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Falling water

Here in Central Ohio, fall is well advanced. The trees are a bit past peak color, although many sugar maples and other of the arboreal torches of autumn are still showstoppers. Today brought a heavy rain, likely the aftermath of Hurricane Patricia, and as I watched the precipitation from my office window this afternoon, Hayden Run Falls popped to mind.

I don't know about you, but I all too often ignore the little honey holes right in my backyard. When field opportunities present themselves, it usually means travel to some far-flung place. There are plenty of sweet little spots close at hand, though, and I'm guilty of all too often ignoring them. Hayden Run and its falls, which is only about ten minutes from where I live, is one such place.

I knew the rain would fuel the falls that caps the end of this lovely little limestone box canyon, so after work I hustled home, grabbed some camera gear, and headed out to do some waterfall-ing.

Just off the parking lot, which is just off very busy Hayden Run Road, is an interesting boardwalk that begins with a steep staircase that descends into the gorge. As soon as I hit the planks, I could hear the water from the falls. This shot, by the way, was made with my little Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens, which - as far as lenses go - is quite inexpensive and extremely compact. I don't use it very often, but it can make people look like models, and render landscapes in very sharp relief. This was shot with the Canon 5D Mark III, set at f/11, 1/2 second, ISO 50.

The falls were quite Niagaraesque today. Hayden Run is not a large stream and does not drain a huge area, thus its water dries up fairly quickly. If you want to shoot the falls in their full majesty, it's best to go on the heels of a good rain.

I don't do a lot of waterfall shots, or landscapes in general, at least when compared to all of the flora and fauna that I shoot. So, an hour in the depths of Hayden Run Gorge would be good instruction. Perhaps not always, but probably mostly, waterfalls photograph best when the camera settings are dialed in to produce a soft silky look to the water. That's the look I wanted to fool around with, and experiment with different settings and techniques.

A SLOW shutter speed is essential to producing the silky look of the water. That means two tools should be brought into play: 1) a tripod, and 2) remote shutter release. The first is actually essential. Shutter speeds should be so slow that there's no way you'll successfully handhold the camera without your shot looking as if it were taken during the peak of an earthquake. The remote shutter release is just an inexpensive cord with a button on its end. Plug it into the camera and the button becomes the shutter. Once the camera is all set up for the shot, you can trigger it without having to touch the rig and possibly induce some camera shake at the beginning of the exposure.

This image was made with the Canon 5D Mark III and Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 lens set at 70mm focal length. Settings: f/18, 1 second exposure, ISO 50 in Aperture Priority Mode.

The falls are 35 feet high, and when in deluge mode generate an incredible mist as the water smashes into the creek below and temporarily atomizes. I could only point my lens at the falls long enough to make a few images at best, before I'd have to turn the rig around and wipe down the lens.

This shot was made with the aforementioned 5D III, this time bolted to the Canon 16-35mm f/4L lens set to 20mm. Settings were f/16, 1/5 second, ISO 100, -1/3rd exposure compensation. Compare the look of the water to the previous image, which was made with a shutter speed five times slower, and the image before that which was at a shutter speed about 2.5 times slower..


Lisa Greenbow said…
What a beautiful place. Nothing like this near where I live. I would be drawn to it for sure.

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