, not so much as a photographer, but as a visual evangelist with a mission to help others understand, enjoy and become stewards of this world.
Protecting and managing wildlife and habitat in the Big Bend.
By Melissa Gaskill
Driving from one side of Big Bend National Park to the other easily takes an hour. Exit to the west and you’ll need more time than that to reach Presidio. Rangers at Big Bend Ranch State Park recommend allowing a couple of hours for the 27 miles of unpaved road from RM 170 to the park’s Saucedo headquarters complex. Drive across the Rio Grande (or Rio Bravo, as it’s known in Mexico) into Ojinaga — one of the only places you can do so between Del Rio and El Paso, 300-plus miles by road — and you’ll need a day to navigate a patchwork of paved and unpaved road to Boquillas, Mexico, at the base of the Maderas del Carmen.
It’s a vast, wild landscape.
Within it, several designated areas protect more than 3 million acres. The land is diverse — desert, mountains, river and transition zones between them. Its inhabitants are even more so. Big Bend National Park alone contains 1,200 species of plants, 75 species of mammals, 450 species of birds, 11 species of amphibians, 56 species of reptiles and 40 species of fish. In Mexico’s Maderas del Carmen, scientists have documented 79 mammal species, 80 reptile and amphibian species and more than 250 bird species, as well as 400-plus plant species.
Symphony conductor draws on musical skills to beguile spring gobblers.
By Mike Cox
For retired Houston Civic Symphony conductor Bob Linder, calling in a big spring gobbler is just another form of performance art.
No question, the 76-year-old Marble Falls resident is a maestro in both fields. In addition to his musical credentials (a bachelor’s degree in music and a master’s in conducting), he served four years as president of the 6,000-member National Wild Turkey Foundation’s Texas chapter and has both competed in and judged national turkey-calling competitions.
With the waves and dips of his baton, Linder spent decades melding the sounds of diverse musical instruments into an ear-pleasing whole that took on a life of its own. Now he uses his training and experience to extemporaneously compose turkey love songs.