Hard Landscape

As with many people in the US, I’ve been watching the terrible aftermath of hurricane Harvey on the Houston area. My home in San Antonio, TX was spared the effects of the storm. However I lived in Houston for some years and even went through a hurricane there. Alicia was much smaller than Harvey but I got the full experience of wind, flooding, even having the eye of the storm pass directly over my house. I will never do anything like that again.

Petroleum is at the core of business in Houston and much of Texas. People who live in the state understand the compromise involved in extracting mineral wealth from the earth. It is a messy activity that inevitably degrades the environment. So far the economic benefit of petroleum wealth has exceeded the damage for most citizens here. Regardless, it is difficult to persuade people to act against their own economic interests to regulate the business.

Outside of the cities, Texas is sparsely populated, rural and strongly maintains traditional values. The vastness and rugged beauty of the land is hard to convey. Just as an example, I enjoy spending time in the Big Bend region. In order to get to the Bend for a sunrise photo I have to leave San Antonio at 2:00am and drive 70-80 miles an hour the whole way. It is worth every minute of effort to experience the beauty found there.

Part of my route through West Texas usually takes me across the Edwards Plateau. Some areas of the plateau are known as the Texas Hill Country. They are the beautiful heart of Central Texas. Areas further north and west are rugged ranch lands dotted with tracts of oil and gas production. These are the places I like to photograph.

Out on the plateau you see mostly oil service vehicles and crude oil tankers on the roads by day, nothing at night. There are also stationary engines driving huge compressors working 24/7 squeezing natural gas into liquid. The remnants of obsolete equipment is often scattered around if you look hard enough in the right places.

Angular industrial tools set against barren natural landscape makes for dramatic photographs. Usually there are no people out there to ask questions. As they say, access is everything when it comes to taking photographs.

Water

Falling Water
Falling Water
The Texas Hill Country is filled with springs that feed small creeks. They mirror the levels of the underground aquifers that are the source of water in Central Texas. When the rains come, water percolates down into the limestone and eventually overflows onto the land as springs. Each spring has a unique habitat it supports.

We live in a world where the environmental balance is rapidly shifting. Conditions are not as predictable as they once were. There are now great concerns about the future viability of the precious aquifers we depend upon. For now the waters are flowing. The habitats they support are still intact.

In my lifetime I have witnessed devastation of much of our natural world. I will not pay the price for the squandering of our world but someone will. We are beings evolved to live within the natural environment of our planet. Our truly wonderful technologies cannot provide a substitute for our home on Earth.

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The North America calendar
Weeks starting on Sunday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 33 – North America

The International calendar
Weeks starting on Monday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 33 – International

Spring – 2017 No. 2

Hill Country Sunrise No. 2
Hill Country Sunrise No. 2
Another photo from the Texas Hill Country shot yesterday morning. The wildflower bloom in Central Texas will peak within the next few days. That gives me a chance to shoot some conventional landscapes and panoramas next weekend. You have to get out early to beat all the mothers and children doing family pictures among the flowers. It makes me smile to see the doting parents saving memories and embarrassing moments to show their grown children in a few years.

Download the latest Phototrice calendar in PDF format. Direct download links – No signup required.

The North America calendar
Weeks starting on Sunday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 32 – North America

The International calendar
Weeks starting on Monday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 32 – International