Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Rainbow Falls

with 40 comments

You’ve already seen that at Watkins Glen State Park in New York State’s Finger Lakes region a visitor can walk behind Cavern Cascade. Upstream at Rainbow Falls comes another (and somewhat wetter) chance to do that:

From behind the curtain of water I experimented with a slow shutter speed, namely 1/15 of a second.

And below, sans animation or slow motion, is a more ample view showing the round pools the falling water sustained. In the previous waterfall picture from Watkins Glen I felt fortunate to have one disembodied tree trunk or limb that had ended up in the gorge; here I got three.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

September 17, 2019 at 4:50 AM

40 Responses

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  1. Cool. How did you post the slow motion animation? What a gorgeous gorge. I know, but someone had to do it.

    Steve Gingold

    September 17, 2019 at 5:00 AM

    • I followed the steps in the Photoshop animation tutorial at


      WordPress knows how to display the resulting .gif file.

      Let me add that I hadn’t set out to make an animation of the waterfall. I was shooting at high shutter speeds in bursts of several pictures because falling water can change so much in a fraction of a second and I planned to show the frame that I liked most.

      Your comment made me wonder if New York, which has a Lake George, also has a Lake George Gorge. I didn’t find one in New York but it seems Alaska has one.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2019 at 8:07 AM

      • NIce animation! First time I’ve seen you post motion stuff. Made me think you could consider revisiting some of the kelp pix you took in New Zealand and animate a collection. Maybe do a revisit article. (I’d entered “kelp” in your search field.)


        September 17, 2019 at 5:15 PM

        • Creating this sort of gif animation requires taking several pictures in quick succession that are all framed the same way. I’d have to go back to my archive from New Zealand and see if I happened to do that with any of my seaside pictures in Bluff, the place where I photographed the bull kelp. I might have, given the way the surf sloshed the kelp around and kept changing the patterns.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 17, 2019 at 9:44 PM

          • Interesting technique – I’d not heard of it. I assume you used a tripod so it aligned.

            I really liked it!



            September 19, 2019 at 7:56 PM

            • Actually I didn’t use a tripod, didn’t even have one with me on the trip. When I turned to Photoshop to create the animated gif, I found that the dialog box for uploading the multiple pictures has a check box that tells the program to do its best to align the photographs. That way I was able to make up for slight movements from one picture to the next. After the aligning, I cropped off any narrow edge areas that didn’t match up in all the pictures. I’m glad you liked the result.

              Steve Schwartzman

              September 19, 2019 at 8:43 PM

              • I’ve done some HDR with hand held photos using the same type of option. It works really well! I do shoot bracketed, which helps, but I’m impressed at how well the software can align the photos.


                September 19, 2019 at 9:06 PM

                • It’s good to know HDR offers the alignment option as well. It worked well with the components of the animated gif.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  September 19, 2019 at 9:14 PM

  2. How beautiful is that🤗💚


    September 17, 2019 at 5:12 AM

  3. What a fun post! 😀

    Robert Parker

    September 17, 2019 at 5:49 AM

  4. New York has some beautiful spots.

    automatic gardener

    September 17, 2019 at 7:37 AM

    • Some, and even many. It’s not unusual for people from elsewhere to assume all of the state is like New York City or its suburbs.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2019 at 8:12 AM

  5. Stunning images of the waterfall, Steve! How did you capture the perpetual motion in the first image? Is it a gif? I am not familiar with this technique.

    Peter Klopp

    September 17, 2019 at 8:27 AM

  6. Makes me homesick. Thank you.

    Michael Scandling

    September 17, 2019 at 10:19 AM

  7. I like the animation as well as the still images. A beautiful place to visit, Steve!

    Our autumn rains are coming early this year. The grass is unusually green for mid September.

    Lavinia Ross

    September 17, 2019 at 11:19 AM

    • A beautiful place, indeed, as were others in upstate New York that we visited on this trip.

      Happy autumn rains to you, and happy green grass. That alliteration isn’t just a coincidence: our native English words grass, green, and grow all developed from the Indo-European root that meant ‘to grow’ and ‘to turn green.’

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2019 at 12:11 PM

  8. The animations you’ve done are interesting, but they make me a little woozy; I can’t bring myself to look at them for more than a few seconds. I’ve had the same problem with animated avatars and flashing .gifs on certain sites. I may give my ophthalmologist a call get his opinion on why it happens. It’s a little odd, since I’m not prone to motion sickness or seasickness.

    I do find the second image especially appealing. The cross-hatching of the falling water and the mossy rock layers is wonderful. The arrangement of the branches in the third photo reminded me of coot feet, leading me to imagine a very large, perhaps prehistoric bird at the pool.


    September 17, 2019 at 4:23 PM

    • Yeah, I’ve done two recent animations, and they make me a little uncomfortable, too, though not to the point of wooziness. In hindsight, I’d have done better to make conventional videos. For that I’d have needed to lug a tripod around, and mine was 1500 miles away in Austin.

      The second picture was also an experiment. You find it more appealing than I, but I included it precisely to see if anyone had an opinion.

      While I couldn’t have singled out a species the way you did in the third photograph, I do see the resemblance to a bird’s foot.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 17, 2019 at 9:38 PM

  9. That’s great, Steve! Is this your first animated GIF here? Could not be a more perfect one. The movement literally grabbed me and pulled me in from my app feed. 😀


    September 18, 2019 at 6:36 AM

    • My first, which didn’t turn out as smooth, was in this post:


      In the current one, the individual photographs aren’t quite of equal brightness, and that creates a bit of flutter at the top, as in some old silent movies. I could probably equalize the brightness of the components if I put in more time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      September 18, 2019 at 7:48 AM

      • This one is much better. I also had the lighting issue with one (Mr. Wren nest building) but not another (Ginny blowing a hummer out of her hand). I’ve only done a handful of them. They are fun!



        September 18, 2019 at 9:20 AM

        • I said to Linda that in retrospect I wish I’d done a straightforward video, which would have been much smoother. While I didn’t have a tripod with me, I probably could’ve steadied myself enough against something immobile. At least now I know how to make an animated gif.

          Steve Schwartzman

          September 18, 2019 at 11:50 AM

  10. There is just something about a waterfall, isn’t there? I really love it that you animated the first one. Ahh, I just sat there and enjoyed it for a moment.


    October 15, 2019 at 9:45 AM

    • If you had to summarize our July–August trip in one word it would be waterfalls.

      The two animations that I did were experiments. Now that I’ve learned how to do an animation, I still prefer straight video.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 15, 2019 at 11:36 AM

      • Yes, I think it is better too although I had some interesting results with the camera in my phone, quite by accident.


        October 15, 2019 at 12:22 PM

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