Taken with a Phase One IQ100 and 35mm LS lens, 2 part horizontal pano. Taken in 4 shots to merge later for foreground and background in Helicon Focus
Arkansas has many great streams to hike but one of the best is Falling Water Creek, which is well named as it has a large number of waterfalls it’s entire length before emptying into Richland Creek. Falling water creek has an upper and lower half, and some of the best spots to photograph are on the lower half. There you will find creek wide ledges like 6 finger falls. 6 finger falls, named for the cut outs the creek has made in the ledge, is quite a wonder. It offers great photographic opportunities year round but is best in the fall and spring. You will be lucky to find any water in the creek in the fall and if you do consider yourself lucky. The banks are lined with deciduous trees that offer a great display of fall color.
You will also like the fact that for most of it’s length, falling water creek has a forest service road that parallels it’s length and so offers quick access. This of course means in Arkansas you can expect to find all types of folks here on a good weekend, so plan your trip during the week if at all possible. The forest road is number 1205. Heading due north on the road, falling water creek will be on your right for the upper half, and then after you cross it on the left. For a portion of it’s length, the Ozark Highland trail is just above the road on the right, below the bridge. This is great day hike also.
Make sure to include a trip to the mouth of falling water creek at Richland Creek campground. Richland is the crown jewel of creeks in Arkansas and is also protected as a Wilderness Area, so you can enjoy a day without hearing a 4 wheeler.
Taken in two frames with a Phase One IQ100 and Phase One 35mm LS lens, raw files developed in Capture One, panorama stitching in Lightroom.
We had driven up to 6 finger falls to attempt a night shoot, which did not work out due to the clouds that rolled in, however during the sunset, the light did allow for a wonderful series of photographs. I love to get down low on the creek, below the falls and attempt to grab some short pans, as the normal medium format of 4:3 does not allow for very much to work with. I am not a big fan of cropping out the center of a shot to get to a pano, as you loose so much image in the process.
Normally, I would have used my rail to get a nodal solution, but I had forgotten it. Using the Arca D4 geared head, it was easy enough to get level for each shot, then go back to Lightroom to let it work it’s magic on the panorama. Lightroom with the new panorama feature does a great job on single row stitching and now they have added a feature called boundary warp, which really does a great job. In the past, I had always used software like Ptgui or Kolor’s panorama software, to get a cylindrical solution, as I am panning with a wide lens, (the 35mm in medium format is equivalent to about 22mm with a 35mm camera), still not that wide. The 35mm LS has a pretty good hyper focal range by F11 and I took this at F14. Due to the subject range and distance, I was not worried about losing details to diffraction.
For these shots, I used both a circular polarizer and a Neutral Density filter. The polarizer was from B+W and the ND filter from HiTech, (their new Firecrest line). This allowed exposure times of around 1 sec, at an ISO of 50. There was little to no wind blowing so I was able to get away with just two exposures.
The addition of the boundary warp in Lightroom has really made this type of photography more fun and much quicker to get to a solution.
Taken with a Phase One P45+, Mamiya 35mm F3.5 lens @F14 iso 50 for approximately 1 second. Falling Water Creek is one of the many jewels of Arkansas. This particular spot is one of the more popular spots on the creek. Here you find a ledge that runs all the way across the creek and is broken in 6 spots, thus the name 6 finger falls. The total height is about 10 feet and it’s a very unique spot on the creek. The rocks in the foreground on this shot were all washed away in a recent flood and now there is only a sandbar. The creek above the falls has a long flat bedrock bottom is a nice spot to wade. If you want to photograph 6 finger falls, I would recommend you plan on being there in the morning in the afternoon, the sun will be shinning in your face. Of course if it’s a day like this one, overcast, it won’t matter. This area is about 2 hours away from Little Rock.