Breakwater Falls + Bonus

So I nearly titled this post ANFSCD* – a Fall Hike.

But then I realized it isn’t that different.

Because it features water!!!

Breakwater rocks

Since I follow The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin on a couple social media fronts, I got to know about Breakwater falls on the Pine river in Florence. It’s reported to be the 6th highest waterfall in the state and wasn’t well known for a long time. Now it is and it’s pretty impressive even if it is DIRECTLY behind a hydro-electric dam.

I can see you seeing it

The water was in full roar (as you can see) and I decided to mostly go with shorter shutter speeds to really emphasize the power. Sometimes I get a little bored with doing straight-up long exposure stuff. I think shorter exposures show the character of the water even more – the individual riffles and jets. Colors and depths.

Your relationship to reality

The trail to the falls starts at the dam and is reasonably easy to deal with even when it’s wet, slippery and steep (which it was). The trail peters out after a while, but if you have time (and are intrepid) you can continue to follow the river. One of these days I’ll do that and maybe get to the other side as well. Probably that’s the better vantage point, but for my first trip it was a pretty great experience.

Dance steps

I love the cliff on the other side and the cedar trees growing on it. Look how the twigs that will drop off turn a deep rusty red. Such a beautiful place.

Radiating force

Even the trail and the near ledge were interesting.

The truth blossoms outward
Synchronous pathway

But the falls really are the main attraction even if there aren’t many vantage points to shoot from. The top cascade has the dam as a backdrop so I didn’t bother with that one.

Registering reality

On the way back to the parking lot I switched lenses and shot some slices. The surrounding bedrock sometimes steals the show. It’s some of the most ancient surface rock on earth – 2 billion years old.

A minor crevasse
Cliffs in miniature
Nearly impervious

And I got a little creative with one of my slices.

The sky boils?

But it isn’t a long trail or a big place so off to check out another set of falls that was on a sign at a fork in the road leading to the Breakwater dam. Lasalle falls.

The trail leading in couldn’t have been more different.

Appearing vivacious
Exit path

The sign in the big parking lot says it’s a 1 mile trail to the falls, but it seemed quicker than that. Maybe out and back it’s 1 mile. Either way it was worth the extra time to get there. I was with my kayaking buddy and after driving around on back roads (and dodging ATVs), she said we HAD to get there no matter how late it was getting. She was right.

The known and the unknowable

These falls were popular, too, and we saw a few folks from Breakwater over here. Too funny. But since they’re close and on the same river, it makes sense to visit both while you’re there. I wish I’d had the presence of mind to shoot them from below, but we’d have had to go off trail for that and it was getting late, so we stuck to the more accessible views. This one is above the falls just at their plunge point (which is about 20 feet or so).

Conscious of the consequences

And this is a view above the falls looking downriver –

The truce of it

And a look down into the cascade –

No translation needed

So I took some time to play with shutter speeds for different looks and feels. It meant a lot of filter removal (polarizer only for the quick ones, polarizer and neutral density for the slow ones), but I didn’t mind. We had time even though the clouds were gathering, although I didn’t explore as much as I wanted to. Ah, there’s always next time.

Violence inherent in the system
The stretch
Putting one past you

We walked back to the car a couple of pretty happy campers.

Collected on the other side
Hold onto this perspective

My friend is a good companion for the nature photographer – she doesn’t stand there impatiently while I shoot scene after scene. She’s totally content to wander off a bit or just watch me or whatever I’m shooting. We have great conversations and have very similar views and temperaments. Even though we’ve been seasonal neighbors for years, we’ve only just started really hanging out and doing things together and it’s pretty great.

The result of meddling
In this performance

And to cap it all off, the rain held out until we were in the car and down the road. Because Florence county is loaded with waterfalls I’m pretty sure I’ll be back; to these and others.

*And Now For Something Completely Different

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