200 feet above Rainey Street, the traffic on I-35 doesn’t seem quite as bad. Almost tranquil even. I am following one of Austin’s most daring rooftop photographers as he makes his way across the roof of a Rainey Street highrise.
“You’d be surprised at how easy it is to get into some of these buildings,” says j_type in his first interview. J asked that I use his online pseudonym to avoid unwanted attention.
From our celestial vantage point, we had a unique view of the entire Austin skyline. J pointed out various unfinished buildings and the cranes that created them. “I’ve been to most of the larger construction sites over the last year that are still active.”
An almost native, Austinite j_type has been in Austin for over 20 years now, arriving when he was only four years old. The downtown skyline has changed dramatically since the mid 1990s. “Our downtown really started to develop its own character when the Frost Tower went up in ’03,” explained J.
The tallest building in Austin upon its completion, Frost Tower has since been eclipsed by the 360 Condominiums and the Austonian. At nearly 700 feet tall and holding the record for the tallest all-residential building West of the Mississippi, the Austonian holds a particular allure for J and is the site of his most captivating shots of our fair city.
There are currently more than a dozen tower cranes in Austin. Four years ago, as the Austonian was opening its doors, there were barely that many in the entire state of Texas. Business is booming, as they say, and there is no better time than the present to be a rooftop photographer in Austin.
The Austin skyline has been photographed from just about every angle imaginable (we feature some of the best on our own Facebook page), but the images J captures stand out and offer a truly unique perspective. “One of the many magical things about cranes is that they are temporary and only there for a short time while the building is constructed. I’m glad I was able to capture images from these locations, as they will never be able to be captured again,” says J.
J was kind enough to share a few of his best shots captured from some of Austin’s most iconic buildings, as well as a few from unfinished towers like the massive JW Marriot.
What are the best spots in Austin to take skyline photos?
“Rainy Street highrise.” Something doesn’t sound quite right about that.
Yes. One not quite right thing is that it’s “Rainey,” not “Rainy.”
I just wish every rooftop bar in Austin wasn’t douchetown.
It’s so sad Kelly. Maybe together we should open one that isn’t. Unless you know of a secret one already and you are holding out on me. 🙂
Downtown Austin has become the epitome of Douchetown.
Depends on what your definition of a “Douche” is , …. I think brainwashed, military, gun nut, red neck, honky, inbred racists, are the “douche’s” of America but that’s my opinion
I can remember going to protests to save the Rainey Street neighborhood. I guess we’re seeing the making of a mega-city without the roads to handle it, a giant with too small arteries and veins.
growing pains for sure…. Austin’s geography doesn’t help. The Gorgeous Landscape of the Texas Hill Country makes it difficult to Expand on the City. Waterways , Hills , Steep Cliffs , Valleys , and Already congested highways make it almost impossible or extremely expensive to expand…. we need full 100% “Progressive , Liberal , Democratic Socialism” in this city to finally come together and bring us Mass Transit and Public Transportation. We need either Light Rail or Urban Gondola , something that can take the load off of our Highways. Urban Gondola is the Key but Texas is an Oil state , and OIL controls everything.
Urban Gondola would save billions of dollars , or TAKE billions of dollars out of the hands of the Koch Brothers and here in Texas… THE KOCH BROTHERS RUN EVERYTHING!
Beautiful pictures. But sadly, Austin is descending into a liberal hellhole like Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco.
Feel free to leave whenever you’d like 🙂
sadly to say those beautiful pictures are of the amazing modern architecture that highly skilled liberal workers with amazing good paying jobs worked on to create what you are saying is “Beautiful”
Beautiful pictures, the balance in direct color reflection and color warmness is outstanding.