Posforth Gill in the Valley of Desolation

Location: Posforth Gill in the Valley of Desolation, Wharfedale

Camera Work: Nikon D80, RAW(12bit), ISO 100, 1/80sec, F5, 20mm Focal Length

Technique: It was a snowy day in March and we were surrounded by dense woodland and steep rock faces - in short the light was very poor. I knew that I had to show the full drop of the falls and that would mean including some sky thereby making exposure difficult. I therefore decided to expose for the rock face and adjust for the highlights in the sky and water at the post processing stage.

I walked all around the base of the falls and eventually selected this composition - with the falls and pool in the left third of the frame. I also wanted the rocks and pebbles in the foreground to appear sharp, i.e. depth of field was important to me. I don't like the blurred water effect that has become so fashionable - I don't think it adds anything to fast flowing water - so I needed to keep the shutter speed reasonably high. I wasn't using my VR lens so I decided to go with 1/80th and fortunately by focusing 1/3rd of the way into the picture I was able to keep everything sharp.

Finally I walked around a bit more and decided to include the fallen tree in the shot - this drew the eyes away from the water and up towards the quite colourful rock face.

The final image doesn't really give one any idea of the scale of the falls - that tree root stands a good 8 - 10 feet high. I did consider putting Andrew into the shot (which does give a better impression of scale as you can see) but he wasn't really a willing model so I gave up on that idea.



Post Capture: At first glance I didn't think anything other than default RAW processing was required, but on closer inspection the falls and the small area of sky above the falls was overexposed. Also because it was a very damp and dull day, the colours in the rock face especially, needed a bit of a pull. So.....

...In Nikon Capture NX2 I changed to RAW processing Picture Control from Standard to Vivid to make the colours in the rock face more vibrant. I then reduced the exposure 1ev (for the sky) and used D Lighting to compensate for the increased shadow introduced, while leaving the now reduced highlights in the waterfall and sky alone.

Inspiration: I don't really get on very well with waterfalls in England - most I've seen hardly merit the term. But, this fall is a reasonable height and the area is quite spooky - the Valley of Desolation. I could almost visualise the area being used by stone age hunters to corner their quarry here before going in for the kill, or driving it over the sides of the cliff.

I don't know if I've captured that feeling but when I printed this up to A2 size, framed and hung it, Barbara protested that she could clearly see screaming faces in the falls and an old bearded man looking over them in the boulders at the top, between the two falls.

Style: Organised Landscape

Route:

Posforth Gill, Simons Seat and the Strid at EveryTrail

Map created by EveryTrail:GPS Geotagging

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