Undine Falls With Snow

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This photo is part of the Backcountry Gallery Screen Saver

Tech Info:

  • Camera: NIKON D3X
  • Focal Length: 120mm
  • Shutter: 1/1.6 sec
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: F/9

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This Photo's ID: 746

Field Notes Print Info


Undine – In the occult philosophy of Paracelsus, a being having water as its element.

I never could figure out why they called it Undine Falls, so I looked up the word – now you know too :D I’ll let you decide if there’s an elemental water entity living in the falls.

Anyhow…

This gorgeous falls is located just outside of Mammoth on the way to Cook City in Yellowstone NP. Funny thing is, first time I was visiting the area I drove by it no less than a dozen time before I finally bothered to pull into the parking lot. I had expected some long, strenuous hike, but discovered you can see the falls from the windshield of your parked car! The observation area was only a few steps away!

And the falls is spectacular too! It’s hard to believe the little creek that feeds it can produce shot a dramatic scene, but here it is! This particular shot was not my first time at Undine Falls, so I pretty much knew all of the above the day I made this photo.

That’s where having spent time at a place REALLY helps. We had the first snowfall of the season the night before, so I KNEW that this shot was just waiting for me. I also knew that the snow doesn’t stick around for long that time of year, so I had to get there and grab the shot before it melted away.

The toughest part in capturing this image was getting the trees to hold still in the wind – it was a 20 degree morning gust after blustery gust trying to thwart my efforts. First the trees on the left would sway, then the trees on the right. The shutter speed I was using was simply too slow to freeze the motion, and since no one likes blurry trees, it took quite a few tries shots to finally get a photo where nothing but the water was moving.

Oh yeah, we drove back past it a hour or two later – the snow was gone.

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Here's a sample of our basic mat and frame:

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3 Responses to Undine Falls With Snow

  1. Dawn says:

    Steve,
    I have a question that I’ve been wanting to ask for a while. Why does it seem that all of the beautiful water pictures you take, seem to have the same water texture? I am a (very) amateur photographer, but when I take “water” pictures, the are all different. Some bubble, some crash, some spray, others trickle. Yours all seem to “pour”, for lack of a better word.
    Help me figure this out please!
    Thanks

    • Jason says:

      It has to do with your shutter speed. Slower shutter speeds will blur motion, faster will freeze motion. To get the “pouring” or “silky” water you need to use a very slow shutter speed (sometimes several seconds). You often need the use of Neutral Density filters to allow such shutter speeds during without over exposing the image. Hope this helps.

      Jason

  2. Henry says:

    The rainbow; picture of the day? Terribly wrong. This should be: Picture of the year.
    Love your pics; all of them. Henry

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