Waterfalls Everywhere

To be fair, it is a GorillaPod, but still, last Saturday and Sunday I set out with the intention of doing something I rarely do: photograph waterfalls. I’ve lived in this town for over 10 years and have gone out of my way to capture everything but the state parks. For me, people are the most unique, important, beautiful, and interesting subjects to document. But I’m surrounded by an impressive natural landscape. And the people who photograph the gorges and waterfalls do it incredibly well. There is no shortage of stunning images taken within five miles from my front steps.

Now that the season is changing the trails are more crowded than ever. But it was refreshing to step out of my creative comfort zone: first on Saturday with Jonah at Buttermilk State Park then on Sunday with my friend Kitty at Fillmore Glen.

*note: this is an image heavy post and I did not compress them as much as usual in order to retain some clarity and detail*

Jonah and I set out early in the day, with a little rain.
Jonah and I set out early in the day, with a little rain.
transition nature

We had to watch our step because the critters were out. The air was warm(ish) and the trail wasn’t too crowded (people probably deterred by the rain). I’ve hiked Buttermilk in about two feet of snow, so this was a welcome nice change. Jonah was entertained by the wildlife, the dog was happy to be alive, and I was determined to get at least one photo that I could feel good about.

pool jonahcrouch buttermilkend

We left the trail and Jonah enjoyed the playground with some new friends from Denmark(!?). I reviewed the photos on my camera (and deleted about half of them). I felt like I learned a bit about the way I approach the rocks and water with my weird pancake 40mm lens (64mm on my sensor though). The last time I tried a long exposure of water was with my old 5D and a 28mm lens. So it was a challenge in more ways than one, but I left feeling competent enough to try again the next day at an ever more interesting location.

Fillmore Glen is a lot different than Buttermilk.

We drove through pouring rain on the way to Moravia. I was convinced that it was going to be a complete washout, but by the time I parked the car it had cleared up a bit. The only thing that shocked me was the noticeable temperature change (brr) and that there might actually be sunshine on the hike. Without a neutral density filter I’d be in a little bit of trouble.


instagramThis was my attempt to get a few extra seconds on an exposure. I almost forgot to bring sunglasses but I thought it’d be better to have them and not need them. I managed to make it to 20 seconds at f/22. The GorillaPod is not the steadiest tripod (a strong wind will shake it). But I gave it a try anyway. This Instagram (at left) was actually taken during that 20 second exposure.  Here is how it turned out:


It was stop and go (although Kitty and Jasmine were super patient and also content to continue on, knowing that I’d catch up). I had actually never hiked the trail we chose and I was amazed by the subtleties of the rocks. And clearly, my obsession with moss continued.

The leafs hadn't fully turned and the moss was refreshingly vibrant. So much green.
The leafs hadn’t fully turned and the moss was refreshingly vibrant. So much green.
burst fillmoresteps edge
4 seconds through the sunglasses
4 seconds through the sunglasses

I wouldn’t be surprised if my dog and I ventured out again next weekend for a more challenging shoot. A bigger gorge, perhaps. One thing is for sure: there will be more color. The trees are a wonderful mix of red and green and yellow at the moment. But I’ve lived in the northeast long enough to know that soon I’ll wake up and it’ll be winter.