Rhythms of nature, Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho, 2018
This is the first image in a three picture sequence featuring Shoshone Falls, located in the Snake River Canyon just outside of the city of Twin Falls, Idaho. This 212 foot high waterfall is known as the "Niagara of the West," because it flows over a rim that is 1,000 feet wide. At full flow, this waterfall is breathtaking, stretching across the full width of the Snake River. However, I visited it in the fall, when its water level is low, and the falls split into four or more separate drops. Yet in this image, I was still able to capture the fall's energy and beauty by isolating just one section of one of those smaller waterfalls. I move the eye through this image by relating a series of different flows to each other, creating a rhythm of natural forms. I contrast slabs of barren brown rock with a series of spurting water flowing with different force, direction, and color. This is the essence of Shoshone Falls, rather than just a description of it. (The other two images in this series follow.)
Gathering of the birds, Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho, 2018
In this, the second image of this three picture sequence, I reduce the waterfall itself to secondary status, and instead feature dozens of birds that gathered at the top, looking as if they were attending a beach resort. The flat light illuminates the textures of the ancient eroded rock, which at other times of the year is usually under tremendous water pressure from a fully flowing waterfall. These birds obviously find some kind of food here, yet exactly what they might be feeding on is incongruously missing from this scene.
Ghost in the falls, Shoshone Falls, Twin Falls, Idaho, 2018
When I am photographing a waterfall, I often will zoom in to isolate a part of the water flow that suggests a human form or interaction. In this, the final image of this three picture sequence, I used a very fast shutter speed to create a lacey effect, and found a ghostly figure on the left. The figure seems almost transparent, and wears a robe that covers the body. This allows the imagination of my viewers to take over the image and make of it whatever they may wish.
Waterfall, The Venetian Pool, Coral Gables, Florida, 2013
Using a fast shutter speed of 1/800th of a second, I am able to freeze a curtain of falling water as it plunged down the face of an artificial waterfall built as a scenic backdrop along side of this famous swimming pool in 1924. The water, stopped in mid-flow, says “now,” but also could have looked exactly like this if stopped in action ninety years ago.
The crash of surf, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Carmel, California, 2012
This collision of surging surf and rocky cliff is magnified by the camera’s ability to freeze droplets hanging in the air, as well as capture the frenzied curve of a wave that seems to perfectly match the notch of ancient rock that awaits it. I like the collision of colors as well – the warmth of the old rock contrasts nicely to the chilly blues in the frothy water. Over the centuries, the constant slamming of water into rock seems to have gradually created the very shape of the base of the cliff itself.
Fountain, Cuenca, Ecuador, 2011
I used a moment in time to simultaneously freeze both the flow of this fountains spray and a man framed within the arch of the building in the background. My 1/400th of a second shutter speed creates a shower of individual droplets that covers the entire image with a rain-like pattern.
“Woman and Fish,” Scottsdale Civic Center, Scottsdale, Arizona, 2011
This sculpture, by Abbott Pattison, stands upside down in a pond before Scottsdale’s City Hall. I photographed it so that the “V” shaped position of its legs repeats the “V” shape of the fountain just behind it. The backlighting abstracts the statue, turning it into a silhouette. It also allows the light to pass through the shower of water that rises and falls from the fountain, revealing individual droplets that are frozen in time at 1/1000th of a second.
Oak Creek, Red Rock Crossing State Park, Sedona, Arizona, 2009
By mid morning, the Arizona sun turns the churning waters of Oak Creek into a textured road abounding in crinkles, wrinkles, and folds. Magically, the water reflects the colors of its surroundings. The upper left side of this image echoes the green of overhead leaves, while the water at lower right hints of the red rocks lurking just below the surface.
Fountain, Salem, Massachusetts, 2009
A spiraling jet of crystalline water comes tumbling out of a fountain honoring the works of Salem’s Nathaniel Hawthorne. I used a very fast shutter speed of 1/1250th of a second to preserve the pattern within the water.
Rogue River Gorge, Oregon, 2009
I photographed this spot again and again, and the light was never the same twice. The water moves across the rocks in an unpredictable way and the sunlight was coming through leaves overhead that were also moving. I wanted this image to be all about fury. The force of the water pouring through this narrow gorge is astounding. I focused and exposed on the brightest part of the scene using my spot metering mode, which makes the shadowed areas darker and more mysterious.
Black and white study, Rogue River Gorge, Oregon, 2009
By going to black and white here, I abstract the image, honing it down to its essentials. I’ve also framed the flow of water over the rocks at the very spot of its greatest impact and force. The light is brighter than in the previous Rogue River Gorge image, allowing me to use shutter priority and select a shutter speed of 1/4000th of a second, the fastest speed I have ever used. The droplets hang suspended in the air, the water streams over the big rock in rhythmic waves, while the background boils in the shadows.
Fountain, Sousse, Tunisia, 2008
The beauty of this image rests in the expression of sculpted exhilaration amidst an explosion of water droplets. Using the shutter priority mode on my camera, I selected 1/1000th of a second, which enabled me to many droplets in mid-flight. The pair of statues are also flanked by two jets of water that are moving so fast that even 1/1000th of a second exposure fails to freeze them, allowing the spouts to create blurred pillars of energy as context.