Last light in the canyon

Lost Maples is a state park in the Texas Hill Country, and it seems to be in the middle of nowhere.  We decided to make our way out there, only to find that the drive time seemed to keep stretching on and on.  As the song says "the road goes on forever...".  Well, we finally made it there about 3:30pm that day, and the park ranger told us that the sun sets about 6pm, so if we wanted to hike all through the area we had better hit it.  So we did.  Of course, when you are hiking with the intent to take pictures, it makes it even longer.  Fortunately my buddy didn't care and while I was shooting he was happy to throw rocks into frozen water and try to break it.  Mostly he succeeded.  We had only been out for 10 minutes or so when we came to this spot.  As you can tell, the late afternoon sun was around the bend in the distance, which made for interesting reflections in the water here in this little canyon.  That's one thing I really like about HDR - it helps brings back the vivid details that remain in your mind, but are lost with single exposure shots.  By the way, the park is named after all the maple trees that reside there, which are completely bare this time of year.  I hear that in the fall the color is amazing.  Sounds like a return trip is in order next October.

This is a 6 shot HDR, shot at f/22, with exposures ranging from +2 to -3.  The lighter exposures really helped the detail in the water show up, and the darker ones helped accentuate the color in the distance.  These shots were merged in Photomatix and then adjusted in PSE (Curves, Contrast, Unsharp Mask).  The finishing touch was in Topaz Adjust, which is a great product by the way!