Wednesday, June 3, 2015

So Many Waterfalls, So Much Beauty - Exploring Ricketts Glen

There are so many waterfalls on Ricketts Glen's Kitchen Creek — 22 of them over a 3-mile stretch, ranging from 10 - 100 feet high — it's hard to photograph them all well in a single workshop... but we tried!  Joe LeFevre and I led an intrepid group of shooters here over two full days.  We experienced a range of lighting conditions, from sunny and breezy to overcast and quiet.  And the falls put on a show.   When the sun was out, we learned how to capture the colorful reflections of spring foliage in the creek.  The reflections changed with our vantage point and the wide contrast range demanded shooting multiple exposures to blend later in processing.  When it was overcast, the lime-green forest surrounding the cascades made a magnificent backdrop.  The lighting was even and the forest glowed against brilliance of the falls.  So both conditions created special imaging opportunities.

During the indoor instructional sessions Joe and I covered many field and processing techniques specific to waterfall imagery, including blending multiple exposures for exposure latitude, expanding resolution and focus stacking.  We discussed the creative use of filters for lengthening shutter speeds and reducing glare.  And we illustrated the special conditions produced by flowing water that make photographing waterfalls so enticing.

The concentration and variety of Ricketts' waterfalls makes it one of the best places in the East to photograph falling water.  This was our third trip here and we were again overwhelmed by the sheer number and beauty of the falls.  They're seemingly around every bend of the trail.  So much beauty over such a short span.  We can't wait to return!