Thursday, September 20, 2018

Shot of the Day – 27 – Pratt’s Falls

You know I’m old and often drag out decades-old images and wax lyrical. This time, hot off the SD card, is a recent shot…one that I really like.

In late June, I was in Syracuse, New York to bowl miserably (again) in the USBC Nationals. To avoid making the drive a total loss, Beck came along and we noodled around the region for a few days. Southeast of Syracuse, just outside the Town of Manlius, is Pratt’s Falls Park. Where the level ground with the playfields and picnic tables drops off, you can take a short, steep hike down to the base of Pratt’s Falls.

Pratt’s Falls, Manlius, NY (25 June 2018)

Since we were driving, it was easy to pack along the gear one needs for this kind of picture-taking. The essential hardware is a sturdy tripod. Depending on how much light there is, you’re going to need to keep the camera still for a longer exposure. This one-second exposure turned out just right as it softened the cascade perfectly (in my opinion). Any longer and the water would have looked like solid white cotton candy. I don’t own a cable release but there are other ways to keep from pressing the shutter button and risk moving the camera. I used the camera’s self-timer to take the shot.

The falls are actually 137 feet tall and portions of it were in bright sun. It was better to zoom in and frame that part of it that was in uniform, shaded light. I was fortunate to be in a spot where that view of the falls was nicely framed by the surrounding trees. One final hardware addition was a polarizing filter set to the darker view to reduce any glare.

Two final points. I made quite a few exposures of various portions and views of the falls. None were as good as this one. As I have said before, the ’film’ is free. Fire away. Try different settings and perspectives…that’s the way to learn what works.

The last point harkens back to a post in the first year of this blog. “Rule Number One” cautioned against relying on your computer and post-production tricks to fix flaws and make your image better. Of course, there are wonderful things software can do to improve image quality but they come at a cost…of pixels…of file size and potential. I attended a seminar where the great shooter Ian Plant showed us a dozen Photoshop steps that turned a good waterfall shot into a fantastic one. He did not note how much the file size shrank by the end.

I am proud to say this image has not been edited at all.

Addendum – The last ‘Shot of the Day’ post about the Little Daisy Hotel in Jerome, Arizona prompted a reader to send this link. It appears the property has been renovated and is on the market. It can be yours for only $6.5 million. Good luck with that.


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