Playing with exposure time. Basically the same subject and composition, but one photograph is made using a 10-stop ND filter, the other with a polarizing filter, which is ~2 stops. Both images get some amount of blur in the water, but one photograph has a 30-second exposure time, the other 1/6 second. I think a split down the middle (~2 seconds) may have actually been nicer, but I didn’t do it because I didn’t have a mid-range filter!
Falls along East Fork Pigeon River (10-Stop ND Filter), Blue Ridge Parkway, NC (12″x18″)
Falls along East Fork Pigeon River (Polarizing Filter), Blue Ridge Parkway, NC (12″x18″)
Roaring Fork Creek Falls near the base of Mt Mitchell, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway, Pisgah National Forest. I liked the zig-zag path the water takes down the rocks.
Roaring Fork Creek Falls (Panorama), Pisgah National Forest, NC (16″x36″)
Roaring Fork Creek Falls (Single Frame), Pisgah National Forest, NC (12″x18″)
Panorama of Snoqualmie Falls- wish I had included a bit more foreground as the bottom of the ravine feels cut off in this one. I’ll have to take another trip out there when it’s more foggy/cloudy so I don’t get that burned out white spot in the sky!
Snoqualmie Falls in Late Winter (Color Panorama #1), Snoqualmie, WA (16″x28″)
Shooting a few long-exposure photographs of Snoqualmie Falls has been on my bucket list, so I decided to check the location off my list last weekend- rainy/cloudy conditions were in the weather forecast, but the sun started poking through the clouds as I got there. Winter sun is usually a relief in the Pacific Northwest, but not for long-exposure photography.
Snoqualmie Falls in Late Winter (BW #1), Snoqualmie, WA (12″x18″)
The light took on a silver quality as the fog thickened on my hike down from Talapus Lake so I decided to stop and photograph the stream flowing out of the lake.
Fog, Falls, and Trees near Talapus Lake, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA (12″x18″)
Fog, Falls, and Moss near Talapus Lake, Alpine Lakes Wilderness, WA (16″x36″)
Last summer was quite dry and hot on the Western Slope of the Rockies in Colorado- smoky air from forest fires and streams and waterfalls that trickled instead of gushed. This summer, I took my annual walk up to Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon and photographed the falls- there was much more water, with falls spouting out of the cliffs in multiple places. Here is a 30-second exposure of the falls at Hanging Lake.
Hanging Lake and Falls (Bulb Exposure, 2019),
Glenwood Canyon, White River National Forest, Colorado (11″x18″)
Downed, broken trees from a winter storm scattered around Coal Creek and falls near Bellevue, WA.
Coal Creek Falls and Logs, near Bellevue, WA (12″x18″)
Visiting the same location year after year forces me to try to see the same scene from new perspectives. This summer, I spent more time to the right of the falls taking a few long exposures of the water flowing out of the limestone at Spouting Rock above Hanging Lake.
Spouting Rock (Horizontal #3, Color, 2018), Hanging Lake, Colorado (16″x20″)
Spouting Rock (Vertical #3, Color, 2018), Hanging Lake, Colorado (28″x16″)
A single-frame photograph of the falls along the creek running out of Annette Lake in western Washington.
Humpback Falls (Single Frame), Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, WA (16″x16″)
After hiking up to Annette Lake and Silver Peak, I stopped at the falls along Humpback Creek to photograph the moss, rocks, and water. Clouds had moved in throughout the day, providing nice lighting for a few bulb exposures.
Humpback Falls (#1, Color), Mt. Baker Snoqualmie National Forest, WA (16″x32″)
With the blowing spray and crowds of people, taking a photograph that I was satisfied with at Seljalandsfoss was a bit daunting. I found a few brief moments when the wind shifted direction and I was able to take a bulb exposure of the falls from behind.
Seljalandsfoss (Bulb #1), southern Iceland (12″x18″)
Seljalandsfoss (Short Exposure #1), southern Iceland (18″x12″)
The cascading waters of Svartifoss slowly eat away at the rock, leaving jumbled piles of basalt in the ravine below. Columnar jointing in basalt flows + waterfall = perfect photography opportunity for a Geoscientist (and thousands of other photographers).
Svartifoss and Columnar Basalt, Vatnajökull National Park,Iceland (16″x36″)
We drove through a thick fog bank on the pass between Egilsstaðir and Breiðdalur valley in East Iceland. As we continued down the ring road towards Breiðdalsvík, we dropped below the clouds and could see the 1100 meter high mountains disappearing into the rain on either side of the valley.
Rain Clouds and Mountains in Breiðdalur Valley (#2), East Iceland (16″x64″)
The desolate drive along the Ring Road between Mývatn and Egilsstaðir in East Iceland passes through a windswept plateau where golden grasses creep up the steep slopes of hills (first panorama).
On our descent to Egilsstaðir in the Jökuldalur valley, I stopped to photograph the Rjukandi Falls as they poured over cliffs on their way to the Jökulsá a Brú river (second and third panoramas).
