Odds and Ends – Ramblings of a Texas Photographer

A few weekends ago, I was invited to participate in the Enchanted Rock Star Festival where I gave a talk and showed images about photographing the night sky. I don’t make too many public appearances, and I prefer no crowds and being out in nature to a crowded room. Still, I appreciate the folks at Enchanted Rock thinking enough of my work to invite me to share my craft.

I’ve already written a blog about how I go about shooting at night, the setup I use, and the self-taught methods I use. I also admit I still get a little creeped out at night, too. Whether shooting in Big Bend National Park or the Texas Hill Country, dark is still dark, and things always seem different without sunlight. All that said, I still shoot 98% of my work in the light – with most of that coming at sunrise or sunset (or in those general hours).

Also, a few weeks ago I attempted to photograph the eclipse here in Texas. I did not want the standard shots – those just showing the sun and moon. I wanted a foreground, as well. I’m still working on the images and haven’t come to terms yet whether I like the almost-finished product. We’ll see. But I did gain some experience and will be more prepared for the total eclipse we’ll see in April, 2024!

After shooting in Colorado for 6 weeks this past summer, returning to Texas in August isn’t much fun. I get used to the 70 degree afternoons of the Rocky Mountains. On my last day there, I was shooting at 530am at Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, adding images to my Colorado website, and the temperature was in the 40s. I left from there and headed back through New Mexico and down through the Texas panhandle. By the time I passed through Childress, it was 108 degrees. Just yuk!

In the month I’ve been back, I’ve only been out a few times to shoot – Pennybacker Bridge and the Oasis Restaurant in Austin – and all of those except the eclipse outing were paid jobs.

the oasis, austin images, austin texas, oasis austin, austin texas photos, oasis austin texas, austin food, austin icons, austin sunset, texas sunset, austin panorama, pano
The Oasis – Austin, Texas Panorama 1 : Prints Available

Sunset at The Oasis in Austin, Texas, is a ritual for many locals, as well as a popular place for tourists to visit and eat. The restaurant offers decent Tex-Mex food but stunning sunsets of Lake Travis and the distant Hill Country. This panorama of The Oasis at Sunset was taken on a late July evening.

This panorama from the Oasis in Austin, Texas, is available in larger and custom sizes.

Now, with the temperatures cooling off, I hope to start exploring more. This fall I have trips planned for Big Bend, Lost Maples, and several unique areas around the Texas Hill Country.

Vaya con Dios,


Images from Texas
Images on Facebook

Dog Days of Winter

As we approach February, I’m already looking forward to March. As those around me know, my least favorite month is February. It is usually cold, gloomy, windy, and lacking in any color. These past few weeks I’ve gone out to shoot around Lady Bird Lake, but the lack of green on many of the trees leave the images feeling drab and lifeless. Here is an aerial view of downtown shot with my drone. While the Austin skyline looks nice, notice the lack of green along the banks.

aerial photography,austin texas,aerial view of Austin,austin skyilne,austin skyline photos,over austin,lady bird lake,downtown austin,town lake,austin in january
Aerial View of Downtown Austin in January 1 : Prints Available

From high above Lady Bird Lake, this is a bird’s eye view of the Austin, Texas, and the downtown skyilne. Below is Lady Bird Lake and also a portion of the Zilker Park Hike and Bike Trail. This aerial image was taken on a beautiful morning in central Texas.

And I haven’t much bothered with shooting out in the Hill Country, though that time is coming soon with the advent of spring in just about 6 weeks or so.

With all my disgruntledness (is this a word?) about this time of year, one location that does produce for a few weeks at this time of year is Zilker Park’s Lou Neff Point. While the trees lining this portion of the Colorado River are without leaves, at sunrise the sun shows itself straight down the river. This can lead to spectacular sunrises over the water and the Austin skyline. On very cold and calm mornings, you might be lucky and find a mist rising up from the warmer water. This image comes from one of those mornings:

austin skyline images,downtown austin,downtown austin texas,austin photos,lady bird lake,lou neff point,austin sunrise
January Sunrise in Austin, Texas 1 : Prints Available

On a frigid January morning, steam rises off of Lady Bird Lake as the first light of day begins to show over the downtown Austin skyline.

