Winter along the Guadalupe River

I love this little spot along the Guadalupe River!

The Guadalupe River winds its way through parts of Central Texas, and at some point on its journey it passes through Gruene, TX which is a tiny little town between Austin and San Antonio.  It's best known as the home of Gruene Hall, a sort of country bar where folks go to see the live music.  It's all pretty cool.

Anyways, just behind Gruene Hall and down the hill is the Guadalupe River, so whenever I have the time and the camera handy, I try and grab a few shots there.  I have stood in this spot several times over the years, and always enjoy shooting this area.  I just find it to be beautiful.

I caught this one a couple of months back. I was hoping for some better Fall color, since there were patches of it in and around Austin, but not much here.  That happens in Central Texas - Fall color is not something we get a lot of.  Oh well, you still take the shot right?

Gruene, upstream

This is a really old photo, though I just got around to processing it last week.  I took it back in 2009, actually.  It’s been almost 4 years.  See what I mean when I say I will never catch up?  It’s ok, though.

I was thinking about why I wait on some photos, and why I march ahead on others.  I think it has to do with a few things:

  • I like other photos from that outing better, so lesser shots get ignored
  • I go somewhere new and forget about older, unprocessed shots
  • I prefer to process shots out of order - it's more fun for me (and hopefully you)
  • My processing skills will (hopefully) improve over time, so I wait on shots that are difficult to me for some reason
  • If I process it and don’t like it, I will wait until I can come back at it with fresh eyes and new ideas (even if that’s like, um, 4 years)
  • Software gets better over time and my tastes change, so things I don’t like at some point will possibly fall into favor with me in the future

To be clear, I do NOT delete shots I don’t like when I return from an outing, after dumping them all into the library and reviewing them.  Unless there is something seriously wrong with the shot (or set of brackets in most cases, since I shoot mostly HDR) I will hang onto it.  Why not?  Storage is cheap, and doesn’t take up any space in the physical sense.

Anyways, I am off topic here.  Bottom line, this is a shot I took about 4 years ago, but just processed and am just now sharing.  While it falls into at least the first 2 categories above, I still like it.

And by the way, this was shot along the Guadalupe River in Gruene, TX, from the bridge.  It’s a great little spot and now that I see it, I think I might have to head back down there this fall!  You can expect those photos in 2017!  LOL

Fall color on the Guadalupe River

This is the Guadalupe River in Gruene, TX from a couple of years ago.  I was in my library and came across some brackets from here that I never did process, so I gave them a go.  It was a lovely Fall day, as you can tell, and the trees were showing off their wonderful Fall colors, which isn’t too common in these parts.  Sometimes you just happen to be in the right place when you need to be!

By the side of a quiet river

This is the Guadalupe River as it runs through Gruene, TX.  Gruene is a very small town that sits between San Antonio and Austin, and is a bit of a historic place itself.  There is not much to do there, which is one of the nice things about it, but there is this beautiful stretch of river to admire.  I enjoy hiking around rivers and lakes, though I don't have a lot of time for it, and doubly enjoy it when my camera is in tow.  This was taken last Fall when the colors of nature were on full display.  I'll have to go back soon and see what it looks like in the summer, though I doubt it will look like this.  Which reminds me, in the summer the river is usually choked with people floating by on inner tubes, so scratch that idea.  Anyways, it is a beautiful place and a wonderful river to photograph.

This is a 6 exposure HDR at f/11, with exposures from +2 to -3, merged in Photomatix and adjusted in PSE and Aperture.

The depths of winter

I took this shot of the Guadalupe River in the Texas Hill Country at the appropriately named Guadalupe River State Park.  We were there in the depths of winter (early January to be precise), and it was empty, which is exactly how I like my landscapes to look.  It is so enjoyable to walk around a beautiful place and not have to dodge tourists and other photographers.  I know you can remove things like that from photos, but I tend to not mess with that sort of stuff.  Apart from the obvious corrections that need to occur (such as specks of lens dust), I like to leave my photo as closely as possible to what I saw while I was there, and that is one of the great things about HDR.  It really can reproduce the colors, details and textures that you see at a scene which your camera just isn't able to do in a single exposure.  If you are reading this blog post, you are likely already aware of HDR photography and all that, but it not, you can read about HDR here and see my HDR Tutorial here.  If you haven't tried HDR yet, what are you waiting for?  It's great fun!

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/22, with exposures from -4 to +1.  They were merged into an HDR in Photomatix, and then I made some adjustments in PSE around Curves and Contrast.  

