A Photo Trip to Margaret Falls

Linda at Margaret Falls

First bridge

Along the path

Reinecker Creek

Fallen Cedars

Crooked tree

 

 

Bridge to Margaret Falls

Margaret Falls, British Columbia (B)

I have spent the last few days slowly dismantling an old shed I built over 20 years ago. I will say that I enjoyed building that ramshackle structure that has served as a goat barn, a chicken coup, and lastly for storing stuff I didn’t know what to do with. The process of destruction hasn’t been going all that quickly because I have been finding any excuse to delay my work taking it apart and I suppose that’s why when my wife mentioned it would be pleasant to go to Margaret Falls I didn’t hesitate to put our cameras in the car and head out for an easy drive.

Margaret Falls is a 200 feet high cascade that drops into Reinecker Creek on the edge of Shuswap Lake’s Herald Provincial Park. Local lore says the falls gets its name from the first white woman to see them. I also have been told it was called Reinecker Falls. But I wonder what that place was called by those that went there long before the white settlers.

It is the place, and not the waterfall that draws tourists and photographers to make the short trek through that moss covered, old-growth cedar forest nestled in a narrow gorge.

Reinecker Creek falls down a sheer rock face and into the narrow chasm creating a wonderland for those that walk along the beautiful gulley filled with large trees and looming cliffs above.

Before one is even aware of the unique ecosystem, there is the envelopment of a waft cool, damp air that on a hot July day will be a startling difference in temperature. Knowing that we included jackets with our camera gear.

Over the years Linda and I have spent many hours wandering along paths with cameras and tripods, but this time the wind was picking up and we could see large, dark clouds looming. So we just brought our cameras in case we had to make a quick getaway. I do not remember how many times I have taken pictures along that cool walkway up to the falls, or all the different camera formats I have used. I have been there in every season of the year, rain or snow, and I have even photographed a wedding there.

For this visit Linda used a 24mm prime and I used my 24-85mm zoom. Wide angle is a must for that narrow canyon.

The overcast day really wasn’t a bother because our modern full-frame cameras can easily handle 1600 ISO and depending on our subject’s location we could choose either 125th or 250th of a second shutterspeed an still keep our aperture small enough to get reasonable depth-of-field.

One rarely has the trail to Margaret Falls to themselves. To achieve scenic photography photographers have to be patient. However, this outing was petty good. Our only interruption was a guy on his mountain bicycle that turned around and left when he realized there were people on the trail. And we met some people that told us they were celebrating their 70th reunion. They gently ambled up the path to the waterfalls, extended their arms for cell phone snaps and then left, giving us all the time we needed to compose our pictures. I did have a good time, but, as free as I was to wander around with my camera and 24-85mm lens, I missed having my tripod. We have decided to return in a week or two packing tripods and neutral density filters prepared and spend a bit more time.

I always look forward to comments. Thanks, John

 

Photographing Falkland in the afternoon

Falkland afternoon

Falkland, British Columbia

 

Ranch cafe

afternoon pub

street shadow

Falkland is one of the many small towns nestled along winding highway 97 that drivers almost miss if there weren’t signs posted at both ends of the village requiring them to slow down. Although I pass through there regularly, the only time I stop is when locals hold their roadside market during the summer. Usually I just reduce my speed to 50 km, watch for pedestrians and approaching vehicles from covered side streets, then resume speed without even thinking.   Falkland has about 600 residents, and is notable because each year on Victoria Day they host the Falkland Stampede (one of Canada’s oldest rodeos); and they also claim to have the biggest Canadian flag in western Canada.

My wife recently purchased a 24mm wide-angle lens and we were looking forward to checking it out. We had spent the day in Kelowna, about an hour south of Falkland and I thought that with the drive there would be lots of opportunity to see how her new lens would perform. I had read mixed reviews online, and I was anxious for my own results. I had made a few shots of the fence in front of our home, and allowed some side-lighted images to catch sunlight to check lens flare, but I hadn’t made any practical images.

I know reviewers can be very strict with their lens testing and even go so far to include charts and exaggerated enlargements when they evaluate a lens. However, in my opinion, all that most users care about is if a new lens is reasonably sharp and consistent in how it reproduces a subject; and regarding wide angles, if there is any unflattering distortion.

The day had been long and I wasn’t thinking about much of anything except getting home and out of that car before we lost daylight. I don’t mind winter very much, but I do mind driving that narrow, slippery, winding road after dark. However, traffic had been light and we hadn’t got stuck behind any big trucks. So we were making good time when we approached Falkland.

Photographers talk about that “Golden Hour” just before sunset when the light is warmer and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky. I doubt there is much of a golden “hour” in canyon towns like Falkland, but the light certainly was inviting at the moment and we had my wife’s camera and 24mm lens waiting for testing.

Linda was tired from our long day and was only willing to make a couple of shots of an old shop before handing me her camera. She said, “You walk around”. So I did. In Falkland it doesn’t take much time to see everything on the main street.

I like buildings, shop signs and afternoon deep shadows and the narrow street was perfect for testing that lens and anyway, I was happy to finally make a few pictures while the light was exciting in that interesting little town.

I only walked around for about ten minutes and had so much fun that I forgot I was supposed to be testing that lens. I have lived in this part of British Columbia for over 30 years, and as I walked around I wondered why the only pictures I have ever seen of Falkland were a few of cowboys being bucked off at the rodeo. I guess it is hard to stop and look. And some photographers might feel locals would be uncomfortable with outsiders intruding. I doubt that unless someone stuck a lens in a local’s face they wouldn’t even notice a person standing along the street, like I was, taking a few pictures in that neat little town.

Oh, and that Nikon 24mm was just fine. For those that wanted a review, I think my aperture was mostly at f8, f11 and f16 because I was interested in getting as much depth of field as I could get. So I can’t comment on how well it performs wide open.

I always appreciate your comments. Thanks, John

My website is at www.enmanscamera.com