Circle Of Life


Rock formations and waterfall with water swirls. Warren Falls. Warren, Vermont. Final blended and edited version with some clarity applied and also some defringing.

With a new job of 12 hour shifts and preparations for a baby on the way I have a bit of a backlog of images to post! I have been holding onto this one for about two months because I had several other composite images to work on and I felt this one was special so i wasn’t quite ready to share it when I made the image captures. The location here is one that has been on my list for a few years but is more south of where I typically shoot here in Vermont. It’s a beautiful set of waterfalls with deep blues and greens that have to be seen to be believed but also it’s a location that requires a specific set of conditions in order to be able to make this image. The day I visited these falls I was extremely lucky to have ripe conditions along with a photographers persistence of 50 different captures to come away with this shot.

The location itself is Warren Falls which is just outside of the town of Warren, Vermont. One of Vermont’s more famous ski areas, Sugarbush resort is located here and is exactly an hour away from my home heading south. The image is located in a gorge of some of the smoothest river rock I have ever seen making hiking around the area extremely dangerous. I was able to find a workaround to the location by crossing the river above the falls here and scampering around the other side of the river down to this point. The only way to see the deep colors of the river here is to view it when water levels are really low which we are experiencing this year. The other factor to make this image possible was an overcast day making the light really soft. If the sun was out it would have made exposure really difficult as some areas of the rock would have been in shade and others would have had bright highlights. I needed the soft, diffused light in order to get some long exposures.

This image is a composite of two exposures…One was for the light on the rocks to preserve detail there and the other was for the swirling foam in the water to preserve the deep color of the water. ( One tip I can give is when attempting these swirl images is that often a shorter exposure for the swirls is better than a long one. The longer exposures I shot here just did not have the same shapes and forms as the longer ones making the swirls muddy looking and uninteresting.) The only possibly place to make this image was a small ledge of rock above the pool here..Just enough room to plant my feet with one of my tripod legs extended into the water! I wanted to blend what I thought was the best swirl image with the best exposure for the rocks. Here you can see the two unedited images I used….

First capture I used for the rock detail. Great exposure for the rocks but it left the swirls in the water very confusing and not what I wanted. exposure time was 13 seconds.

Second exposure used which gave me the swirling I wanted in the water but left the rocks much too dark. Exposure time here was 8 seconds with +1 of compensation added in Lightroom to balance both exposures.

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