Crater Lake: When the Water Speaks

When I drive an overpass, I often get out and scout what's under it.  In this case, it is Annie Spring.  Two hours later, it was "in the can". ©Kit Frost

When I drive an overpass, I often get out and scout what’s under it. In this case, it is Annie Spring. Two hours later, it was “in the can”. ©Kit Frost


Art Making in Crater Lake National Park

One of my missions while in residence at Crater Lake is to photograph the Lake while chasing the light.  My accommodations are three miles from the rim of the caldera.  So it’s easy to drive up there every few hours to see the color of the light, reflections and to talk to the park visitors.  I brought my bike for a daily workout and to access the park without the windshield in my way. But the healing process on my new hip is slower than I hoped, so I’ll be gentle.

What are the voices of the flowing water telling me.

What is the silence of the local stream telling me?

Today, as I stepped back away from the Lake, I explored a few of the creeks in the park, I connected with a beautiful stream adjacent to the Goodbye Creek.  After scouting, I plan to photograph at that location in morning or late afternoon light.  I prefer very little light on creek falls, as contrast can be a real challenge. It’s not impossible to photograph, but when faced with bright light of water against the darkness of the stream it helps to use a graduated neutral density filter in the field and underexpose.  Later, using Lightroom, I adjust the dark shadows to reveal their texture and beauty.  In this case, I am exposing for the highlights of the water and “developing” for the shadows.

Annie Spring

Annie Spring leads to one of the biggest creeks in the Park, Annie Creek, flowing along Highway 62 and the entrance to the Park. It’s very seductive to hear the creek and to follow it’s flow along the pullouts on the road.

“Take only photographs, leave only footprints”


Annie Spring is a trailhead leading up to the Pacific Crest Trail. I will hike up to the PCT before I leave.  Cheryl Strayed’s book, and movie “Wild” is about her thru hike of the PCT and I’ve hiked a bit of it in Lassen Volcano National Park and want to add a bit of my own footprints to it.

Stay tuned.

The Summer Rain is here and Waterfalls are Flowing

While hiking down from Highland Mary Lakes in the Weminuche Wilderness, I could hear the power of the creek as it fell a few thousand feet along the trail.  There was a profusion of waterfalls and creek falls of varying sizes as the trail descended to Cunningham Gulch.  I carry a trekking pole as well as a tripod and used the trekking pole with a tripod head attached to record this waterfall.

The two images compare shutter speeds.  The first image is exposed at a fast shutter speed of 1/50 of a second and doesn’t speak to how I like waterfalls to feel.  Many point and shoot digital cameras on program modes will create this look in your photo.

This waterfall was shot at a fast shutter speed, 1/50 of a second, on P mode, to show how point and shoot cameras tend to record water flowing. ©Kit Frost

The second image shows how I prefer to expose waterfalls.  I like a bit of blur with some detail in the “lines” of the fall.  I used a slower shutter speed, chose aperture priority mode and a shutter speed of 1/4 second.  What do you think?  How do you prefer the photo?

All images ©Kit Frost

Camera information:  Nikon D5100, Nikon 16-85 lens, Mountainsmith trekker pole, Manfrotto tripod head.

Waterfalls are flowing in Southern Colorado

I enjoyed a day of scouting waterfalls for our upcoming Waterfalls Photography workshops. Some subjects are perfect for digital cameras.  The fact that we have LCD instant review (chimping) lets us explore a variety of shutter speeds and aperture combinations until we’re happy with the photo.  In the past, when making images on film, I’d have to wait until the film was processed to see if I selected the correct exposure.

Suggested workflow for Waterfall Photography:

  1. Hand hold your camera, walk around the subject, compose roughly and test a variety of shutter speeds.  I call this “sketching”.
  2. Once seduced by a final composition, Set up your tripod and review your composition
  3. Use mirror lockup and a cable release to create the sharpest image without any camera shake.
Waterfall in Southern Colorado

A still image of a moment in time. ©Kit Frost