Eastern Texas is flat. It’s so flat that any little bit of rain seems to fill up the slightest dips in the ground and turn city parks into marshes. It has made it a challenge to find things to do outdoors even though we haven’t been hampered by the falling rain itself. Camping has been tricky as well, but the reflections in the flooded streets had us in the way of a few cars while we shot. All they gave us was a few honks and dirty looks though. Sorry, Texas motorists, we’re just trying to capture the beauty of your state.
There wasn’t much time spent in Houston, but we got to see a show at a great little venue and check out the park before we had to head east. Though it was a fleeting view, the view was very nice. We’ve been dodging the rain somehow among all the sever thunderstorm warnings, but the rain the has fallen has left behind a lot of puddles that kept us from playing disc golf. It did make some nice reflections of the city that I really had fun shooting.
We got to see a lot of beautiful places in Austin, and Ladybird Lake was one of my favorites. Just off the busy streets there is a little park along the water where cyclists, runners, moms with strollers, and people like us, who want to dip our feet in the water and play Phase 10 in the shade, can get away from the noise. We enjoyed a couple of hours on the banks and in the grass, escaping the hottest part of the day in the shade with a great view over the water. Not a bad way to spend a day on what some might call a vacation.
Austin, Texas has been a mixture of busy and lazy. We have seen a lot, done a little, and eaten way too much. On a lazy day, we strolled through the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, where Charles Umlauf’s many sculptures adorn a gorgeous open space of green. The little ponds and bridges made the shaded walk feel like a real day off as we learned about his incredible work ethic and attention to detail and meaning in his pieces. The Diver is a rendering of Umlauf’s son, and across the pond is “The Kiss” in a very intimate and romantic location. A lot of thought was put into the placement and spacing of the work, and the garden was a great place I would love to visit again.
The desert regions of the southwest aren’t nearly as barren as one might think. Besides the incredible structures and canyons there are myriad plant species that line trails and backcountry throughout the area. Wildflowers are abundant in warmer months, and blossoming cactuses are some of the more strangely beautiful flora that you can find. The exotically intriguing flowers beckon while the sharp points encourage you to keep your distance. That’s what zoom is good for.
On our way through Texas we had a chance to stop in El Paso for a day, and it was a really nice time. We checked out the art museum, which had some great local art and a focus on female artists. Along I-10 and driving through the city we could see this large X across the border in Juarez. It was created by Chihuahuan artist Sebastian, and it represents the mixed heritage of Mexican culture as well as the troubled history between the border cities. It was an imposing figure on the horizon as we drove past the bridge into Mexico and headed farther into Texas.