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.
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:
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.
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.