Cascade Falls

To spend a few days in Yosemite Valley in May and not be consumed by the awesome site and power of the valley’s waterfalls… well, we did try our hand at some waterfall scenes, but honestly it’s tough to get something that hasn’t been done over and over. The only reason for this one is because these falls are often missed when visiting Yosemite and so not photographed as often. This is Cascade Falls. It’s very easily missed as you drive in to the valley.

Anyway, the volume of water this year is tremendous, creating lots of spray, mist and chances for some neat patterns as the water crashes on the rocks creating all that spray.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

Processing, contrast, levels? B&w presentation

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

any, all.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

B&W conversion using Silver Efex pro2, making various adjustments. Burning, dodging and this time using TK’s Light’s triple play to squeeze out some white water detail. Some cloning along the bottom removing some tree tops so I could retain the mist across the bottom.

Nikon D800E, 28-300mm @200mm f/8 1/800th iso 400 single frame

I am really enjoying this one, Lon. The B&W works really well and looks good to my eye. An alternative but not necessarily better crop would be going to square with the bottom half of the image. It makes it far more abstract, more mysterious and different. Both work for me.

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Lon, it is amazing to me how one shutter speed can catch such a variety of looks in the various sprays here. To me the spray and mist are what is most powerful about this image, which is why I think @Harley_Goldman has a great idea about a second crop showing just the bottom half.

B&W all the way with this one for sure. Assuming you retain this original composition, my only suggestion would be to burn the rocks at the center top, they are an eye magnet. And if you wanted to consider a third composition that’s somewhere between yours and Harley’s suggestion, then consider this 5:7 format (also reflects some burning of the top center).

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Lon, I like what Ed did losing a little bit of that darker rock face in the top center of the image. B&W certainly works great in this image. I think you have processed it very nicely. I really like the texture you have pulled out from the water “jet” coming from the top left. It’s been a long time since I visited Yosemite and seeing your interpretations of the area have made me long to go back.

Lon, I can just feel the power and hear the thundering sound of this falls…Wow! Nice job with the b&w processing too.

Very dynamic image! I agree with Ed about the burning

Great shot. The B&W conversion really suits the subject. I think your shutter speed choice is perfect. Captures the majesty and power of the falls a lot better than a longer exposure.

Thank You @Harley_Goldman, @Michael_Lowe, @Nick_Bristol, @Ed_McGuirk, @Adhika_Lie, @Michael_Lowe, and @Nathan_Klein. Appreciate the comments and suggestions.

I think a crop works perfectly - especially in emphasizing the water and spray. Definitely a viable and stronger option. Thanks!


Hi Lon, This is excellent. BW treatment works perfectly in what I’m guessing is a fairly monochromatic image to simplify to the textures in the water and rock.
A little late to comment but I think I prefer the framing in the original. I could see some fairly strong burning on the bright areas of rock top center to keep the eyes in the central portion of the image but otherwise this works for me as presented…

@Harley_Goldman’s square crop suggestion is a very good one imo.

This is definitely crashing water drama, Lon. Very nice!