It was late in the day when I decided to hike the Lost Mine Trail at Big Bend National Park. It had been a day without a lot of physical exertion and it was set to stay that way with possible storms coming. I felt like I really needed to do it, so I got myself up and hiked very quickly up the gently steep trail. The views along the way were incredible as well, but the nice payoff at the end had me viewing into the canyons that surrounded me and past our campground. It was a beautiful feeling and I jogged down the trail back to my car after taking in the view for a few minutes.
Every night in Austin, Texas thousands of bats come flying out from underneath a bridge near downtown. Spectators gather along the bridge and below to watch the amazing and unique sight that makes Austin just a little more weird. It wasn’t quite the Batman cave sequence I was hoping for, but they were really amazing and kept coming out for a long time.
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.
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.
My job allows me to do some traveling that’s not part of our road trip so I’m in Dallas currently. The jump from Pacific Time to Central has not gone unnoticed, but I did enjoy a nap at my hotel before venturing out to the city to get some amazing vegan food at Spiral Diner, a couple beer samples at Deep Ellum Brewing, and this shot over the freeway that I really love. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten any good city shots; especially any longer exposures. Considering I was handholding the camera and balancing on a rail with it, I’m extremely happy with how it turned out.