Pic of the Week 8/16/19: Lower Cataract Falls

August 16, 2019  •  1 Comment

Pic of the Week 8/16/19

"Lower Cataract Falls"

Date taken: 7/22/19

Location: Cataract Falls in Cataract, IN


Lower Cataract FallsLower Cataract Falls

©Ben Jacobi


We are back at it again with another image captured from my southern Indiana trip. This was my last day in Indiana. My family was scheduled to leave the previous morning, but rain delayed their flight letting them stay another night. Rain was my least concern when planning for this trip. Most of the weather models were holding rain off until after I was set to leave. But nature is never truly predictable, and rain did come over our area on Sunday.

The next morning, I got up early in anticipation for sunrise, but I quickly discovered there wouldn’t be one when I gazed out the window and found an overcast sky. There were occasional episodes of light rain as I went downstairs to say my goodbyes to my family. Today, despite the weather, I had made the decision to take advantage of my last full day in Indiana and do some photography.

Earlier in the week I visited Cataract Falls which was a short twenty minute drive from McCormick’s Creek. This waterfall was one of the first areas that captured my attention when doing research on nearby locations. The day I went, however, everyone seemed to have the same idea and the park was flooded with tourists and families trying to cool off in the hot summer sun. Maybe I was just cranky from heat, or maybe it was the trash that was in the creek, but I did not come back with a usable image from my first visit to Cataract Falls.

With no prospect of a good sunrise Monday morning, I made the decision to drive back to Cataract Falls in hopes the rain and gloomy weather would keep the tourists away. I pulled into the gate and, much to my appreciation, realized I was the only car in the parking lot. The recent rains had transformed Cataract Falls into a roaring waterfall and rapids. According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Cataract Falls is the largest volume of water of any waterfall in the state. So, I felt like I needed at least one useable photograph. I spent about half an hour photographing the Upper Falls before making the short drive to the Lower Falls.

At the Lower Falls I found my original composition I tried to capture earlier in the week, but now with the volume of rushing water a whirlpool had formed near the bottom of the falls. I was immediately drawn to this feature and set up my camera and tripod to try and frame the whirlpool in my composition. It wasn’t flowing very fast, so I opted to use my Lee Big Stopper 10 neutral density filter to drag my shutter and capture the swirling eddy. I exposed for 10 seconds which is about 10x slower than my “normal” waterfall exposures.

The resulting image showed the Lower Falls and that cool whirlpool in the same composition. But after I finished the edit on the photo I still wasn’t satisfied. The lack of varying colors and interesting light made me think this image wasn’t salvageable. I decided to change them image to a monochrome (black and white) photo. This brought all the emphasis to the whirlpool and texture of the water. The black and white conversion gives the image an almost ethereal feel to the image. I was finally content with what Cataract Falls had to offer. There’s still more Indiana photos coming in the later weeks if you want to see more you can follow me on Instagram at http://intagram.com/bdjphoto



In black and white, we can see the differing textures in the forest, the rock wall, and the smooth water. It is pleasing and I could study at it for a long time.
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