It’s flowing pretty good

Picture: Sunlight on Berry Creek Falls (Detail), Big Basin State Park, Santa Cruz mountains, California

Photo: Sunlight on Berry Creek Falls (Detail), Big Basin State Park, Santa Cruz mountains, California

Following my last post of Alamere Falls at Point Reyes, I thought I’d share another waterfall shot that I recently took. This is Berry Creek Falls, located in Big Basin State Park, nestled deep in the forested western slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Given the very wet month of March that Northern California experienced, I knew there would be a pretty good amount of water flowing over this waterfall. The round trip hike to this location was a close to 11 miles starting at the Big Basin Visitor Center. The hike was maybe a mile or so longer than usual due to a trail closure detour due to a washout.

Knowing that this location was deep in a forest, I was specifically watching the weather for a cloudy overcast day so I would be able to shoot the scene in a soft even light. Nothing is worse than trying to take photos in a forest on a bright sunny day. The contrast range between deep shade and bright sunlit areas is usually far too great to get excellent photos. I started the day getting snowed on during a sunrise shoot near Castle Rock. By the time my buddy & I started our hike an hour or so later, skies were clear and blue; exactly what I was hoping to avoid. My friend Michael repeatedly reminded me of my poor weather predicting ability. Lucky, when we arrived at the waterfall, a new band of storm clouds had started to move in. I literally had seconds of transitional light alternating between soft flat light, and highlights that were just far too contrasty to deal with, save for trying to rescue with some extreme HDR processing. To get the special light you see in this image, where there’s both color and added light was like trying to catch the perfect 1/4 second during the time it takes someone to modestly turn a circular dimmer light switch on and off.

And speaking of flowing; *You can skip this part if you’d like to avoid TMI* – Friends that follow me on Facebook may know that I was pretty much knocked off my feet over the last week due to my first adventure with a kidney stone. I gave ‘birth’ to what I named “Little B*stard”, amazed that something so small can twist up your insides in such a big way. The Doc described it as the closest males will ever get to understanding what women go through during child birth. Thankfully all is over, done, and I’m fully recovered. I also appreciated all the thoughts and well-wishes that people expressed over the week.

One thing I will mention: through the week and waves of pain, the doctors had me drinking gallons of water while taking a medicine designed to kick my kidney processing into turbo overdrive. Needless to say, it’s now much harder for me to look at a waterfall picture without thinking about my experience of the last seven days.

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4 Comments on “It’s flowing pretty good”

  1. Edward Mendes Says:

    It’s a great image, beautiful movement in the water and lovely light. I’d say it was worth the hike. Great image!

  2. Richard Wong Says:

    Love the light in this image Gary. It is subtle and hits just at the right sports.

    Hope you are recovering well.

  3. Greg Russell Says:

    Gorgeous image, Gary. That dappled light is outstanding and gives so much depth to this image.

    When I was about 9 years old, I remember very clearly my Dad having a kidney stone. To this day I’ve never seen my dad flinch much from pain inflicted by much of anything, but that Saturday morning I saw him writhing in pain on the living room floor (as my mom prepared to take him to urgent care!). THAT image will be my association with kidney stones.

    Glad to hear you’re through with yours.

  4. Mark Says:

    This is quite beautiful Gary. As the others have already mentioned, the light behind the falls is exquisite.

    I have had kidney stones, so I can relate to what you describe here.

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