Light on Grassy Hillsides on the Plateau (#2), East Iceland (16″x81″)
Yst Í Rjúkandi Falls (#1), East Iceland (16″x35″)
Yst Í Rjúkandi Falls (#2), East Iceland (28″x16″)
At 44m tall and 100m wide, Dettifoss is a spectacularly large curtain of water pouring over a shelf of rock in northern Iceland. Sediment turns the waters (from the melting Vatnajökull glacier) of the Jökulsá á Fjöllum river a strange grey. Mist billowing up from the canyon makes bulb panorama exposures near the falls difficult to shoot (the camera gets wet quickly, and the lens gets covered in water spots). To give a sense of the size of the Dettifoss, I also included a single-frame bulb photograph of the opposite bank (note the person in the red rain jacket standing on the rocks above the falls)
Dettifoss and Jökulsá á Fjöllum (Bulb #4), northern Iceland (16″x66″)
Dettifoss (Single Frame, Bulb #2), northern Iceland (16″x16″)
Selfoss pours over and through jumbled basalt columns a few hundred meters upstream from Dettifoss, the most powerful waterfall in Europe. Selfoss and Dettifoss are both formed by the Jokulsa a Fhollum river in northern Iceland as it flows from the glacier Vatnajokull’s to the Arctic sea to the north.
Selfoss, northern Iceland (12″x18″)
After photographing Goðafoss from the cliffs on the north side of the river, I set my tripod up on the south and took a few bulb exposures looking down at the falls. This panorama is one of my favorites from the morning: constant mist billowing up from the cascading water changing into misty silk in the bulb exposure.
Looking down on Goðafoss from South (Bulb), northern Iceland (16″x48″)
Rivers and streams flowing down to the ocean create a tremendous number of waterfalls in Iceland. On my trip around the ring road, I stopped to photograph one famous set of waterfalls – Goðafoss – where a river pours over a shelf of rock creating five falls of various sizes. Driving rain kept me in the car for a few minutes, but the cloud passed and I was able to photograph the falls from a few angles without getting my camera too wet. I first took a few photographs after rock hopping to the cliff at the top of the falls (first photo below- no ND filter). I then walked down stream and set my tripod up so I could take a bulb exposure looking back up at the falls (second panorama- with ND filter). Note the dark rain cloud that is looming in the upper right corner of most of my photographs on this day.
Looking down on Goðafoss, northern Iceland (16″x54″)
Goðafoss (Bulb #2), northern Iceland (16″x54″)
I spent much of my time in southern Arizona searching for desert falls to photograph during the summer monsoon or winter rain storms. In Iceland, sustained precipitation and snow melt generate constantly flowing rivers and streams. Giant waterfalls cascade over cliffs every few hundred meters along the side of the ring road; it was difficult for me not to stop every five minutes, pull out my camera, set up my tripod, and shoot another panorama. Here is one of the many gorgeous locations along the Ring Road where dramatic clouds billow over cliffs disappearing into the distance.
Cliffs and Falls (near Budhir), northwestern Iceland (16″x41″)
After visiting Gulfoss we drove west back towards Reykjavik and stopped for a quick walk to Öxarárfoss, a waterfall in Þingvellir National Park. The falls cascade over basalt cliffs into the fault line/ravine along the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge that separates the North American and the Eurasian tectonic plates. As a geoscientist and a photographer, this location was particularly exciting to visit for me. I clearly wasn’t the only one who wanted to see the falls- I ‘had to’ sit and just enjoy the view while waiting for a group of photographers to move on to their next stop before I could shoot panoramas of the falls from a variety of angles without interruption.
Öxarárfoss and Rocks, Þingvellir National Park, Iceland (18″x44″)
After photographing Gulfoss from below, I walked up the stairs and out onto the plateau above the canyon to photograph the river as it enters the falls.
Gulfoss Plateau, southwest Iceland (18″x58″)
In late May, I traveled to Iceland to hike and take photographs. We first visited Gulfoss, a giant set of falls in the canyon of the Hvítá river in southwest Iceland. Iceland has become much more popular to visit since my last visit 9 years ago, so finding an unobstructed view of the cascading water can be difficult. Furthermore, even in late spring and early summer, strong winds and near constant spitting rain make it hard to keep the camera lens dry while taking long-exposure photographs.
Gulfoss Upper Cascades, southwest Iceland (16″x42″)
My first weekend in Boulder, I drove to the southeastern corner of Rocky Mountain National Park and hiked up to the back of Isolation Peak. On the way back down, I stopped at Ouzel Falls and Calypso Cascades to take a few long-exposure/bulb photographs of the flowing water.
Ouzel Falls and Stump, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO (16″x28″)
Calypso Cascades and Logs, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO (16″x27″)
Winter rain and snow on Mt Lemmon brought enough moisture to the Sonoran Desert to make this usually dry stream bed in Hairpin Canyon fill with water. On this particular day, I didn’t expect to take many photographs (I was out to climb), so I didn’t have my tripod in my backpack. I used a rock instead (bottom photograph) and managed to take a long(er) exposure set of photographs for the panorama using image stabilization (basically a gyroscope in the lens)- it’s amazing how well this relatively new technology works in a pinch (but I still wish I had my tripod!).
Falls and Cliffs at Hairpin Canyon, Coronado National Forest, AZ (16″x47″)
Falls, Log, and Sky at Hairpin, Coronado National Forest, AZ (12″x18″)