Alison McMahan  

Joe at Gleason Falls by Alison McMahan

October 2020 - Joe at Gleason Falls

October 2020 - Alison McMahan


About the Image(s)

I have joined a local photography club in Manchester, NH and the club leader invited people to go with him to a New Hampshire Waterfall called Gleason Falls (near Henniker, NH). Few responded due to Covid fears, but I decided to go as I've been working very hard and I feared I would miss all the foliage if I didn't go out.
The challenge was preparing to photograph a waterfall. My goals were to achieve the satiny look of a waterfall and also to get "swirl" in the water, as well as to catch some foliage color.
I was also interested in the old stone bridge. Dry laid masonry stone arch bridge built ca.1830. The oldest picture I found of it was on the Library of Congress Archive from 1930. There is a website dedicated just to bridges (this is the link to the Gleasons Falls bridge):
To prepare for the shoot I read a lot about photographing waterfalls. I've submitted the best links for the "helpful hints" page.
To achieve my image goals I needed to learn how to do three things: first, figure out how to lower the ISO setting on my camera. You will laugh, but I've had this camera (Canon 5D Mark III) over ten years and I did not know the ISO setting could go below 400. I could not figure out how to do that myself, the club leader reset the camera for me at the waterfall.
The other thing I had to do was get my remote trigger to work. I've used it once or twice before but I'd forgotten. I reviewed it the night before but once in place I couldn't remember how to do it, so I never did use it.
The third thing was to learn how to read my histogram. I spent hours the night before reviewing various articles and websites on reading histograms. But then once I was on the spot I forgot about the histogram and just focused on taking pictures. I guess I've been working too hard (new job, also I'm in a program at a local community college to get my teaching certification, I'm trying to finish my novel, I do some volunteer work for a writer's organization, and I have kids at home).
Luckily it wasn't all failure. During the shoot I thought I'd succeeded on getting the satiny look in the water but I didn't think I'd gotten the swirl of water in the eddies in the pool. However in this picture I saw that I did get the swirl a little bit.
I took many, many, pictures yesterday. I'm not sure this is the best one from my shoot, but since my image is so very very late I thought I'd better send this one.
I cropped it, then straightened the lines, did a little slider work.
You can see the figure of the Manchester Camera Club leader, Joe Drapeau. It was the first time I'd met him in person, he was very kind.
Camera Data: Canon EOS 5D Mark III; EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM; Focal length: 29mm. Exposure 30.0 sec; f/22; ISO 50; Aperture priority; spot metering. Taken Oct. 12, 2020 around 11:15 am.

8 comments posted

Anne Nettles   Anne Nettles
Hi Alison
What a wonderful time of year in NH for photographing the foliage. Sounds like you had a great field trip. You did a good job with the waterfall and long exposure. I love that you captured the silkiness of the water and the twirling eddies. The color and exposure works well. Did you use a filter to capture such a long exposure? The image is nice and sharp. I think the only thing I would do is crop in tighter and leave out the photographer in the bottom left. Since the main subject is obviously the waterfall, I think you can also crop out the stone bridge.   Posted: 10/14/2020 18:41:23
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Alison McMahan   Alison McMahan
I did use a filter, a Platinum™ 77mm Variable Neutral Density (ND) Lens Filter.
I do agree that the falls alone would make a good picture, but I have other images that do that better.
I've looked at a couple more of what I took (I took way too many!) here's another crop of the falls alone.   Posted: 10/15/2020 07:01:51

Alison McMahan   Alison McMahan
For me the bridge really was part of it, it didn't occur to me on site to capture the falls alone.... lack of imagination!   Posted: 10/15/2020 07:02:29

Alison McMahan   Alison McMahan
  Posted: 10/15/2020 07:05:28
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Julie Deer   Julie Deer
Hi Alison, this is a lovely image. I spent some time looking at it, wondering various things. I then opened up the original and noticed Joe for the first time! Joe give the image some scale. I now know how big the waterfall and rocks are. Just a shame that he is feeling a little blurry. I love the eddies and they keep taking my interest. Keep taking these waterfall photos!   Posted: 10/15/2020 23:04:32
Alison McMahan   Alison McMahan
Yes, he's blurry because of the very long exposure. Even if he had posed for me, which he wasn't, I think there would have been a motion blur.   Posted: 10/16/2020 13:08:21

Andrew Hersom   Andrew Hersom
This really says "Autumn". I think the treatment of the waterfall is great. Nice eddies in the quiet bits of the stream. Good exposure, a nice bit of sunlight right at the top - it's a really nice picture IMHO.
I think this is an image where you have perhaps cropped in a little too close - the overall effect is lost if you don't have "the big picture" (also the leaves in the zoomed in images look a little bit soft to me). So for me a crop closer to the original would be better. But as always, a personal decision.
I would be tempted to clone Joe (sorry) out of the picture as well.   Posted: 10/16/2020 10:47:21
Alison McMahan   Alison McMahan
I have the same shot without Joe in it, I'll look for it. I also thought he provided a sense of scale, which is why I included him, but I find his bright orange gloves very distracting.   Posted: 10/16/2020 13:07:30


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