McKinney Falls

Back earlier this Spring, I went out to McKinney Falls State Park with my buddy Pete Talke.  We spent the morning hiking around and taking a lot of shots.  It was a great morning.  We had received quite a bit of rain during that time, so the falls were cranking with pretty high volume, which is nice because I have been here before when it was just a trickle.  There are two parts to this park - the upper falls and the lower falls.  This image was taken at the lower falls, which I found more interesting than the upper falls.  No particular reason - both were beautiful - but I could get around and shoot the lower falls from several angles and they had a little more color.  Either way, if you get a chance head out there and check out this beautiful little park!

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/14, with exposures ranging from +2 to -3.  They were merged into an HDR in Photomatix and I made some minor adjustments in PSE, Topaz Adjust and Aperture.

Nearly under a waterfall

Here is another shot from my recent photowalk at McKinney Falls State Park here in Austin.  It is a wonderful place to go take photos, with the water running really well right now.  For this shot, I got in a little closer in the interest of trying to catch some of that amazing water running by in HDR.  It worked out for me!  I climbed down close onto a rock that stuck out right next to the waterfall, balanced the tripod as best as I could, and snapped away.  I could feel the mist on me (and my camera!) but thought it was worth it for a cool closeup.

This is a 5 exposure HDR taken at f/11, with exposures ranging from -3 to +1.  I merged them into an HDR in Photomatix and then made some of my typical adjustments in PSE around Color Curves, Contrast and Unsharp Mask.  My final step was to run it through Topaz Adjust for a little extra pop.

McKinney Falls - upper falls

This is a follow up shot to my post from 2 days ago where I showed the lower falls at McKinney Falls State Park.  In this shot you can see the upper falls in all their glory.  All the rain we have had has really got the water volume cranking.  I usually prefer not to post similar shots so close together, but I really liked this one and in this case this one was shot with Pete Talke's 12-24mm wide angle Nikon lens (thanks Pete!).  I don't yet have one of those fancy things, so he loaned me his and I got a few shots done.  It really does make a difference!  I am intrigued and will have to plop down some dough in the future for some new glass.

This is a 6 exposure HDR taken at f/20.  The exposures range from +2 to -3.  We were there mid-morning and the sun was high and bright already (it seems spring is starting here) so I had plenty of light to work with, hence the narrow aperture.  I created the HDR in Photomatix and then made my normal adjustments in PSE, focusing on Contrast, Hue/Saturation and Unsharp Mask.  Then I had to remove some spots on the lens which I did in Aperture - I had gotten a little spray on the lens during an earlier shot.  Lastly, I ran the shot through Topaz Adjust to give it a little "pop".  Enjoy!   

McKinney Falls State Park

McKinney Falls State Park lies just on the edge of Austin, sort of near our airport.  It is a nice quiet place and although it isn't large, the waterfalls are gorgeous.  I met my good photo buddy Pete Talke there yesterday for a little photowalk.  We have had some nice rain lately, and even some snow, and there was a lot of water and it was moving fast!  It was a great day to be out taking these types of shots.  We hiked around the Upper Falls for a bit, taking numerous pictures of course, and then we headed down to the Lower Falls, which is where I got this shot.  When we arrived at the Lower Falls, we both immediately saw a nice big rock that sort of stuck out into the current, and it presented an excellent spot to get a shot from.  We climbed around and took pictures from all sorts of angles.  For this shot, I got out on the edge of a partially submerged rock.  I could feel the spray of the waterfall on my face and see it on my lens.  But hey, it was worth it right?

This is a 6 exposures HDR taken at f/11, with exposures ranging from +2 to -3.  I merged them into an HDR in Photomatix, which took a while.  The reason it took a while is that I decided to take it slow.  I often find myself so excited that I rush to get a picture processed.  Really, what's the hurry Jim?  So this time I took my time with all the sliders in Photomatix until I got it looking just the way I wanted it to look.  Then, I made some adjustments in Photoshop Elements.  Again, I took this one slow and easy.  I usually make adjustments to Contrast and do UnSharp Mask, but this time I also spent some time in Hue/Saturation and Lighting/Shadow.  After that, I ran it through the new v4 of Topaz Adjust for a little "pop".  Finally, I removed lens spots from all the waterfall spray in Aperture, and I was done.  Hope you like it!