October 31, 2014
Autumn Colors in the Texas Hill Country are on the way! Each year in mid November, the leaves of the maple, oak, and cypress begin turning from green to red, orange, and gold. If you drive through the rolling hills of this area, you are sure to find colors and scenes that are photo-worthy between every town. Tomorrow is November 1st, and tonight is forecast to be our our coldest evening of the fall so far with lows in the 40s.
If you are interested, here are a few of my favorite drives and locations for fall colors in Texas. I also realized there are so many more areas to check out, so please feel free to leave comments about your favorites, as well. I’m always interested in finding new locations to shoot. In no particular order…
First, the Devil’s backbone – the drive from Wimberley to Blanco along 2325 – gives you some nice views of hillsides that often have a patchwork of orange and red. Stop in Wimberley for pizza at Brewster’s Brewery for lunch and check out the art galleries, as well.
Second, another popular location is Lost Maples State Park near Vanderpool, Texas. This area can become quite crowded on a nice November day. Go during the week if you have the flexibility. If you have to go on the weekend, arrive very early – like for sunrise. If you get there after 9am, you can often find a mile long and hour wait to enter the park. Also, the roads around the park like 337 and 187 have cross some nice creeks. These little streams are often lined with glorious cypress trees that offer oranges and reds that are perfect for capturing holiday images.
Third… If you enjoy quaint towns, check out Gruene, Texas, home to the famous Gruene Hall. The Guadalupe River runs through town and offers wonderful places to check out antique stores or take a stroll along the river bank and enjoy the cypress trees. For lunch or dinner, check out the Grist Mill in New Braunfels. It’s famous for a reason!
Fourth, and a bit closer to my home, one of my favorite locations to capture the colors of the season is Pedernales Falls State Park just about 8 miles from Johnson City. I know just about every curve and bend of the Pedernales River in the river in this area, and that second and third week in November can offer up some great color at sunrise as the sun breaks over the horizon and streams through the cascading cypress trees. If you like to scramble over rocks and get away from crowds, this little Texas state park is just the place for you. You’ll find me out here on several occasions later this month. Besides wildflower season in the spring, this is my favorite time of year!
Below is a photograph of one of my favorite stretches along the Pedernales.
I know there are so many other great places to visit. These areas I mentioned are just a sprinkling of what is out there.
If you’d like to see more images of these beautiful rolling hills, please see my Hill Country of Texas gallery.
October 2, 2014
A few weeks ago I spent some time in the largest city in Texas – Houston – and took the opportunity to photography the Houston skyline. While I was there to do some work for a client, I was able to combine this trip with some exploration as well as time with my family. I made the three hour trip from my home in the Texas Hill Country and battled Houston traffic. I should note here that Tollways in Harris county in southwest Houston do not work like they do in Dallas or Austin. In those two cities, when you use the tollway without a toll tag, you get a bill in the mail a few weeks later – usually between $3.00-$5.00. Just yesterday I received a fine from Harris Country for $37.00 for driving without a toll tag! I had no idea. And with the fine came a nasty letter saying I was banned on that road until I paid the fine. That is both irritating and a little humorous.
Despite the obvious money-grab by that area, we still had a good time. My family and I splurged and spent the weekend at the Embassy Suites in the galleria. My girls loved the galleria – especially the ice skating and the Disney Store. They also liked the swans in the main lobby of the hotel.
As for me, I spent my sunrises and sunsets photographing downtown Houston. With over 2 million folks calling Houston home, I can say traffic was often a gridlock during the week. On Friday night, heading from the hotel to shoot from the rooftop of a location just outside the city, it took me about an hour and twenty minutes to travel just over 7 miles. For a guy used to living in the country, this was a little stressful! Still, I arrived well before sunset and enjoyed some amazing thunderheads hanging out just behind the high rises. The next morning, I returned for a beautiful sunrise.
The middle of the day was spent with my family – swimming, shopping (with me just following them around), and playing around Tinsley Park on the Allen Parkway. I returned to this location that evening and next morning. After exploring this little greenbelt, I settled on a few areas to shoot. That next sunrise, I was rewarded with both a beautiful sunrise as well as a crescent moon rising above the skyline.
Overall, it was as successful trip and I look forward to returning. While I won’t be heading to Harris County anytime soon, I can say the rest of the folks we encountered were quite friendly.
For more images, please visit my Houston gallery.
Feel free to view my Austin Gallery as well.
For Texas wildflowers, I’ve got a gallery dedicated just for those colorful springtime blooms, as well.
Thanks for looking!