P1020987 by BGTwinDad
P1020987, a photo by BGTwinDad on Flickr.

Alaska is so BIG, so grand and large-scale, that it is easy to forget that much of its beauty lies in the smaller things, in the details. This is, of course, true of many other locations on our planet, but I found in Alaska that there is so much  big that it is sometimes easy to miss the little.

That said, this particular waterfall was anything but little.  It was one of several waterfalls cascading several hundred feet down a cliff face along the fjord leading to the Northwest Glacier, at a place called Cataract Cove.  We stopped on our way back out, and the captain nosed the boat right up to the cliff face, to the point where you could reach out and get your hand wet.  Still, in the vast expanse that is Alaska, this constitutes a “detail”.

Even though the boat was rocking gently and rotating, I took a stab at slowing my shutter speed a bit to smooth out the water.  This was 1/25 at f18 and ISO 160. I didn’t really have time to screw on a ND filter and slow things further, and even at 1/25 if you zoom in you can see I lost quite a bit of sharpness.  But I think it works pretty well at least for web viewing.  And of course, photographically speaking it would have been nice to have some overcast, or to be here during the “golden hour” to soften the light, but one must do the best one can with the opportunities afforded, eh?

Here’s a couple more views of the same waterfall, from different angles:


There is so much here in the details — the varied shapes of the rock, the colors of the lichens and mosses growing, the flow of the water, the bushes, the birds, even the scents and sounds.  We spent several minutes here just sitting or standing, watching the water cascade off the cliff in the sunlight before moving off to hunt more whales.

One must indeed stop from time to time to smell the roses, and to look for the beautiful details in even the grandest of places.

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