Nature photography is just part of Laurence Parent’s nature. The 37-year-old Austin-area resident, who took the pictures that accompany this month’s article on Hueco Tanks State Historical Park (“Social Climbers”), has long been known for his landscape work, from wildflower close-ups to desert vistas. “My father was in the National Park Service,” says Parent, who grew up in New Mexico. “Maybe that’s why I love the outdoors.” A former petroleum engineer, he switched to photography during the mid-eighties oil bust (“If I was going to starve, I was going to starve doing something I loved”). That passion can be dangerous, however, as Parent learned on his trip to Hueco Tanks. “I wanted some dramatic shots,” he says, “so I hiked to a three-hundred-foot cliff. Then a roaring dust storm hit. I had to tie myself in, and because of the wind, I couldn’t hear the rock climbers down below; we had to gesture. They didn’t want to come up—no surprise—but they finally started, and by then I was losing that nice afternoon light. So I’m hanging by my toes and one hand, trying to take pictures with the other, and the sand trashed my camera and I tore the rotator cuff in my shoulder. But I got my shots.”