Photo Journal: Pedernales Falls - My Home Park

Pedernales Falls

Not far from my home, the picturesque Pedernales River flows over limestone rock down gentle cascades, and winds through the state park area, creating a great place for exploring. The water levels change with the rain – either in the area or upstream – and always seem to create different scenes and perspective for photographing this unique landscape. When I visit this park, I always incorporate water in some form into my photography.

My favorite places to shoot are upstream. I was shocked to read on the Pedernales Falls site the hike to the river is considered strenuous. Holy Moly – it is pretty easy. And the falls are not really falls, but more of a gliding cascade over the limestone into several pools. That said, it is a beautiful area and one of the gems of the Hill Country.

From the parking lot that leads to the falls, the walk down is about a quarter mile, then a series of stone steps lead down to the river. I prefer to take a left just before the overlook and stairs that lead to the river. A nice trail heads west from the main road/trail and winds through the forest upstream and away from people. The trail eventually peters out, but here I make my way right (north) and find a path down to the rocks and eventually the river. The solitude and beautiful water here is what I I like to shoot, especially in the early morning hours. But if one chooses to make this walk before sunrise, be prepared to walk through spider webs! I have started using my tripod or any stick I find as a “probe” to knock down any potential spider traps. I really dislike walking into those webs – not a fun way to start my day! Nevertheless, here are a few of my favorite scenes from above the cascades.

The Water's Edge 605-1

I loved the pastel colors on this evening along the edge of the Pedernales River. The water was a bit higher than usual after Spring rains, and this long exposure attempted to capture the beauty of the evening.

Late September Sunrise in the Hill Country 2

One of my favorite places in the Texas Hill Country is this little pool along the Pedernales River. From the moment I rolled out of bed around 5am, I knew it was going to be a good sunrise - I just didn't know how good. The biggest question for me as I walked along the river was where to shoot this moment. I knew I had one five minute window to capture the colors. So from here straddled on the ridge of a small outcropping of rock in this clear, cool water, I made my nest and waited. The sky was beautiful this morning, and I felt fortunate to enjoy this fleeting moment.

Autumn Sunset on the Pedernales River 1115-2

This cold November evening along the Pedernales River offered a beautiful and unexpected. For most of the afternoon, the clouds were thick, offering only glimpses of blue sky.But I found this little waterfall and waited, hoping for the best. I had to cross several overflows of the river to reach ths point, and after several nights of sub-freezing temperatures in the Hill Country, I assure you the water was very cold. Eventually, I regained feeling in my toes whlie sitting atop a rock in the middle of the stream. The sun peeked through the orange cypress tree and the sky seemed to glow orange and blue for a few minutes. Soon, the light show was over and I was left to navigate across the cold-flowing water again, bringing an end to a beautiful Autumn day along one of my favorite places in Texas.

Along with the beautiful areas upstream, a few unique perspectives just downstream from the cascades await, as well. If photography is the order of the day, I have to compensate for visitors walking in and out my view in the distance, but that is where the tools of photoshop come into play. Here is one of my favorite views from below the falls:

Hill Country Glory 314-8

This bend in the Pedernales River is one of my favorite places in the Texas Hill Country. The lines, the curves, and the clean flowing water lend themselves to dramatic compositions. Earlier in the evening when the clouds looked ripe for a colorful sunset, I headed back to this area. And sometimes I just get lucky.

This was the most beautiful sunset I've seen thus far in 2021. I hope you like it as much as I did.

Summer Sunset on the Pedernales 726-1

The clear water of the Pedernales River flows through a small limestone canyon on a summer evening. In the distance, the sun is setting over the distant ridge. This was a peaceful evening, and after a month on the road, it was nice to be back home in one of my favorite places in the Texas Hill Country.

A wide-angle lens to capture all the curves in this perspective is needed here, as well as a tripod to stabilize the frame and capture the flow of the water. I find my favorite time for this view is sunset as the sun sets upstream.

Further downstream, there was once a beautiful area of cypress lining both sides of the river, but the Memorial Day floods from a few years ago did a number on these trees and they are still recovering. Still, in mid-November at sunrise, I can still find a few good angles.

Autumn Morning in the Hill Country 1117-1

The sky was painted in pink and blue on this cold fall morning along the Pedernales River. A mist of fog rose from the clear water while Cypress trees showed off their Autumn colors, making for a peaceful morning of exploring one of my favorite places in the Texas Hill Country.

To add to this, Autumn is a wonderful time to see the park when the cypress change colors. The morning and evening light seem to illuminate their leaves even more, and the trees seem to glow with red and orange hues.

Pedernales Falls State Park is a great place to explore. I’m fortunate to live so close by!

Happy Travels, Texas, and be kind out there.

~ Rob

Images from Texas

I loved the pastel colors on this evening along the edge of the Pedernales River. The water was a bit higher than usual after...

The Water's Edge 605-1

I loved the pastel colors on this evening along the edge of the Pedernales River. The water was a bit higher than usual after Spring rains, and this long exposure attempted to capture the beauty of the evening.

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