Hamilton Pool near Austin, Texas

At last, the final version of this image (until I learn some new tricks)! Hamilton Pool is one of the best kept secrets in Central Texas. It took me 10 years to find it but I'm very glad I did. The place is a spectacular circular swimming hole half covered over by the massive remains of the previous cave's roof. It's pretty tricky to photograph and this image is actually a composite of 4 shots taken with different exposures.


I spent a day last week at a fabulous Photoshop seminar by Ben Willmore during which he spent the time talking about various post-processing techniques. Armed with these new tricks, I got back to this image and have now got it to a point that I am happy with it.


For those interested in what's changed, I've added a play-by-play account on my blog here.


Now all I need is to find a cloud that isn't burned out and drop that in..... :-)


EDIT 1/25/11: OK - I couldn't leave that sky alone. You can find the next (dare I suggest "final"?") version here.


Note: This image isn't available for licensing via Getty Images since it already has active licenses. If you are interested, please drop me a FlickrMail.


Prints of this image are available on ImageKind or Altered Perspectives.


I would greatly appreciate your vote in the 2013 Photoblog Awards. Thanks!


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  • Mike Beauregard 6y

    fav'd your thematic (!) image (!) a while ago
    stopping by to add
    all your learning of new tricks
    well worth the effort
  • Bruce Lemons 6y

  • the 4 headed lion 6y

    one of the best swimming spots around
  • Andy Huynh 5y

    Thanks for sharing your secret location, I'll have to pay a visit someday. Beautiful color and composition.
  • Y~L .... 5y

  • Edison Zanatto 5y

    Very beautiful !!!
  • ladigue_99 5y

    fantastic capture, great post production as well
    gorgeous place!
  • Karen Nguyen 4y

    holy crap. this is awesome. i am going to visit austin just for this pool. thanks.
  • charlesdcrowley 4y

    Very beautiful. I went there numerous times when I lived in Austin. It's a nice swimming hole when the water flow permits, it''s probably dried up at the moment. There is some footage of it in Tree of Life. Also visit West Cave Preserve, another collapsed grotto being returned to a pristine state as much as possible, with native species being replanted and so on. Visit both by all means if you can.
  • ! . © Angela Lobefaro . ! 3y

    Incredible locations, I love the colours and clarity very much!

    (discorevered Stumbling...)
  • Airton Morassi 3y

    Excelent !!
  • muirnait 3y

  • Taiyo Lipscomb 2y

    Hey Dave, i use to go there in the mid-60's when it was a very funky swimming hole. Hadn't been back until a few months ago when i was visiting my Mom in San Antonio and decided to go and take a few photos. 'Twas dried up or at least dripping so slowly that i only knew it to be a falls from my past experience. And the surrounding growth had grown up so much i don't think the shot you are showing is available. Maybe i'll put some of my shots on my Flickr page. Thanks Dave.
  • Dave Wilson 2y

    I was lucky and took this on an afternoon after a couple of rainy days when the creek was flowing well. The pool was also shut to swimming due to high bacteria levels, hence the absence of other people. I've not been out there in a couple of years but I'll definitely go back if a similar day appears this Spring!
  • Spirit Raindancer 2y

    Wow, that's quite something.
  • Rosa Pastrana Saucedo 2y

    Wow! This is superb. Thank you.
  • L white 2y

    I had a particulary hard time processing this view of hamilton when i took the shot , but had no problom re processing it with new skills .. A graduated filter will do the trick in one exposure , but multiple images work best .. Well done ..
  • Dave Wilson 2y

    L white I'm not sure I could get this shot with a graduated filter. As far as I can remember, there's about a 6 stop change in exposure from the bright section on the right to the dark section on the left. With a 3 stop filter, you could possibly tweak the image in Lighroom or wherever without seeing too many artifacts in one or other of the sides but you would still be left with the fact that there isn't really any clean, straight line between dark and light meaning that some dark areas would be affected by the filter too. I need to go back and retake this sometime and I'll definitely be using multi-exposure techniques again next time because I reckon they give me far more flexibility to get the image right later.
  • AustinPixels 10mo

    Maybe you know, and even though you never engage on any of my stuff, just felt obligated to let you know i saw this... www.myandroidbest.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Mac-Back...
  • Dave Wilson 10mo

    AustinPixels Thanks. I had seen this already but haven't contacted them yet. Thanks for the heads-up, though. As regards not engaging, please be assured that you're not being singled out. I just don't spend a lot of time on Flickr these days.
371 faves
Taken on June 13, 2004
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