Snoqualmie falls

January 18, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Snoqualmie falls Snoqualmie falls, when the Snoqualmie river is flooded.

Snoqualmie falls is one of the beautiful waterfalls in Washington state. It is one of the attractions in the list of must-to-do things if you are new to Seattle or visiting. It is 45 minutes’ drive from downtown Seattle. If you ask the GPS, it will guide you through I-90, but the Fallcity Road ( WA 202 ) from Redmond to Fallcity offer better views along the way. I have been to this waterfall several times in the past few years, but I chose two occasions more interesting to visit compared to others 1) when the Snoqualmie river is flooded caused by heavy rain, there is lot more water than in the other seasons, so it is lot more interesting 2) when  it is very cold in winter, when the temperature drops below 20F. The walls will have build-up of ice around the fall, and that gives another beautiful scene. The view from the observation deck on 202 is very nice, but you can also hike down to the base, it is a fun hike down to the river to see the falls from the lower basin, weather permits. It will be slippery if it is raining or snowing, so just be careful. You could also drive down to the lower parking lot, through the SE Fish Hatchery Road, you will find it  a couple of miles west of the falls. 

I prefer to shoot waterfalls either in the evening after the sunset, or in the morning before the sunrise. The light will be soft and not strong, so getting a slow shutter speed is easy at those times. Slow shutter gives a cotton candy feeling for the water, it is  pleasing for the eyes, and it implies motion too.  I ended up here in the afternoon when the light was bright, but it was cloudy and drizzling, so the light was soft enough. I had to use a solid ND filter to step down to 2.5 seconds shutter speed, and I used an aperture of F13 to get front to back sharpness in the frame.  If I were able to shoot this image in the evening or morning when the light is not bright, I could just use a circular polarizer filter instead of ND filter. It will help remove any  glare caused by water, it will produce higher saturation of colors, it can help remove any un-wanted reflections, and also allows to lose 1.5 to 2 stops of light, to achieve a slow shutter.  It is good to have slow shutter speed, but make sure not to make the water too soft, it may not be interesting all the time. We need silky feeling in the water, but we also need to keep some features in the flowing water, so we need to find that right shutter speed to get that perfect cotton candy feeling (somewhere between 0.5 second to 3 seconds) .  The camera was on tripod and it was set to the base ISO 100.

Exposure : ISO 100, 2.5 seconds, F13


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