Silky Water – Hamilton’s Waterfalls

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We finally got a day when it was warm enough to go outside without my fingers locking up. We borrowed our son’s car and headed off with our friend Ron, a walking encyclopaedia concerning the Hamilton area, and went off in search of a few of Hamilton’s approximately 100 waterfalls.

The first one that we hit was Webster’s Falls:

Webster Falls - Hamilton, Ontario

Surprisingly, it’s not easy to get into a good position to photograph many of the falls. That is because the surrounding areas have not been decimated for the sake of the convenience of visitors. Most of the ones we visited required only modest hiking to see them, but getting into an ideal position for photography was not so easy. Finally, I was warned by Eunie and Ron to stay on the paths, because I was making them nervous.

I didn’t record the name of this one. I think I’ll call it “Hairy Dog Falls”:

Some waterfall in Hamilton, Ontario
You may wonder why the water looks silky. I used a common technique for slowing the shutter speed to more than two seconds so that the moving water looks blurred while the surrounding detail remains sharp. It involves shooting through a dark grey bit of glass, called a neutral density filter, to cut down the amount of light going through the lens. Since there is less light, the shutter of the camera must be held open for a longer time, therefore the moving water streams and drops blend into a smooth, pleasing veil. Of course, that’s not how waterfalls really look, but it is an interesting effect.

Here is Tew’s Falls, the one that I like best:

Tew's Falls - Hamilton, Ontario
Sherman Falls is also very pretty:
Sherman Falls - Hamilton, Ontario
Grindstone falls is difficult to get close to without getting your feet wet. I didn’t want to soak my new boots, so I settled for this long shot up the little cascade:
Grindstone Falls - Hamilton, Ontario
I think that I’ll pass on the rest of the hundred waterfalls. We’re leaving in a few days and I haven’t seen the Botanical Gardens nor the Royal Ontairo Museum yet.

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4 Responses to “Silky Water – Hamilton’s Waterfalls”

  1. Tris Says:

    Gorgeous mate- this is what ND filters are all about. Love the Tews Falls pic, and the light on Sherman falls is lovely on that tree as well- great stuff. If Melbourne wasn’t in such a drought I’d go waterfall hunting out there, but the last time I found a waterfall it was a tiny thread of water barely wetting the rock. Most disappointing. The search continues…

  2. MadDog Says:

    Thanks Tris. I looked in vain for a really strong ND filter – I think that’s a zero, right? I had to settle for a Kodak gel that I hold up in front of the lens. For a couple of shots I also used a hand-held polarising filter also. It got to be a little ridiculous holding all that stuff in front of the lens while trying to trip the shutter and not jiggle the tripod. I dropped the polariser several times. A CURSE on those who make otherwise very nice cameras that provide no easy way to attach filters!

    It was fun anyway.

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