Beauty Found at Willow Falls
Yesterday I took a trip to Willow River State Park in Wisconsin. I went there to photograph Willow Falls, a cascading series of waterfalls attached to the obviously named river. I left in the late morning, all the while driving through some strong rainstorms and hoping that weather apps and future cast radar didn’t lie to me and it would clear up shortly after I arrive. Luckily it did, and so I hopped out and made the small hike towards the falls.
The falls were beautiful, even larger than I thought they would be. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while you know I am a sucker for waterfalls, they are probably my favorite thing to photograph, or at least one of them. I did have a series of challenges here though, mostly the rocks. As I mentioned, it was raining and so that means slippery rocks. Normally I don’t really care but when your caring around expensive camera gear, it tends to make you more cautious but no risk no reward, right?!
For some insight into how I captured these photos, I used two filters, a C.P (Circular Polarizer) and a Neutral Density Filter. The C.P is used to control glare and reflections of the water and the Neutral Density I used to darken the lens so I could lengthen my shutter speed to get more of that smooth water effect. All this was paired with a good travel tripod and a wired shutter release, so I don’t shake the camera when I press the shutter. I tended to bracket my photos +1, which is something I sometimes do when I photograph waterfalls. I also took multiple exposures of the same shot, usually going one up and one down so I can overlay any blown out or dark sections that the first photo didn’t provide in post production.
I spent my time carefully walking around the falls, careful not slip and this was fun for awhile but there were a few people coming and going and they kept going to the top of these falls until I had enough! I wanted to go have fun like them as well, so I took off my boots, rolled my jeans, basically looked like an idiot with my rain jacket on and walked in the water along the sides of the falls. It was an amazing idea, I was having so much fun exploring! It turns out that at the top there is a crawl space that you can go behind the waterfall. So I managed to just fit me and my camera behind it which was a wonderful moment. This also led me to take a few more risks with composition meet some nice people.
Eventually I managed to make it back to my shoes and bag and start my trip back. But, of course as I was going back I could see another spot I wanted to photograph. However in a funny turn of events, I got a little cocky and didn’t take of my shoes before and so off course they got soaked and I had to make the hike back with wet, squeaky boots and half wet jeans but completely worth it! If you’re ever in the area of Hudson, Wisconsin make a stop and check out Willow Falls. You won’t be disappointed!