I was recently asked about some locations I most enjoy visiting in and around Austin. After mulling it over, one of my favorite places to shoot both in the morning and evening is the Pennybacker Bridge, known to the locals as the 360 Bridge. Opened to the public in 1982, the steel for the arched suspension bridge was forged in Japan, shipped to a port in Houston, then brought by truck to its final destination. The bridge is 1,150 feet long, and no portion of the structure touches the Colorado River that flows below.
Speaking from a photographer’s perspective, you can find unique perspectives from all four corners of the bridge. The most photographed angle comes from the cliff on the northeast side. This view looks directly at the bridge with the distant Austin, Texas, skyline on the horizon. I like sunrises from this location because you can often enjoy colorful skies, as well.
From the southeast corner, you have a view of the bridge and the Texas Hill Country that stretches upriver to the western ridge. Sunsets from this location can be stunning, and you’ll rarely see folks up on this side (which is a plus for me). From the northwest and southwest sides, you’ll find yourself below the bridge and down by the water. There is boat ramp in this location but if you are patient, you’ll have some still water. You can enjoy nice views looking up at the bridge and cliffs from this angle, and morning or evening clouds can be spectacular on any given evening. From the north west side, I like shooting back towards the bridge just after sunrise to include a starburst in the image.
Other nearby locations also provide more unique vantage points, but you’ll have to search a bit for those. The search is worth it, though, and I’ve found I never tire of visiting this location!