API staff instructors Mark Bowie and Joe LeFevre led an enthusiastic group of photographers to the beautiful waterfalls of Ricketts Glen State Park in north-central Pennsylvania, their second workshop to this enchanting place. Ricketts is one of the finest places to photograph waterfalls in the East. There are twenty-two named falls, from 10 to 100 feet high, along a three-mile stretch of Kitchen Creek. Between them, slabs of rock are strewn haphazardly in the shallow creekbed. An infinite number of riffles flow over and around them. The surrounding beech forest is electric lime green in spring and makes a lovely backdrop to the falls.
The group was met, however, with challenging shooting conditions — bright sunny skies with a few passing clouds. Mark and Joe favor shooting forest-lined waterfalls under bright overcast conditions, but the group learned that even in contrasty light, there are abundant photographic possibilities. Shafts of sunlight lit underwater rocks, so that they appeared to be glowing in the creekbed. Zeroing in on the reflections of sunlit foliage created multi-colored bands of flowing water. Long exposures produced abstract blends of color and texture. The persistence of the students paid off with exceptional images not even possible in overcast conditions.
The instructors also led indoor instructional sessions with strategies, tips and techniques specific to shooting waterfalls. They emphasized the importance of careful composition and demonstrated the need for shooting multiple exposures. Layer Masks, HDR's, panoramas and image optimization in Lightroom and Photoshop were presented in detail.
Ricketts is truly a spectacular place, with one mesmerizing waterfall after another. Around every bend lies new discoveries, and Mark and Joe plan to go back next year. Interested in taking your waterfall imagery to new levels? Consider joining our experts for a workshop to the waterfalls of the Finger Lakes region in central New York from October 17-20. For details, including the program description and pricing, click here.