On my first visit to Yosemite National Park in autumn 2007 I drove right over Cascade Falls without even noticing it. Like so many waterfalls in Yosemite it is fed by seasonal runoff and dry for much of the year. When I returned the following May I was almost shocked to find this spectacular fall where it had previously been dry. When I returned to Yosemite this past June at the peak of spring water flow I was anxious to stop at this point to photograph again.
In the back of my mind I was vaguely familiar with a particular photograph of this same spot by one of my favorite photographers, Charles Cramer. After reviewing my photographs at the end of my trip I realized that I had photographed nearly the identical perspective, and felt sheepish about posting it at all. I have previously posted another photograph from the same location with a different perspective but this is truly my preferred photograph. After seeing another photograph of this wonderful location by prolific Yosemite photographer G. Dan Mitchell I decided, somehow, that it was worth posting this shot of mine as well. Particularly when photographing in Yosemite, it is often difficult to take a photograph without feeling its derivative of others' past work. In fairness, I should direct you to Mr. Cramer's outstanding photograph that shares a very similar perspective.
After all that contextualizing, what I particularly like about this location is the rocky terrain over which the falls flow. Water is tossed in every direction, creating a maelstrom of currents from top to bottom. A bridge passes over the falls just above where Cascade Creek joins Tamarack Creek, and this was taken from the bridge looking downstream. I added an 8-stop neutral density filter to allow for a longer exposure, to try to capture a balance between arrested all motion and losing detail entirely. I adjusted my perspective the best I was able to gain maximum separation between the small branches growing from the split rock and those in the background, but could not find a way to entirely separate them (a point of frustration in composing this shot).
Nikon D90 | Nikon 50 f/1.8 | f/9 | 1/5s | ISO200 | Tripod | ND400
See more related images in my Yosemite National Park Gallery.
All text and images © Tyler Westcott, All rights reserved, Unless otherwise noted.