Little River


Little River spot found in the Smoky Mountain National Park.



Species was found in the Natural Bridge Caverns in Texas Hill Country.


Galaxy of Suns

“When the peacock has presented his back, the spectator will usually begin to walk around him to get a front view; but the peacock will continue to turn so that no front view is possible. The thing to do then is to stand still and wait until it pleases him to turn. When it suits him, the peacock will face you. Then you will see in a green-bronze arch around him a galaxy of gazing haloed suns. This is the moment when most people are silent.” – Flannery  O’Conner.


Tired Of


This goat was tired of my shit…and from this look, most likely everyone’s.

Searching For A Network (II)

Tis the season…

Cheers to this holiday season.


Texas Haze

Austin 360 on Summer Night

Brushy Creek


Small fall near Brushy Creek, Cedar Park. Only encountered one snake and one gigabahgillion mosquitoes.

Definitely dinosaur bones…

Obviously a found brontosaurus at Bull Creek in Austin, Tx.


Wordless Wednesday

Mount Bonnell


Quiet summer dusk on Mount Bonnell in Austin.

Sunset on Lake Austin

Pedernales River Panos



I haven’t done panoramic photos in quite some time, and I am definitely out of shape in the process. Both of these were suppose to be much wider but I must have not lined the individual shots up correctly. When I tried to stitch them together in Photoshop, it was a hot mess. So I had to drop out some frames to get them to work. Both of these are roughly 5-6 stitched images. The top one were a series of long exposures take before dawn. The latter was about 45 minutes later…testament to how quickly light changes in the early morning.

Wordless Wednesday

Pedernales #6

pedernalesPedernales Falls again. I took several from this angle at different exposures, and decided to go with the slightly underexposed as it brought more color to the photograph. Have a great weekend.


Dawn at Pedernales Falls


This is one of those earned photographs. I woke at 4:30am and hiked about 2 miles in the dark by myself to find this spot a bit above the falls. Totally worth it.

Willow Loop Wildflowers

A few snags taken from a drive around Willow City Loop, a scenic drive near the town of Fredericksburg, Texas. I moved to Texas in the dead of winter, and heard much about the wildflowers of spring. Come spring time, they lived up to the stories. At the peak, it’s hard to find any area not teemed with the wildflowers, especially the blue bonnets (which seem to be closer to purple than blue in my opinion…but blue-bonnets does sound better than purple-bonnets or lavender-bonnets).





Green VW



Old bikes off a sidewalk in Fredericksburg, Texas.

An Old Shed

In the evenings, I have been attempting to run down the energy of our Labrador with a combination of running and exploring the wooded areas near our house where he can go off leash. Below is a forgotten farm shed I had came across before, but returned today with a camera…and dog, who is usually nervous and did bark and raised back hair once towards something that bothered him…that I couldn’t see. A bit unnerving.

Also of note, Lightroom rolled out it’s new update, and this time included it’s own HDR and Panorama merge (always had to pump out to a plugin or Adobe Photoshop before). I AM DIGGING the HDR merge in the new release, and highly recommend to those seeking a more natural “exposure fusion” approach to bracketed photographs. I like most HDR, but most often, shoot in brackets to get the full dynamic range, to get what you can’t get in just one shot. Before HDR programs, I use to load my bracketed shots into layers in Photoshop, and then mask and brush between those layers to get the full range of light…the HDR. It was tedious and took a great amount of time, but I found you could teeter on the nexus point of perfect exposure and the surreal. Going too far into the latter has given “HDR” some bad rap. What I love most about the Lightroom HDR Merge is that it retains the control of RAW. In other words, files aren’t converted into TIFFs or JPEGs before entering an HDR processor. What this means is when the HDR is sewn together, you still have much leeway for adjusting exposure, white balance, tone curves, color levels, etc. It’s like it spits back to you an HDR file in RAW format (actually .DNG). Then you can apply any preset you have created or go slider pulling. In the below, I went to a preset I use that mutes the tones, warms the image, and drops the exposure a bit. Both were bracketed shots at -2/0/2 @ f11. Again, I really dig the natural approach in the new Lightroom update. So check it out if you like more of that “exposure fusion” look.



20150421-10-HDR-EditOh, and in my absence, I have finally dedicated the time to building a website. Check it out at It’s still a work in progress, but finally moving forward.

Perndales Falls


I think all of us, on this hemisphere, is a bit tired of the winter.  Above is another from Perndales, and I can’t wait until spring offers a bit more color.

Wordless Wednesday

A passing through


If I can get away with one more…

These egrets were never-leavers. They stayed the whole year. Pelicans, a litany of ducks, and smaller waterfowl would teem this peer on the river. These egrets would fly, swoop, and roost with all of them. But then they all went home. It warmed up, and the summer suffocated the air, The egrets could still be found at the peer.

