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Amazing Altitudes

Views from the top of Texas One of the greatest values of travel
Written by Lori Moffatt.

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One of the greatest values of travel is that it affords us a new perspective on the world. When we abandon our daily routines and immerse ourselves in unfamiliar settings, we allow our senses to reawaken and experience things with new eyes.

41 FerrisWheelThis is true both while we are traveling and again when we return home; maybe the house you’ve lived in for decades seems larger and cozier after spending a week in a hotel room, or the hometown you found dispiritingly crowded suddenly seems manageable once again after battling traffic in a metropolis. Everything is relative, after all, and there’s nothing like travel to cause us to refocus; to see again, with a different perspective.

Before a recent trip, I asked a photographer friend for some advice on taking fresh photos. “Lie down on the ground. Or climb up on a chair,” he told me. “Try shooting your subject in a way that most people haven’t thought of.” Capture the familiar from a new angle, in other words—from a new direction, a new perspective.

Garner State ParkThe pages that follow include images of—and images from—some of the highest vantage points in the state. From the new viewing platform at Dallas’ Reunion Tower, almost 500 feet above the streets of downtown, the nighttime cityscape below resembles an electrified ant farm; the small space we occupy in this world suddenly seems tiny and insignificant. (Whether you find that peaceful or discomfiting depends, like all things, on your point of view.) High in the Franklin Mountains from the Wyler Aerial Tramway in El Paso, passengers can often see into Mexico and New Mexico; from this bird’s-eye view, borders mean nothing (and in fact, they mean nothing for the birds, of course).

These views on high distill shapes and shadows, and draw focus to form in lieu of function. They concentrate color and patterns, and cause even the most non-philosophical travelers among us to ponder our place in this world, which can seem so tremendous at one moment and so miniscule in others.

See more amazing views in the July 2014 issue.

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