Gooseberry Falls on Flickr.
Crown Graphic | 135mm Optar | f/16 | Arista Ultra 100 | 8 min. | 10-stop ND | red filter
I took a trip up to the North Shore of Minnesota this past weekend and stopped off at many of the tourist destinations. One of the most iconic natural destinations in the state is Gooseberry Falls. The parking lot was teeming with RVs and other vehicles when we got there on Sunday. Gulp. I don’t like crowds and I especially don’t like my images littered with my fellow tourists. Luckily the ace up my sleeve, as it usually is, was my 10-stop neutral density filter and my use of slow film with really bad reciprocity characteristics. Using this combination, I was able to take an 8 minute exposure that effectively removed 99% of the tourists milling about (and on) the falls. If you look really closely, you can see a few ghostly images at the top of the falls. I decided to leave them in as a sort of Easter Egg for people who look really closely at my images. So, basically, most people will not see anything ;o)
I try to push my photography ability by finding angles to scenes that aren’t the obvious ones. I suppose a variation on this is to photograph well-photographed things using different techniques. While there are certainly many photographers who do long exposures of nature, and many of those who do it better than me, it is satisfying to try these techniques out on familiar locations and see what happens. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I almost always come away having learned something. In this case, I affirmed that for places teeming with other like-minded tourists, the best solution is to simply erase them from my frame using the result of the combination of film, filters, and time.