When I suggested to my friend, photographer Jo McAvany that we should drive over to nearby Chase Falls I imagined we’d be walking up a water filled creek to an overflowing falls and expected to be spending as much time wiping the water spray off my camera as I was taking pictures. However, to my surprise the water coming over the falls was really diminished from its usual early summer flow.
The narrow stream canyon had been assaulted by a lot of water at sometime in the last month or so because there were lots of large rocks where there once was sand and my usual place for wide pictures was covered by a large pile of washed out trees.
3PM on a hot, cloudless July afternoon was definitely the wrong time to photograph the falls. The bright sun was cutting its way across the left side of the canyon leaving the right side in deep shade. Even with graduated ND filters, trying to balance the scene’s high contrast was impossible. Nevertheless I scrambled up and over the scattered boulders to find a better position, while Jo chose to work along the bank under the trees accompanied by, as she soon noticed, an ever-growing swarm of mosquitoes.
I guess there were enough breezes coming from the falls to push the mosquitoes away from my position, or maybe I was so fixed on my struggle to get some kind of image out of the contrasty scene that I didn’t notice their feasting.
I stacked ND filters over my lens and pointed my camera either into the sun or into the shade. It was one or the other if I didn’t want over or under exposures in my captures.
When I clambered back to where Jo was I found she had all but given up on the harsh lighting and was photographing people zip-lining above us. Well, that and giving her self up to the blood sucking hoards. She mentioned to me that she was being bitten everywhere, but dedicated photog that she was she still stood waiting for another zip-liner to zoom by screaming over-head.
I climbed down the bank and got a few more shots of the fast moving water and, of course, I just had to snap a couple shots of the people flying by.
Jo had just about had it with the mosquitoes and I finally began to notice the pesky creatures, so even though it was cooler by the creek than back at the car, we tore ourselves away from the falls with a promise to come back covered with repellent on an overcast day.
I will admit that what I like best about Chase Falls is they are only a few minutes drive from my home. It’s a cool location to scramble around and even though I have photographed it multiple times in every season during the last 40 years I have lived nearby I still enjoy making the trip there with my camera.
I guess there are lots of us photographers that have photographed local subjects over and over and over again.
I remember a long time old friend complaining. (Well he seemed to be) about a high mountain place we had climbed to countless times before. As we waited for the sun to rise he said, “I have taken every photograph that can be ever taken here”. I quietly continued to drink my coffee without replying.
I am sure he knew I disagreed.