Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Troll Falls

with 13 comments


On September 11th, the person behind the counter at the visitor center south of Canmore, Alberta, told us it would be worth our while to hike to Troll Falls. We dutifully parked near Kananaskis Village and began walking the one-mile trail. Along the path to the falls we passed the dense tree trunks shown above, which intrigued me with their verticality (the WordPress editor doesn’t think verticality exists, but it does).

Troll Falls 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 high enough shutter speeds to stop the dramatic action, I photographed the smaller and gentler Troll Falls at 1/13 of a second to smooth out the flow of the water.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 18, 2017 at 4:49 AM

13 Responses

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  1. At least one photographer thinks horizonticality exists, too. He used it in a poster for an exhibit of photos from the same sort of territory you were traveling.

    I’d be happy to have any sort of waterfall to visit and photograph, so this smaller and gentler version seems just fine to me. It’s easy to imagine the limbs at the bottom at the edge of a bowl the water’s falling into.


    October 18, 2017 at 8:24 AM

    • I have to think that photographer made a false parallel to verticality. The parallel is false because verticality is merely the adjective vertical with the noun-forming suffix -ity added. The same approach, which is the correct one, takes the adjective vertical and likewise adds -ity to form verticality. “Horizonticality” is a bridge too far, the bridge in this case being a superfluous syllable.

      We have just a few waterfalls in Austin, mostly on the western, hilly side of town. I hadn’t thought, till you mentioned it, that your coastal area is probably too flat for any sort of self-respecting waterfall. Even the ones here don’t always flow. The last time I checked out the waterfall shown at


      I found not a drop of water in the creek.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 18, 2017 at 8:42 AM

      • Whether it’s a false or true word, it’s a fact that it’s awkward to pronounce. I tried it a few times, and decided that, even if it’s a perfectly good word, it isn’t worth the trouble. In that sense, it might have been good for the exhibition poster, since it made me stop and really look at the thing while trying to figure out the word.

        Your comment did make me stop and wonder whether the word I chose as the title for my next post is a true one, and not something I imagined. Merriam-Webster offers a definition without any quibbles, so I’m good to go.


        October 19, 2017 at 7:29 AM

        • That poster is indeed an attention-getter. It occurs to me that our media-centered world is increasingly filled with things competing to grab our attention.

          Your mention of quibbles sent me searching for the origin of the word. Here’s what the American Heritage Dictionary says: “Probably diminutive of obsolete quib, equivocation, perhaps from Latin quibus, dative and ablative pl. of quī, who, what (from its frequent use in legal documents).”

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 19, 2017 at 7:49 AM

  2. When I first read Linda’s comment above, I thought “limbs” referred to something horrible committed by the trolls. But I see that they’re tree limbs. My second thought was that the falls’ name had to do with fishing, but that sort of net is for deep ocean catches, I think. And your photo is great, a very nice softening effect, so there’s no need to troll for compliments! So back to the legendary ogres for the name of this place.

    Robert Parker

    October 18, 2017 at 11:12 AM

    • That’s a good analysis of trolls and trolling. I looked the word up a few months ago and found out that we have two two unrelated words, but with a bit of crossover in their meanings in recent years. There’s the Scandinavian-derived troll that’s an imaginary creature, and there’s the troll that has to do with catching fish or by extension other things. The senses blend in the Internet kind of troll who maliciously tries to grab people’s attention with inflammatory statements.

      I use the softening effect only occasionally because I think it can become a pictorial cliché. In one post last year I showed two versions of the same picture, one at 1/1600 of a second and the other at 1/15 of a second:


      Steve Schwartzman

      October 18, 2017 at 12:11 PM

      • wow that’s a radical change between the two shutter speeds

        Robert Parker

        October 18, 2017 at 1:03 PM

        • It is. One advantage of the slow shutter speed is that you can match it with a small aperture for extended depth of field.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 18, 2017 at 3:37 PM

  3. […] of Alberta’s Kananaskis Range, the site of the previous post, here’s Lower Kananaskis Lake as we saw it on September 11th. Wind gusts created ripples on […]

  4. The softening effect makes the water look like a veil. Lovely.


    October 19, 2017 at 5:02 AM

    • On our previous trip, in the Black Hills of South Dakota we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls. It seems various other waterfalls in North America bear that name as well.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 19, 2017 at 7:22 AM

    • As for this waterfall, you might say I kept it under sur-veil-lance.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 19, 2017 at 7:27 AM

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