I shot from this same location for over an hour one morning. The change in lighting was dramatic – from 45 minutes before sunrise when Austin glowed beneath the fading darkness to a few minutes after sunrise when light streamed through the mist.

Other than that, I’m just biding time until spring begins to show up again. With trips planned to photograph bluebonnets in Big Bend in March, and all sorts of wildflowers across central throughout the Spring, I should probably just enjoy the down time for a while!


In other news, I’m pleased to say one of my Texas wildflower images will be in a new Austin hotel opening in the fall of 2016. This field of flowers will be 116 feet long and accentuated with textured glass. I look forward to seeing the final product.


I hope everyone fares well in the dog days of February. We should have a very colorful spring as long as El Nino doesn’t turn off the water faucet. If so, I’ll be posting wildflower updates on my facebook page as well as on here, so feel free to follow along.

Happy travels, Texas!


Texas Images

Photographing the Texas State Capitol

One of my favorite locations to spend time practicing my craft in Austin proper is on the grounds of the Texas State Capitol. In morning or evening light, the “sunset Red” granite that makes up the historic building seems to change color and glow in the half-light of day, and the subtle tones the camera can capture bring to life an impressive and iconic Texas landmark.

texas state capitol,austin capitol building,austin texas photos,texas capitol prints,capitol austin texas
Texas State Capitol September Flowers 2 : Prints Available

September flowers adorn the north lawn of the Texas State Capitol. Facing north just before sunrise, the sky is calm and the colors are wonderful. In the distance, the historic Texas landmark rises 308 feet into the cool air as the Goddess of Liberty statue on top of the Capitol welcomes in a new day for all Texans.

Elijah Meyers designed the state capitol in Austin. After a nationwide contest, Meyers won in 1881 and received his reward – three million acres in the Texas Panhandle! This land later became the famous XIT Ranch. Meyers also served as the architect for the Colorado and Michigan Capitols.

The Capitol opened to the public on April 21, 1888, after 6 years of construction. The exterior was originally slated to be made of limestone, but limestone streaked, and a debate over the final rock delayed the start for nearly two years. Landowners in Marble Falls ended the arguments by donating the “Sunset Red” granite, and construction was again underway. Along this same timeframe, the state gave the contractor 1,000 convicts to quarry the granite. However, the use of convict labor was fought by the granite cutter’s union, and eventually experienced stonecutters from Scotland were brought in to finish the building.

The capitol sits on 22 acres of beautiful land. From 1991-1994, the outside of the Capitol was restored with repairs to the dome, walls, roof, and granite. The interior was returned to its original look of the early 1900s. The grounds of the Capitol were also updated, restructuring the Great Walk (on the south side leading from Congress to the front steps) and the Oval Walk (a path circling the building. Along this time, nearly 200 trees and native plants were brought in to restore the beauty of the location. Historical monuments also preside in various locations around the complex. Some of the most well-known include statues of the Texas Rangers, the Texas Cowboy, and Heroes of the Alamo.

That’s a brief overview of the Capitol, but to really feel the history, get out and explore. Rose gardens, flower gardens, monuments, trees, and other objects make great foreground elements for photographing the architecture, and the morning and evening light can be captivating. One of the drawbacks, though, is the building faces north/south, so it is hard to capture a brilliant sunrise or sunset – but not impossible. Persistence pays, along with a little luck with the weather.

I like to use a wide angle lens here – and for me that is the Canon 11-24L. But any good wide angle lens can capture the depth of the Capitol grounds. In the early morning and late light when the sky is generally still dark, I’ll often take several exposures to obtain the right light on the building walls. (The Capitol is lit by flood lights so this is necessary to avoid over exposed areas of the building and underexposed portions of trees and bushes.

You can also enjoy a telephoto lens for close-ups of the dome, the statues, or any other creative aspect that perks your interest. The bottom line is to get out and have fun!
If you have any questions, please contact me. I’m happy to help.

Happy Travels!
~ Rob

My Texas Images Website
My Texas Images Facebook Page