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So many waterfalls

With the temperatures rising, the snow melting and the spring rains, uh, springing, the waterfalls of central Ohio are roaring. I’ve been seeking out every one I can find to photograph them at their fullest. I’ve even managed to find two falls that aren’t on the maps or in the guide books.

Last Sunday I arrived at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills about 7:30 AM and had the place to myself for 30-40 minutes. It had completely thawed since my last visit and was flowing well. The first composition I usually try is a closeup, low-angle shot with a wide angle lens. After making my way as close as I could get to the falls, I tried a few compositions then added the 10 stop ND filter to get a really long exposure.

Click images to enlarge.
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Cedar Falls LE Closeup ISO:100 - f/7.1 - 10mm - 122 sec - 10 stop ND filter
Cedar Falls LE Closeup
ISO:100 – f/7.1 – 10mm – 122 sec – 10 stop ND filter

 

Cedar Falls BTS Closeup - Samsung S5
Cedar Falls BTS Closeup – Samsung S5

Because I had the falls to myself, I had the time and freedom to try several shots. Next I wanted to try a composition that featured the relationship of the stream and the falls. I setup low right in the middle of a small cascade and composed a shot with the rocks pointing to the falls and a nice serpentine leading line created by the water flow. The long exposure captured the flow and the predawn light well and I was pretty pleased… until I started to edit the shot at home. What’s that weird black rock on the left? Oh, crap! Here’s a “Pro Tip” – don’t leave your camera bag in your shot when you switch positions. Groan.

CedarFalls LE Downstream ISO:100 - f/7.1 - 10mm - 122 sec 10 stop ND filter
CedarFalls LE Downstream
ISO:100 – f/7.1 – 10mm – 122 sec 10 stop ND filter

Downstream just a little and off to the side of Queer Creek is so called “Hidden Falls” You can see it clearly from the trail on the north side of the creek so I’m not sure where the name comes from. It’s a medium sized two tiered waterfall tucked in behind a large fallen boulder. Because of the small space I thought I’d try a fish-eye lens shot. The shape of the fish-eye lens prevents the use of ordinary filters so I just set the aperture to f/22 and the ISO to 100 to get the longest exposure I could.

Hidden Falls 8mm ISO:100 - f/22 - 8mm - 1/3 sec
Hidden Falls 8mm
ISO:100 – f/22 – 8mm – 1/3 sec

After hiking to Rose Lake and taking a couple panoramas, I started hiking back towards Cedar Falls. From the trail I could hear a waterfall in the hollow that’s just below the lake. Bushwhacking down to the edge of the hollow I found a 50′-60′ drop waterfall! I eventually found a way down into the hollow

By the time I got up to the Rose Hollow waterfall it was late in the morning and the sun was high and shining bright in a blue sky. This is great for enjoying the outdoors, but not so great for landscape photography. The light was very strong and contrasty. I’m eager to return when the light is better.

Rose Hollow Falls Sunny ISO:100 - f/22 - 16mm - 1/2 sec
Rose Hollow Falls Sunny
ISO:100 – f/22 – 16mm – 1/2 sec

After making my way down the hollow and back to the trail to Cedar Creek, I discovered that the crowds had arrived in Hocking Hills to enjoy the warm, sunny Sunday. There are several side waterfalls along the trail, but none of them were very impressive and they were all in full sun. About a 1/4 mile short of Cedar Falls, I could hear a waterfall in a small curved hollow on the other side of the creek. I waded over and walked around the fallen rocks that hide the end of the hollow. There was a great medium sized waterfall flowing very strong. It was mostly hidden from the sun too!

Real Hidden Falls ISO:100 - f/7.1 - 10mm - 1/2 sec
Real Hidden Falls
ISO:100 – f/7.1 – 10mm – 1/2 sec

This falls isn’t in any of the guide books I’ve read nor is it on any of the maps. This unnamed falls is a real hidden gem! While I was there the sun lined up with the notch the water was flowing through. I setup right in the path of the sunbeam and got some some cool ethereal shots.

Real Hidden Falls Sunbeam ISO:100 - f/8 - 15mm - 1/2 sec
Real Hidden Falls Sunbeam
ISO:100 – f/8 – 15mm – 1/2 sec

 

I’m adding both of these new waterfalls to my Ohio Waterfalls Map. The Rose Hollow falls is fed by overflow from Rose Lake. It may have water almost year round. The unnamed falls is probably seasonal and only has water after a good rain or snow melt.

Hocking Hills is full of hollows and under the right conditions any of them could have waterfalls at the end. There could be dozens of unknown waterfalls out there!

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