The basement of time

"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.  I am haunted by waters." - Norman Maclean

Shot at Pedernales Falls State Park, outside of Austin, TX.  7 exposure HDR at f/22, merged in Photomatix and adjusted in PSE and Aperture.

Looking downstream

I really enjoy shooting landscapes, and doubly so in HDR.  There is something that is thrilling about it to me.  It is some of the thrill of the hunt, since you never know what you are going to get, but also I just love the beauty of nature and enjoy capturing it and sharing it.  This was taken at Pedernales Falls State Park, which isn't far outside of Austin and offers some dramatic scenery and really beautiful waterfalls too.  We spent a couple of hours there, hiking and taking pictures, and generally just enjoying the heck out of it!

This is a 7 exposure HDR taken at f/22, with the exposures ranging from +2 to -4.  It was mid-late morning, if I recall correctly, and there was obviously a lot of light.  I merged these into an HDR in Photomatix and then made some adjustments in PSE around Curves and Contrast, as usual.

I recommend a visit to the area if you are in or around the Austin area.  It is about 30 minutes west of Austin and offers some great photographic opportunities.

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.


Quiet lagoon

This peaceful spot of water is located at Pedernales Falls State Park, just west of Austin.  We were hiking all around the park, generally just enjoying the natural beauty and the sounds of the multiple waterfalls.  It's a great spot, and the day we were there the weather was clear and beautiful too.  It looks like a wonderful place to take a dip, though if I recall correctly you are not allowed to swim here due to fast-moving currents.  The other thing is that this water is really deep!  Even with HDR, the photo doesn't entirely do it justice.  If I had to guess, I would say it was 10+ feet deep here, and there were other pools we walked around that I bet went as deep as 20 feet.  The clarity of the water is excellent, as you can plainly see, so that makes it harder to judge but pretty to look at!

This is a 7 exposure HDR taken at f/22, with exposures ranging from -4 to +2.  They were merged in Photomatix to create the HDR image, then adjustments and some minor corrections were made in PSE and Aperture, such as adjusting contrast.  I then added a light touch in Topaz Adjust.

Skipping stone to stone

I found this peaceful stretch of river just outside of Jackson Hole, WY - which is a great little cowboy town if you haven't been yet.  We parked and had to hike for a while to get down to the river banks, which is always worth it when you find a nice little river waiting for you.  I walked around to take some shots, and being that the water was not deep, ventured out into the river by hopping across these awesome stones that happened to be in all the right places. 


Weather reports indicate that we may receive some snow in Central Texas tomorrow.  That was not a misprint.  We may actually receive snow.  I know many of you are in much colder climates and that is no big deal, but it is strange down here.  So, in honor of the harsh reality of winter, I offer a picture that is its polar opposite.  I think everyone likes the beach in some form or fashion.  Not everyone likes to sit there and suntan themselves but I think somewhere deep inside at the very least they enjoy the refreshing consistency and subtle music of a thousand waves crashing, over and over, again and again.  

Reflected arches

This shot is a follow up to my post from yesterday, although the pictures were taken about 2 months apart.  This is the Lamar Street bridge that you can see in the distance on my picture yesterday, taken from the bridge that my shot yesterday was underneath.  Does that make any sense?  I was out early Sunday morning this past weekend, and the water was glass.  There were no rowers going by, no cars passing, and it was quiet and still.  I like the repetitive arch pattern and the fact that you can see details in the reflection.  Even some clouds seem to be floating in the water.

Sunset on Littlefield Fountain

On a recent evening I was strolling around the University of Texas campus and took some shots of the Littlefield Fountain.  In this case, after doing the requisite head-on shots, I headed over to the side because the sun was setting to my left and I liked the glow it left on Benedict Hall in the background.  There is a nice open area behind this fountain called the South Mall, which leads up to our famous tower.  The South Mall is bordered on each side by 3 red tile roofed buildings, commonly referred to as the Six Pack.  I like the contrast of the blue sky with the red tile roof, I like the architecture of Benedict Hall, and of course I like the fountain.  Everybody likes the fountain.