|Cascades of Summer|
Since it was full on Summertime, I knew that I was going to have to get there early to get a parking spot with all the hikers and swimmers that would be there when it warmed up. This posed a slight problem since the park was a bit over three hours away from home. I was wanting to get there shortly after sunrise, around 7-7:30am. Doing the math, that meant that I was going to have to leave around 4am, which put me waking up earlier than that. I'm not a morning person by any stretch, but a photographer has to do what a photographer has to do in order to get the pictures.
|Beneath the Blooms|
|A Bit of Drama|
Another one of my goals which I had was to shoot some more instructional videos for Singh-Ray about how to use a polarizer for a more normal application than old cars. I wasn't sure when this was going to happen, but I went into it knowing that I would be shooting some video since the lighting was good, and relatively stable. This is what I love about shooting waterfalls on cloudy and rainy days. I can pretty much count on the light being right for long periods of time.
There was one little section which I tend to shoot regularly which caught my eye once again. It wasn't the water this time, but the blooming Mountain Laurel just above the falls. This was worth taking a little bit of time to work with, so I worked my way down the scramble path to get into position. I did a little rock hopping until I found the position I wanted to use to capture the falls and the seasonal greenery behind it.
As I was setting up with my 16-35mm lens, I decided to do a little comparison shooting with and without a polarizer. This might be the first time I have ever shot a waterfall without a polarizer, and honestly, I didn't like it much. It was a good comparison though, and I was able to send them to Singh-Ray.
This image is straight out of the camera with no filters. I just did a proper exposure and shot it. You can see how the water shows a great deal of glare, and it lacks a little visual pop which I like in my images. This composition ultimately ended up as my opening image for this blog entry.
This next image is the same composition but with the addition of the Singh-Ray Color Combo Polarizer that I use in the majority of my photography. You can immediately tell the difference in the water, and a lot more contrast has been added. Just the addition of the polarizer lengthened the shutter speed from 0.4 seconds to a full 2 seconds to blur the water.
Since I was already working without a filter, I figured that this would be the best time to shoot the video that I had been planning on. I went ahead and got everything prepped for easy of manipulation with only one hand and got my cell phone out to record the video.
After doing some of the behind the scenes work that I had planned on doing, it was time to pack up and move to my next location. There were several along the trail that I really enjoy working with but this time, they really didn't stand out all that much to me. The next time I exited the trail was at Midnight Hole which I really didn't want to stop at since I have two really good pictures of that waterfall already. However, when I walked passed it, I could see that there was some really good color to the water. It was worth a stop to see what I could do with it.
I did a little work with the small cascades in the stream over to the side, but I wasn't able to find a composition that really worked. There was just no organization among the rocks. I needed something for the eyes to follow. Since I Wasn't having much luck, I went down to another section by the trail and found that the lighting was even better on the rocks. I went ahead and pulled out the camera once again, and fitted the 70-200mm lens and polarizer.
|Mountain Stream Abstract|
Video is not my specialty by any stretch, but considering I'm doing this on a cell phone while manipulating the camera I'm doing pretty good. This shows a bit about how I do these isolations, and what I'm looking for on the back of the camera. Unfortunately, I ended up not liking this particular composition on a big screen so it was trashed. However, I did do another one from the same area which turned out pretty good.
After about 20 minutes here, I had shot all that I cared to shoot of this location. My camera position was pretty restricted due to the rock that I had to be on, so there was only so much that I could do compositionally without falling off of the rock I was on. That was OK since I had plenty of other things that I wanted to shoot. I started to work my way back down the trail towards the bridge overlooking the creek.
|Full of Life|
|Through the Trees|
I would have loved to have gotten down to the water for some really dramatic shots, but there was just no way I could get down there safely. I checked a couple of different locations for other compositions but found that I had already located the best spots to shoot this from. I went ahead and packed things up and got ready to head on to Mouse Creek Falls a short distance down the trail. The lighting was about the same as it had been, and I figured as long as there were no people there I would give it another try.
|Cascades in the Forest|
As I was swapping over to my 70-200mm lens, I had my first real run in with hikers. There were two guys coming down the scramble path to enjoy the waterfall. They asked if they would get in my way with I though was very considerate. I said that I doubted it, but I would only be another couple of minutes. They patiently waited as I got the long lens fitted with the polarizer and started to make a few images. I wasn't really happy with what I was shooting as I wasn't getting quite close enough. I thanked the hikers and said that I was finished.
They actually went well out of my way to sit down and have lunch which made me feel kind of bad since they wouldn't have been in my way regardless. While I was starting to pack up, I remembered my 2x teleconverter which I carry in my bag. This piece goes between the camera body and my 70-200mm lens to make it equivalent to a 140-400mm lens. I have only used it twice before, and figured that this would be a good time to give it another try.
|Dreaming in Black and White|
This was the last bit of pictures that I shot. When I got back to the trail, there were hikers by the dozens going up and down the trails. Many were obviously set to go swimming in addition to hiking. The clouds were also starting to part a little more than I liked. With these things going against me, and seeing that the time was after noon, it was time to head back to the truck. I had shot 123 frames during the five hours that I was in the park. That would be enough to keep me busy for most of the night once I got home.
It turned out to be a pretty good day. I achieved all of my goals that I had set for myself for this trip. It was also a fantastic day to be outside. The temperatures stayed right around 70 with just a passing drizzle with the clouds. After weeks now of 90+, it was almost a Fall day in the woods. I am starting to get tired now as I have now been awake for 19.5 hours and still have a few more things to do before bed. Thanks for joining me on my hike at Big Creek!