2021 in Photos

Revisit the photographs that caught our eye this year.

Our favorite photographs from 2021 helped us witness the wonders of Texas from within our own homes. They transported us to vibrant rainbows and introduced us to new faces. Here are the 22 photographs that best represent the year we’ve had, along with comments from photo editor Brandon Jakobeit on why the image was so impactful.

By TH Staff


"A Perseid Meteor Shower Under West Texas Dark Skies"

Photographer Jason Weingart captured the Perseid meteor shower over the Chihuahuan Desert near Big Bend National Park. It’s just a spectacular image.

"Cajun Culture Flourishes in Texas' Golden Triangle"

Dave Shafer did a great job on this portrait of Jude Moreau for our Cajun Culture article.


"The Most Unusual Rest Area in West Texas"

This image is like a time capsule of travel in Texas. Shot in 1970 by the late Texas Highways photographer Jack Lewis, this roadside rest stop still stands in the Big Bend Region.

"These Hot-Rods are Almost as Vibrant as the People who Love Them"

George Brainard’s photo of a 1951 Ford Deluxe is both beautiful and other-worldly. It was a perfect intro for his photo essay.


"The Healing Power of Wildflowers"

Theresa DiMenno's photo of wild onion blooms look more like a painting than a photo at times. The use of color and soft focus give this image an ethereal feel.

"How Lucha Libre's Mexican Style of Wrestling Unites Two Countries"

Christ Chavez's portrait of Cassandro at his home in El Paso captures him dressed up for the wrestling ring in a fun way.


"Forest Bathing Doesn't Require Soap or a Towel, Just an Open Mind

Tom McCarthy Jr.'s multiple-exposure portrait of writer Sarah Brid in her back yard is so much fun and unexpected, it’s hard to stop looking at.

"See the Beauty of Texas in a Kaleidoscope of Colors"

Thersea DiMenno’s photo of a summer rainstorm with a rainbow near Snyder just makes me feel good inside.


"The Refreshing Hill Country Oasis at Krause Springs"

Kenny Braun captured a perfect summer moment at Krause Springs. I think it beautifully represents the feel of summer in Texas.

"24 Hours in the Life of Buc-ee's, Texas' Beloved Gas Station"

Dave Shafer’s photo of a married couple stopping off at a Buc-ee’s prior to their honeymoon perfectly captures the quirkiness of what goes on in a Buc-ee’s.


"Resacas are the Natural Wonders of Texas' Rio Grande Valley"

Erich Schlegel’s photo of Olmito resaca is so striking and beautiful. With the silhouetted trees and horses, it's hard to believe a place like that really exists.

"Galveston's Resilient Spirit Sparks Another Renaissance"

Tom McCarthy Jr.'s photo perfectly captures the beauty and uniqueness of Galveston’s historic Victorian architecture.


"A Photographer Highlights the Multidimensional Beauty of El Paso"

Joel Salcido’s photo titled “Machismo Deconstructed” is just one of many sublime photos that explores Joel’s on identity growing up in El Paso and Juarez.

"Behold the Bounty of the Blanco"

Erich Schlegel's birds eye view of the Blanco river is a unique perspective of the river not often seen.


"Archer City Residents Paint the Town for a Purpose"

Dave Shafer's photo of Archer City’s sole traffic signal and welcome mural makes for a fun and unique view of the city.

"10 Small Texas Towns to Visit Now"

Christ Chavez's photo of the cutouts outside Valentine, a tribute to the movie Giant, are a fun roadside slice of Americana.


"How Texas Cowgirls Staked Their Claim in a Man's World"

Dave Shafer’s portrait of Maddie Ferguson on her horse Boonie just screams Texas pride. It makes you think about the history of the land and those that are the future stewards of our great state.

"Inside the Ring with Rodeo Clowns"

Dave Shafer’s photo of a rodeo clown and bull in action captures everything in one photo. You feel like you could be sitting in that crowd or maybe even in the shoes of the rodeo clown.


"Find Unexpected Adventures in the Rugged Canyonlands of the Texas Panhandle"

Kenny Braun’s photo of Palo Duro Canyon is a stunning landscape photograph that you can’t stop looking at. It captures a moment that I want to go out and seek for myself.

"A Wet Summer Bodes Well for a Colorful Fall at Guadalupe Mountains"

Kenny Braun’s fall photo is an explosion of color. I love the detail of a hiker nestled in the far-left corner.


"Flying Kites Over the Stark Chihuahuan Desert Landscape"

E. Dan Klepper's photo just works. The people flying kites are so whimsical set against the starkness of the desert and structures.


"Going Galactic in The Big Bend of West Texas"

Jason Weingart's other-worldly self-portrait is made even more fun by the fact that it was shot in the Chihuahuan Desert near Big Bend National Park.

Palm trees, horses and a sunset in the background of a resaca An arc of the Milky Way galaxy with meterors streaming down above gray sand desert Jude Moreau playing his accordian. A man stands taking a photograph next to cars lined up on River Road in West Texas Side of a 1951 Ford Deluxe Pink wild onion wildflowers in a field of yellow and green grasses A person in a large, flowing purple gown sits on the floor in a white room with large paintings on the wall Writer Sarah Bird soaks up the nature in her backyard Bright white and gray clouds dump rain onto a desert landscape. A rainbow forms in the background. A woman stands on a rock underneath lush green trees above bright blue, clear, spring water A married couple in the aisles of Buc-ees Palm trees, horses and a sunset in the background of a resaca A large green oak tree stands in front of a light blue and cream-colored Victorian-style home Two roosters fight above large dust-colored boulders in the El Paso desert An overhead view of the wide blue Blanco river with boats in the middle and trees on the side A Texas-flag themed mural reading Archer City on the side of a tan building Cutouts outside of Valentine, Texas pay tribute to the movie Giant Cowgirl riding her horse A bullfighter getting the attention of a bull Palo Duro Canyon with a rainbow Bright orange leaves dominate a scene on a rocky surface with a lone hiker on a trail. Blue sky peeks through some leaves Large gray concrete boxes along the right side frame two people flying colorful kites in the bright blue sky above a brown desert scene A person in an astronaut suit stands next to a Texas flag underneath a large purple and black night sky filled with stars

The June 2024 cover of Texas Highways: Treasures from the Coast

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