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Rainbow Falls, Watkins Glen State Park

Rainbow Falls, Watkins Glen State Park

One of the most amazing aspects of Watkins Glen State Park in NY is how seamlessly the manmade features blend in with the natural environment. The bedrock here is sandstone and shale, and during the Great Depression, the Civilian Conservation Corps was put to work to build the incredible bridges and walkways that line the gorge using natural stone and mortar. This particular shot shows Rainbow Falls and Bridge, in the heart of the glen. I'm aware it's been photographed a million times over, and most of these photographs would look exactly the same, which is why I opted to do my own rendition of it in black and white with a little bit of brown color tone. There's a lot going on in this place visually, from the waterfall to the stone bridge and walkway, to the water streaming off the left cliff, to the little "bundt cake" of foam in the lower left eddy. It was early and I skipped breakfast, so I was really tempted to have a taste of that bundt cake.
When you see photographs of water that have that wispy blur effect, it's due to a long exposure. Any exposure over half a second should start to produce a nice blur for you. I generally prefer exposures between half a second and 5 seconds. This must of course be done on a tripod, and your camera must be one that allows you to set the exposure time manually.