Legends of the Falls

January 31, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Our route on our west Clare storm chase last Sunday took us through Ennistimon or Ennistymon as it is often spelled. Given all the rain, I thought it might be worth checking the Falls or the Cascades on the Inagh or Cullenagh River – does everything here have two names? :-) The following four shots were my favourites – three fairly conventional and one a bit different!

The first is a compressed telephoto view taken from the car near the Falls Hotel – I used the Canon 70-200mm f4 lens  at 104mm - the settings were 1/320th of a second at f4 and ISO 400. The main edits were adjusting the tones to bring out the cold dark ambience as a hail shower started – as shown by walker’s “head down” stance. I added blue to the shadows using the split toning panel in Lightroom and added some vibrance to further highlight the red building. I also cloned out a few blurred twigs in the foreground.

01-Ennistimon-Falls-JCoveney01-Ennistimon-Falls-JCoveney The second shot is a very different wide angle perspective and it was taken from just behind where the walker is in the first shot. I used the EFS 17-55mm lens at 28mm, for 1/80th of a second,  f11 and ISO 100. In theory, this may have been a candidate for a long exposure with a neutral density filter (which I don’t have yet) but the stormy gusts and short gaps between the hail showers would have made it impractical to set up a tripod. Instead, I used the minimum ISO and a narrow aperture to get a relatively low shutter speed compatible with hand holding. This smoothed the flow a little while retaining the motion and power of the torrent. The main edits were a black and white conversion, followed by working the contrast and tone sliders to silhouette the surroundings and bring out a brief shaft of light on the river. Again I used the split toning panel to add blue to the shadows.

02-Ennistimon-Falls-JCoveney02-Ennistimon-Falls-JCoveney The third shot is a stitched panorama, using Photoshop, taken from the riverside path near the Main Street. It originates from three shots that were taken handheld with the EFS 17-55mm lens at 20mm, for 1/125th of a second, f8 and ISO 400. I could have done it in one shot at about 11mm with the EFS 10-22mm lens but this would have meant using a wider angle which would have made the bridge and the building much smaller relative to the waterfall – as well as causing some wide angle distortion of the buildings near the edges of the frame. In my opinion, this composition is more balanced. When stitching, it is essential to shoot in manual mode so that the camera settings don’t change as you move towards the sun. I actually forgot to switch from aperture priority here! – but I was lucky to get away with it :-). When handholding, you also need to plan your sweep so that all the important elements of the view are well within the shot while keeping the camera as level as you can.  Zooming out a little helps by leaving some flexibility to crop the stitched panorama.  Before stitching, I did some basic tone edits on one image in Lightroom and then synchronized these across the three images. After stitching, the main edit was some cropping and adding a little blue to the shadows.

03-Ennistimon-Falls-JCoveney03-Ennistimon-Falls-JCoveney This final shot of the series shows the biggest drop at the top of the cascades. It was taken the EFS 10-22mm lens at 12mm. I chose this angle to include both the main drop and rest of the cascades running down to the Falls Hotel where we started. The spray at this location meant that only a quick grab shot was possible during a very brief sunny spell. The settings were 1/640th of a second, f8, and ISO400. Editing was limited to minor cropping and tone changes.

04-Ennistimon-Falls-JCoveney04-Ennistimon-Falls-JCoveney The title is taken from the 1994 film based on a 1979 book of the same name by Jim Harrison.


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