Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bonus Shots: AKA "Unexpected Results"

One of my hobbies is photographing various sites and outdoor art in San Antonio.  Some of these photo-jaunts can be found on my Weebly website, under the Public Art tab.

Usually I drive in a general area with very little planning and discover noteworthy locations accidentally.  At other times I have a very specific target, usually generated by a newspaper or TV story, to locate.  Before or after the area of interest has been photographed I will often find other fascinating places to photograph.

This past weekend was no exception to this routine.  In December I read a newspaper story about the restoration of the old Mission Drive-in facade.  The original facade had a mural depicting the Mission San Jose, one of the most photographed missions in San Antonio.  Late Sunday morning my wife accompanied me as we set off to photograph the restored mural, and we were rewarded with “bonus” shots.

Restored Mission Drive-in Facade

We found the restored drive-in mural without any trouble, sometimes I wind up on the wrong street or on the wrong end of the street.  One spot took me two attempts on different weekends to locate the mural I was searching for.  The Mission Drive-in mural is great, but the surrounding property has yet to be restored.  When the project is complete I will return to photograph the entire site.  The San Antonio Express News had two recent articles about the drive-in, if you are interested in reading more click on these two links:  1 and 2.

We proceeded from the drive-in to the real Mission San Jose and photographed it from two viewpoints not normally seen.  I photographed the Mission from the side and rear and gained new insights to the Mission as it functions today and in the past.  The side view shows statues and the Chapel Office entrance not usually seen by tourists.  The interior of the Mission is a National Park; the interior chapel operates separately as a working church.  The exterior areas are part of the church, a unique arrangement of church and government co-operation in the operation of Mission San Jose.

Statue near side entrance of Mission San Jose
Mission San Jose rear view

The rear side photograph shows very little of “today.”  It appears pristine and untouched by modern society.  If I had brought a picnic lunch we would have ended our morning trip in a peaceful meadow, free from tourists and noise.

My wife drove after we left the Mission which gave me the opportunity to look for bonus shots, and was much safer than my distracted driving manner.  The drive home took us up Roosevelt Avenue resulted in more bonus shots.  Life’s extras.  At the intersection of Roosevelt Avenue and Lone Star Boulevard we approached a large sign that attracted my interest.  That diversion led to a side trip onto the San Antonio River and the discovery of the “Tunnel Exit.”  I knew it existed but had never really thought about its location.

Lone Star brewery has been closed for years, industrial site now under Urban renovation.

San Antonio River tunnel exit

One hundred and forty feet below downtown San Antonio, stretching from Josephine and Grayson Streets, north of downtown, and traversing16,300 feet south to Lone Star Boulevard and Roosevelt the underground San Antonio River tunnel remains hidden from view.  Its purpose is to protect San Antonio during excessive rains that would in the past have devastated the downtown business district and numerous residences.  Learn more about the 24 foot diameter, $111 million tunnel on the San Antonio River Authority’s web page.

Red line in center in tunnel path, showing entrance and exit locations.
A day trip revealed old and present day San Antonio to photograph.  Both gave me new insights into the city I call home. 

Side trips in life can be interesting, and often are more enjoyable and worthwhile than the original path.  Detours serve a dual purpose: one is to prevent some mishap and the other can open your eyes and mind to new experiences. 

Take a side trip someday, I am sure you will enjoy it.

The link below will take you to a brief slideshow of my Sunday photo-jaunt:
Slideshow of February 17, 2013.  

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  1. So you live in San Antonio? I have actually been there once in my lifetime, about 40 years ago. Humidity nearly killed me. It may get hot here in Fresno, but it's a dry heat!

    Nice to see some of the other places around San Antonio beyond the river walk which is usually what is touted. Walking and taking photos of local landmarks is a favorite pastime of mine.

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog. If you ever have the urge to visit SA don't come between May and September.

    Go to to see even more offbeat sites in SA. (Public Art tab).

  3. I love taking detours and have made some wonderful discoveries and met some lovely people. A camera is a great conversation starter.

  4. Hmmmm, those photos look nice. I may have to put San Antonio on my list of Snowbird places to visit. P. S. Congrats to your son!

  5. Tom: I've got a snow bird friend from Montana (old army buddy) that leaves Montana in November and returns in April. He usually spends the week after Christmas here in SA.