Taken with a Phase One IQ260 and Arca rm3di tech camera/40mm Rodenstock lens
This is a typical day at Haw Creek falls, and I was again lucky to be there without anyone else to stand around and get in the way during the shoot. Haw Creek is a lovely smallish creek that runs in the Big Piney Creek, not far from these falls. The falls are impressive since there is a large ledge that runs all the way across the creek and in higher water conditions the water will start to consume the entire ledge. I like to catch water about like this, just enough to keep most of the ledge in play but not too much to flood out the rocks below the falls. To get this shot, I used my Arca rm3di camera which allows movements like a large format camera with my digital camera back. The shot is actually a composite of 3 images, Left, Center and Right. The Left and Right segments represent 16mm of shift in those respective directions. This allows you to create a very high resolution panorama without any of the issues like parallax. The lens I used was as 40mm Rodenstock HR-W which allows for an excellent field of view when shifted.
You have to be careful when working Haw Creek as there tends to be a lot of wind blowing down the creek. In most cases, I prefer to take a 1 to 4 second exposure of the water which in most cases will have a lot of wind blur in the trees. So you have make sure to cover the tree movement with a second series of exposures around 1/125 to 1/250 to stop the wind movement. It’s a simple process to combine the files later since I am using a tech camera and the movements are very precise. To allow the longer exposures I used both a Circular Polarizer and a Neutral Density filter. The polarizer will help with glare on the water and rocks and adds about 1.5 stops of exposure to the shot. As this was a bright day, I had to use a 1.2x ND filter. When I was taking the faster exposures for the trees, I left the polarizer on, but took the ND filter off as I no longer needed the extra exposure compensation.
As I already mentioned, Haw Creek Falls, tends to be overrun with people during the peak times of the year. The best day to go is a Monday as there will not be as many people at the campground and thus less traffic around the falls. There are some great swimming spots above the falls in the large pool that is created by the ledge. It’s a great place to head to when you know you have some water running in the creek. Also the Ozark Highlands Trail runs right by Haw Creek falls, so if you are planning a hike on this part of the trail make sure to stop and take a look.
The falls run year round, but the best times to photograph them are in the early Spring and winter when water levels are more consistent. In the summer and fall you can sometimes get lucky after a locally heavy rainstorm and catch the falls running. The fall display here is wonderful if you can catch it at the right time.