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Best Places to Photograph in Austin

by aptsjaime on 15/07/11 at 4:10 pm

If you’re into photographing Austin off the beaten path, check out the five places below, which many consider to be the best of Austin.

Though Austin is known for its live music scene, it’s also a hub for beauty and natural scenery centered around the Colorado River, which cuts through the middle of town. Photography enthusiasts will love shooting the iconic University of Texas, Barton Creek Greenbelt, kitschy-decorated businesses in neighborhoods throughout town and Austin’s wildlife, particularly at the Congress Avenue Bridge at dusk, when about 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats fly off into the night sky. If you’re into photographing Austin off the beaten path, check out the five places below, which many consider to be the best of Austin.

Lou Neff Point Gazebo

This “gazebo” is more sculpture than structure, though its twine-like iron netting makes it an ideal focal point for artsy shots. The gazebo is located at the mouth of Barton Creek (south bank) on the Hike and Bike Trail. If you look toward downtown, you’ll see awesome skyline views reflected in the water, and at certain times of the year, you might see a funky, painted piano under the gazebo as part of the “Play Me, I’m Yours” by artist Luke Jerram.

Sculpture Falls

You’ll have to hike a bit to get to Sculpture Falls, but it’s worth it. Start the hike at the Barton Creek Greenbelt, just to the right of the intersection of Scottish Woods Trail and Camp Craft Road, and enter the trail (marked “Trailhead”) at the top of a hill over Barton Creek. On the way to Sculpture Falls, you’ll see Rock Falls and Slanted Falls, among others. However, Sculpture Falls is the highlight of the route, named for the patterns the water has carved into the rock. Normally, the area becomes a great swimming hole, but since the creek is lower than normal, you may want to wait until Austin receives a few inches of rain before visiting.

Mt. Bonnell

Climb to the top of Mt. Bonnell, the highest point in the Austin city limits at 785 feet, for breathtaking views of downtown, Lake Austin, the surrounding hills and the Highway 360 bridge. Shoot the colorful magnesian beds and celestite pockets, the texturally rich, repetitive rock steps or the red and yellow trees and shrubs that dot the shoreline like coral in the ocean.

The Oasis

The Oasis restaurant on Lake Travis is nicknamed the “Sunset Capital of Texas” for its gorgeous blue and orange sunset over Lake Austin and the tree-enclosed horizon. During special events, the deck and shore are covered in orange, blue, green, red and yellow matching umbrellas, creating a hot-air balloon-like scene on the sand. Maybe your photo taken at the Oasis could even win the annual Sunset Photo Contest the restaurant hosts, all while serving Tex-Mex cuisine and cold beverages.

Hamilton Pool

Located about 30 miles southwest of Austin, Hamilton Pool is a historic swimming hole that’s blue-green colored and located at the base of a 50-foot waterfall that flows from Hamilton Creek. Photograph the pool, waterfall, surrounding canyon, birds or diverse vegetation of the area, which includes several rare plant species, such as the canyon mock-orange, red bay and chatter box orchid.

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