The location: McKinney Falls State Park in Austin, Texas

McKinney Falls State Park is nestled within the city limits of Austin, Texas, just 13 miles from the state capital. This piece of hill country offers camping, hiking, biking, fishing, and even swimming in Onion Creek. The park is known for its two waterfalls, Old Baldy, and fields of bluebonnets.

McKinney Falls State Park, Austin Texas, where to take photos, best place to take pictures, upper falls, Wildsight Photography

The story: best camping in Austin

When our family decided to visit Austin, we were overwhelmed by the cost of camping compared to other Texas cities. McKinney offered reasonable prices, a sense of privacy, and a lush environment far superior to an RV park. We enjoyed easy walks along the paved Onion Creek Trail, afternoon shade under the live oaks, and the unexpected “super bloom” of wildflowers.

McKinney Falls State Park, Austin Texas, where to take photos, best place to take pictures, Wildsight Photography

Where to take photos: Lower Falls

While we enjoyed shooting at Upper Falls and along the trail to the rock shelter, we found Lower Falls to be the most photogenic spot in McKinney Falls. Hike a quarter-mile to Lower Falls, where Onion Creek spills over a limestone ledge for the best shots in the park.

There are several angles from which to shoot the falls, even more if you’re willing to get wet. The rough texture of the rock provides great contrast to the moving water, especially if you bring a tripod and lengthen your exposure. Try using a neutral density filter to keep shots from getting blown out. Morning light will illuminate the falls better than evening.

McKinney Falls State Park, Austin Texas, where to take photos, best place to take pictures, lower falls, Wildsight Photography

The gear: Canon

These photos of McKinney Falls State Park were taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II, with either a Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L telephoto lens or Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L wide lens, both with a polarizing filter or neutral density filter.

You can see the complete album of Austin photos on the Wildsight Flickr page. Check out our photos for sale in the Wildsight Photography Etsy shop.

All images are copyright of Josh Schaulis and may not be reproduced or used in any way without written permission.

McKinney Falls State Park, Austin Texas, where to take photos, best place to take pictures, Wildsight Photography, Josh Schaulis
Wildsight Photography

About Wildsight Photography

Josh Schaulis is a landscape photographer and graphic designer based in Colorado Springs. His travels through the Western United States have led him to granite peaks, woodland streams, desert sands, and mist-filled canyons. Along with his wife, Megan, and daughter, Julia, Josh spends most of his time traveling and exploring.

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