American Falls PanoThe American Falls at Niagara Falls from the Canadian vantage point.
I had the great pleasure to visit Niagara Falls, NY this fall for a business trip. I made sure to find free time to walk down to the falls, and of course I brought my camera with me. Frankly, I was a bit intimidated trying to capture the grandness that is the Niagra Falls. They are one of the Seven Wonders of the World for a reason. Cameras can barely convey what our eyes see, but standing at the falls all of your senses are at work. The constant rumble and roar of the water, the cool mist swirling about, the freshness of the air, and the overwhelming scale of the falls alongside the cliffs, trees rocks and people. I was also intimidated by the many millions of visitors that walked the ground before me, with cameras, trying to capture the very scene I was witnessing. How do you capture that? How do you do justice in that situation? I don't know that I came close to approaching that challenge, but it was truly a pleasure trying.
As seen in the first photograph, the falls are a prime candidate for panorama photography. Today's cameras and editing tools make this an easier task then it once was. I'm happy with my effort.
One challenge to photograph the falls is trying to offer something unique. Trying to give a perspective of something I saw and wanted to share of my experience at the falls. No doubt the gigantic size and scale of Niagara Falls are what make it such a wonder, but seeing the world, nature, in the falls is also part of the experience. While standing with other tourists and seeing the falls cascade over the cliffs I noticed a pair of ducks, on a log, calmly standing in the middle of the stream at the very precipice of the falls. Unfazed, unimpressed by this natural wonder they went about their lives at the falls. The scene, and lighting, gave me a chance to slow my shutter and present a different feel to the falls.
Duck on the fallsDucks calmly stand on logs at the crest of Niagara Falls
Trying to convey the scale of the falls is challenging. Trying to capture an image without people or man made objects in the photo is difficult. But using the people to convey the scale of the falls is natural. The famous "Maid of the Mist" boat excursion from the US side of the falls and its Canadian counter part offer a perfect way to tell the story of the modern Niagara Falls experience and demonstrate the massive scale of the waters.
The American FallsThe American Falls at Niagara Falls from the Canadian vantage point. The Canadian tour boat is in the foreground, offering an idea of the vast scale of the falls.
One thought that struck me as I saw the falls was their history. The falls were here long before the tourists, the hotels, the shops, even man himself. The thought inspired me to try an image conveys the timelessness of the falls.
Ancient FallsThe Niagara Falls were here for centuries and are timeless.
There really is no substitute to witnessing the falls in person, but we can get a richer feel for the experience with tools most of us carry in our pockets today. This video, and the natural sounds of the falls, was captured and edited on my iPhone.