Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Posts Tagged ‘waterfall

Stone Bridge Falls

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Monday night it rained. Tuesday morning I followed the Smith Memorial Trail to Stone Bridge Falls on Bull Creek, hoping the rain would have invigorated the waterfall. It had, as you see in the scene-setting first photo.

Me being me, I experimented with portraying the falls in different ways.
One approach was to use a slow shutter speed (1/13 of a second) to create silky water:

But more often than not I stayed with high shutter speeds, as is my wont.
Along with that, some of the time I leaned toward abstraction, as I’m also inclined to do:

At times I also used my camera’s burst mode to take high-shutter-speed photographs in quick succession. The point was to document how much the water changed in very short intervals. The following consecutive closeups are all time-stamped 9:10:17, meaning that they were recorded in less than one second; each lasted just 1/2500 of a second. I think you’ll agree that it’s easy to spot some changes. For example, one difference is the prominent oval over on the right side of the middle image, which hadn’t fully closed in the first image and which had disappeared by the time of the third picture.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 10, 2019 at 4:00 AM

Like a drawing

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Unlike some of you, I know nothing about drawing. Even so, when I look at this image I get the impression that it’s a pastel drawing and I seem to see the individual strokes that went into it. That’s what photographing a waterfall at 1/6 of a second can do. The dark protrusion was probably a small root or branch of the sycamore tree (Platanus occidentalis) over whose large roots the creek dropped to form this little waterfall.

I took this picture and plenty of others on April 21st during the same hike along a tributary of Bull Creek that produced the realistic creekscapes you saw last month. If you’d like a more-conventional, still somewhat abstract, and rather busy view of the small waterfall, click the image below.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

May 19, 2019 at 4:41 AM

A smaller waterfall

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On April 8th, after photographing Bull Creek’s wide falls, I moved half a mile downstream and dealt with a waterfall that’s narrower and not as tall but that was still forceful after the weekend’s rain. Where I showed you pictures of the other falls at cotton-inducing speeds of 1/10th and 1/8th of a second, this time you’re getting the stop-action look of 1/1250th and 1/1600th of a second. The second photograph, taken from farther to the right but zoomed in more, gives you a closer view of the falling and churning water. And speaking of falling, the wet rocks were pretty slippery, so prudent me didn’t risk getting any closer to the edge, even for the sake of what might have been a better picture.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman 

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 16, 2019 at 4:54 AM

We had rain on Saturday and Sunday

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We had rain on Saturday and Sunday, so Monday morning I went over to Bull Creek to check out its wiiiiiiiide waterfall. No one had moved it, as these two pictures confirm. Notice the switchgrass in the upper left of the second photo.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 9, 2019 at 4:47 AM

Falls and gulls

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Neither shortly after returning from our 2017 New Zealand trip nor during the one-year retrospective did I show you a picture of Haruru Falls in the Bay of Islands just minutes away from where we were staying in Paihia. Here, then, are a couple of photographs I took at the falls two years ago today. In the first picture, notice at least a dozen gulls in the background. I got much closer to one to make the second photograph.

But the most dynamic (because of wings being raised) portrait of a gull that day came from the Puheke Reserve on the Karikari Peninsula. The bird had been eating some of the little orange fruits you see close by it, and one second after I took this picture (thanks, metadata) it had spun 180° around to eat more.

© 2019 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 13, 2019 at 12:00 PM

The effects of a good rain

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Steve Gingold recently showed some Massachusetts waterfall photographs, so I thought I’d follow suit. What made that possible down here in Austin was the cooperation of nature on the night of December 26th, which gave us several hours of lightning and thunder plus the 3 2/3 inches of rain that fell onto my part of town. The next morning, eager to see what effect the rain had had, I went straight to one of the two good waterfalls I know in this area, the one on a tributary of Bull Creek along Spicewood Springs Rd. near the Capital of Texas Highway. The resulting photographs differed from a couple of others I’ve shown of this place over the years because the sky had completely cleared and the sun was high enough to cast tree shadows on the waterfall.

Isolated froth at the base of the falls off to the right undulated somewhat with the flowing water, but not so much that I didn’t try taking half a dozen pictures of it with the camera set at the same 1/1250 of a second shutter speed I’d used to stop the action in the first photograph.

Even with a high ISO of 2000, such a quick shutter speed required a broad aperture of f/4, so to maximize what I could get in focus I leaned over and aimed straight down. What I didn’t realize while still at the waterfall is that aiming vertically created in the bubbles a lot of little images of me with my upraised camera. If you’d care for a much closer look at the bubbles and my inadvertent self-portraits, you’re welcome to click below.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 30, 2018 at 4:55 PM

Ways of flowing

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On October 22nd, right by where Bull Creek crosses under Old Spicewood Springs Rd. at flood gauge #6, I experimented with pictures of the patterns the current was making as it flowed over rocks. Below are two adjacent frames of the same place showing you what a difference 61/375 of a second makes.

That unfamiliar fraction—yes, I’ve taken the liberty of assuming you’ve never seen it before—is the difference between the 1/6 of a second at which I made the first version and the 1/250 of a second at which I made the other one. If you have a preference, here’s your chance to speak up and say why you favor the version you do.

Speaking of ways of flowing, not far south of that creek crossing some rain-emboldened water made its way down an embankment on the east side of Spicewood Springs Rd. I recorded it at 1/400 of a second:

And here for comparison is a horizontal take from a little farther left at 1/5 of a second:

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 31, 2018 at 4:44 AM

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