ARTICLES: HEAVEN IN TEXAS
by Brian E. Small
Throughout my years in photography, I have met many wonderful people and made an amazing number of friends all over the United States. Two of the nicest folks I've ever had the pleasure to know are John and Audrey Martin of Edinburg, Texas. Whenever I hear the phrase "southern hospitality", the Martin's are the first people I think of.
For many years now, John and Audrey have been heavily involved in the implementation and administration of the bi-annual Valley Land Fund Photo Contest in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Through their work with the contest, not to mention John's involvement with NANPA as a board member, they are well acquainted with and have worked with many of the nation's top wildlife photographers. They also have an amazing amount of knowledge of the south Texas landscape along with a tremendous network of people they know who own property in the Rio Grande Valley.
The Martin's, along with many of these other landowners are gracious hosts who will allow photographers to come work on their property for a very reasonable daily fee. You can find out everything you need to know about photographing in south Texas on private ranches at www.lensandland.com. This is truly a unique opportunity to photograph on private property that is already set-up for photography. I have had the pleasure to shoot at John and Audrey's property many times and have come home with some wonderful images of a great variety of the specialty birds of south Texas. Just some of the birds I've photographed at the Martin's include: Green, Ringed and Belted Kingfishers, Great Kiskadee, Green Jay, Common Ground-Dove, Plain Chachalaca, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Olive Sparrow, Pyrrhuloxia, Northern Cardinal, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cactus Wren, Golden-fronted Woodpecker, Long-billed Thrasher, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Curve-billed Thrasher and many more. You'll find just a few of them displayed below. If you have ever wanted to photograph in south Texas, I promise you'll find the opportunities to work the Lens and Land anches are something you don't want to miss.