Breakwater Falls – the other side

A couple of years ago I went to this waterfall and was really struck by its remote beauty. Ever since I’d been meaning to go back and this year I finally did. This time meeting up with another photographer for the first time. That’s always a bit risky in terms of shooting styles, but I didn’t have to worry. She was as happy to take a lot of time exploring and as it was, we didn’t get more than a few hundred yards down from the dam where we parked.


Seriously. We spent hours on the rocks, meandering out way down river. Doing everything from grand landscapes to close up work. Really fun and so much to explore that I am planning another trip. I hope I’ll have the discipline to make myself venture farther than I did. Looking at it on google maps shows more cascades downstream which will take some doing to get to. There is no trail and when the water is at low flow, the easiest way to get down is on the riverbed itself. The flat rock in this next shot is where we were set up for taking photos at the top near the dam and it’s where some of the rock detail further down in the post came from. It’s a seriously wonderful location and I really wish it wasn’t 2 1/2 hours away. I’d be going here all the time if it was closer.


The light was changing a lot because of fast-moving clouds so I changed it up from using just a polarizer to adding a neutral density filter. These days I prefer more detail and texture in the water with long exposures, but I changed it up a bit for some contrast against the rocks.


Do you prefer the long or the short shutter speed? They aren’t the same exact scene, but I think they convey different moods.


We really hit the jackpot for fall colors, too. If you’re going to do long exposure work, getting the clouds and the foliage to hit at the same time really depends on luck. Here’s a shot from on top of some of the really cool rock ledge. I love the curving ripples left behind by water or possibly glacier action. The textures were intriguing. I tried to get a balance in this image, but it was pretty hard to do. I didn’t want either the river or the rock to have too much visual weight, but I still don’t think I got it right.


Just behind where I was standing for the shot above was this amazing little canyon –


It was so unexpected. Just look at the texture and shapes. All formed by water I assume. It’s flowing very slightly from right to left. A small stream is fighting its way into the river itself, but having a really hard time. It’s blocked by ledge and boulders which I’ll show in a minute, but first a little detail –


Here is where the water comes in and is blocked by ledge before entering the little canyon –


I wish I’d thought to find a way to show the rocky ledge I was standing on to get the pond photo. It’s between that and the canyon and just allows a little trickle of water through. Maybe next time. Like I said, there is so much to see and explore. And this is all within a few hundred yards of the dam!

The star of the show is really the rock. This is a detail of an enormous block of a boulder that had to be at least 7 feet high and maybe twice that long. It’s right on the edge of the flow and when the water level is low you can walk right up to it. It’s massive and has the most amazing colors and textures. Plus lichen!


And of course, what would playing on a river be without some details of how that water flows. This little cascade is near the top and when I spied this tiny plant, I spent some time trying to frame it.


And a color version. Played with crops forever on this next one, but can’t help but feel it’s lacking somehow. Probably should have tried a different angle or something.


Another tiny plant trying to get a foothold. I think it’s a yellow birch and it was so gorgeous standing alone I tried a bunch of different views, but this one works the best.


I also noticed this tiny cedar twig sitting in the smoothing hollow of the riverbed.


If I remember to do it, I’ll sometimes take photos on location with the phone. Mostly it’s of my tripod or something, especially if it’s in a weird position or location. Behind the scenes stuff. Let me know if you like this or not.


So. About that sign. There are three or four of them on this stretch and when they go off – move your butt! You have a few minutes, it isn’t instant, but they aren’t kidding. When a gate opens, look out!

Hit this link to a video of the water at the beginning of the day and here for a video at the end of the day after the sirens blew!

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