Long time exposure,  Monochrome,  Travel

Origin and destination

On the penultimate day of our Out of Yosemite conference in Yosemite Valley, the Bridalveil Fall with Charlotte Gibb as instructor was on the agenda that Saturday morning at 6am. I hoped that by participating in her workshop I would gain a less technical or more creative approach to photography of waterfalls.

She gave us the topic of long time exposure in the preliminary discussion. The spot offers little freedom of movement. There was not much room for all of us, and on top that there were every now and then some people walking around in our compositions.

Bridal Veil fall © Julian Köpke

Bridalveil Fall shows a strong variability of location due to the influence of air movement. Especially at sunrise you can clearly feel the rising winds. So you don’t have much time for camera setup. An ensemble of stones in the waterfall can all of a sudden become dry and the composition becomes useless. In return, the neighbouring region becomes dripping wet and appears in a new light.

Bridal Veil fall © Julian Köpke
Bridal Veil fall © Julian Köpke

I know pictures from long time exposures with moving water. They’re interseting sometimes. I rarely find them really good. Often they exhibit a strong technical assessment and their message ist not really accessible to me.

I begann to study sections of the waterfall, which meant that the rock formations in the composition always showed a new character. That way many compositions can be made.

Bridalveil Fall © Julian Köpke

Probably an image that expresses changeability and constancy is best suited to make us think about the origin of the world. Planets orbiting their central star are a well known example for this. Or stars that orbit the black hole of our Milky Way in 11 years.

My last picture of Bridalveil Fall, with its interplay of light and dark, of flowing and solidification, steps and flow, forms and dissolution of forms, shows the coexistence of changeability and constancy. That’s what makes it so attractive to me.

I like to make things visible the naked eye isn't able to see. That's part of my profession as a radiologist, too.

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