Photos in the January/February 2014 issue
This Month's Features
Game wardens expand ways to serve with new K-9, dive, search-and-rescue and other teams.
By Mike Cox
Its blades slicing the clear-blue autumn sky that followed devastating flooding in Central Texas the night before, the Department of Public Safety helicopter hovered over an Austin neighborhood as first responders helped a couple of children descend from the dangling basket that had carried them to safety.
The youngsters had been trapped with their parents atop their roof when Onion Creek turned into a raging river after more than a foot of overnight rain set off widespread flooding in Travis, Caldwell, Hays and Comal counties. Although safe, they were scared and crying.
Clouds and rain become a part of the landscape when late-summer storms move across West Texas.
Photo Essay By Earl Nottingham
With less than an hour of daylight left for photography, I sit on a mountaintop with a 360-degree view of the Big Bend region that seems to go on forever.
To my left, the distant Chisos Mountains are cloaked in low-hanging clouds. To my right, across miles of desert flats, the Chinatis and faraway mountains of Mexico are silhouetted by the lowering sun. To the north, with the emerald Davis Mountains as a backdrop, my picture takes shape. I’m entranced by a lone thunderhead building in the distance, waiting for the moment when its statuesque magnificence becomes spotlighted by the last rays of sun. I’m hoping the orchestration of sky, land and light will all play in tune for at least one-100th of a second.
Technology provides a dramatic look at a largely forgotten Union steamer off Galveston.
By Rae Nadler-Olenick
On Jan. 11, 1863, the iron-hulled USS Hatteras — a sidewheel merchant steamer retrofitted as a Union warship — sank 20 miles off Galveston, bested by the Confederate battle cruiser CSS Alabama in a fierce battle lasting only 13 minutes. Though the conflict was brief, the Hatteras’ defeat that winter night had far-reaching consequences.
When the Alabama unexpectedly appeared at 2 p.m. — visible from Galveston as an unknown speck on the horizon — the city, which had just shaken off federal occupation, stood in peril of being retaken. A Union fleet stationed off the coast prepared to recapture the Confederacy’s most important port as a prelude to a major 20,000-troop land invasion. The sinking of the Hatteras — quickly outmatched by Alabama’s superior design and firepower — put that ambitious plan on hold, giving Galveston time to build the defenses that would keep it in Confederate hands throughout the remainder of the war.