As you have probably already surmised, I have a thing for Waterfalls. It started as a youngster. I would go to my older brothers and parents soccer games at the Densmore Soccer Fields in East Irondequoit and instead of watching the games, I would go down onto the woods just past the fields and find the creek, following it to the small, but impressive falls. It was about 15 feet high and, depending on the season and recent snow melt or rainfall could be pretty full and loud or barely a trickle. My brother and I would mostly just throw rocks at the falls, but there was something about it that I couldn’t resist.
Naturally, as I began to get into Photography, I began to shoot waterfalls anytime I came across them. When I lived in Sonoma, CA, I used to take days off from my job as a Physical Therapist in the late winter and spring just to take hikes in the hills and shoot all the various waterfalls; ranging from tiny, trickling tributaries to colossal, cascading cataracts. I found tons of them in Sonoma and Marin counties including my favorites, Mt. Tamalpais State Park in Marin County and Sugarloaf State Park in Sonoma County. At that time, I was shooting film and i have all those shots still in film negatives and have not converted them to a digital format yet, so I cannot share them, but I have some of them on my walls at home. Beautiful shots in Black and White as well as great color images with green, mossy rocks and fallen tree trunks.
When my wife and I took a trip to Hawaii, we drove the Road to Hana, on the island of Maui and stopped at every possible waterfall to take pictures. W hiked through the rainforest to get to secluded waterfall, watching thrill seekers jump off the cliffs into the frigid pools below. We hiked along the Seven Sacred Pools at the end of the Road to Hana. People were lounging in the pools and diving into the water. It was amazing, watching the water fall from pool to pool, eventually terminating in the crashing surf of the Pacific Ocean.
The long exposure shots are the best shots in my opinion. The high speed shots that stop the motion are OK, but all the character of the falls are lost and get do not get the dimension that the motion conveys. to take these shots you need 3 things; Low Light, a Timer or Remote, and a Tripod. My shots are taken anywhere between 1/2 second to 2 second exposures. This what gives the water a soft motion look. To do this, you have to have a tripod and use a shutter remote or timer. The low light helps because if you use long exposure times in bright light, you get an overexposed image. I tend to go out either early in the morning or late in the evening and try to go on gray and overcast days. If you cannot rely on the weather to cooperate, you can get Neutral Density Filters that will significantly decrease the amount of light through the lens so you can do long exposures in bright day light. I recently used a ND Filter on my picture of Rochester High Falls in bright daylight.
Taughannock Falls is one of my favorite Falls to shoot. It is located in the town of Trumansburg, NY, just outside Ithaca. I have taken shots of this waterfall at all times of day and in all seasons. It never loses it’s beauty or majesty. It is 215 feet high. That is 21 stories tall. I love how in the winter, the spray freezes all over the walls of the gorge, covering the rock in a white blanket. I have not explored it yet, but the the town of Trumansburg looks to be a cute, quaint little village with interesting shops and restaurants. It is just outside of Ithaca, NY and I stop to take a shot (much to my wife and kid’s dismay) EVERY time we go to visit her family. If you are in the area, i suggest you stop at the Scenic Overlook and take some pics, you won’t regret it.
To see more of Taughannock Falls, and all my other waterfall pics, visit the below sites!!