The Waterfall I Can’t Get Away From

by | Nov 11, 2022 | Perspective, Pic of the Month | 2 comments

I stumbled on a waterfall 11 years ago that I’ve never been able to get away from.

In 2011, I visited Kent Falls State Park, Connecticut, for the first time. It was a cool, mid-October morning. With not a soul around, I enjoyed several hours by myself exploring and enjoying this newfound gem.

111004_James Staddon_8024 Canon EOS 40D, 17 mm, 1.0 sec at f - 8.0, ISO 100

In 2014, it was late March. Some friends and I got up early to get there for sunrise. But there was no color that morning. Just slate gray, winter skies. Not much color anywhere, actually. Snow and ice dominated the field that day.

140322_James Staddon_9870 Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 40 mm, 0.3 sec at f - 22, ISO 50

2018. This time it was in early May. A little cool, there were people milling around, and I spent all day there doing a Photography Field Day. I knew from experience that the location would be good place a workshop.

180505_James Staddon_782358 Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 40 mm, 1-60 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 50

Then the opportunity came up to visit again this year. Early September, mid afternoon. And I couldn’t believe the crowds! And the water level was very low too. The verdant, lonesome place of my nostalgic past was nowhere to be found.

In 2011, I took over 150 photos, exploring different angles and compositions. The location inspired me! Eleven years later, I took 12 photos. It was not that same, enchanted place.

But I still did my best to create some art there. I was mining deeper. There were still gems to be found.

This little chute surrounded by the textured rocks was interesting to me.

220903_James Staddon_1881 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 70 mm, 1-6 sec at f - 11, ISO 50-2

And the high falls itself was still worth photographing. In this composition, I tried framing the shot with a tree blurred out on the right, hoping to create the impression of depth.

220903_James Staddon_1884 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 70 mm, 1-5 sec at f - 11, ISO 50

A fine photo. Feeling it to be a little cluttered, though, I thought I’d try another composition.

Limited by the guardrail as to how far I could move over to see past the tree, I decided to frame as simple a wide scene as I could, cropping out as many distractions as I could near the edges of the photo.

220903_James Staddon_1886 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 70 mm, 0.4 sec at f - 22, ISO 50-2

But the sunlight on the rock steals the show.

With some intentional dodging and burning, I think it helps direct attention back to the falls.

220903_James Staddon_1886 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 70 mm, 0.4 sec at f - 22, ISO 50

But then, while processing these photos the other day, I got an idea.

With the last picture I took back at the park, I decided to drop the exposure so that the light on the rocks looked natural. The sun is painting it’s part on the canvas. This naturally left the rest of the scene too dark.

220903_James Staddon_1887 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 70 mm, 0.3 sec at f - 22, ISO 50-2

So I dodged the water to make it pop out more. Suddenly, the falls took center stage as the darkness on the right side and brightness on the left side visually balance each other out to create a sort of abstract, exposure-crafted frame around the falls.

220903_James Staddon_1887 Canon EOS 5D Mark III, 70 mm, 0.3 sec at f - 22, ISO 50

Hidden Gem
Kent Falls, Kent Falls State Park, Connecticut
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I like it!

Isn’t it interesting how the same location can look so different, just because it’s at a different time? This is what it’s like exploring the landscapes of Scripture! Sometimes we have opportunity to enjoy the Scriptures in the quiet, cozy corners of our home. Sometimes, reading may seem dull and gray, the icy realities of life ruling our outward circumstances. Sometimes the only time to take a peek in the Word is in the middle of the hustle and bustle of life. Sometimes the Word may seem so dry, prompting the need to mine deeper. But there are still gems to be found! Regardless of the changing conditions of our surroundings, the Scriptures stay the same, speaking the same truth they always have. May the Word be a captivating stream of living water we can not get away from. Smile “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts” (Jeremiah 15:16).

And now you know a little more about the story behind one of the photos I used in my box of 12 greeting cards. Smile Pick up a box for free when you order 10 or more 2023 calendars at! Coupon code is 10+CARDS, and offer expires midnight November 19. Thank you for following Lenspiration!

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  1. Richard Spearrin

    Nice waterfall shots James. I do like them myself. If you ever get the opportunity….visit Watkins Glen State Park in Watkins Glen,NY. Awesome waterfalls (yes plural) for all 860 steps up( and back). And many, many more within a 30 minute drive.

  2. James Staddon

    Yes! It’s on my list of places to go one of these days. 🙂


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