Block Creek Natural Area is comprised of almost 400 acres located in Kendall County halfway between Comfort and Fredericksburg, Texas, off of Old Highway 9. Founded in 1887 by renowned architect Alfred Giles, the properties have been cared for and loved by six generations of family members, including internationally recognized wildlife photographer and writer David K. Langford, his wife Myrna, and their longtime friends Sharron and Larry Jay. Ashe juniper was cleared from the land before 1900 and has been contained by managed grazing and brush control practices. Creeks flow year-round and diverse vegetation provides habitat for many species of resident and migratory wildlife. See our species page for more details.
The Texas Hill Country offers a rare combination of rugged natural beauty, small town charm, and big city accessibility, making it the perfect destination for a nature photography expedition. Because the Block Creek Natural Area is located in the heart of the Hill Country, photographers and non-photographers alike will find something memorable.
The landscape, which includes rolling vistas, sparkling streams, creeks and waterfalls, ancient gnarled oaks, jutting boulders, and unusual land forms, offers a wealth of photographic opportunity. The soils here range from shallow on the hillsides to deep in the creek bottoms, providing support for a wide range of indigenous plant life, including shimmering native grasses, and of course, the world-famous wildflowers that color our spring. In autumn, the many different trees turn to shades of blazing yellow, orange and red, making the Hill Country one of the few places in Texas where there is fall color.
Obviously, a diverse landscape and diverse plant life mean there is diverse wildlife along with diverse scenics. Unlike other areas of Texas that are known for birds or for other specialty species, the Hill Country is known for its Eden-like abundance. Here it is possible to capture dynamic images of landscapes, waterscapes, birds, insects, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals on the same ranch. (For a complete list of critters, please see our species page.)
Of course, a photography getaway in the Texas Hill Country doesn’t have to be confined by our ranch boundaries. The region is rife with things to see, things to do, and images to capture. The Willow City Loop, a mere 30 minutes away, is renowned for its wildflowers and Enchanted Rock, located next door in Gillespie County, is a feast of ever-changing light that once was hallowed ground for the Comanche Indians. If you’re in the mood for more outdoor adventures, hiking, biking, and star-gazing are readily available. The Highland Lakes are a wonderland for water lovers offering a chance for endless fishing, water sports and spectacular sunsets.
Small towns such as Comfort, Fredericksburg and Bandera offer hometown hospitality and provide the opportunity for serious antiquing, shopping, sight-seeing, and dining. Each small town has its own unique personality that should be experienced. For instance, Fredericksburg is known for its Old World charm that can be traced to pioneering families who came from Germany seeking opportunity in Texas, while Bandera is known as the “Cowboy Capital of Texas” and is home to dude ranches, rodeos, dances and western flair. Comfort offers antiquing at it’s best in numerous family-run shops.
The list of other image-making opportunities close to the Block Creek Natural area is almost limitless: wineries, lavender farms, bat colonies, railroad trestles, old barns, farming and ranching activities, and on and on.
While we think that rural Texas is just about perfect, we understand that some people need a dose of city lights. For those who need some hustle and bustle, San Antonio is just 50 miles away. This flavorful city is one of the nation’s largest and is a top-ranked tourist destination in its own right. Within its city limits, you can enjoy everything from it’s acclaimed zoo to the Riverwalk to the Alamo to Sea World to the four-time NBA champion Spurs. Our state capital, Austin, is an easy 90-minute drive from here as well. Known for its eclectic sensibility, Austin offers live music, a wealth of state history, the Bullock Museum, and the University of Texas campus. (To check out some of the many things to do, see our nearby attractions page.)
With an eye to developing a photo tourism business, the Jays and the Langfords have installed morning and evening photo settings, complete with water interests and feeders to attract birds and mammals. Insects, reptiles, and amphibians are also plentiful. The lightweight camouflage-draped blinds are designed to offer portability, and to avoid casting unwanted shadows.
Scenic, landscape, and waterscape opportunities are abundant on the two ranches, as are many species of native plants and trees. Additionally, for those planning overnight stays, the night-time skies are dark at Block Creek Natural Area, allowing for some spectacular star viewing and photography.Professional Photographer Leo Keeler spent six weeks on the property as part of the images for Conservation Pro Tour, capturing thousands of images for the contest.
Photos and the story of Block Creek Natural Area are part of images For Conservation/Book One: Texas Hill Country Edition which was published in November 2006. For more information on ordering the book, other programs, future contests and events of the images for Conservation Fund, please visit their website at: www.imagesforconservation.org.
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Photos and the story of Block Creek Natural Area are part of images For Conservation/Book One: Texas Hill Country Edition.
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We're also part of 2 cooperative groups of landowners:
©2007 Block Creek Natural Area—Kendall County, Texas.
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