By the way, have you read the speech that Steve Jobs of Apple gave at a commencement at Stanford a few years ago?  It is awesome and you can read it here:  http://www.nomadicpursuits.com/a-fantastic-speech/

Winter grass

My friend Jeff and I were on a ramble through the Texas Hill Country, and we passed through a town called Kerrville.  The Guadalupe River runs through the town, and we found a spot to stop and take some shots.  It was mid-day so despite it being a chilly January day the sun was high and bright.  Generally I find that the middle of the day, when it is sunny and bright, is not a great time for taking HDR photos.  So, although I definitely took some HDR shots there, this one is a single image.  We walked along the riverbank for a while and ultimately ended up at this spot.  It is hard to tell in the photo, but a lot of the river was slightly frozen on top.  So, being guys, we immediately started chunking rocks onto the ice to try and break it.  Sometimes we succeeded.  We also found that the layer of ice went pretty far across the river, so we spent some time trying to get smaller rocks to slide all the way across it.  It was cool to see them slide way out there, and then drop off into the water.  Ok, this sounds dumb now but it was fun that day!

Single image taken at f/8 and 0 ev.  Some minor adjustments in Aperture and PSE and that's it.  I like how the line of trees falls off in the distance, and the contrasting blue and gold colors. 

Firm footing

This big old fellow was hanging around the edge of the Guadalupe River in the Texas State Park by the same name.  Me and a buddy were hiking around, taking pictures, and generally enjoying being the only ones there.  It was fairly early on a Sunday morning, and the air was crisp but clear as a bell.  I took a ton of shots at this place - I just love being outdoors and if you can add a river, I love it even more.  The riverbank was covered in roots that were just going in all directions - you really had to pay attention to each step or you could get tripped up easily, which I am describing from experience (ahem).  I just liked the look of this old tree standing there.  The textures and how the trunk sort of twists appealed to me.  Hope you like it too!

This is a 7 exposure HDR taken at f/22.  With the morning sun being so bright, it was easy to use such a narrow aperture and still get plenty of light.  The exposures ranged from +2 to -4.  They were merged into an HDR in Photomatix, then I made some adjustments in PSE (Curves, Contrast, Unsharp Mask) with a final touch in Topaz Adjust. 

Colors of nature

This is a photo of the Guadalupe River, and was taken outside of Gruene, TX (pronounced "green"), which is a nice little town between Austin and San Antonio.  I took this back in November, which for us often means we are still wearing shorts since our Fall season is usually pretty mild.  Fortunately we did get some color this year, which is great.  Fall is my favorite season, though as I just mentioned we don't get the typical Fall experience here.  I would love to get to New England and get some shots of Fall up there, with all the wonderful color and leaves falling!  That would be great.

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/11, with exposures ranging from +2 to -3.  The HDR was created in Photomatix, and then I made some minor adjustments in PSE (Curves, Contrast, Unsharp Mask).    

Along the river's silent edge

We arrived at Guadalupe River State Park about mid-morning and quickly discovered that we were the only ones there.  It is a beautiful area and one of the things I like best about the river is the clarity of the water.  It really is clear and allows you to see so much detail.  The park itself is actually not really big, or at least the part by the river isn't, but the stretch of river, with the rocky outcroppings and the barren trees of mid-winter make for a really beautiful scene, in my opinion.

This is a 6 exposure HDR shot at f/22 with exposures ranging from -4 to +1.  The RAW files were merged in Photomatix to create the HDR, which was then adjusted in PSE (Curves, Contrast, Unsharp Mask) and a final touch in Topaz Adjust.

A quiet stretch of river

This weekend was great fun.  Me and my good buddy Jeff got the weekend to leave town and go do whatever we want, so we drove a bit aimlessly through some parts of the Texas Hill Country.  There are a ton of small towns (and we saw most of them I think!) and several state parks.  So, basically it was a photography weekend for me.  I think I got about 600 pictures!  Anyways, this was at Guadalupe River State Park.  It's a nice little park with a beautiful stretch of river running through it.  The weather was fabulous and we only saw 2 other people the whole time there.   The great thing about this river is that the water is so clear, as you can plainly tell in this photo.  It really is gorgeous and I have many more photos from the area to work on!

This was a 6 exposure HDR (-4 to +1) shot at f/22 and merged in Photomatix, and then some minor adjustments in PSE (Curves, Contrast) and a slight touch in Topaz Adjust.