View Full Version : I stumbled onto Shangri La

09-05-2013, 10:05 PM
I live in the land of waterfalls and are always looking for new ones.
I heard about this one in the Washington cascades and hiked to it last weekend.
Did not expect much, maybe a 30 foot fall on a nice creek.
This is Fall Creek Falls, maybe the prettiest waterfall in the land of waterfalls. A hundred foot fall
in an Old Growth forest. Magical and out of the way......

1 sec., f16, iso100, grad filter (had bad back lighting, I need to go back), 25mm, D800

DSC_7474bp3.jpg (http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=132243&stc=1&d=1378436658)

Don Railton
09-05-2013, 11:22 PM
Hi Dan

Very envious of your 'land of waterfalls'...This is quite beautiful and nicely composed. I wondered about the stick masking the top falls but decided its good, part of the tree and the scene. I do find the light a bit patchy, I know its under a forest canopy so this is to be expected but the area at the bottom of the falls is looking a little unnatural, maybe I am wrong but you will know if you worked the brightness in area during your processing.. Is this a blend???


09-05-2013, 11:44 PM
thanks for the comment.
My waterfalls are pretty heavily processed. The forest falls in Pacific northwest are beautiful in person, but a nightmare
to capture in camera.
This one was backlit (you never know the lighting until you get there and they are a hike in), and they are in heavy shade or streaky white light.
Thanks for the tips of Don Nelson, I am changing the WB to get rid of the blue caste you get in the dark shade. The rest I just deal with and try
to make them look like what I see when I am there.
Here is the Out of camera, converted to jpeg photo. I probably should not disclose how much I manipulate these, but that is the fun of it!
Shooting with a D800 helps a lot!

DSC_7474ooc.jpg (http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=132244&stc=1&d=1378442602)

Don Railton
09-05-2013, 11:56 PM
Hi Dan

Thanks for the 'original' and the insite as to what you are working with. Its certainly a scene worth a bit of effort IMHO.. did you try a simple gradient from the bottom up to the top of the first falls and then levels adjustment to bring up the bottom half? this would burn the water but then mask that out maybe..? Glad you are having fun.


Rachel Hollander
09-06-2013, 07:11 AM
Hi Dan - I'm going to be the naysayer here and say that I much prefer the straight ooc image. It has the coolness I would expect a forest waterfall to have and the highlights in the water are much better controlled with the exception of the very top of the falls. The shaft of light breaking through in the upper right is nice and is all but eliminated in your op. For me, most of the time less is more when it comes to pp but I know you like your colors saturated a bit more than I do as well.


Steve Kaluski
09-06-2013, 09:43 AM
Hi Dan, when I first saw this, it almost had a feel of 'Middle Earth' with Gollum lurking at the foot of the falls, LOL.

On a serious note, I quite like the way you have enriched the colours of the image, but for me, where it falls down, (no pun intended) is the lighting aspect, there are no shadows, highlights, contrasts, blacks that help build the image and the light is floodlight, everywhere is even. Looking at the 'oringinal' that to me has the qualities I am referring to and so I would take a little from the OP, some key parts, apply and see how it looks. I know you say you like things saturated and that as we ALL know is down to taste.

Dan I think you have a wonderful capture, I guess I just like it less processed, hope to see more in the coming weeks. BTW light & cloud is streaming over the north face of the Eiger at present, but not good to photograph. :S3:


Don Nelson
09-06-2013, 01:24 PM
Nice capture under difficult conditions.
If it were mine, I would crop it across the upper waterfall at the bottom of that branch (oh, for a pole trimmer !). That leaves a hint of the upper waterfall and focuses the eye on the lower one as well.... but that still leaves that bright bit of light -- you need to go back and make this one again on an overcast day (plenty coming ;-)

And Steve is right -- something a little less processed would suit my personal taste a little better (but hey, your first post had a glow from within that made it very interesting as well).

Do you have a copy of "Waterfall Lover's Guide to the Pacific Northwest"? Is very helpful for many falls.
As is www.waterfallsnorthwest.com (http://www.waterfallsnorthwest.com) -- which often has very interesting unnamed falls as well.
(and believe it or not, there are new falls being discovered in the coast range every year -- the undergrowth is pretty thick in the coastal rainforest, and many difficult to reach locations aren't documented but may be known to elk hunters)

Keep posting these -- some excellent images.
Good to see you have found a great subject that really seems to click with you.

Douglas Bolt
09-06-2013, 05:34 PM

Very nice image. Well balanced! I'm not sure that is a term normally used to describe a photo, but it is what first came to mind with I saw it. I prefer the OP, but the second one is good too. Just a different feel.

09-06-2013, 07:02 PM
Thanks for the comments, appreciated.
Rachel, the OOC is too dark and too blue, not really what you see in real life.
I do agree I went overboard in PP and I appreciate and respect your opinion. The problem with water and falls in general is that in real life
the whites are blown, they are very white to view but you don't mind, but in photo's it looks bad, so you have to photograph them so dark so you can manipulate them,
for better or worse. You just choose how far to go. I try to process them as I visualized them.

Here is a repost, somewhat in the middle.
I got rid of the branch which I think improves it, I still changed the WB to shade to get rid of the blue caste, left it overall darker and kept some of the backlit light.

Thanks for the link Don N., I appreciate it, I may find a new one this weekend!

DSC_7474bp5.jpg (http://www.birdphotographers.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=132270&stc=1&d=1378512038)

Don Nelson
09-06-2013, 08:08 PM
I like the latest post - well done Dan!

Rachel Hollander
09-06-2013, 08:32 PM
Hi Dan - I like your last rp the best too. I took that version and just darkened the greens in a hue/saturation layer and then also burned the upper waterfall again at 7%. WDYT?


09-06-2013, 10:56 PM
Looks good Rachel,
Thanks for taking the time and thanks for your input.
I also like the reworked falls better, always nice to get feedback and put it to use.

Don Lacy
09-08-2013, 01:50 PM
HI Dan. A little late to this one I like your second repost the best but I am still bothered by the blown highlights in the water and I think I would prefer a slightly cooler image. I am wondering have you tried taking several exposures of the scene and manually blending them in PS to control the tonalities think you would be able to keep it simple one exposure for the water with no blown areas and one for the foliage I do not think it would be to hard to blend. You could also try HDR with a realistic tone curve so it does not scream HDR if you no what I mean.

09-08-2013, 05:25 PM
thanks for the comment, I have never attempted blending, I am thinking about getting PS so I
can start attempting stuff like that. I only use NX2 which is fine but simple.
The lighting was so bad that day, I just need to go back another time now that I
know what to expect.

Lyle Gruby
09-09-2013, 09:32 AM
Looks like I'm very late to this one. I love the scene here. I think the soft light of an overcast day would be your friend for this one. I'd concur that you'd like PS to hand blend your images.

Morkel Erasmus
09-09-2013, 01:46 PM
Late to this one (personal weekend away with the missus for our anniversary!) but really like your last repost, Dan.
I must say the OP caught my eye as something magical and luminous, almost as if it was a scene from the elven village of Rivendell...and it doesn't have to be all natural if your vision for the scene is something like that.
Your last repost has the balance I enjoy most in "normal" landscape photography, and the stick out of the way is very well done. Your best waterfall image to date for me!

PS: the difference between your OP and you OOC shot is testament to the amazing dynamic range in the D800 sensor...

Diane Miller
09-09-2013, 11:25 PM
I'm also late here, but have to agree with Morkel that the first one has a magic quality. And your last post and Rachel's are also very special.