What inspired you to create "Texas Hill Country: A Scenic Journey?"
I’ve always loved the Texas Hill Country. Nothing makes me happier than getting lost in nature and discovering its hidden natural beauty or exploring the small towns and backroads that crisscross the region. With the book, I wanted to tell the story of the Hill Country that I know, and share it with others, so they can explore these places for themselves.
I’ve found since sharing many images of these places on social media that people — even some who’ve lived in Texas their whole lives — never imagined that some of these places even existed. I’m hoping the book will inspire everyone who picks it up to get out and appreciate the world that’s around us.
What is your favorite location or photo from the book?
That’s a tough question. Exploring and researching these amazing places in depth has humbled me and given me a deep appreciation for each location. For me, each photo seems to evoke its own emotions unique to each place.
If I had to choose a favorite photo, it would be the foggy morning shot on page 74 (which also happens to be my favorite location — my backyard). Our home, near Dripping Springs, overlooks a valley and we are fortunate to have some incredibly magical autumn mornings. For me, this image takes me home to the tranquility I find on those early mornings; sipping a hot cup of coffee and watching the fog roll over the valley as the sun rises.
Can you share an interesting story from your travels while photographing and writing the book?
The spread on pages 62 and 63 is from one of the more memorable excursions for the book. I was scouting shots at Reimer’s Ranch, north of Dripping Springs. I had made my way down through Climber’s Canyon toward the Pedernales River. I was exploring the area around the mouth of the canyon when a thunderstorm quickly rolled in. Despite the cold pelting rain, I saw an opportunity for a shot, as the heavy downpour was creating interesting textures and layers of mist.
Just up the river a patch of partially open sky was leaking sunlight, bathing the clouds and landscape in a warm yellow glow. So I quickly climbed up to a perch, found a composition that worked and set-up my camera and tripod next to a tree. I got off one shot before part of the slippery ground gave way and I slid (with all my gear) down a muddy embankment stopping just short of going into the river. It was well worth the trouble, as it ended up being one of my favorite shots in the book.
What do you do when you're not working on your book?
My wife would you tell you I’m never ‘not working’ on a book, or some other project! Even while we are having family adventures I keep my camera handy. For example, page 114 is actually a picture of my wife, who I captured amid the neon walking out of that doorway in Luckenbach in her dress and cowboy boots. This was on one of our first dates after being blessed with our beautiful son. This book and my first, Houston, Texas: A Photographic Portrait, are both made up of images that my family helped capture, making our adventures a part of the books as well!
Is there anything else the readers should know about you or your book?
I’m also a full-time freelance photographer with a penchant for Texas travel and outdoors. You can see more of my photography at epohl.com.