Bond Falls, Michigan, USA by Dave Noordhoff

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On its way to Lake Superior, a branch of the Ontonagon River flows over Bond Falls, near Paulding in the western part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The falls is surrounded by the Ottawa National Forest, and listed as Bond Falls Scenic Site by the state of Michigan.

The total drop of the falls is about 18 m, with the height of the main section making up 12m of this. The crest is over 35 m wide.

Although Bond Falls is a natural waterfall, a power company manages it and the dam upstream, which maintains a steady flow over the falls for scenic reasons.

Originally quite wild looking and harder to reach, since 2003 trails lead to the falls from a picnic area atop the falls and a parking area near the base of the falls. An easily accessible and level boardwalk leads to several prime views of the falls from your car.

Regarded as the best single waterfall in the Western Upper Peninsula, and maybe the most impressive waterfall in all of Michigan (with the possible exception of Tahquamenon Falls) the site often crowded, unless visited early in the morning or during the winter (during the early spring melt the flow is much higher). There are campsites nearby if you want to stay for the late evening or early morning light. Agate Falls, another scenic site, is nearby (5 km).

I visited in mid-afternoon on an overcast late September day (my favourite light for waterfalls) and had Bond Falls almost to myself. After an easy walk to the viewing areas, I set up my tripod and using a remote release, and shot in manual mode, experimenting with various shutter speeds trying to show the motion in the falling water. This image turned out to be the best exposure.


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