Texas Cowboy Monument with Purple clouds.

Of all the monuments on the South Grounds , this is probably one of the most unique sculptures of them all. This Texas Cowboy monument is surrounded by a assortment of wildflowers, with the background of the glowing Capitol building.

This is a 8 second exposure,with the goal in mind of getting some movement above the Capitol dome. I also wanted to include the concrete path that go’s around the sculpture itself.

The most difficult part of this image was setting up, for the fact that I had to setup in the bank of a hill (I did my best not to get to flustered) while trying to focus on the surrounding elements of the landscape.

Tx-Capitol-And-Cowboy-Statue-August-2016-Websize (1 of 1)


Pennybacker bridge with it’s Reflection.

Lately I have been scouting out  for more interesting compositions of the Pennybacker (360 Bridge Overlook) bridge in West Austin, and this view seem to have all the elements in one. This view is not hard to get to, it’s just a little ways down from the north west scenic overlook.

The key objects you want to look out for, are a couple of cypress trees growing out from the cliff overlooks themselves. After that, your going to want to go beyond those cypress trees, which will give way to spectacular views of the Pennybacker bridge and the Austin skyline looking east.

360-bridge-at-blue-hour-watermark (1 of 1)

Purple clouds above 360.

This is a scene that I photographed in July of 2015, of some early morning clouds racing above the Pennybacker bridge in West Austin. This comes from the lesser known overlook, that can be found directly below the more well known view for which this location is known for.

I am also going to include a before after photo showing  the digital processing, which was all done in Lightroom with one exposure. Also for the first time, I am going to explain the techniques that bring me to my final look.


Before and After shot with processing techniques explained.


As you can see the before photo is blown out and is quite boring to say the least. I ended up dropping the exposure to almost one stop which ended up at around  -0.71.  Then I did my usual workflow which includes pulling in highlights to -100, and lifting the shadows to +100.

Then using the shift key and double clicking on the white and the blacks, I developed a proper black and white point for this image.

After that, I grab a graduated cylinder to help bring out more details in the clouds. I lighted the greens in front, and darkened the blues and purples in the background.

I then finished this photo off with a slight vignette to draw the viewers eyes into the middle of the photo.

Thanks for visiting my photo blog today.

Window view inside Balanced Rock.

For some context, I visited Big Bend National Park last month for a couple of days. This is the first of many photos from that trip which comes from Grapevine Hills.

The story:

This view is rewarded after a rough 7 mile off-road drive into the desert, followed by a mile long walk through the towering Grapevine Hill laccolith formations, and then a very athletic climb for the last quarter of a mile which requires climbing up and over boulders,until you reach the iconic Balanced Rock formation.

Once your here, you can walk underneath balanced rock itself, taking in the views of the Chihuahuan desert with Nugent Mountain in the background.


Pfluger Pedestrian bridge at sunrise.

Sunrise photo of the section of Pfluger Pedestrian bridge that crosses over Cesar Chavez in downtown Austin Texas.

The leading lines move the viewers attention to the background of the Gable Park Tower Apartments, with the different patterns of color being dispersed throughout the sky of the image.

More of my Texas Landscape and Cityscape images can be found at www.swinneastudios.com

Thanks for looking and feel free to share!


Early Morning at the Great Walk

From the South Congress Avenue entrance, The Texas State Capitol shines brightly (along with it’s light fixtures and benches) about 20 minutes before sunrise.

The area that this image is taken from, is known as the Great Walk. This walkway is 25 feet wide and 500 foot long, which leads you to the south steps of the Capitol building.

Thanks for looking and feel free to share!


Mesquite tree with Bluebonnets: Willow City Loop.

While driving along the iconic Willow City Loop, I found this mesquite tree that caught my attention. This area around the Mesquite tree included a variety of spring wild flowers, that most noticeably the Texas bluebonnet and phlox flower.

The area in front and beyond the mesquite tree is private land, so I did my best with the limited space to work with. As one can see in the background, there is a sea of bluebonnets near the waters edge, with a patch of early morning fog rising to the right in this photo.

mesquite-tree-bluebonnets-willow-city-web (1 of 1)