The Pedernales in Autumn

Pedernales Falls

For most of my adult life, I’ve always looked forward to late September trips amid the forests of the Rocky Mountains to hike among the gold and orange aspen and cottonwood leaves. The Fall colors of Colorado were and still are pretty amazing. However, as the seasons and years have passed, I’ve also realized Texas has its own version of Autumn.

I’ve photographed the reds and oranges across the Lone Star State, from Big Bend to the Guadalupe Mountains, from downtown Austin out to Lost Maples and the Frio River of Garner S.P. One of my favorite areas, and what I consider a hidden gem for fall colors despite its summer popularity, is Pedernales Falls. The meandering banks of this river are lined with cypress, and those hang-dog branches turn orange and deep red each November.

And just further up the banks, the leaves of Elm rival aspen trees with their brilliant gold in the morning sunshine.

Sunshine sparkles through the golden leaves of elm trees on an Autumn afternoon in the Hill Country.

Golden leaves of Elm trees flutter in the cool breeze of an Autumn morning in the Hill Country. Low on the horizon, a sunburst sneaks through the branches, adding a spash of light to a peaceful scene.

This past November, the colors of the season lingered a few weeks longer thanks to cool, drizzly days that saturated the Thanksgiving holidays. The Pedernales River ran low and smooth, and it was about as clear as I could imagine. I ventured out three times the week after Thanksgiving, and each time used different lenses and encountered different weather.

Here is an image from the Elm Trees along the Twin Falls walk.

Fall colors shine in the morning light in the Hill Country of Texas.

Looking up into the high elm tree branches, the colors of Autumn are brilliant against the blue sky of a cold, late November morning.

The wide-angle lens I used while lying on my back, a 16-35L, made for an interesting perspective as it faced upward into the morning sky.

Along the river, a zoom lens helped isolate the twisting and gnarled roots of cypress trees.

Fall color and twisted cypress roots make for a beautiful and unique photograph in morning light of a late November day.

Along the quiet Pedernales River in the Texas Hill Country, reflections of cypress trees and their twisting roots show in the clear water. The orange and red fall colors of the leaves were on full display, and the world was quiet for a few hours.

On another occasion, a wide-angle lens captured sunset through the trees. I was even more excited when I could see the curious fish that swam up to me.

Autumn on the Pedernales 23

A perfect evening along the Pedernales River greeted me on this trip. A cold front was to blow through the next day, so I made two trips to this area - one to scout during the day and the second to shoot at sunset.

The water was clear and cold, and if you look closely, you can see at least five fish swimming around not too far away. The cypress were deep orange and the last light of sunlight peeked through the trees.

Sunset along this river is one of my favorite times of day (and one of my most peaceful places to be). The world fades away, and the songs of the nearby birds bring a tranquility rarely experienced in everyday life. This is one of my happy places.

Fading Fall Light on the Pedernales River 22

From the middle of the Pedernales River on a still and colorful Autumn evening, the water was like glass and the shades of red and orange hanging from the cypress trees gave off a warm vibrance to the quiet. I had set up my tripod, then stand still for a while to allow the water to calm a little, and the silence enveloped the cascade of trees in this, one of my favorite places in the Hill Country. There were even a few fish that swam up to see what was going on.

Happy travels, everyone!
~ Rob

Fall colors show up in the cypress trees along the Pedernales River in late November.
Autumn on the Pedernales 22

Sunshine streams through the cypress trees along the banks of the Pedernales River. Taken on a cool Fall evening, the leaves displayed their seasonal red and orange colors as winter was not far away. In the clear water, a fish glided by - and I didn't realize this until I was at home the next day!