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December 30, 2016

Crystal Falls

by Jim

Crystal Falls
This is Crystal Falls, sometimes called Crystal Pool Falls.

(Click here to view the interactive picture in a new tab. When it opens, click and drag to look around.)

Crystal Falls is one of the four primary waterfalls in McDowell Creek County Park. Crystal Falls is the hardest one to view, as can be seen from the picture; easy access is possibly only when the water flow is relatively low. It’s fairly common to see people playing in the water during the warm summer months, but access becomes more challenging when the water is higher.

This is a “best of” for me because, even though the picture isn’t that outstanding, I had waited a long time for opportunity, water level, and trail access to make it possible to take the picture. There’s no developed trail, and sometimes the scramble is too overgrown to easily carry photo equipment down. All these came together last summer, and I was finally able to grab this picture.

This picture was also used as my WWP “Best of 2016” entry.

Photography Notes

I decided to keep the tripod in this picture because it was part of the experience — without getting wet, moving further upstream proved difficult, and this was the best place to set up the camera. This shows some back story of what it took to get the picture.

This picture was a combination of 7 different exposures, using HDR processing. That was necessary to get a reasonable exposure of the foliage and waterfall, without the sky and treetops being grossly overexposed. A typical challenge of taking these VRs, especially on a sunny day.

Even just around the waterfall itself, the rocks are so dark that getting any detail invariably overexposed the water; this was about as good as I could get the balance.

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