Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Helen Hunt Falls

with 32 comments

On June 7th we visited North Cheyenne Cañon (or Canyon) Park on the west side of Colorado Springs. One of the main attractions in the park is Helen Hunt Falls, named not for the actress but for Helen Maria Hunt Jackson.

Just downstream from the base of the falls, part of North Cheyenne Creek rushes over a smooth area of rock, concave up, that shoots the water diagonally into the air. Below is a view of that splashing dynamic at 1/4000 of a second, with the water moving from right to left.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 2, 2017 at 4:33 AM

32 Responses

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  1. Lovely shot and thanks for the history, Steve! 🙂
    Have a wonderful Sunday.


    July 2, 2017 at 5:17 AM

    • You’re welcome, Dina. Only after I’d returned to Texas did I learn about Helen Maria Hunt Jackson.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2017 at 8:08 AM

  2. love the waves.

    Sherry Felix

    July 2, 2017 at 8:08 AM

  3. Fantastic captures, Steve, and thanks for the explanation for the second picture, especially the speed of the camera. Helps me learn.
    Have a great Sunday and a happy 4th,


    July 2, 2017 at 9:11 AM

    • You’re welcome. I worked as a teacher on and off for my whole adult life, so I still often feel the urge to explain things. Of course part of the fun is learning things myself.

      There are two main approaches to fast-moving water. The high-speed approach, shown here, attempts to stop the action. The slow-speed approach aims to make the water look cottony. Neither accords with the way our human eyes and brain actually see fast-moving water.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2017 at 9:41 AM

      • Glad you were a teacher and still like to give advice! Another teacher [have been one for 28 years] can understand. 🙂


        July 2, 2017 at 10:09 AM

        • I don’t think I knew that you’re also a teacher.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 2, 2017 at 10:14 AM

          • Well, now we know that of each other. 😉 I taught English at a German “Gymnasium” for all my professional life.


            July 2, 2017 at 10:21 AM

            • My Russian-speaking grandmother grew up in Bessarabia, in what is now part of Ukraine. She also used the word Gymnasium to describe secondary school there.

              Steve Schwartzman

              July 2, 2017 at 12:13 PM

              • Bessarabia! Who knows of that region any more nowadays!


                July 2, 2017 at 9:11 PM

                • You may well be the only person who has ever commented on this blog (other than my sister) who’s heard of Bessarabia. German schools have traditionally been good at teaching geography.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 2, 2017 at 10:44 PM

                • Well, I must admit that I didn’t learn about Bessarabia in Geography at school, but out of personal interest from geography books, atlases and encyclopedias.


                  July 3, 2017 at 8:54 AM

                • Then all the more credit to you individually.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  July 3, 2017 at 9:13 AM

                • 🙂


                  July 3, 2017 at 8:21 PM

  4. Nicely captured.


    July 2, 2017 at 9:35 AM

  5. I just got back from walking in a pretty muggy, boggy area, and these water shots look incredibly refreshing. I’m going to have a seltzer on the rocks.

    Robert Parker Teel

    July 2, 2017 at 5:10 PM

    • That’s a clever transition you’ve made from these water shots: seltzer on the rocks. Prosit!

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 2, 2017 at 6:23 PM

  6. That is an extraordinary phenomenon in the bottom pic – I would have been entranced by it too!

  7. You’re becoming as observant and creative a landscape photographer as you are a floral portraiture artist.
    Both of these photos are delightful, but that second is a treasure.

    I didn’t think my camera even allowed for 1/4000 of a second, but it does. Live and learn. What aperture and ISO did you use? I’ve had real problems with higher ISO settings (anything 1600 or above) being what I think they mean by “noisy.” It may be that rather than setting the shutter speed and allowing the camera to set the aperture, I need to go fully manual.

    I laughed at the title. My first response to “Helen Hunt Falls” was, “But could she get up?”


    July 3, 2017 at 6:52 AM

    • That’s funny about getting up. Your reaction to “Helen Hunt Falls” was of the same sort as mine to “Dances with Wolves,” where I took the first word to be a noun rather than a verb.

      On this latest trip I took a lot more pictures of landscapes than of flowers. Who wouldn’t, with all the opportunities the West offers for grand landscapes that our parts of Texas lack.

      As you said, the higher the ISO, the more “noise” you get. That’s an inevitable consequence of the fact that you’re forcing the sensor to mimic being more sensitive than it intrinsically is. I see that in the second photograph I had the ISO set to 400, which is often my default because it gives me some extra sensitivity while keeping the noise tolerable. The trade-off to such a high shutter speed is that even with as bright a subject as sparkling water, the camera required a matching aperture as wide as f/6.3. Fortunately I didn’t need a large depth of field for this subject.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2017 at 8:19 AM

  8. Beautiful photos, Steve.
    Allow me to add a link to one of my previous posts:


    February 7, 2018 at 9:05 AM

    • Thanks. I framed the first photograph tightly at the top to avoid including the bridge. I usually exclude human artifacts from nature pictures whenever I can.

      If you’d known about my post and I about yours, we could’ve published on the same day and cross-referenced them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 7, 2018 at 9:39 AM

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