Weary traveler



Continuing my black and whites, a heron at dawn on the edge of a horseshoe lake. I was happy to slip in on this guy, but he didn’t seem happy about much at all.

Give the crowd everything they want


This is another old, and hopefully not a redux. I can guarantee if it is a re-post, the image didn’t look like this as I did a good bit of editing to get it to this point…and it’s one of my favorite black and white pieces I’ve done to date.

Like my previous post, I enjoyed the composition but it teemed with distracting elements. I removed most of them, and when finished, liked the way it added enhanced the spotlight of the elephant. Of course, by removing the crowd elements it evokes a sadness, a depression to the subject.

Gesture without motion


I captured this one from my father-in-law’s horse farm a few years ago. The horse was standing at the entrance of the born, and probably wondering why I had not given him any feed yet. Maybe. Horses always give me the evil eye no matter what I am doing.

This is another photography I kept but never touched. I probably kept it because of the horse’s presentation. The original had the blackness of the barn, but many other distracting elements. I enjoyed processing this one as it demonstrates less can be more, and with the processing tools we have now, it’s to easier to simplify a distracting original.  I converted to grayscale, dropped the exposure, and then cloned out the stuff that was distracting. Then I went ahead and cloned out everything save for the horse. This one seemed to be about expression, and not the ancillary barn ropes, posts, etc.

What came over that hill


I have been spending some time cleaning up old photographs down in the photo basement. Not a real basement, but that directory on your computer that is tantamount to a real basement of boxes spilling over with junk you either don’t know what to do with or of stuff you find valuable even though you can’t explain the reason. Since I moved to Austin, it’s been nice to explore the new geography and fresh photography frontiers, but with that lingering mess in the basement, it’s hard to focus on the new. But in most arts I’ve dabbled in, the adage proves true—art is never finished. Only abandoned.

 I have a room I want to decorate with black and white photography so I have been perusing those bloated, misshapen boxes. Above is an elephant from a zoo (I honestly don’t remember the one) I pulled this one from the archives, and I’m not sure why I haven’t processed it previously. Texture has always been an element in photography I’m drawn to, and elephants seep it in leathery folds.



A bit obligatory, but here is an Austin skyline. The skyline from this side of the river is a bit more expansive, but those buildings were full of cranes. What has been incredibly interesting about Austin is how this area is so empty at night when contrasted with the infamous 5th & 6th streets. Have a great weekend!

Hamilton Pool


Captured at Hamilton Pool, a natural pool and grotto located about 25 miles west of Austin. Despite striking scenery all around, it proved to be a difficult place to photo. For starters, the dynamic range is wide—from dark cave to the direction sunlight. I was able to grab it all with 3 stops down and 3 stops up.  The preserve doesn’t open until 9am so that added to the difficulty of a morning visit. I’m really looking forward to returning in the spring and summer to shoot again…and swim!

Wordless Wednesday

Amicalola Falls


Some story commentary for this one. A few months ago I was traveling on company business, and ended up with some extra time at the end of the week. I was around Jasper, Georgia–a small town maybe 30 minutes from the Tennessee border and near the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.  Surely there was a good photo spot near, so I hit my Google search and found a buzz about some nearby waterfalls. My navigator took me to someone’s house, who did not want unexpected company (there were some falls, but they were on his property). By that time, the evening light was slipping away so I drove feverishly through winding roads to Amicalola Falls, a road that led me to the top of the falls. I descended on a trail for about a half hour to get to the location shown in the above photograph. The late light allowed me to pull off a long exposure but then had to climb all the way back up in the dark (and a hot summer night).

And the best camera you can get is…

…still the one you have at the time.

You’ve heard it before, the old adage about cameras. It proved true for me recently. One evening after work I could sense a stunning sunset was setting up, and knew it was happening in the next few minutes. There was no time to go home and grab the tank. So I had my cell phone, a Motorola something. I chased the sun down on a farm road, and parked near a harvested cotton field, and grabbed the below. Right light, and right time still remain the thing.


I used the panoramic feature from Google Camera in the above.



Wordless Wednesday

Pedernales Falls



Now that we are mostly unpacked, and had good weather, I was able to get the kids out the house and to Pedernales Falls. As the area slowly recovers from drought, water rushing up and over the rocky riverbed has improved. Will be worth repeating. And only one kid fell in the water.

Wild Basin


Captured a few miles from the Austin 360 (Pennybacker) bridge in an area named “Wild Basin.” Apparently, exploring here with running water has been a rarity in the past with the “7yr drought.” The last two years of above average rain has poured life back into these places.

Fence Friday: Ellijay, Georgia


This is a Georgian photograph, and not Texan. I grabbed this one a few months previous near the foothills of the Smoky Mountains near a town named Ellijay (elah-jay). I put the pronunciation there because I mispronounced the town name 25x while there. For once I had something for “Fence Friday.”

