Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Takakkaw Falls

with 54 comments

We had a full day on September 7th. One place we went, along with a zillion other people, was Takakkaw Falls in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park. The picture above shows the waterfall from the far side of the Yoho River. The photograph below gives you a look at the base of the falls from as close as I could get and still keep my camera dry.

Did you know there’s a World Waterfall Database online? There is, and you can check out its entry for Takakkaw Falls.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 29, 2017 at 4:57 AM

54 Responses

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  1. It is “an elite cataract” for sure! Quite spectacular! I am sure your trip evoked one “ah” after another.

    Dianne

    September 29, 2017 at 6:29 AM

  2. Steve….I thank you for your eyes, but I think that you see more through your heart. I have been knocked on my butt with too long a list to trouble you with. Anyhow I am a captive of my broken body awaiting back surgery. Until then, I get to see the world via your blog. I like seeing you broadening your focus to more than just flora, even though that is your calling!….be blessed, be safe, enjoy what you have….jim

    James Work Photography

    September 29, 2017 at 7:49 AM

    • Sorry to hear about your troubles, Jim. Good luck with your upcoming surgery.

      Austin doesn’t have majestic scenery, so when I’m in a place like the Canadian Rockies I find myself concentrating on the grand scale of things. Once home again, it’s back to the smaller world of plants and the many goers on plants.

      Either way, there are visions to be had and recorded.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2017 at 8:48 AM

  3. These two images are among your best. I just keep wanting to gaze at them.

    melissabluefineart

    September 29, 2017 at 8:16 AM

  4. The ‘rooster tail’ phenomenon would have been tremendous to photograph, but the hike up top to view may have been more prohibitive than water spray on the lens. Another beautiful space, captured well, of course. I would expect no less from you by now in these last five years! ~ Shannon

    Shannon

    September 29, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    • Thanks for your vote of confidence, Shannon. A few visitors to Takakkaw Falls during our time there did scamper way up high. I met one guy at the base who said that after he’d gone half-way up he decided it wasn’t worth it and returned. Stress on the lungs aside, I expect the best views really do come from below.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2017 at 9:12 AM

      • Lower gravitational potential is where it’s at. Broken ankles (gear) ain’t all that. 😀

        Shannon

        September 29, 2017 at 5:47 PM

        • I like the way you put that: lower gravitational potential. This morning, coincidentally, after I encouraged someone to sniff a bull nettle flower to see how fragrant it is, I added the suggestion that sitting or kneeling would lower his center of gravity and make accidental contact with needles less likely.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 29, 2017 at 6:06 PM

          • As someone who once sat on bull nettles on the west side of Texas 71 while photographing white prickly poppies, I second your suggestion. Obviously, the experience was memorable.

            shoreacres

            September 30, 2017 at 7:56 AM

            • Fortunately I’ve never had that memorable experience. If I had, I’d probably do my best to unremember it.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 30, 2017 at 9:14 AM

  5. Quite spectacular views! 🙂

    Pit

    September 29, 2017 at 8:26 AM

  6. OMG…I bet, you had your time there!! 🙂 🙂

    Indira

    September 29, 2017 at 10:51 AM

    • That we did. Even with three weeks we couldn’t go to as many places as I’d have liked to visit.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 29, 2017 at 10:57 AM

  7. That explosion of water against the rocks in the second photo is just beyond words. What intrigues me is the contrast between the spread of the watery spray and the relative narrowness of the stream continuing on down the rocks. I’m sure it was wider than shown here, and that the foreground rocks have reduced its apparent size somewhat, but the contrast still is wonderfully effective.

    I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was about the first photo that made me keep looking, until I saw the “finger” pointing heavenward. Everything about the photo is strongly vertical, and I found myself seeing the water not just as a “fall” from up above, but also as an arm, hand, and forefinger pointing up from below.

    The waterfall is great, but I confess those trees in the foreground are my favorite part of the image.

    shoreacres

    September 30, 2017 at 8:10 AM

    • In looking at the second picture before I posted it, I also wondered about the disparity between the amount of water coming down and the amount in the little stream. My guess is that other little streams outside the frame of the photograph carried off more of the fallen water.

      I can easily imagine the finger (plus hand and arm) that you see at the top of the waterfall. That’s in contrast to the mountain known as The Finger that appeared here the other day, which I never did succeed in seeing as a finger.

      Using trees to frame a waterfall or other natural feature is a traditional device in landscape photography. Some might say too traditional, i.e. trite. Maybe that’s why I don’t often use the technique. In this case, I was barely if at all conscious of it. From where I stood, that’s the composition that suggested itself. I’m glad to hear it worked so well for you.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 30, 2017 at 9:50 AM

      • When you mentioned earlier that you couldn’t see Finger Mountain as a finger, I grinned and thought, “Clearly, he hasn’t been hanging around with woodworkers.” I can’t tell you how many carpenters and woodworkers I’ve known over the years whose intimate encounters with saws have left them with fingers that look just like that mountain finger. Even the very best sometimes make mistakes, and that’s one mistake that lingers for a lifetime.

        shoreacres

        September 30, 2017 at 10:19 AM

        • You’re right that I haven’t ever hung around with woodworkers. We recently bought a few very sharp kitchen knives and I’ve been especially careful to keep from ending up like those unfortunate woodworkers.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 30, 2017 at 10:28 AM

      • I wonder how people’s perceptions and comments would have differed if you’d titled the post “Trees At Takakkaw Falls”.

        shoreacres

        September 30, 2017 at 10:23 AM

        • Good question. Someone with access to students or volunteer subjects could run an experiment in which half the people would be exposed to the post as it is now, and the other half to the post with your suggested title. Then the comments of the two groups could be compared to see if any differences are evident.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 30, 2017 at 10:33 AM

  8. Wow, these are breathtaking photos. I agree with Linda though, on the trees in the foreground. I kept going back to study that image, and found myself drawn to the way they frame the photo.

