A hill country sunset

The Texas Hill Country is a term used to loosely describe an area that sort of begins west of Austin and is marked by lots of rolling hills (obviously) and rock, several rivers and other beautiful scenes.  It is a nice area and there are a lot of small towns spread throughout, each with its own personality and charm.  We were driving through Johnson City, which is one of those towns I just mentioned, and en route this most amazing sunset started to come together.  Johnson City (by the way) was the hometown of President Lyndon Baines Johnson and was actually founded by his great-grandfather.  Being a photographer, I start to get itchy when I see the sky doing this sort of stuff.  So I crossed over the highway, pulled off into the grass, and jumped out into the frigid air to see if I could capture it.  The interesting thing about sunsets is that they are not a fixed thing at all.  They morph, their light levels change and their colors fluctuate.  So, despite the cold, we stood there and I got several "different" sunsets, all in the same evening.  At one point, a huge beam of light looked like it was projecting straight up from the sun, which my buddy Jeff termed "the solar cannon".  It was very impressive. 

This was a 3 shot HDR at f/22 (+2, +1, 0) which was merged in Photomatix to create the HDR image, then adjusted in PSE (Curves, Contrast, Unsharp Mask) and a light touch to finish it in Topaz Adjust.  In retrospect, I should have lowered the f/stop to something like f/11 or even lower to let in more light, but I was so excited about all the color in the sky that I wasn't thinking too clearly I guess!