Quick Shot: Colorfall #1

I've been very busy the past few days working on getting some new work together and I'm pleased to be showing off the first of this latest work in today's Quick Shot blog. 

A few months ago, I saw some photos taken of Blackwater Falls Park in West Virginia. It's a three hour drive from my house and it wasn't something to photograph on a whim, so I saved the location and would visit when I had a day to dedicate to the project. 

On Friday, I packed my bag and embarked on the drive to Blackwater Falls. The weather forecast called for rain most of the day, which was a blessing and a curse. Bad weather tends to make for great photos, but any rain meant I'd be leaving the large format film camera at home and just shooting digital. 

Blackwater Falls Park is relatively small - you could drive from one end to the other in just 15 minutes. The park surrounds a canyon and has a river flowing down the middle of it, which is the perfect recipe for a variety of waterfalls. The most popular waterfall is Blackwater Falls, but I scouted a few other smaller falls during the day. 

I arrived at the trail head for Elakala Falls and decided to switch into my knee high rain boots and rain gear before hitting the trail - good thing because no sooner do I set off then a large rain cloud comes to dump on me. The walk to the top of falls was relatively short, but I knew I needed to get down to the bottom. The park doesn't maintain a trail to the base of the falls and the heavy rain made the footing challenging as I did my best mountain goat impression to get down the side of the cliff.

Once at the bottom, I knew I'd hit the photographers pay dirt. The clouds were giving a soft light to the river and making the muddy water more colorful and bright. I wanted to shoot a series of long exposure shots to get some abstract water effects and this was the perfect site! I could have made hundreds of exposures, but found one that I really liked. The rock was covered in a variety of bright algae, giving the flowing water some magnificent colors (hence the name, "colorfall")

To get all the colors you see here, I experimented with a variety of shutter speeds and camera angles. This image was a 4 second exposure using a neutral density filter.

Photoshop CS6 and Nik HDR Efex were used in post production to highlight the colors and remove some sensor spots. Shot with the Nikon D800, Nikon 24-70mm, ND 8 filter, Gitzo tripod.  

PS- stay tuned for Colorfall #2!