Be creative

Lower Cascade Falls Hanging Rock State Park by James L. Kramer
I had plans to put something up for Darwin Day, which is today, and was in the middle of a project to produce some photos, but life happens, as do family issues. You may have noticed that I discuss very few personal matters here, save for trivial frustrations – that kind of shit really isn’t for online dissemination, despite what some people seem to think social media is for. I’d like to vent sometimes, believe me, but it really doesn’t serve a purpose other than self-gratification, and not much of that. The result right now is that instead I’m going to feature some photos from the blog’s official Contributing Non-correspondent, Jim Kramer, that he sent me several days back. I will leave it up to you to tie this into Darwin Day in some manner, which explains the post title.

The above image is Lower Cascade Falls at Hanging Rock State Park, and is possibly the very image that Jim was taking when I snapped my own photo of him at work. You can see a significant color difference between his image and mine; most of this was due to me shooting slide film, which captured the color cast of the deep shade conditions, while Jim was shooting digital with some form of white balance in effect, though there’s a chance he tweaked the color in post-processing as well (I’m not making accusations, I just never asked before starting this post, and that pertinent bit is not recorded in the EXIF info of the image file.) I’m pretty sure that I had an appropriate warming filter at the time, which would have made the colors much better, but for some reason didn’t use it; it’s possible that I hadn’t purchased one yet, and images exactly like the one on that earlier post were what prompted me to get one.

Lower Cascade Falls at Hanging Rock State Park by James L. KramerI really do need to get back to this park and do some more shots; I was originally going to take along the Impertinent Mr Bugg, but he’s trying to be obnoxious so I’ll just go alone and have a nice, relaxing day where I won’t have to remind anyone to use the appropriate lenses or fix their damn hat all the time.

There is only a small range of positions available to photograph the falls, but this is pretty typical of waterfalls to be honest; they tend to occur in geography with steep drops and narrow openings, so options are limited. Minnehaha Falls in north Georgia has been the one cascade that I know of with a fair amount of options, if one was careful and didn’t mind hiking up the rock ‘steps’ that the water crashed down.

The deep shade, by the way, helped with these very images, because to get that wispy, cottony water effect you have to use a long exposure, and low light helps. So does a small aperture, and a neutral density filter. Bright sunlight on the water has an unintended effect that’s impossible to correct for (at least if you’re skipping quite a lot of digital editing): individual water droplets and ripples in the falls will catch the sunlight momentarily, producing brilliant reflections that will appear in the image as white specks. I’ve got several examples from experiments and never managed to produce anything that didn’t look weird, so shade still remains the best conditions. Someday, I’ll do some serious moonlight exposures, much like these, but probably not at Hanging Rock or indeed any park, since they usually close by sunset (which is much safer and a very good idea – people tend to be stupid if you give them the chance.)

I will close with another image of Jim’s, of a (to my knowledge) unnamed little torrent almost hidden in a cleft in the rocks. The scale is nicely deceptive; while Lower Cascade Falls is about ten meters in drop, this one is less than two. I’d featured my own image of this before, to which was added a variation from Jim too – he did a much better job of capturing the falls during these trips than I did, the bastard. I’ll just have to console myself with eclipse pictures I guess…

unnamed small torrent at Hanging Rock State Park by James L. Kramer