Two Texas Whooping Cranes preform their unique dance with each other along with their extremely loud vocalizations in Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, Texas. The volume of these vocalizations is thanks to their five foot windpipe, the longest of the species. These cranes travel over 2,5000 miles each year to winter in Texas on the 115,000 acre Aransas National Wildlife Refuge.

Photo by: Ian Shive

Ian Shive

The Ultimate Texas Adventure

Only in Texas can the ultimate photography adventure combine epic wildlife moments and a journey into a mysterious subterranean underworld with the promise of an amazing meal and a cozy creative space awaiting you at the end of the day.

Sponsored by Travel Texas

February 16, 2022

For award-winning nature photographer Ian Shive, it’s the unique intertwining of exploration and adventure that attracts him to Texas. Whether camouflaged in the marshlands searching for whooping cranes, one of the rarest birds in the world, or waist-deep in Gulf Coast waters on a rescue mission of an injured (but adorable!) sea turtle, the art of capturing these critical conservation stories is what drives Ian to pursue his lifelong passion. The opportunity to witness the recovery of these species and their natural, protected habitat is a bucket list achievement for anyone who appreciates the beauty of our planet.

An Atlantic green sea turtle swims towards the edge of their tank in preparation for their food at Sea Turtle, Inc on South Padre Island, Texas. Patients at Sea Turtle, Inc are carefully examined to determine their nutritional and rehabilitation needs. Sea Turtle, Inc rehabilitates 40 to over 100 sea turtles each year and releases them back into Gulf Coast waters.

Photo by: Ian Shive

Ian Shive

Even in a mysterious cavern where darkness prevails, adventure still abounds, because the wonder of Texas’ natural world doesn’t end in daylight. In the Hill Country, this unique, geologic formation has given rise to legends of paranormal activity. The only way to unravel fact from fiction is for Ian to descend into this deep, subterranean underworld, where winding tunnels reveal wondrous crystalline rock formations and rich human history dating back to the first humans to inhabit the region. Will his photos also reveal the ghosts of legend and lore?

Photo by: Ian Shive

Ian Shive

These incredible once-in-a-lifetime trips do more than stir the imagination…they stir Ian’s appetite! Leaving behind the hip waders and headlamps, Ian refuels at his favorite barbecue spot in East Austin, where the briskets are juicy and tender, the pickles crack like a whip, and the smell of post oak smoke lingers in your memory for days. This isn’t just your typical Texas barbecue, though. The wife-and-wife chefs separate their restaurant from the rest of Texas BBQ by infusing flavors with ingredients from their world travels. And like Ian, they think of food like photography, as an art form.

A plate of mouthwatering barbecue with brisket, sausage, potato salad, and so much more from la Barbecue in Austin, Texas. LeAnn Mueller with the help of her wife Alison Clem run la Barbecue with recipes and flavors inspired by their travels around the world.

Photo by: Ian Shive

Ian Shive

With a full stomach, the journey comes full circle, as Ian teams up with a leading interior designer to transform a drab room into a fab creative space. Of course, the design is inspired by what else but Ian’s photographs from this ultimate Texas adventure! Stormy skies, dramatic rock outcroppings, and pastel sunsets create a palette of inspiration. In the end, a gallery wall leaves you with only one question left…where in Texas do we go next?

Photographer Ian Shive (left) screws in a lightbulb with Home Designer Kayla Simone (right) as part of a newly installed lighting fixture. Kayla is transforming a room into a home office in Pflugerville, Texas.

Ian Shive

Ian Shive is a photographer, author, film and television producer, and conservationist who has been praised as the “leading chronicler of America’s national parks.”

Next Up

Explore These Majestic Sand Dunes... In Colorado

Colorado; a place we usually associate with snow-capped mountains and green grassy meadows, winter skiing, and kayaking in its clear, mirror-like lakes. But did you know the state is also home to a 30-square-mile sand dune field?

Explore the California Redwoods

Coastal redwoods are a type of evergreen tree that can live to be more than 2,000 years old. They are the tallest trees on Earth, with some reaching more than 250 feet tall. Redwoods provide habitats for many forest creatures and pull more carbon out of the air than any other tree species. Where can you find these magnificent perennial plants?

The Ultimate Alaska Road Trip

Explore Alaska on an RV road trip, seeing Denali, Fairbanks, Valdez and everything in between.

Exploring the World’s Longest Cave System

The world’s longest cave system is a gargantuan labyrinth of 420 miles of twists and turns and nooks and crannies, with limestone travertine stalactites dripping from the ceilings.

The House on the Rock Is the Tourist Trap to End All Tourist Traps

Here's the thing about the House on the Rock — it's certainly a sight to behold, but it's no museum.

Every Year, Thousands of Glass Orbs Are Hidden on This Oregon Beach

When you think of treasure hunters, it's typically Pirates of the Caribbean and Indiana Jones that come to mind. But modern-day treasure hunters do exist. In the coastal town of Lincoln City, Oregon, beachcombers flock to the sand in hopes of finding one very specific treasure: glass fishing floats.

5 of America's Most Extreme Destinations

Join Discovery as we explore five of America's most extreme destinations: Denali, Alaska (highest peak); Death Valley, California (hottest, driest, and lowest); Prospect Creek, Alaska (coldest); Mt. Waialeale, Hawaii (wettest); and Paradise Visitors Center on Mount Rainier (snowiest).

Day (or Night) at The Museum

Take a private tour of NYC’s American Museum of Natural History from home!

Pacific Northwest Road Trips

The Pacific Northwest is known for its open spaces, and its vast beauty is easily explored by car.

Werewolf of the Mexican South

Ocozocoautla de Espinosa is a small town that hugs one of the least-visited Natural Reserves in Mexico’s southernmost state of Chiapas and it may have a werewolf problem.