I grew up on Vancouver Island. It is a gorgeous part of the world, especially in summer time.
There are lots of special places on the island, but there are certain places I return to again and again for their beauty and tranquility. Places I enjoy every single time. One of those places is Englishman River Falls.
Please click any of the images to view larger versions.
I can’t even count how many times I have been here. Dozens. I remember photographing here only once before, and it was with my first SLR camera, a Canon AE1 and a ridiculously heavy tripod. That was over 20 years ago. I don’t know what ever happened to those photos, perhaps I never developed them, but I suspect that the memory of the heavy tripod is why I never returned with a camera until this year!
So for all intents and purposes, these are my first photos from one of my favourite places on the island.
Englishman River Falls is easily accessible. You can drive right up to the top of the falls where there is a nice picnic area. From there, maintained trails with switchbacks and bridges lead you from the upper falls to the lower falls and back again with plenty of opportunities for photography.
I made all of these photos with my new Sony NEX6 and nothing more than a tripod. No polarizing or ND filters. Just simple long exposures made on an overcast day.
If you are interested in waterfall photography, I wrote a tutorial on Digital Photography School you might like: Beginner’s Guide to Waterfall Photography.
I discovered in the comments on that tutorial and on various social media networks that a lot of people don’t like the silky effect that long exposures give to waterfalls! Apparently they are cliche and some people don’t understand why anyone likes them at all.
I guess everyone sees things differently, but to me, this is what I see. Waterfalls flow. When I see a fast exposure that freezes the water, it doesn’t seem natural because it’s impossible to actually see it that way.
Of course, I’m not one to say that photographs have to be natural or even demonstrate what the eye sees. That’s what photojournalism is for. This is art and as an artist, you are free to do whatever you want.
So that’s why I like long exposures for waterfalls. Because that’s what I like. 🙂
No other reason is required.
I love these spots and the challenge of trying to capture the mood of the scene. There are an infinite number of settings available to us to capture the sharpness, motion blur, texture, tone, etc. that appeals to us. Like you imply, there is not one right way. Just what you , the photographer, like.
I enjoy all thoughtfully photographed images of water.
Jackson Frishman says
Nice shots Anne! I’m missing flowing water these days. Moving water is a perfect example of something a still photo simply cannot capture – the photographer always has to choose between one unrealistic interpretation or another. I actually think your shots here are arguably as natural as it gets, with a sense of motion but still retaining detail in the water.
Rachel Cohen says
Gorgeous images Anne! Lovely silky water, and beautiful compositions! 🙂
Jennifer Cox says
Shows just what can be done on a cloudy day, if you pick the right location.
I’ve just bought the NEX6 myself, but will have to wait a few days before I get the chance to really use it. 🙁
As I don’t have any waterfalls near where I live, I’ll have to think of something else. Maybe some shots of the torrential rain that’s forecast to return, in a few days time – that’s a sort of waterfall 😉
Patrick Schilf says
Those are lovely pictures, Anne! The first one is my favourite. Waterfalls seem to be clichè subjects in nature photography but you found a very nice composition and managed to leave open the shutter the exact right amount of time. Just long enough to visualize the water flow but still be able to distinguish the individual streams. I really like!
I really like how the rocks look like they are tumbling along with the water in the second shot Anne. I like longer exposures myself for waterfalls. Beautiful images as always.
Pat Yeager says
These are peaceful and beautiful.