It was a great day to visit this waterfall. I had tried to drive to the trail two weeks prior and was stopped by fallen trees and unmelted snow. In the meantime the road had been cleared and so Darlene and I decided to drive up and give it a look. I’m glad that we did. With the high Spring runoff from the snow and the rain has made the creeks and waterfalls very full and powerful. This particular waterfall has areas to the right side of the normal fall that become a water curtain when the water becomes high. These were the conditions that I sought.
As I approached the falls the view through the trees was breathtaking as it appeared as a soft, bright diffused veil of water past shadows from the trees. When I broke through the trees and walked down to the water’s edge the mist was soaking. I had to cover my gear to keep it reasonably dry. The rocks were very slippery and because I was down there alone didn’t push my limits much.
The compositions from there are a little bit limited but conditions make a big difference, and this amazing curtain of water at the right side of the main falls, which is not there in normal water flow, was pretty incredible and made a unique photo for this location. The sun and the mist would play on each other as each one changed in time.
Just a quick word about photographing this location. Be aware that there’s a viewing platform at the top of the falls that most folks view this scene from. The more adventurous and capable can take a steep and slippery slop to the bottom, but please beware if you attempt this, especially when it’s wet.
It’s a beautiful warm sunny day as you drive up into the mountains seeking cooler air and a needed break even if only for the afternoon. The kind of break that requires a seat next to a lake you think to yourself.
As you arrive you leave your car and stretch your legs you look at the trees surrounding you. You breath in the forest’s essence and walk toward an opening in the trees that leads to the path that you seek. The one that gives you a view to your goal.
As you walk forward the opening slowly reveals a still lake whose surface is broken only by the texture of the effect of a soft breeze. Beyond the lake toward the opposite end lies in the distance the snow capped peak of a glacier laden mountain reflected softly in the lake. You instantly feel a relief of stress in your body.
In the moment that you take to admire and absorb the beauty revealed to you an adult male bald eagle flies past the break in the trees, light shining off of it’s feathers, floating in the breeze only to disappear for a moment behind the trees then to reappear high up in the sky floating off into the distance to a tree branch of a tall Douglas fir tree.
The scene is huge and majestic. There’s so much to see and observe. It’s larger than life itself.
As you stand there you realize that you came to also snap a few photos. You think how cool it would have been to be able to get a shot of that eagle as it flew past… so you best be ready in case it happens again! You bring out the wide angle lens to get some photos of the scene beyond. Everything must be included you think. The trees surrounding the opening and framing the amazing scene, the bushes in the foreground, the surface of the lake, the occasional boat floating by, the mountain in the background and that darn eagle if he’d cooperate.
You snap a few shots before you walk to the edge of the lake. Excellent, you think to yourself. Another great comp for the wide angle lens but closer to the water. Snap, snap, snap.
In time you set your camera down and you start to relax while casually looking at the details surrounding you. The fresh growth on the tips of the trees, the heat of the sun, the chill of the breeze. The water at your feet is lapping against the shore and the rocks along it. The daydreaming starts and then you realize that you’re staring at the surface of the water and the patterns of the undulating reflection caused by the soft waves along the shallows of the lake. They move around causing an abstract and fascinating hypnotic show.
All of a sudden it occurs to you that you should try get a photo of it just how it appeared to you. A literal graphic interpretation. You get the camera and point it at the water. The first few shots show a very fine and noisy texture from what seems like a long distance away, nothing like your eyes saw as you were staring at it contemplatively. You change lenses and zoom in to about 300mm and shoot a little closer. You snap one and look at the sensor and you see it. It seems to capture the fluid, pulsating movement that hypnotized you. You then spend another 20 minutes taking the shot over and over trying to get it just right, when really one was just as good as the next yet you enjoy every minute.
How many times do you go out to a scene as I described above and then didn’t take the time to look at the details?
Look at nature as a source of patterns, rhythms and a source for your creative abstractions. Take off the long lens and shoot some details. Not just close up macros of flowers, for instance, but also of things like the surface of a lake. It will stretch your creativity and will feed that creative need in you as an artist.
The scene that I described above actually happened this last Saturday at Lost lake while I conducted a private tour with a client. He was stoked, to say the least.
We shot for four days. We shot wide angle scenes to macros. Creeks and waterfalls to mountain vistas. Wildflowers to cherry trees. I was also able to give him some pointers along the way that will certainly help him elevate his work a few notches… this is his word not mine.
Remember Gary Randall Photography for workshops, classes and photo tours. I would appreciate it. 🙂