Hamilton Pool

If you ever get to Austin, be sure and visit Hamilton Pool!

This place is awesome.  Wait, let me capitalize it all because it's AWESOME.  There, that's better and more accurate.  It really is an amazing place, and it's only about 30 minutes or so from downtown Austin.  Ok, maybe a little more because the road winds around a lot, but still it's well worth the drive out there.  Just be sure to call ahead and make sure they are open.

As you can see there is an awesome waterfall here at Hamilton Pool, and it's about 50 feet high up there.  But to me the best part is the grotto that circles up underneath all that rock.  You can walk all the way around it, and I recommend that you do just that.  Just note that when you are close to the falls, the spray wets the rock and it gets a little slick.

This is a State Park, and as such there is a small entry fee of $10, if I remember correctly.  And I believe it is cash only, so plan ahead.  

Anyways, this place was created when a dome of an underground river collapsed many years ago, so that resulted in the lovely rock overhang.  The pool actually is that sort of jade green color - that's not a trick on my part.  I showed up when they opened one day, which is definitely the way to do it if you want to get a shot like this without tourists in it.  I got into the park and literally sprinted down the trail to get here, since there were cars coming in behind me.

Luckily, it was a nice Fall morning and there were awesome clouds in the sky.  And those are the main two reasons I went: it was Fall and I was hoping for some decent color in that tree (got it!) and it was cloudy, so I was hoping for something other than a boring sky (got that too!).  It worked out pretty well that day!


The beauty of Hamilton Pool

A beautiful waterfall just a short drive from Austin... 

Hamilton Pool is one of the most awesome spots to go shoot here in Austin.  It's a natural grotto that formed thousands of years ago when the dome of an underground river collapsed on itself.  The 50 foot waterfall coming over the edge is a nice touch too. Thanks Mother Nature!

I love the place, but the truth is that I haven't been there in a really long time.  I took these shots a few years back, but came across them in the library and took a stab at reprocessing them.  I rather like the results here.  Though I shared them here a long time ago, it was before anyone came here to see my shots.  Timing seemed good to share them again!  Hope you enjoy them as much as I do!


I hiked around Hamilton Pool a while back with my buddy Michael Tuuk, and we were happy to have it all to ourselves.  It was an overcast day, which was also nice.  This shot is a closeup of the falls where they land on a nice big rock.  I always like to photograph waterfalls, and this one in particular is very nice.  I tried a lot of different angles that day (including the standard straight-on shot) and liked how this closeup of the impact zone came out.  If you ever get to Austin, be sure and get out to Hamilton Pool and check it out!

Hamilton Pool

I really enjoy waterfalls, and not just photographing them.  I find it peaceful to just listen to them and watch the water flow.  It's relaxing.  This waterfall is at Hamilton Pool in Austin.  I went there with my buddy Michael Tuuk a while back, and we got there just as the park opened.  That gave us free reign around the area before any tourists showed up and got in our way.  It was wonderful.  That's one of the things I enjoy about photography - getting up and moving early and getting to cool places before they get crowded.  That allows me to enjoy them so much more and really experience a place - not just get in line and check a sight off the list.

This is a 7 exposure HDR taken at f/18 with exposures from -4 to +2.  I tend to take more exposures for each HDR these days as I did in the past.  It seems to help get a cleaner image.  I merged them in Photomatix and made my typical adjustments in PSE and Aperture.

Hamilton Pool

I really like Hamilton Pool.  It was my first visit and I hope to return again in the spring.  It is about a 40 minute drive from Austin, so it is an easy day trip from this area.  The waterfall is gorgeous and the entire scene is just beautiful too.  There is a little trail that runs around the back of the falls, which you can sort of see in this photo, as well as a trail that follows the creek downstream to where it meets the Pedernales River.   This was taken a couple of weeks back, and unfortunately the sky that morning was pretty blah, which you can plainly see here.  Imagine a beautiful sky or a sunset - whoa!  I will have to arrange a better sky next time!

This is a 5 exposure HDR taken at f/18, with exposures from -3 to +1.  They were merged into an HDR in Photomatix and then I made some adjustments in PSE around Curves, Contrast and Unsharp Mask.  Final step was a little pizazz from Topaz Adjust, which is just an awesome piece of software.

Hamilton Pool waterfall

Saturday was a pretty good day in my opinion.  It started with breakfast tacos from Taco Shack, then I got some time to shoot at Hamilton Pool with my friend Michael Tuuk, who in addition to being a great guy is also a great photographer, then I had lunch at Taco Cabana and wrapped up with a visit to my local camera store.  Basically, I got some of my favorite foods and spent time on my favorite hobby - a good day!  I have been in Austin for many years, and had always heard of Hamilton Pool, but had never been there.  I decided to give it a whirl and invited my fellow photographer friend Mike.  We arrived before they even opened the gate.  My plan was to get there by 9am so that we could get ahead of any stray tourists that might wander into our shots.  Once we got in we quickly headed down the trail to shoot the big waterfall which is the main attraction there.  It is beautiful and a great way to spend a morning.  I highly recommend it.  

Here is a little info about Hamilton Pool from the web:  Hamilton Pool Preserve is a natural pool that was created when the dome of an underground river collapsed due to massive erosion thousands of years ago. The pool is located about 23 miles (37 km) west of Austin, TX and supports recreational opportunities such as picnicking, hiking, swimming and nature study. One of the most outstanding features of the pool is its 45 foot (14 m) waterfall that spills from the dome above.

This is a 7 exposure HDR taken at f/18, with exposures ranging from+2 to -4.  I merged them into an HDR in Photomatix, and then made some adjustments in PSE, specifically Curves, Contrast, Hue/Saturation and Unsharp Mask.  Then I ran it through Topaz Adjust for a little "pop".  Hope you like it!  I definitely recommend this as a place to go take photos or just for a nice place to visit if you are in Austin.