Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

McKinney Falls State Park: the Lower Falls

with 26 comments

McKinney Falls Lower Falls 1220

So yeah, I was at McKinney Falls State Park on April 15th and in addition to false faces in false dayflowers I photographed the real Lower Falls in the real Onion Creek. Do you see the promontory of rock jutting out at the lower left? From there I got a closer view of the main waterfall. Here it is at 1/1600 of a second:

McKinney Falls Lower Falls 1260

And here it is smoothed out at 1/15 of a second:

McKinney Falls Lower Falls 1268

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 4, 2016 at 5:09 AM

26 Responses

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  1. Good work, again, my friend.


    May 4, 2016 at 6:09 AM

  2. I am so happy to see this! I visited there many years ago and forgot where it was, I kept thinking marble falls. Now I know I can revisit. Beautiful shots!!


    May 4, 2016 at 6:49 AM

    • I’m glad this proved a happy reminder for you. During the four decades I’ve lived in Austin, the town has gradually encroached on what used to be McKinney Falls State Park’s isolated location southeast of town. A subdivision is now going up on the opposite side of the park from the main part of Austin. The town of Marble Falls is about an hour northwest of Austin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2016 at 7:17 AM

      • Thank you. I really believe it was McKinney Falls. I will need to revisit it soon. Austin is becoming more like Houston all the time. I hate to drive into the city now that I am aging. Someday this small town will be part of the Austin city limits. 🙂 Nice speaking with you


        May 13, 2016 at 2:52 PM

  3. The two views are quite different. Good comparison.

    Jim Ruebush

    May 4, 2016 at 7:09 AM

    • What a difference the shutter speed can make, right? This time I was an equal-opportunity provider.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2016 at 9:34 PM

  4. In another example of pareidolia, I saw an eagle’s head in the rock shown in the first photo: making it a perfect perch for an eagle-eyed photographer. I like seeing the paired images of the water. While I admire the technique used to capture the smooth water, it’s the more natural photo that really appeals. In the lower half of the photo, the water almost looks like spider-webbing over a tree trunk.

    Because there’s usually a lack’a wanna in your posts, I smiled to see it included within the description of the white larkspur a few days ago. And yeah — I did wonder if it was another sign of spring: kicking off the grammarly shoes for a more casual run through the grass. No criticism of that from these parts!


    May 4, 2016 at 7:44 AM

    • That’s a good play on Lackawanna. Calling to mind the state where I grew up, I’d even say your takeoff on the word is eerie. On the other hand, where I might have gone shoeless in New York, I’d never do so on a nature outing in Texas: too many cacti, greenbriers, fire ants, dewberries, etc. Speaking of shoeless, when I was on the far side of the pool at the base of this waterfall, I stepped out onto a layer of debris near the shore that I thought was stable but I ended up plunging through up to my knees. My shoes were already old but the thorough wetting finally did them in and they ended up going out in this morning’s garbage pickup.

      Informality’s a good change-of-pace from time to time. Gotta use the vernacular once in a blue moon, right?

      Where do you see the eagle’s head?

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2016 at 8:02 AM

    • I should have said I see the rock in its entirety as an eagle’s head, albeit stylized. It’s facing to the right, and the large impression at the top is where its eye would be. The beak, of course, is below. Even the triad of patterns at the far left seems to mimic the change from the head feathers to the feathers of the body. This is the best analog I could find.


      May 6, 2016 at 6:07 AM

  5. As you might guess, my preference is just the opposite of Linda’s. I find the slower exposure more appealing. But, I am in agreement with her on the eagle’s head rock.

    Steve Gingold

    May 4, 2016 at 4:38 PM

    • Your preference speaks for itself in your many pictures of creeks and waterfalls. Though you and Linda aren’t in accord on that, you’ve seconded her eagle, which I confess I still don’t see. Guess I’m not up to par in my pareidolia today.

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2016 at 9:32 PM

  6. I don’t see an eagle either, but I’m with Linda. I like the first one quite a lot.


    May 4, 2016 at 10:41 PM

    • Good, then I have company in my eagle-blindness.

      Regarding the photo you like, I assume you mean the first of the two closer views (as opposed to the first of all three images).

      Steve Schwartzman

      May 4, 2016 at 10:51 PM

      • Oh~yes, that is what I meant. I really like how the water looks in that one.


        May 5, 2016 at 10:35 AM

        • Thanks to repeated rain this season, on several occasions recently I’ve experimented with high-speed pictures of falls to record patterns in the flow of the water. The movement is too quick for our brains to discern, but the camera can do better.

          In the picture you like, I think of it as what long hair would be if it could be water.

          Steve Schwartzman

          May 5, 2016 at 12:28 PM

  7. Wonderful! The details for each shot are very helpful in understanding. Thanks!


    May 6, 2016 at 12:46 AM

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