Behind the Shot: Drifting Downstream

by | Jun 29, 2019 | Pic of the Month | 3 comments

I usually gravitate toward “epic moment” shots when choosing a photo for a desktop background each month. You know, I’m going to be looking at it every day for a while, it might as well be worth looking at.

But this time, I couldn’t help but choose a photo that I have to say is rather random. The subject is not anything special really. Just a waterfall, and an insignificant one at that, flowing gently downstream. It’s not necessarily applying any amazing composition rules that I can think of right off. And it’s not even particularly a beautiful place, especially in the top left of the photo where the flowing water transports and deposits the eye of the viewer.

But there’s just something about it. And I don’t know what it is. It captivates and holds my attention for a reason I haven’t quite determined yet.

And whether I ever determined it or not, that doesn’t really matter. The “captivating and holding” is what matters, because that’s what makes a good photo a good photo whether or not the “why” is ever discovered.

What I do know is that I spent a little more time than normal at this spot trying to get it right. It’s always a challenge to shoot waterfalls from the top down. But there, between Conventions spending time with friends photographing the Shenandoah backcountry, away from cell phone reception, emails, and the busy schedule, I was just taking a moment to enjoy God’s creation and imitate the Great Creator by attempting to create my own little creation without the pressure to perform.

Maybe one of these days, on one of those “every days” that I look at my desktop background in the next month, the “why” will hit me.

190610-192013_James Staddon_9217 W

Drifting Downstream

White Oak Canyon, Shenandoah National Forest, Virginia
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And for those of you who were wondering, no, the raw photo right out of the camera didn’t look quite as captivating:

190610-192013_James Staddon_9217

Definitely in need of some editing. But still, it was a diamond in the rough before I ever started hacking away at it in Lightroom.

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  1. Alyssa C

    I like this photo, too! 😄 One thing I see in it, is that the stream rushes on, undeterred, through the high points, even points, and low points of its path. No change in topography will stop it from moving on in its chartered path. This is how I should strive to be as I move along God’s path for me. In this pic, the stream does not hesitate about entering a lower area – it continues to flow, and keeps its beauty and refreshing quality, blessing all who gaze on it. I need to serve God and others just as vigorously, enthusiastically, and joyously in the low, harder parts of life as I do on the higher, easier parts ~ like this beautiful stream. Love the reminders I see in this lovely stream/photo! Thank you for sharing it. We are going through a crazy time right now, so this was perfect. Sorry for the book lol!

  2. joanne Walenga

    I don’t know I must be really old school I like the freeze motion look with the drops of water in the air because the fall doesn’t really look like this, This to me is more like a painting ,

  3. James Staddon

    Wow, good thoughts, Alyssa! Hadn’t ever thought of that analogy!

    Not old school at all, Joanne, I’d say! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I do think the “silky water effect” can be overdone if it’s thought of as the only way to photograph water!


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