Right next door to the Austin Recreation Center (ARC) where Kim plays volleyball, a brand new BMX and Skate park has been opened. The official opening was on June 16, 2011 and it is already a huge attraction for local skaters. The park was funded by the City of Austin and has been over 5 years in the making. The park is the second skate park in Austin, and you could also count as the second bike park to the BMX dirt track over on 9th Street.
Kim had a game at 7:30pm at the ARC next door, so I took advantage of the hour or so to walk across the parking lot and check out the action. I was amazed at the number of skaters and BMXers that were there, around 60 or so people. The park is amazingly well designed and the article I read says that it was done by professionals. It really shows!
On one end there is a huge bowl with a lot of geometry to navigate. There are rails built into almost every edge and drop-ins along the rim for skaters. I started off with the longer zoom lens to survey the whole area (30,000 sq. feet!) and get some shots off from a bit of a distance until I was comfortable and more importantly, the people there were comfortable with me taking pictures.
Everyone was super polite and the unspoken respect for taking turns was strong.
On the other end of the park is a more “urban” type setting with rails, grinds, stairs, a small half-pipe, and a seating area. I switched lenses to the wide angle to get more action in the frame.
On this end of the park is an amazing functional sculpture by a local artist, that resembles a giant wave. The skaters can use it for tricks and it just looks cool.
After a while, I started chatting with a few of the guys and showing them some of the shots on the camera LCD. They got pretty stoked, and some of them started doing better tricks for the camera.
I picked a great time to show up, while the sun was sinking over Austin. The light was just incredible and I barely had to bump the ISO up on the camera until close to 8:30.
As the hour wore on, some new people showed up and turned it on! I think the guy below came to school some of the younger BMXers. I did a single image HDR conversion to the photo, to bring out some of the detail in the building and of course, the rider.
Man this place had such a great old school vibe. I edited the photo below in that spirit, like it could be any of the past four decades.
The temps were up around 97 degrees, even that late in the day, but everyone was going hard and having a great time. This is definitely a gem for the city and I will probably become a regular fixture there. There are so many great photo ops, and the people were just cool, but it has always been that way with the skate and bike crowd.
I can’t wait to go back…
Once we have taken more images, we will place them on our website for viewing and a super discounted price to purchase digital downloads.