In Focus

The Harbor Is No Mirage

Concrete and people surrounded me as I was photographing a NOAA P-3 Orion Hurricane Hunter Aircraft, alongside institute reporter Rebecca Burton at the Lakefront Airport. The more I photographed, the more sweat drenched my shirt. I wished for pools, hot tubs and beaches — or maybe just a shower. Running on my last energy reserves when we got what we needed for the story, I immediately bought two sodas to quench my thirst. Yet, I still wasn’t satisfied and my body was still dripping in sweat. Watch Passengers (2016)

As we drove, about 1,000 feet from the airport Rebecca spotted a body of water with people playing in it. Part of me thought it was a mirage, but it was real! You could see planes taking off right where people were swimming. I had to check it out; if I couldn’t find water to refresh myself, at least I could photograph it.

Approaching the shore, I knew I could go only so far in to get my shot because I was wearing pants (and it wasn’t as if I had planned to go swimming anyway). My jeans rolled up to my knee, that was where I stopped. I would have gone in farther but that would have meant leaving a nice butt imprint on Rebecca’s car seat.

Everyone in the water was having so much fun, and the water itself was pretty warm, so why couldn’t I be in there with them? I shot a few frames, then approached some family members watching kids to ask why they were at the beach, which I later discovered was a section of the SeaBrook Harbor.

Two things I learned from this trip: Always have an emergency pair of swim shorts on you, in case of unexpected-body-of-water encounters, and learn how to speak Spanish so you can figure out what led the kids to the water.

Rebecca and I left the harbor to return to Dillard, and I finally took that shower.