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Great Falls Overlook #1

Great Falls Overlook #1

As I mentioned in my Sunset At Great Falls National Park post, I’ve been spending most of my photography time this year at Great Falls.  I’d been searching for a place close to home where I could go after work to photograph sunsets.  Why I never thought of Great Falls all these years will remain a mystery to me.

For anyone who’s visited this park, you’ll understand what I mean when I say it’s a popular park.  The main area of the park is filled with dozens of picnic benches, grills and people.  There are three falls overlooks in this same area as well, which is next to the entrance.  As you’d imagine, this area is popular and packed with families and kids, especially on weekends.  Crowds aren’t landscape photographers’ friends and trying to photograph in a populated area presents a variety of challenges and headaches.

On this particular visit, which was a Tuesday evening, I was pleased to find the park near empty.  Normally, I try avoiding one of the three main overlooks not because I don’t like the view, but because they’re normally swarming with people.  During this visit, I decided to shoot from the first overlook, which is usually the most crowded.  For the nearly two hours I spent shooting, I only saw one family visit the overlook.  For once, despite the roar of the falls, the park seemed quiet and peaceful, which made for a pleasant evening of photography.

The overlooks have large stone walls to prevent people from falling off the cliffs to their watery graves.  These walls serve a good purpose, but can present frustrations when trying to capture certain angles.  Signs rightly state not to climb over the wall.

Great Falls Overlook 1

Canon EOS 5D, 28-70mm, f/16, GND filter

For this shot, I positioned two legs of my tripod on the top of the wall and the third on the large rocks behind me.  This allowed me to capture this angle, but I couldn’t see through the viewfinder.  To make sure I had the correct camera angle and exposure, I would do a series of test shots and correct positioning and exposure based on what I saw on the LCD screen.

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