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Monday, June 6, 2011

The Falls

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Hey!! I'm late posting my daily image. It's been one of those days. It also took awhile to process this one to my liking. Before I tell you the story behind this image...yes, there's always a story...Let me ask you to "Like" me via Facebook. I've created a Facebook page for Phusion Photography and the link is on the top right corner of my blog. Please take a minute and "like" me...of course, only if you truly like my photographs. :-)
 I can use all the 'Likes' I can get. It's not easy starting up a photography business, ya know? There's a lot a incredible competition out there. I've been networking through photography blogs like, and the other photo blogs I've visited are awesome. There are some really talented people out there! 

Anyways, the story behind this image is a pretty crazy one. I know that being a photographer, particularly a landscape photographer, requires taking risks...I mean literally risking your life. In order to get the best vantage points, sometimes you need to do some nutty stuff. Take the above photo for instance. I got this shot in Lehigh Gorge, PA, which is a rather large mountain in northern Pennsylvania. There are several hiking trails in this area, but I chose the Glen Onoko Canyon within this area to hike. This Canyon is a very steep hiking trail along a river that is filled with waterfall after waterfall. The higher up the mountain you get, the larger the waterfalls. I knew I was in trouble when I first approached the trail, where I was met by a large sign stating "Hike at your own risk. Trail is very treacherous and has resulted in death." OK...So, what do I do with that? I drove 2 hours to get to this trail, and I'm not going to turn back now. I came to shoot waterfalls, and waterfalls I will shoot....but, between you and I, I was a little scared. So, off I went...up what I thought was the "trail." Now, I've hiked a lot in my life and I'm pretty familiar with hiking trails. Some are clearly carved out, a dirt path lined with little rocks on both sides. Others are a little more challenging and require a bit more navigating, with rocks to climb and large roots coming out of the ground. However, about 25 minutes into my hike, i realized that i wasn't on the trail. How did I realize this? Every few minutes I found myself in a situation that required me to climb 5 foot walls of stone, holding onto tree branches for dear life, and stepping on slippery moss-covered ridges in the rock. Something wasn't right. The cool part about my self-created trail was that I was right along the river...sometimes literally in the river. The bad part was that I knew I was in trouble and was not going to be able to make it to the top of the mountain without some very sophisticated rock climbing gear. At some point, thank goodness, I looked up and saw people casually walking about 50 feet above me. OMG! I found the trail, but had no idea how I was going to get to it. Long story short, I managed to climb a very steep dirt wall by pulling myself up by roots and tree branches, with my tripod and camera back around my neck. When I got to the top I was drenched in sweat and looked as though I just climbed Mt. Everest. Of course, there was a family with 2 small children standing there staring at me when I reached the top. The little girl, about 5 years old, said to her mother, "Mommy, can we go down there too?," to which the mother pushes her daughter along, saying, "No honey. People aren't allowed down there." 

OK. So, now at least I'm on the correct trail. However, I've got to tell you, this was not an easy trail. It was a heck of a lot easier than the road less taken that I was on, but still surprisingly difficult. I was shocked to see children hiking this trail. About 1.5 miles up, I got this shot. An amazing waterfall that I couldn't believe was in Pennsylvania. It was really spectacular and looked like it belonged in Tahiti or Costa Rica. Actually, this was even the largest waterfall. I will post the "mother" waterfall later this week. Oh...what we photographers will do to get a good shot!!
This is NOT an HDR image. It is a single RAW, f/20 at 0.5 seconds, ISO 160. I lucked out with the weather as it was an overcast day, which saturated the colors of the foliage. In photoshop, I adjusted levels and curves, dodged and burned parts of the waterfall to create a sense of depth, saturated the rock and trees, and added an orange tone to the rocks. Amazingly though, the post-processing of this image took longer than an HDR usually takes. 


  1. Loved the story behind this!

  2. A great picture, and a fabulous story to go with it.
    Thanks again! Can't wait to see the mother."

  3. HaHaHa. Thanks guys. Sometimes, the story is more interesting than the photo. :-)

  4. Thank you so very much! I just love my regular visitors!!

  5. What an awesome shot! Love it. :)

  6. Thank you my friend. I'm actually processing another shot from the same hiking trail, but of a MONSTER waterfall. Come back in a day or 2 to see that one. Cheers!