The Return


It has definitely been a while since I have updated this blog, but for once, I have a pretty solid reason. In December I accepted a new job in Austin, Texas, and made the long move between Christmas and New Years (a timing I don’t advise). I had been eyeing the Austin area for some time, and thus far Austin has lived up to the hype. While Austin has quickly validated the culinary, artistic, and musical cultural nodes most referenced for, I didn’t realize how much scenery it had to offer until moving here—from the broad sweeping strokes to the nuances of nooks and crannies. Now that I have settled in a bit, I have begun new adventures that seemingly lack exhaustion. Of course, I am currently racking through the process of hitting the iconic places first to pay homage (also provoked by the wife wanting new print decorations for the house).

Photographed above is the Pennybacker Bridge (aka the 360 bridge), captured about forty-five minutes post sunrise. One interesting aspect of the bridge I noticed when photographing is that no part touches the lake. While I liked how the warm morning light poured in perpendicular to the bridge, I have already bookmarked this spot as a place to return in the evening, an outing that should render spectacular sunset and twilight photos.

With a fresh new canvas to explore, I really hope to return to regular posting here. Thanks to everyone who has dropped by and commented during my hiatus.

Texture Thursday

Flat Creek II

Below are two more from my brief stay in Jasper, Georgia. What I loved most about these photos is that they came at the end of a busy week. The technical “optimal” time to grab these photos had passed, but when I was there, it was all about working to slow it down…a nice contrast from the preceding activities. Hope you enjoy.



Wordless Wednesday

Flat Creek

Several weeks ago I was traveling on business in Georgia, specifically about two hours north of Atlanta. As the trip winded down, I found time to explore around a town named Jasper. With little extra time, I turned to Google for good photo spots that ended up leading me to someone’s house—who were not of course wanting a visitor interested in photographing an “alleged” waterfall on their property. Technology—it is awesome but can also make one look the dumbass, as my grandmother would say. No worries, though. About 5 miles away I came upon Flat Creek, a river that stems all the way down from the Appalachian mountains.




Zombie Up


Seasons’s greetings from the graveyard. We were a bit late to the event this year and missed out on the zombie costume competitions so disappointment was abound with my oldest daughter—all of which quickly disappeared when it was announced that zombies would be allowed to shuffle through Oakland Cemetery, a historical cemetery a few blocks from downtown. Hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween this weekend.



Handwritten (Texture Thursday)


I was listening to a song a few days ago with a theme surrounding “handwritten” (unable to recall band, and too lazy to Google). The theme touched on the idea that handwritten words sequester a more emotive quality by default. It makes sense because with text, handwriting adds an extra layer—another subtext. Character can be imbued simply by how it appears on the paper. It adds a psychology that might be lost in word processing. But when thinking about this, and listening to the band, wouldn’t the same apply to musicians? Isn’t a good song bent along a stringed instrument—also handwritten?

Wordless Wednesday

Macro Monday – Moth


Above is a moth that was on the wall right outside my front door. I noticed one evening and came out with macro to get a closer look. This moth was big, maybe three to four inches at wingspan. I was using a wider angle, but was so close to the moth, I thought it would fly away. But it didn’t. When I took this one, the lens was nearly touching its thorax, leading me to the conclusion the moth was dead. Sure enough, though, as soon as it became dark the moth ventured off. From watching the other moths, I came to the conclusion that the reason why moths perch in a near death like state during the day when you find them…is solely due to their night time activity. It must be catastrophically exhausting to fly in such frenetic, random, and indiscriminate directions at night around the light bulbs. I have no science to back that up, but it has to be the reason. They are hungover during the day.

August Moon


There has been much hype around here about our August moon, another super moon, etcetera. I’m terrible at shooting the moon, finding it to be one of the more difficult subjects at night. The last time a “super” moon rose, I broke out the telescopic lens. While the moon was noticeably impressive, the photos I grabbed didn’t look any different than any other moon shot I had taken. For this one, I had pretty much blown off the event. But when hanging out after dark, some wonderful clouds moved in so I gave in and grabbed a pic.

Growing up jumpoline…

After posting the previous photo of one of my kids on the jumpoline  with the sprinkler under, I went to file the photo and noticed another jumpoline photo a year old, and nearly to the same date. And then I kept digging and found another, and again from the previous summer. I then realized how repeated this event had become, and I was unbeknownst holding a “growing up” sequence. Also, it’s better known as a trampoline, but they call it a jumpoline…and that term seems more befitting so I have adopted it.



(actually under the trampoline in above)






Beating the heat


We’ve been spared of the inappropriate heat that usually fills our summers, but this last week it has been trying to make up for lost time. But it isn’t anything a little sprinkler under a trampoline can not fix ;)


© 2014 Tom Coghill Photography, All Rights Reserved

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