    Littlesundog

    September 30, 2017 at 9:07 AM

    • You’ve seconded the validation. Thanks. Here’s what I just wrote in response to Linda’s comment: “Using trees to frame a waterfall or other natural feature is a traditional device in landscape photography. Some might say too traditional, i.e. trite. Maybe that’s why I don’t often use the technique. In this case, I was barely if at all conscious of it. From where I stood, that’s the composition that suggested itself. I’m glad to hear it worked so well for you.” And now for you, too. Maybe I should use that device more often.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 30, 2017 at 9:53 AM

      • Indeed you should! It was very effective here.

        Littlesundog

        September 30, 2017 at 11:14 AM

        • If you could arrange to move some forested mountains and gigantic waterfalls to Austin, I promise to practice the technique.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 30, 2017 at 11:24 AM

          • Hmm, best I could do is win the lottery and fly you to the “forested mountains and gigantic waterfalls” whenever you got the hankering to practice! Will that do?

            Littlesundog

            September 30, 2017 at 2:19 PM

  9. f
    a : )
    l
    l
    i g
    n n
    g i
    water s
    spirit
    r

    Yes, the waters’ fall made me smile. So did the world wide waterfall data base. Who knew? (Steve, of course)

    Gallivanta

    October 3, 2017 at 4:55 AM

    • Arrghhhhh
      well that turned into a mess

      Gallivanta

      October 3, 2017 at 4:56 AM

      • A mess of scrambled words. It’s supposed to read, ‘Falling water, spirit rising’.

        Gallivanta

        October 3, 2017 at 4:57 AM

        • That shows the power with which your wordfall splashed out its letters. It was half a century ago, I think, when I first encountered word pictures. They were in Apollinaire’s Calligrammes:

          http://tinyurl.com/y7tgmpxc

          As for the World Waterfall Database, I hadn’t known about it till this post. It was one of the hits that turned up when I looked for information about Takakkaw Falls.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 3, 2017 at 7:04 AM

          • Sadly, although my word picture looked fine in draft, the final product failed to live up to Apollinaire’s standards.

            Gallivanta

            October 3, 2017 at 7:10 AM

  10. […] contrast to Takakkaw Falls, which people admire for its height, Natural Bridge on the Kicking Horse River in British […]

  11. T-Falls inspires many — as these comments show. It was (and still is) one of my favourite spots in Yoho.

    Sally

    October 7, 2017 at 9:46 AM

    • I can understand why it’s one of your favorites. It certainly attracted a slew of tourists the day we were there. Of course that was true of all the well-known places we visited. Near the end of our three weeks things finally began to calm down. Maybe we should have come a couple of weeks later than we did.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 7, 2017 at 10:11 AM

      • The Rockies are definitely a hot spot for tourists. At one time tourism used to really drop during the shoulder seasons (with a real uptick for ski season) but now it’s pretty much 24/7 or so it seems. Each season has its own beauty so whenever one visits there is something special to see.

        Sally

        October 7, 2017 at 4:23 PM

        • One advantage of taking pictures close to home is that I get to see the landscape and the plants throughout the year. In a warm place like Austin the seasons don’t change as drastically as they do in Alberta, but there are still changes, and I look forward to seeing them as we cycle through the years.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 7, 2017 at 4:47 PM

  12. […] turned out to be okay. You might say we were jaded from having already visited Natural Bridge, Takakkaw Falls, and some others. In contrast to my treatment of those waterfalls, which I mostly photographed at […]

  13. Beautiful again. We’ve been here twice but not on our most recent trip.

    Anabel Marsh

    November 7, 2017 at 4:09 AM

    • I can understand why you returned. I’ll bet there were differences from one visit to the next.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 7, 2017 at 6:29 AM

      • Mainly more people! I think everywhere was busier because of Canada 150, but even so it puts me off going back. For a while anyway!

        Anabel Marsh

        November 7, 2017 at 6:34 AM

        • In the United States it’s become common to say that our national parks are being loved to death, and the same could be said of what we experienced in Canada. I think you’re right that the free admission of Canada 150 contributed to the mobs of people. Even without that, though, I’m afraid the number of visitors will keep increasing, so scenic are the places in that area. You could try making a return visit outside the tourist season, but then you’d have to contend with the cold, and as you know, some of the most scenic places are open only in the warm months.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 7, 2017 at 7:08 AM

          • Yes, and as commented on another post: John’s job really limits our timing. We have similar problems here eg Isle of Skye which I just wouldn’t consider going to now.

            Anabel Marsh

            November 7, 2017 at 7:36 AM

            • I didn’t realize that the Isle of Skye is such a tourist draw at this time of year. We’ve never been to Scotland, but let’s hope we make it there one day.

              Steve Schwartzman

              November 7, 2017 at 8:18 AM


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