Hundreds of people are standing on or below the South Congress Bridge in Austin, TX and waiting for sunset, which is expected at 8:20pm tonight. Most are tourists with cell phones or bulky cameras, eagerly anticipating the torrent of bats soon to emerge from their roost under the bridge.
The atmosphere is circus-like. Everyone is talking excitedly about the upcoming attraction. Young and old stand shoulder to shoulder;
or find a blanket-sized parcel of grass to relax and watch the sun go down;
or pull up in a boat to wait for showtime.
One fellow standing behind me seems to be mystified by the whole experience. “Are they gonna fly outta that sewer hole over there?” he wonders out loud.
His misconception is immediately corrected by a 10-year old standing nearby. “Hey mister, this isn’t Batman, y’know! They come out from under the bridge where they live,” says Einstein boy.
“I hope they don’t come around me…that shit is poison,” says sewer man.
I too am excited to catch the bats in flight, but I’m also interested in doing something different with my Lumix, which I’m still learning to use. I’m determined to capture the bats in motion!
As twilight approaches, the throng fills the empty spaces of lawn and becomes more animated.The moment arrives when the first bats emerge, and the crowd gets giddy.
And moments later, the floodgates open, and the bats streak across the night sky by the thousands–
a migration wave of epic proportions that approaches a feeding frenzy.
I confess that the photos are experimental. However, I understand that there are traditionalists who need to see things as they are, versus my interpretation of the event. So, in fairness to those whose vision is less oblique than mine, I’ve increased the camera’s shutter speed to give a more accurate representation of the bats’ flight path…
such that even Meat Loaf would be impressed.