Alberta Falls

Well, Day 2 at Rocky Mountain NP was another “keeper”. The morning started out with very little elk activity at Moraine Park. After a short while, I packed up and drove to another spot where elk often occupy in the park, the Beaver Meadows area. Bingo! A very large bull elk was tending to his harem of about 10-12 cows, keeping them from straying away from the group. But one stubborn cow was determined to leave his courtship and go to another bull. After countless attempts, she finally left the group and banded with another bull’s harem. As the original bull worked at getting her back, the rest of his harem began disappearing to a couple of other bulls … quite the “Peyton Place”!

Also had another wonderful rainbow over the mountains (will feature in another post). After the elk activity died down for the day (they are most active in the early morning and late afternoon hours) and they moved into the wooded area, I drove back to the Bear Lake area. I had read about a wonderful little waterfall, Alberta Falls, that was only a half-mile hike from the parking lot. I also read that fall colors were nice around the waterfall. So, I packed up my 5D Mark 3 body, along with 2 wide angle lenses and my 100mm-400mm telephoto lens (yeh, I also read that Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels were common around the falls), my hefty tripod, and headed for the falls. Once I got out of the parking lot and onto the trail, there was a sign that indicated, “Alberta Falls, 1 mile”. Hmmm, contrary to the “half-mile” I read in the book. Oh well, must mean a roundtrip hike of 1 mile, so on I continued. After walking for some distance, I ran upon another sign, “Alberta Falls, 0.5 mile”. Now I realized it was a mile hike, not a half-mile! But being halfway there, what the heck.

I continued up and down the mountain trail until I could hear the roar of the falls, just ahead. Once I got close, I stopped to capture the running stream from the falls (with the falls barely visible in the distance):

Alberta Falls

Hiking a bit further, I came upon the falls. But before I could get set up, here comes the rain … and hard at times! I kept my equipment inside my backpack and hunkered down to keep myself as dry as I could (naturally, no good trees to get under … and most of the leaves were beginning to blow off, anyway). Well, after 20-25 minutes, the rain stopped. I quickly got out my gear and began shooting, just in case the rain returned. Here are a few images I made of the falls:

Alberta Falls

Alberta Falls

Alberta Falls

Oh, and no ground squirrels showed their face! By the way, all of these images are in-camera HDR images.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body, set to shoot HDR images, in “Vivid Art” (what I think is the most real and credible mode for in-camera HDRs), at +/- 1.0 EV values. The camera then combines the 3 photos internally and results in a JPG file.
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with Graff Studioball SB-QR ballhead
  • ISO 100 (to help achieve a slow shutter speed for the “swirling water” effect
  • Circular Polarizer used to (1) cut glares on water surface, (2) help saturate the fall colors in the trees, and (3) slow down the shutter speed by 2 additional stops of light
  • All images shot at f/16
  • Shutter speeds ranged from 0.4 sec. to 0.6 sec.

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Posted in 2014, Blog, HDR, Landscape Photography, National Park, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Waterfalls
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  • Wendy

    Hello again Jim..I so enjoyed reading this, and the photos are beautiful..thanks for sticking it out for us! It reminds me of my sorties out and about when I lived on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe in the late 70’s, early 80’s..countless hours of peace and solitude engaging this kind of terrain and always rewarded with a magnificent view..sometimes just a squirrel..laughing..I think your wife is to be congratulated for that sweet shot! Thank you again for always brightening my day..these older bones won’t carry me so far any xox

  • Thanks so much for your kind comments, Wendy. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and could relate to it! Yes, my bones are becoming weary, too. But I’m hoping for a few more good years! :o)

  • Crystal

    Gorgeous Jim! I love the progression of the photos. I can almost hear you breathing harder as you climb! Thanks for going the extra mile!! :)

  • Thanks, Crystal! Yes, I felt like one of my favorite wildflowers, the Old Man of the Mountain! But it definitely was worth the trip … and a memory I won’t soon forget :o)