Ranch Gates

These images are part of my ongoing project to photograph ranch gates and signs across Texas. When driving through rural Texas, fences along the roadsides are transected every so often by openings for ranch access roads. Most are simple gates with dirt roads leading off into the distance but a few are elaborately outfitted with expensive ironwork, arches and even landscaping. They can be quite a sight in the middle of nowhere.

Most country people are private by nature. You hardly ever see their homes from the road. Just like city folks they like to boast a little and keep up with their neighbors. So they build gates as a way of evoking status and advertising a certain position in life.

Some of the grandest entrances are erected by part-time ranchers from the city who buy properties for recreation and hunting. Most don’t actually live in the country except for weekends and holidays, still it is always important to mark your territory. Just one of those ancient instincts you could say.

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The North America calendar
Weeks starting on Sunday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 46 – North America

The International calendar
Weeks starting on Monday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 46 – International

Painted Trees

Painted Trees
Painted Trees
Trees painted with light that is. This small experiment was shot an hour before dawn on Easter morning. I’ve made a few attempts at light painting in the past with little success. This is a thirty second exposure illuminated with a small handheld LED flashlight. While not entirely successful it is better than my past efforts. Unfortunately the version posted here loses some subtle detail by downsizing. There is always the trade-off when publishing images online. Anyway it was interesting to try something different and I’m fairly happy with the results.

White Oil

Natural Gas Production Plant
Natural Gas Production Plant – Edwards Plateau
When traveling on the Edwards Plateau at night there are no lights to be seen. Except for the edges along the interstate highway it is nearly unpopulated. You can drive for an hour or more in the darkness and never pass another vehicle. During the day there are oil field service trucks and crude oil tankers on the plateau but at night nothing.

After leaving the town of Sheffield forty miles behind, I notice there is something lighting up the desert. Because there are so few lights on the plateau the glow looks like a city. There are no cities out here. On a hunch I turn off on a narrow strip of pavement towards the lights. After a few minutes I drive up to a huge natural gas production facility that is literally in the middle of nowhere.

As I get closer the ground starts to vibrate and the noise level becomes intense. This plant collects raw natural gas from wells and liquefies it using huge compressors. There is a row of stationary engines driving the compressors; each engine is as tall as a two story building. They are the source of the vibrations and sound. Liquefied natural gas is sometimes called White Oil. White gold more likely for those riding this petroleum boom.

My goal on that morning was to shoot sunrise along the border. Dryden Texas, my destination, was still sixty miles away but the opportunity to photograph the isolated plant was too good to ignore. I spent an hour walking and shooting and then hurried along to catch the sunrise.

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. 40 – North America

The International calendar
Weeks starting on Monday.

Phototrice Calendar No. 40 – International