Capturing a West Texas Winter Wonderland

Do you guys (former) students remember the field trip we took to the Circle when it was 40 below zero? (How could you forget? lol) Remember taking old Chris’ picture when he was standing on ice out in the middle of one of the water tanks? Great fun! I miss you guys. — jtl, 419

“Texas Monthly’s beautiful photography of winter scenes in far-West Texas.

NOTE: this article originally appeared on,authored by Lauren Smith Ford.

Austin-based photographer Nick Simonite has been shooting around West Texas since 2002 and usually heads west every few months. Traveling between Marfa and Alpine, the San Antonio native captured the next few winter scenes on the first day of the year.
Photograph by Nick Simonite

Now that the sun is out, it’s easy to forget the recent sub-freezing temperatures around the state, like in areas of West Texas where temperatures dropped below twenty degrees on New Year’s Day. Photographers, both locals and visitors alike, spent the first few days of the year in West Texas capturing the stark winter-white beauty around Marfa, Alpine, and Big Bend for striking results that we have gathered for this gallery of West Texas winter scenes. We talked to each one about some of their favorite photos.

Photographer Jennifer Boomer has lived in West Texas since 2012. She passed the time on snow days with her two children by playing with Legos and sipping hot chocolate. She snapped this snow-covered truck on the north side of Alpine. “I entertained myself over those snowy days by drinking wine!” she says.
Photograph by Jennifer Boomer

“I love the way the landscape changes throughout the day in West Texas,” photographer Nick Simonite says. “Sunrise and sunset are especially unique and surprising.”
Photograph by Nick Simonite

Rowdy Dugan is a Marfa-based photographer who got his start in documentary filmmaking. He headed to a ranch outside of Marfa to capture the freezing fog rolling in before the snow storm. He found this “cold and wet heifer” in a solitary moment on a dirt road.
Photograph by Rowdy Dugan

Photographer Rowdy Dugan was drawn to the snowy cacti, the ideal Texas winter study in contrasts.
Photograph by Rowdy Dugan

A native Texan who is now Brooklyn-based, Penny de los Santos mostly shoots food and portraits on travels around the world for National Geographic, Saveur, and many others. To ring in 2018, she spent the day shooting along a 10-15 mile stretch between Marathon and Alpine. “It was one of those rare moments as a photographer: the landscape beckons, and you have no choice but to stop everything and just grab your camera and shoot, hoping that whoever is in the car with you is a cooperating party,” she says.
Photograph by Penny de los Santos

Penny de los Santos reflects on her time in West Texas. “It felt like the most amazing way to start a new year, seeing something that felt so rare for Texas with eyes that have never seen anything like it. It was like seeing a new country for the first time.”
Photograph by Penny de los Santos

Dallas-based photographer Trevor Paulhus went to visit Big Bend National Park, one of his favorite places, as well as looking at some land he is interested in buying nearby. Paulhus shot this scene near Alpine.
Photograph by Trevor Paulhus

“This was my first time in West Texas during the winter. I absolutely loved the peaceful quietness in cold air. A cold front blew in, leaving this frost all through the area. It was so breathtaking,” Paulhus says. “In general, I really appreciate the solitude of West Texas any time of the year. It’s so big, open, and simple.”
Photograph by Trevor Paulhus

Photographer Hannah Gentiles has lived in Marfa for three years after a ten-year stint in Nashville. Gentiles also works for local hotel El Cosmico and ventured around the snow-covered property to capture the trailers, tepees, and tents.
Photograph by Hannah Gentiles

Gentiles loves working at El Cosmico (one of its trailers is pictured), where she gets to meet interesting travelers from around the world. “I’m not sure there is anywhere quite like West Texas,” she says. “The landscape seems to change in new and beautiful ways in every direction you head.”
Photograph by Hannah Gentiles

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A Handbook for Ranch ManagersA Handbook for Ranch Managers.  In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.

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