North Clear Creek Falls, Creede, Colorado, USA by Matt Burt

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Picture Story

I am normally more physically active on a weekend but this particular one last summer I was getting over an injury and decided to go for a drive to get out but still continue to rest my sore foot.

I had never visited North Clear Creek falls before and thought this would be a good day for it since the falls are visible right from the parking lot and I wouldn't need to walk far. I figured I'd scope it out for a future sunrise or starscape photo or something like that, maybe even try some compositions out.

It takes about an hour and a half from my house and I pulled in right around lunch time. The light conditions were typical for noon in the summer - pretty harsh and not photogenic for landscapes or much else. There were a few people around taking in the sights and milling around. I set up to shoot a little anyway and notice the sky darkening. I thought I could maybe stop down or use a ND filter for some water blur photos. Soon this squall come over the ridge and started crackling with thunder. The light changed to eerie storm lighting as the bolts started showing themselves. I carry a trigger (Pluto Trigger) in my bag just for occasions like this so I got that out and re-positioned the camera as the storm really started to unleash. I hobbled back to the car to wait out these frequent strikes. It rained a little but not too hard for a sealed body and lens. Then it started hailing and I had to hurry-hobble back out to rescue my gear! The trigger was going constantly so I had several shots to choose from or composite later. It was seeing many more strikes than I was, which is pretty neat.

This lone bolt was a favorite for its definition, position, and I really like seeing both ends including it hitting the ground. The water blur came out nicely too. I like to show some motion but keep a lot of texture.

Processing was fairly basic in Lightroom with Color Efex Pro for some finishing touches. I'm glad I decided to get out of the house that day!


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