Barb Wooster, Baytonian
Anna Yowell, Tourism Coordinator
Sheree Cardwell, Tourism Marketing Specialist
Grey Scott, City of Baytown Human Resources Manager
John Britt, Historian & College Professor
The Gateway to Baytown
GREY SCOTT - BAYTOWN HR MANAGER/NATURE PHOTOGRAPHER
Each morning on my way into work, I am always excited to cross the Fred Hartman Bridge. Also known as the Baytown Bridge, it spans the Houston Ship Channel and connects Baytown and La Porte. I am told that this was no small engineering feat and that it is the longest bridge of its type in Texas. While I know absolutely nothing about bridge construction, what I do know is that it is truly elegant. It is neat to look at, neat to drive across, and neat to photograph. While the bridge never physically changes color nor shape, it literally comes to life when viewed from different angles at different times of the day and of the year. This phenomenon helps to explain why you likely have never seen two identical images of the Hartman.
While the bridge is beautiful in its own right, the ambient lighting helps to accentuate its lines. Dawn and dusk are my favorite times to shoot it . . . and it never disappoints!
The sun is just about to break the horizon behind me and the Baytown Bridge is already glowing softly against the pink and blue sky.
This is what the bridge looks like with the sun at my back as I focus on it in the morning. The Baytown Bridge takes on the brilliant orange hue of the rising sun as it just peeks above the horizon.
Typically, I approach the bridge at approximately the same time each day. Something that I find fascinating is that because of the ever-changing lighting, there is always another completely different, yet connected, awe-inspiring look.
Occasionally, I like to look at the bridge from a higher vantage point, just to see how the weather conditions change its appearance that day. I’ve driven across it hundreds of times and its simple yet ingenious design interplays with the light of the sun (or darkness of the sky) in a unique way each time.
The sun is still low on the horizon and the bridge is glimmering in gold.
Sometimes the morning fog cloaks the bridge and I am only able to see a couple of car lengths at a time. As the next part of the bridge is revealed, the part I’ve just passed is recloaked. Even during these times where I only can see small segments of it at once, it is still a gorgeous sight.
At times the water is very still and I can see the reflection of the clouds in it. This sight is one of my favorites. Even though I have seen this many times, each one is more alluring than the previous.
One would think that once the light of the sky starts to fade, the bridge would appear bland. Nothing could be further from the truth.
During certain parts of the year, the sun sets in the middle of the cable stays. For me, this is when the bridge looks its most delicate and almost angelic.
Once the sun has dipped below the horizon, the bridge’s lights create another distinct look. The evening and subsequent night sky do wonders for the Baytown Bridge, making it appear red, orange, or bright yellow – sometimes within minutes of each other.
With the sky now dark, the bridge is as bright as can be. The duller the sky, the more breathtaking it appears. It will stay lit this way for the rest of the night, restarting the cycle at first light.
Because there is a different show each day, I am always excited to see what tomorrow brings. This marvel is yet another reason to visit beautiful Baytown.