Hamilton Pool Nature Preserve

Day One Hundred and Sixty One. And Day 19 of our Epic Cross Country Road Trip! And again, no, you didn't miss something. Day 18 was spent galloping through the woods thanks to Texas Trail Rides and eating at all of the food trucks in Austin. Yes, ALL of them ;). It's a pretty short hike down to the pool, but make sure you give yourself enough time to really appreciate it. We ended up getting here a little later in the day than I intended to, so I was sprinting between shots and didn't get the chance to just sit and wonder at what I was seeing. It's an absolutely incredible natural formation, whose cause isn't immediately obvious to the eye. According to a sign there, the pool was formed when an underground river collapsed. I'm still not sure how an underground river creates a waterfall like that, but I'm happy that it did. The lighting conditions presented quite the challenge. The sky was a flat grey and the shadows were deep. The long exposures here didn't require an ND filter to produce, but there was so much contrast, that it took 9, and in some cases 11 stops worth of exposures to capture everything, which explains the strong halo effect seen in the second image. If there was one thing I wish Nik's HDR Efex Pro 2 was better at, it was detecting these halos and doing some better math to prevent them ... or maybe I need a better way to process scenes with that much dynamic range in them ...

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