Canon 16-35mm f/4L
f/11, 1.3sec, ISO 100
On this December afternoon, the tannin-stained water of the Ausable River was still swollen from November downpours. Still, subfreezing nighttime conditions caused the spray from this pretty cascade to freeze and adorn the surrounding boulders with fascinating ice formations. I was immediately enraptured by the otherworldly texture and form of the ice and quickly got to work on crafting a composition that captured the essence of winter.
Photographing waterfalls can often be precarious as the optimal composition almost always seems to be attained by balancing on a slippery rock or standing right in the fast-flowing water. The danger level gets amplified in winter when breaking through the icy shore and plunging into the water can have serious consequences.
After careful exploration, I was thankfully able to find a vantage point that allowed me to showcase the ice formations with the waterfall in the background while keeping my feet on solid ground.
The late afternoon sun poked through the thin clouds just enough to apply soft lighting to the scene. A circular polarizer helped reduce glare while facilitating a longer exposure time to render the flowing water silky smooth.
One of my favorite aspects of winter photography is that it makes the landscape appear more otherworldly than in any other season. So I was thrilled to be able to capture this picture as an expression of the haunting, otherworldly beauty of the winter season.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor