Grand Canyon of Yellowstone

Called the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River this canyon has just what it takes to be a wonderful photographic destination. There are steep precipitous cliffs, psychedelic colors, two waterfalls, geothermal features along the edge and more. We focused on the Lower Falls, at 308 feet, which are the largest volume waterfalls in the Rocky Mountains. The waterfall is nearly twice the height of Niagara Falls. The colors along the canyon walls is due to the presence of sulphur and other elements that are found throughout Yellowstone. We made a point of being there about 9:45 in hopes of catching a rainbow at the bottom of the waterfall. We did get to see it but its intensity is not as we hoped and that was most likely due to the cloud cover that kept the sunlight from being its most intense.

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This is the view looking downstream from the waterfall.

This is the view looking downstream from the waterfall.

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Palouse Falls

Palouse Falls are about 4 miles upstream of the confluence of the Snake and Palouse River. The falls are 198 feet in height. There is a viewing area facing the falls but intrepid hikers can walk around towards the left and actually look down on the pool of water before it falls into the bowl below. There are signs everywhere warning about hiking close to the edge and swimming below the falls as there have been four deaths there this year. In 2014 the Washington House of Representatives passed a bill to make Palouse Falls the official state waterfall of Washington having been so deemed on Februar. The proposal for the bill originated when a group of elementary school students in the nearby town of Washtucna lobbied the state legislature.

We have been to Palouse Falls before and have never seen a the rainbow.  It was a very nice surprise!

We have been to Palouse Falls before and have never seen a the rainbow. It was a very nice surprise!

An interesting rock formation viewable from across the bowl.

An interesting rock formation viewable from across the bowl.

This photograph is a bit tricky to get.  One has to lay flat on a rock outcrop and handhold a very wide angle lens.  Tom was not too happy with my decision to try to get this image but both camera and this crazy photographer backed out safely.  Lens used was a rectilinear 14-24mm f/2.8.

This photograph is a bit tricky to get. One has to lay flat on a rock outcrop and handhold a very wide angle lens. Tom was not too happy with my decision to try to get this image but both camera and this crazy photographer backed out safely. Lens used was a rectilinear 14-24mm f/2.8.

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The drama of the adventure was spotting these young men swimming in the water within feet of the falling water column.  It was difficult to watch and concentrate on photography.  As best we could tell, they eventually got tired and made it to the edge along the side.  We have no idea how they hiked back and got out.

The drama of the adventure was spotting these young men swimming in the water within feet of the falling water column. It was difficult to watch and concentrate on photography. As best we could tell, they eventually got tired and made it to the edge along the side. We have no idea how they hiked back and got out.

Burney Falls

We heard, "You just gotta go to Burney Falls!  You just GOTTA go to Burney Falls!" So, we went to Burney Falls.  President Teddy Roosevelt described Burney Falls as the 8th Wonder of the World.  It was declared a National Landmark in December of 1954.  The falls are part of a state park located in the Cascade Range.

This is your first view of Burney Falls.  Turns out it is not even the best view, by far.  You can hear the roar of the waterfall as soon as you open your car door.  Just 150 feet later you see this image.  WOW!

There is a viewpoint at the top looking down and across the waterfall.  Maybe that should state waterfall(S).  My challenge was the incredible dynamic range as the right side of the waterfall was already in bright sunlight while the left side was almost dark in shade.  I tried a partial ND with and without a polarizing filter (tricky).  It is easy to get the sky all wompy-wacko when you use both.

Finally, the combination of filters gave me a fighting chance for some post editing to make it all look right.  The waterfall is listed at 129 feet in height and more than 100 million gallons of water a day fall over the rocks or seep through!  The water comes from underground springs that surface a short distance upstream from the falls.  The area is composed of a lot of porous basalt which retains rainwater and snow melt in an underground reservoir.  This waterfall is not affected much by seasonal changes in water availability.

Tom gave up on shooting the whole scene.  The dynamic range was just too much and he did not want to fool with filters.  Sometimes the fall back idea that problems can be fixed in post just does not hold up.  He quickly moved to shooting detail shots.  After post processing we realized that each of us had settled on a very different white balance.  The scene, as he saw it was much cooler than I remember it.  So, as not to jar your brain by interspersing the difference, I have chosen to put mine on together followed by his images.  There is no right or wrong white balance.

So, here you have the secret . . . Barney Falls is really hundreds of waterfalls all rolled into one!  Each of these baby waterfalls is seeping through basalt.  The water is not just trickling down from the two large waterfalls.  This phenomenon is photographic ecstasy as you can stand for hours looking for interesting compositions, textures, colors, and more.

I, personally, loved the strings of water seeping through the basalt rock that can be captured before they hit the rocks.

Just so you know in advance . . . a warning . . . finding these spots of mini waterfalls can become addictive.  We would give up lunch to find another composition that was just right.

OK, it is Tom's turn.  In addition to the change in white balance you will immediately see how different his 'style' is from mine.  It is so much fun to look at his images as he gives them to me to post.  He surely sees the world with different eyes.

Thanks for joining us.