Each year I like to head out to photograph waterfalls to include in my waterfalls of Upstate New York calendar. The sheer abundance of them throughout the Adirondacks keeps me steadily on the move and always finding new and remarkable places.
Last year I finally made it to Falls Brook just off route 30 in Indian Lake. I had driven past this spot hundreds of times over the years not knowing the beauty that was hidden just behind the tree line.
It was a somewhat sunny day as we passed Lewey Lake and found the large dirt pull-off on the left next to the Brook. We followed the footpath in from roadside and up the along the water. The sun was shining through the trees creating spots of intense light surrounded by shadows. Not only that, but the sun had also found an opening in the canopy above the falls. This created spots of deep contrast directly on the bright water as it flowed through the dark, moss-covered terrain.
Regardless of the lighting, I stood before one of the most picturesque waterfalls I have visited. The stone bridge that spanned the brook at the top of this small gorge with moss-covered rocks and crystal clear water leading to a shallow pool at my feet gave me the feeling of being a hundred miles away from civilization despite there being state campsites on each side.
Always the optimist, and a patient one at that, I set my tripod and wired remote. I placed my camera to the “Mirror Lock-up” and “Manual” settings in order to reduce vibration when shooting long exposures and to have total control over the exposure settings. I lined up the shot as I stood in a position to place myself at eye-level with the middle of the falls. I used the walls of the gorge to lead the up to the bridge while the broad waterfall seemed to project itself forward as if bursting forth from the bridge itself. Then I waited.
I stood there for about thirty minutes as clouds teased a bit of shadow here and there. Finally, a brief moment of diffused light fell upon the scene and took the edge off the brightness of the water just long enough for me to capture a handful of shots at different shutter speeds and angles. I also had a circular polarizer on the lens to reduce reflections and glare so I adjusted that as I shot as well. I wanted to show a little blur in the water without much motion or that “smokey” look so I set my camera to a half-second shutter speed and increased one step from there with four successive shots. As it turned out, I was happiest with the half-second exposure. As far as the polarizer, I used its effect sparingly as I liked the mild reflection on the water at the base of the falls.
With no time to review each shot in the LCD for corrections, I made a number of adjustments as that one perfectly placed cloud drifted above. This is where practice and experience come in to play. Having done this many times, I was able to look at the scene and judge my exposure using the internal light meter as a guide. Practice, practice, practice!
All-in-all, it was a great visit to new spot and I came away with some great photographs. Falls Brook definitely lands high on my favorites list for waterfalls.
Camera – Nikon D7000
Lens – 18-55mm Nikkor 3.5-5.6, no VR
Aperture – f/22
Shutter Speed – 1/2 sec.
ISO – 100
Exposure Bias – +1
Focal Length – 18mm
Filter – Circular Polarizer
Final Image –