Photo of the week-Sunrise over Mckinney falls
Updated: Apr 13, 2018
This week's photo highlight comes from my home state of Texas. Texas is a complicated region to define. Its large size encompasses a wide range of ecosystems and varying terrain. Many outsiders often fail to comprehend the traveling time required to cross the state, in fact, Texas is larger than many countries! Texas is divided by seven regions, each defined by specific geographical features; Big Bend Country, Gulf Coast, Hill Country, Panhandle Plains, Piney Woods, Prairies and Lakes, and South Texas Plains. Of all these regions, the Hill Country has grown to become my favorite. The Texas Hill Country is a region located in central Texas. It's beautiful rolling hills, rugged terrain, and winding rivers epitomize the iconic heritage of this legendary state. "Sunrise Over McKinney Falls" was captured at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, Texas.
This photo was captured in late June 2016, and was part of a multi-day camping trip through the Hill Country. McKinny Falls State Park was the last location on my itinerary, and I almost decided to skip it in favor of returning home. To make matters worse, it was extremely hot that night with very little to no wind. Needless to say, I thought about packing it up and driving home many times throughout my sleepless night! But, as often happens, my desire and hope for perfect light prevailed, I decided to stick around for the sunrise. After capturing this image, I was glad I did! My alarm was set for 4:45 a.m., and after gathering myself and my gear, I headed to the trail-head to Lower McKinney falls. When I arrived at the falls it was still dark with a hint of dawn on the way. It was a quite morning with only the roar of the rushing water to keep me company. I was relieved to see a healthy amount of water breaking over the falls, as opposed to the anemic falls I had seen during past trips, spring 2016 had indeed brought a lot of rain to the Hill Country. As I scouted the area for a location to set up my camera, I could start to see faint light reflections on the wet rocks surrounding the water, I knew that it was almost time for the sunrise. I found a large flat rock that jetted out over the water, giving me the best opportunity to get close to the falls while maintaining enough space for the foreground. As the sun broke over the horizon, it cast an almost spotlight type beam over the falls and swirling water. I instantly knew I had a special situation in front of my lens, and I wanted to capture all the movement and texture in front of me.
A shutter speed of 1 second enabled me to capture the movement in the water while retaining the texture created by the turbulence. And, an aperture of f/8 allowed me to maintain a deep depth of field, while an iso of 200 gave me a clean image with plenty of dynamic range. For this shot, my equipment consisted of: Fujifilm XPro-1, Samyang 12mm f/2, Haida 67mm 10-stop ND filter, and a tripod.
Texas is a diverse state with tons of space for exploration, but the Hill Country has always been special to me. The rolling hills, rugged landscape, and amazing sunsets will always keep me coming back.