Traveling Photographer: Austin’s Power
Find urban, nature, and music scenes in one city — Austin, Texas
What makes Austin, TX, so great to photograph? “You have a nice contrast of outdoor life against the city’s skyline,” says landscape photographer Rob Greebon (www.imagesfromtexas.com).
Among his favorite haunts: the 10-mile Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail that parallels both sides of the lake (actually a part of the Colorado River that flows south of downtown). For great skyline reflections, Greebon suggests heading to Lou Neff Point on the south shore. “Early mornings and evenings when the wind dies down give you great reflections of the skyline,” he says.
From the Point, follow one of a the trails into the 351-acre Zilker Metropolitan Park along Barton Creek. The creek flows into Lady Bird Lake; its spring-fed waters, in the right light, shine a crystaline blue-green that can beautifully showcase both canoeists in the foreground and the cityscape beyond. For a wilder experience, continue along to the Barton Creek Greenbelt, a 7.2-mile loop with rugged landscapes, waterfalls, and sometimes intense off-road biking and rock climbing.
Liz Carpenter Fountain in Butler Park, a three-minute walk south of the trail, offers an exciting light show at night. “The fountains come alive with color,” says Greebon. “Compose the scene to shoot a long exposure of the fountains with the Austin skyline in the background.”
Finally, no visit is complete without stepping out in Austin’s legendary music district. “Take a tripod and a friend and walk 6th Street at night,” Greebon advises. “You’ll find color, lights, signs, motorcycles, and characters to shoot. You won’t be disappointed!”
A WALKING TOUR
Austin is a pedestrian-friendly city. We asked photographer John Rogers (johnrrogers.com), who is based there, to take us on an afternoon tour of some of his favorite shooting spots.
● Texas State Capitol Starting in the mid-afternoon, park near 6th and Congress and walk four blocks north to the Capitol building. You will find great views from the south side with fountains and sculptures as foreground material. Indoors, the Capitol has a beautiful rotunda that photographs well if you look up from ground level or shoot down from its balconies. Next up…
● The Driskill Hotel Walk south from the Capitol and return to 6th street and the historic Driskill Hotel. Rogers’s favorite angle is from across 6th street shooting northwest. Enter the hotel from Brazos Street and you’re greeted with a large colonnade, polished marble floors, and a beautiful stained glass ceiling. Then, on to…
● The Ann W. Richards Congress Avenue Bridge In the late afternoon, continue south on Congress and cross Lady Bird Lake via the pedestrian walk of the Congress Avenue Bridge. Be sure to turn around and get a shot of the great view of downtown Austin centered around the Texas Capitol. Next stop is the…
● **Stevie Ray Vaughn Statue **A must for music fans, you reach it by heading west along the south shore of Lady Bird Lake. Try to time it so you arrive at dusk, when you can shoot the statue with the city skyline across the lake—an iconic shot. Finally…
● **The Long Center for the Performing Arts **Turn south and cross West Riverside Drive to the Long Center, Austin’s performing arts hub. The view from its patio provides a great nighttime skyline shot framed by the center’s columns.