Grand Saut Falls

So, here’s a shot I took in Jura, France in 2006. This is Grand Saut Falls. The region is incredibly beautiful – and I was lucky enough to be able to spend nearly three months wandering the countryside with my children. We hiked as many trails as we could find… visited castles… played in caves and rivers and lakes and waterfalls… picked dandelions… talked to wild swans…

I hiked this particular trail several times during our visit, since the area is packed with spectacular waterfalls. I wanted to shoot the falls with a layer of clouds in the sky to filter the light and avoid blown highlights in the water. (This image isn’t about spectacular light or brilliant skies – but it’s important to consider the light just the same.) So, we picked a slightly overcast day at the beginning of June – while the flowers were still in bloom, and before the summer crowds trampled the undergrowth.

I wanted to smooth the flowing surface of the water for a silky effect, so I chose a shutter speed of 0.4 seconds. Since the flow was pretty heavy, that would be enough to produce the effect I was looking for. An aperture of f/11 was sufficient to capture the entire scene in sharp focus – provided that I chose the right point of focus.

I set up my tripod at the edge of the trail, and settled in to wait. Because of that long shutter speed, I’d have to get the shot at a moment when the breeze settled down. After a short wait, I got the lull I was hoping for. I fired off a few shots – checked each for good focus, and deleted those with any motion blur in the leaves.

It’s a simple image – meant to convey the fresh beauty of the location with a simple color palette and a clean composition. I used the flowers in the foreground to provide a sense of the place. If I print this at large size, I want you to feel as though you could reach out and touch those flowers.

What do you think?

You can see more of my photos from France in my free eBook.

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