Posted by: kerryl29 | May 16, 2012

Back in Business

I boarded a flight for Las Vegas on the morning of Friday, May 4, en route to Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks in Utah and Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada and didn’t return to the Midwest until late in the evening of Tuesday, May 15.  I’ve been basically out of commission, Internet-wise, during that time frame.  I had access to the Net; I simply didn’t have the time to deal with the blog.  While I was gone I spent virtually every waking hour in the field or dealing with image download and backup.

I’m slowly working back into my regular routine now, but haven’t had time yet to even look at the images I compiled while on the road.  It will take a long time to go through all of the material, but I’ll begin doing so (hopefully) some time tomorrow.  As I work through the digital darkroom part of the process, I’ll be adding posts to the blog, detailing my experiences out West.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few images from a one-day shoot in western Ohio that I was involved with on the Saturday before I took off.

West Milton Cascades, Miami County, Ohio

On April 28, I took part in a shoot with a group of photographers around Dayton, Ohio.  The focus was waterfalls–there are a surprising number of them in the Dayton area–and, other than a brief downpour late in the morning, we had good weather for the subject matter:  overcast skies (ideal for shooting waterfalls and rapids).  It had been fairly dry in that part of the world for a few weeks, so the downpour–a real gully washer that lasted for more than an hour–was welcome, and probably helped the water flow during the afternoon part of the shoot.

Ludlow Falls, Miami County, Ohio

Obviously this was far different subject matter than I was to photograph while in Utah and Nevada.  I think a lot of people regard waterfalls as rather prosaic subjects.  And, superficially, I suppose that’s true.  But I enjoy the challenge of shooting them.  There are a number of technical considerations involved.   Even with non-contrasty lighting, they can be very difficult to deal with from a dynamic range standpoint.  And determining the most flattering shutter speed for rendering the water–which varies dramatically depending on the style of waterfall.  Dealing with potential foliage movement with a relatively slow shutter speed is always a consideration as well.

Cascades Above Ludlow Falls Black & White, Miami County, Ohio

But there are aesthetic considerations as well.  As with all subjects, there are compositional and perspective issues to consider and  there are practical concerns too.  For every one of the images you see in this post, I was the only photographer in the group able to obtain the specific shot because I was the only one with a combination of knee-high rubber boots (able to wade through standing water without being soaked on what was a very chilly day) and a tripod (and thus able to obtain slow shutter speeds without introducing prohibitive camera shake).  There were other people with tripods and other people with boots, but I was the only one with both and, on this day, it stood me in good stead.

Overlook Park Falls, Overlook Park, Miami County, Ohio

Next time, the first of what I expect will be a long series of Utah/Nevada posts.



  1. Great series, Kerry, especially the first shot.

  2. These are fantastic shots!

  3. Beautiful !!

    Sir, I admire your talent with the shutter.

    • Thanks; that’s very kind of you to say.

  4. WOW! That first shot is photography perfection!! Definitely frame worthy 🙂

  5. Hah… just recently bought a pair of rubber boots! Beautiful photographs of what can be difficult subjects. Looking forward to seeing and reading about your southwest adventure.

    • Thanks, David. Excellent move on the rubber boots. (I literally can’t imagine shooting around water without them at this point.) I should have the first SW post up by Sunday.

      • Awesome… looking forward to seeing your bounty!

  6. too gorgeous – luv it

  7. beautiful photos, Kerry, and I look forward to the Utah/Nevada series.

    • Thanks, Jane. I should have a UT/NV post up by sometime on Sunday.

  8. Kerry
    Excellent. Long shutter speed seems to be the way to go. Glad you had your boots too.

    • Thanks, Victor. The boots are a must.

  9. I never grow tired of waterfall pictures. They rouse my sense of smell and sound as I am drawn in to the scene. Yours pictures are beautiful!
    Rubber boots and a tripod are typically part of my gear. My wool lined rubber boots are particularly important for winter creek shots in my part of the world (Central Canada)!

    • Thanks very much. I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who has determined that boots are of major assistance when shooting around water…or snow!

  10. Missed your fantastic landscape imagery… glad its back 🙂

  11. From the ole boy Scout days…be prepared is the motto I still follow. I see you did too! Great shots and I like how you showed movement in the water but didn’t render it too dreamy. Welcome back home Kerry!

  12. Beautiful photos, Kerry…worth the effort of lugging the tripod and boots…. Glad you’re back…will look forward to seeing what you captured out in my neck of the woods. 🙂

    • Thanks, Scott. Much appreciated.

      • Very welcome.

  13. There’s something about that last shot that grabs me Kerry. Welcome back.

  14. Boots & tripod – have to remember that! I love all of the shots, Kerry, but the last one (Overlook Park Falls) seemed extraordinary. A different point of view, the water cascading from above in an unexpected way and the way it scattered on the rocks. Truly exceptional!

    • Lynn–yes, boots and tripod are a must when shooting around moving water. I honestly can’t imagine doing so without both.

      The Overlook Park shot was a toughie. A storm had brought down two huge trees that fell in the gorge that the waterfall’s stream runs through. I had to climb over both of them to get any kind of a view at all and when I did, I was very close to the falling water itself. It’s a tall waterfall–I’d guess 40-50 feet or so. But from the base, to shoot the entire falls, you have to go ultra-wide and–the killer for me–you have to include sky. I wanted no part of the sky in this shot, so I had to go with a sectional perspective–something I do fairly frequently–and what you see here is what I came up with. Glad it worked for you and thanks very much for the kind words.

  15. As always, great photos!
    I was trying to get smooth waterfall shots last weekend and failing. That’s something I really want to master

    • Thanks.

      Re the smooth water look for waterfalls and/or cascades…it depends on how quickly the water is moving and the exact look you’re going for, but you’re probably looking at a shutter speed somewhere in the range of 1/8 sec. to one second. I’d experiment with exposures in that area and see what you like best.

      • Is it also easier when you have a filter on the lens?

    • Given the way WordPress comments work, I can’t reply directly to _your_ reply…so I’m doing so here, in the hope that you’ll see it.

      In response to your question about filters…unfortunately, my answer is “it depends.” Mostly, it’s a function of ambient light. If it’s relatively bright where you’re shooting, you may well need a filter–a polarizer, a neutral density filter, or both–to obtain the slow shutter speed you’re after. But if it’s fairly dark–as it often is, for instance, under a forest canopy–you may be able to obtain the shutter speed you’re looking for without any filter at all. In that instance, a filter may restrict you to shutter speeds in a range that are actually slower than what you’re looking for, though you may be able to compensate with a wider aperture or higher ISO.

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