Just because you find it, don’t stop searching

Recently I went for a walk in Portola Redwoods State Park. The ostensible purpose was to photograph the small but scenic Tip Toe Falls. After scouting the area I chose an oblique view to include the ferns and color from the adjacent cliff walls.

Tip Toe Falls

Tip Toe Falls, Portola Redwoods State Park, California

This image is actually a composite of three photographs. The shutter speed for the base photo was chosen to obtain a balance between motion blur and capturing detail in the flow of water over the fall. However, under those condition the water in the pool looked “frozen”, as that water was moving slower. A second exposure was made with a slower shutter speed, and the area of the pool was copied and pasted into the original photograph. A third image was taken, exposed to bring out some shadow detail on the cliff wall, and the relevant areas copied and pasted into the original. Selective contrast adjustments, cloning out some small, distracting elements and applying some vignetting completed the image.

Before I packed up to hike out, I took one last look around to see if there was anything else interesting to photograph. Jumping to the other side of the stream, I noticed the fern frond that shows up in the center of the photo above, forming a gentle arc against the background of the falls.

Fern Frond in front of waterfall

Fern Frond by Tip Toe Falls, Portola Redwoods State Park, California

This is rather different interpretation of the falls, which now provide a patterned background for the central subject, the grace of the fern.

By now the sun was almost directly overhead, traditionally the worst time of the day for photography. I was hungry and had an afternoon appointment. Time to leave.

But I reminded myself that I was trying to develop a new practice. To be patient. To be open to the moment. It was then I noticed the sun shinning through the overhanging ferns, infusing them with an internal glow. I took several shots, but this is my favorite.

Back lit Fern Frond

Fern, Portola Redwoods State Park, California

In fact, it is my favorite image of the day. An image I would not have captured if I had stopped looking once I had found the image of the waterfall I originally sought. An image I would not have seen if I hadn’t rejected, not once, but twice, the impulse to move on to the next item on my list.


About dougstinson

Doug Stinson enjoys pondering unexpected connections and sharing his discoveries. He is also a physicist, a photographer, a new product realization executive, and a student of history, the environment and religion. You can learn about his other creative ventures at http://www.douglasgstinson.com
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5 Responses to Just because you find it, don’t stop searching

  1. S. Singh says:

    I love the photo of the fern- how the other leaves form a green blur below it, and that one leaf is so sharp.


  2. dougstinson says:

    Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Tina Schell says:

    Very interesting take on the rewards of patience. Well done!

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