I’m fortunate enough to live in an area that is surrounded by a ton of natural beauty. The Muskoka area, Bracebridge in particular is home a to a number of waterfalls varying in size and type. The Muskoka River that runs through Bracebridge and the many falls located along it’s different sections played a big part in attracting early settlers to the area. The town itself was built around a set of falls (Bracebridge Falls) which was harnessed for it’s hydro electric power
and helped Muskoka grow as a community when many others were not. Wilson’s Falls are located on the north branch of the Muskoka river just a few kilometers up stream from Bracebridge Falls. Out of the major falls located in town these are by far the most scenic and photogenic. A dam is located at the top of the falls but it is out of sight when shooting at the lower portions of the falls.
Back To The Future – Wilson’s Falls, Bracebridge
I certainly don’t visit these falls as much as I should but every time I do I’m reminded about their beauty and the sheer amount of photographic opportunities. The falls travel through a number of drops producing several larger and smaller cascades. Also, the flow can change drastically depending on the control of the Dam. I just visited this location a few days apart and each time the water was flowing at different rates.
For me, one of the most appealing things about this location is the surrounding rock that the water has cut a path through over the course of thousands of years. The textures and shapes of the rocks could be photographed for days on end and really create a lot of unique possibilities for composing different scenes. For the image above I chose to explore the more intimate details of the falls. I really liked the contrasting tones, shapes and textures of the rock and flowing water. The evening side light brought out the fine detail in the f/g rock but was still soft enough to allow me to capture a even exposure throughout the image. I processed this one in B&W as the colour present in the scene didn’t do much to compliment it, I felt the B&W really helped emphasize the tonal values.
Backbone – Pott’s Falls, Bracebridge, Ontario
When I returned later in the week I decided to compose a wider image. I was attracted to the following image by the strong diagonal lines throughout the scene. Also, the sky which was slightly overcast picked up a touch of evening light just as the sun was starting to get lower in the sky. I also liked how the subtle lines in the f/g rock shelf help bring the viewer into the image. When shooting waterfalls it’s all to easy to focus solely on the falls themselves and forget about the landscape that compliments them. No matter what falls I’m visiting I always scout the area first with my camera in hand composing different frames, trying to find the right balance between the two. Next time your looking for an area to shoot I certainly recommend Wilson’s Falls. While it’s certainly not the most remote set of falls around it’s a great place to spend a few hours making images.
I’m a professional landscape photographer and workshop leader based out of Muskoka, Ontario. My goal is to inspire and educate others artistically, creatively and emotionally through images, workshops and writings. I believe that individuality is the most important part of the photographic process therefore I strive to helps others develop their own unique creative voice.
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