The Night Light Of Hidden Falls

3 May

The Nightlight Of Hidden Falls-1Are you afraid of the dark? I mean really dark places where you sometimes cannot even see right in front of you? Sometimes you have to fight the mental battle to move ahead as a photographer. I’m no stranger to this. In fact, with my hearing loss, it can sometimes be even more of a battle as I not only can’t see, but I most likely can’t hear anything as well.

This particular night I went to Hidden Falls Regional Park to photograph the falls. Check out this link if you’d like to know more about this park.

Hidden Falls Regional Park

It is the lesser known cousin of Minnehaha Falls but no less beautiful to me. I drove down the steep entry incline and parked only to be told by park security that parking was closing for the night. “But” he said…I like those buts as it meant I was not out of luck…”you can park up on the streets outside the park entrance and hike in”. Beautiful words! 10-15 minutes later, I was back in business having trekked down the steep incline into the park for a second time, this time on foot.

I started off in the direction I thought was correct as I had been here once before in the daytime a couple years ago. About 15 minutes later, I knew something was wrong. I should have been to the falls by now…maybe even sooner. Instead I was in pitch dark, punctuated only by my headlamp and flashlight, back in the hidden recesses of the forest in this park. The path I had taken was now less noticeable. That mental battle was starting. I turned around and headed back the way I came from. I had to constantly remind myself I was alone with maybe the exception of forest critters wondering who this was invading their playground. As long as I didn’t startle a skunk, I would probably live to see another day.

I finally got back to where I started and figured out where I needed to go. As I got closer, disappointment was creeping in. Where water should have been pouring out as the snow pack had been melting, there was barely a trickle. There were no falls; there was only a small stream meandering its way down the carved gorge. While not deep, it still had a drop of up to 5 or 6 feet in varying spots.

Photography always requires flexibility. Without it you’ll end up being frustrated over and over again. My goal was to practice a technique called light painting which is still very new to me so I changed my plans slightly. Check out this link to better understand what light painting is.

Light Painting

I decided to follow the gorge upward toward the falls by walking along along the edge of the gorge. I slowly walked along the edge as I shone the light down into and all around the gorge. Since the light was pointed into the gorge, my path was not lighted. One misstep and I’d be down in the gorge myself.

As I went up further, the edge transitioned into walking on a manmade stone wall so now I had the added risk of falling back onto the ground with one wayward step. You may be thinking, “but there’s plenty of light to see” as the featured image shows. Even though the image is well lit, this is also a long exposure image of about 6 minutes. In the moment as I was light painting, there was only the light of my flashlight pointed into the gorge.

Light painting can be casual or it can be a pretty exact science. In this case I wanted to make sure I did not light the area outside of the gorge so it required a bit more finesse. I shot upwards of 10-15 long exposures that night all roughly around the 6 minute mark. The image you see here is the one I like the most. I really like how the gorge gives off a night light look and feel. If you look closely, you will see that the sides of the gorge have been shored up with manmade stones as well to help prevent erosion of the walls. The gold in the image almost dead center is a reflection from the lighting sources above the park. Due to the type of light source along the outer rim of the park, the forest has taken on a warmer tone. It lends a fairytale feeling to me.

I hope you enjoyed reading this blog! Please leave any comments and/or feedbacks in the comments section below. I’d be happy to answer any questions or thoughts you have regarding the featured image and/or blog post. If you are new to this blog, please consider following me by clicking on the follow button to the side or the WordPress blog button on the bottom right.

If you would like to purchase this image for your own home/professional environment, click the link below and it will take you directly to the image on my website. I do have other purchasing options available beyond what is offered on my website if you do not find one that meets your needs.

The Night Light Of Hidden Falls


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