The vast city of Houston, Texas is not just known for its important contribution to the space program or its renowned oil and gas industry. Houston is a city rich in opportunity for photographers of all stripes, thanks to its eclectic mix of historic buildings, cutting-edge architecture, and lush green spaces.
Historic and Cultural Landmarks
- Houston is home to Space Center Houston, where astronauts used to train for their interplanetary missions. There is a piece of space history around every corner, from the life-sized recreation of a space shuttle to the original mission control.
- The Heritage Society: Photograph stunningly restored old structures from another era. These buildings, set amongst Houston’s contemporary landscape, reveal our city’s rich history.
- Buffalo Bayou is an urban waterway that contrasts Houston’s skyscrapers with lush vegetation. At dawn and dusk, the bayou is at its most beautiful when the city’s silhouette is reflected in its waters.
Urban & Architectural Wonders
- Chase Tower Observatory and San Felipe Plaza are two great vantage points for daytime cityscapes and glittering evening vistas of Houston’s downtown skyline, respectively.
- Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park has a dramatic sight just asking to be photographed, thanks to the Waterwall’s tumbling sheets and the oak trees that line the park’s edges.
- This 12-acre park in the downtown area is called Discovery Green, and it features everything from contemporary art installations to tranquil ponds.
Nature & Green Spaces
- Within the vast grounds of Hermann Park, the Japanese Garden promises serene sights of elegant bridges and reflected streams, while the McGovern Centennial Gardens‘ spiral mound provides lofty views.
- Visit the Houston Arboretum & Nature Center to take pictures of the local wildlife and flowers.
- The Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens is a historic house that was once owned by philanthropist Ima Hogg and features well kept gardens.
Arts & Murals
- Houston’s Street Art & Graffiti Walls: Neighborhoods like EaDo (East Downtown) are covered in murals covering topics as diverse as politics and pop culture, providing interesting settings for portraits and art photography.
- The Heights is an adorable area with Victorian-style houses and modern art installations in the alleys.
- The Menil Collection houses some of the world’s finest examples of modern art within architecturally stunning and aesthetically pleasing white cubes.
Places to Take Pictures at Night
- From neon signs to subtly illuminated fountains, Market Square Park‘s historic setting and modern additions make for a wealth of low-light photo opportunities.
- At night, the Kemah Boardwalk, which overlooks Galveston Bay, comes to life with its glimmering lights, carnival rides, and reflections in the water.
- At Rice University, you may see James Turrell’s ‘Twilight Epiphany’ Skyspace, which blends light and form in a predetermined pattern.
Hidden Gems & Undiscovered Places
- The best perspective of the city skyline, especially for large events like the Freedom Over Texas, can be found in Eleanor Tinsley Park, which is well-known by locals but sometimes overlooked by visitors.
- The Houston Graffiti Building is a composite of the city’s graffiti art movement, created throughout time on an ever-changing canvas.
- Mandell Park is a small park in Montrose that provides an oasis of calm in the heart of the city.
Tips for Photographers
Most places have their finest natural light during the ‘golden hour,’ which is an hour either shortly after dawn or just before sunset.
Rules: You may need permission or face restrictions in certain areas. Do your research and follow the rules at all times.
Houston’s azaleas bloom in the spring, and the city enjoys a temperate, pleasant atmosphere in the fall. Houston’s beauty changes with the seasons, so be sure to plan your photos accordingly.