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Rolf Hicker Photography
Animal * Nature * Travel Photography

Fall Season Cascading Waterfall Fresh Snow

When colors of fall season meets first snow on a waterfall you gotta end up with a beautiful pictures.

fall season waterfall

Cascading waterfall with colorful fall leaves covered in fresh snow, Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

No secret here, fall is my favorite season to photograph but it is closely followed by winter. Even better if both seasons mix. I photographed this small but very beautiful waterfall last time we were in Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta, Canada. The park is mostly known for its amazing landscape and scenery of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I was supposed to create new landscape photos for one of our calendar publishers but the weather was not on our side, not at all.

Time was as always short but fortunately I knew the park well enough so we did not have to spend to much time scouting for locations. But all our location knowledge did not help as we arrived in a big snow storm - it was the first of the season. Within hours the colorful fall scenery was white, very white. I needed to come up with a plan "B" to make sure we get enough alternative photos for the publisher. Publishers don't always understand that we nature photographers can't control the environment we working in - or in other words - if they only give us 2 days of shooting time and the weather sucks we will get blamed for not getting what they wanted.

Oh well, I have been down that road often enough that I don't get too stressed about it anymore - it is simply a fact that we have to work with the weather and light given, unless of course we have enough time to wait till the situation changes.

Instead of trying to get the requested landscape pictures...and coming home with some wash out, no light images (hdr was not accepted), I decided to go in the forest and see what else we can do. Now that I was free of a very well defined landscape request ,I had enough time to check out new places in the park. I was now looking for a fine art photo which was not planned. Why fine art? because conditions were unique enough to create something very special. I had fresh snow, still very colorful fall leaves so I just needed to add something else to make the shot perfect - flowing water. I sure found what I was looking for.

I spent several hours waiting till the light would get a little bit brighter but not to bright to wash the highlights out, on the other side I wanted the dark spots not to be too dark - in other words I just needed the perfect light for this shot - which I finally got.

We, my wife Michelle and I had enough time to play around the waterfall before the light became perfect, I shot a sequence of pictures, checked out different angles and crops and knew pretty much exactly what I wanted when the light turned right.

Long story short - if conditions aren't perfect for the planned shot don't give up, use the time, re-think and try to find something which conditions are maybe perfect for, even when you can't get what you came for.

Cascading flowing waterfall with small icicles, fresh snow and colorful fall leaves in Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta, Canada.
Photographed with Canon 1Ds Mark 3,  1.3 sec / f25 @ 115mm (2.8/70-200mm) - the image is not cropped as I always try to frame as tight as possible to keep the highest resolution for fine art photo printing.

Author: Rolf Hicker - 2011-10-07
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