First spring visit to photograph Chase Falls  

I have been keeping close to home with my last few posts.

With that in mind I decided a quick fifteen-minute highway drive to a waterfall that feeds a creek running through the small town of Chase would still fill that objective.

I try to visit that local falls for a few pictures every season and this past week was the first time I ventured there since I trudged to those falls through the deep snows last February.

On that excursion to the falls the deep snowy path was untouched except for small footprints made by some lonely racoon. This time there had been lots of people evidenced by discarded hamburger wrappers, plastic cups and the scattered remains of a styrofoam carton.

There was lots of spring water coming over the falls and by the looks of all the huge logs, boulders and the dangerously eroded path, it’s obvious that the early June melt must have produced a torrential flood of water in the small creek.

As with last February, I asked my photographer pal, Jo, to accompany me. She had remembered our last Chase falls adventure and mounted a 24-105mm on her camera while I had my trusty 24-70mm on mine.

Like that cold winter day it was cloudy and flat with just a bit of sun poking through to lighten up the forested creak a bit. Fortunately it was not enough to create shadows, although at times there were highlights on protruding rocks, tree limbs and the churning water.

I chose the day because of the slight overcast. On a bright day one will struggle with overexposure on the white, reflective waterfall. As I wrote in February, I prefer a slight overcast or a foggy day. Bright sun and deep shadows create too much contrast.

With our cameras tightly secured to tripods we set our lenses to apertures that would give us plenty of depth of field. Selected shutterspeeds over two minutes and placed neutral density filters in front of our lenses to reduce the amount of light so our slow shutterspeeds wouldn’t overexpose the scene.

We set and used the camera’s self-timer so as to reduce camera shake and started taking pictures from every angle we could get to. That meant a lot of climbing over the jumble of large stones.

Photographing waterfalls are easy and no special talent or equipment is needed. I use a DSLR, tripod and ND filters. There’s nothing that most serious scenic photographers won’t already have.

We had a great time and I will absolutely be back in another month or two. I like to photograph that little waterfall with my infrared converted camera. July and August will be perfect for that. I’ll also be back in September or October when the volume of water is dramatically decreased. Then winter, and everything starts over again.

Photography is like that to me, and pointing my camera at the same subjects over and over year after year is just plain fun. This past month I have been sticking close to home. However, I plan to go a bit further from home now that summer is here. My goal, no matter where I am or what the subject is, is the enjoyment of making photographs.

There was a 1950’s street photographer named Leon Levinsein that wrote, “I walk, I look, I see, I stop, I photograph.”

I suppose it’s as simple as that.

 

Photographing Chase Creek Falls  

Chase Falls 1

Chase Falls 2

Chase Falls 3

Chase Falls 4

The third season of the year is here, and it is my favourite season of the year for photography. Fall or autumn, it doesn’t matter which word is used, is so darn colourful here in British Columbia; and I really enjoy the cooler air, a welcome relief from the heat of summer.

This week I drove the short distance down the road to Chase Creek Falls. I was in April just after the spring runoff when the high water began to subside. April is the second best time to go there, October the best. October has low water that makes scrambling along the colourful creek side easy, and lets photographers position their tripod and cameras close to the falls without getting wet.

In my April article I wrote that I have been photographing Chase Creek Falls since sometime in 1976. I have used 35mm, medium format, large format, film, and digital to photograph those falls every season of the year in every type of weather using black and white, colour, and even polaroid film.

I have gotten wet, walked away muddy after sliding down the steep bank, and bumped into the large river rocks a bit to hard. I’ve lost lens caps, a lens hood and even a polarizing filter on my visits. I have used the Chase Creek Falls once as a background for a large family reunion and another time for wedding portraits.

Photographing waterfalls is very easy and almost as relaxing as wandering around a garden. Modern digital cameras have improved the ease of taking photos by removing the requirement of much of the technical information that photographers once needed to know.

The equipment doesn’t need to be expensive or special. Select your favourite DSLR, a lens that has a wide enough focal length to see the falls, a tripod, and a neutral density filter. When I remember, I also like to use a cable release; but if forgotten the cable release isn’t a big deal, just use the camera’s self-timer instead.

Setting up the camera to get that soft looking water coming over the falls is very easy. Just choose a low ISO and a small aperture. The low ISO allows a slow shutter speed, and the small aperture gives lots of depth of field.

An ND, or neutral density, filter reduces the light going through the lens to the sensor and is the most trouble free filter for making long exposures. I prefer the square or rectangle ones that I can hold in front of my lens. I don’t use the fancy filter holder as that just gets in my way when I want to add additional ND filters to reduce the light.

I prefer shutter speeds of three or more seconds, and adjust the ISO, aperture and ND filters to accommodate that. Next, point the camera and start making pictures decreasing the shutter speed and checking the LCD as one goes along. It is all so easy.

This is a perfect time of year (here in British Columbia anyway) to spend some time photographing local waterfalls. They don’t have to be large and exotic, just have a bit of water going over them. And like me, after a dozen or so shots, put the camera back in it’s bag and sit quietly in the sand and lean back on a big smooth river rock so you can enjoy the sound of the water. Life is good.