Category Archives: Waterfalls

Spring is in the air!

After a very long and cold winter, I am finally coming out of hibernation. The grass is getting greener, the days are getting longer, and it’s finally getting a little warmer here in Connecticut. It’s all helping to get my photography juices going again. I still have a lot going on in my life, but the need to be creative and to share some of the beauty I’ve been fortunate to see over the years is rising back up.


Spruce Brook Falls – Beacon Falls, CT

I took this photograph back in 2010, but it still remains one of my favorites. I have it hanging at work so I get to look at it every day. It reminds me of the fact that most, if not all, good things in life require hard work. The photograph itself wasn’t very hard to take. I had been shooting waterfalls long enough at that point to understand what camera settings to use and what composition would showcase the falls In a pleasing way. What was a challenge, was getting to this location. It had been raining for days prior and continued that morning as I trekked through an overgrown trail to the falls. It’s not an easy place to reach, but I had read that it was worth the difficulty, so I continued forward. I carefully stepped through the slippery mud and over the soaked rocks while ducking the branches and swatting the mosquitos. When I finally reached the falls, I was rewarded with an amazing view as the water washed over and then down the ravine. It made the difficult hike well worth the effort and continues to be an inspiration to me when times get tough.

Spruce Brook Falls

Buttermilk Falls

Images For Sale

Back when I created the about page on January 1st, I mentioned that my plan was to have the  images for sale by the end of the month.  Well, with very little time to spare, I have accomplished that goal.  As of now, you can click here to purchase any of the featured images from every post (minus the Newtown images.  You can download the full sized versions of those here)


25% Off For Fans of After The 9 To 5 on Facebook

Stay up to date with the latest posts, see before and after shots, and more!  Like After The 9 To 5 here, then click on the coupon tab that appears to get 25% off on all prints.


Get Into The Woods To Get Out Of The Light

If you listen to most nature photographers, the best times to shoot are the “golden hours” (The first and last hours of sunlight each day).  I completely agree with that philosophy, but that doesn’t mean the opportunities to shoot are gone if you can’t be out during those early or late in the day events.

Sunrise and sunset times are less important when it’s cloudy out, and depending on the type of cloud; the light can be spectacular even in the middle of the day.  There is also night photography where you can shoot a moonlit landscape with a long exposure.  it’s always interesting to see how the camera picks up the colors that our eyes can’t under the low light.  On a clear night, bring the stars into the frame and let their streaks create arcing patterns, or zoom in see what details you can capture on the moon itself.

But when I’m itching to get out and photograph even when I know the bright midday sun could cause problems,  I head into the woods.  The trees offer a nice canopy, providing the shade needed to get decent results and sometimes the sun shines through the branches, creating different and interesting lighting effects.


Buttermilk Falls – Terryville, CT

It was one of those days when I wanted to be shooting and the “golden hours” weren’t going to fit my schedule.  I always like photographing waterfalls, so I Googled around for a while and came to a website with a description and photos of Buttermilk Falls.  One of the notes was about the wooded trail to access the falls, so i figured it was a good midday location. With it being pretty close to my house, perfect for that day.

Because there was snow on the ground, the hike down the trail was a little dicey at times, but I took away more than a handful of keepers  plus this little gem from the trip, so I say it was worth it. I’ve been back a couple of times and it always is.  No matter what time of day.   Photo

Buttermilk Falls

The Four Paths


Place 5 people in a location and give each the same kind of camera. I’m willing to bet none of them produce the same image. The main reason being that we all see beauty differently. Past experiences send us down different paths that skew our perceptions. A sandy beach can mean relaxation to one person, while it can bring another to thoughts of a recent rainy vacation. Both would be looking at the same exact thing but only one would really want to highlight its beauty. A level of passion impacts all photos.  Without it; I’m not sure how anyone would ever produce a great image.


The Four Paths – Project River, Seymour, CT

I’ve mentioned an image as being a top 5 or top 3 in the past, but I’m always careful not to say it’s my favorite. Unless I am talking about this one that is. This image is my all time favorite and the reasons go way beyond just how it looks.

I do love how it looks, but there is much more to it than that for me. I always think of the four separate falls as the end result for each drop of water. Starting out as a rain drop somewhere up the river with the journey taking them together at times and abruptly separating them at others. All of those misdirections eventually leading them to their ultimate fate; a wild forceful ride quickly to the bottom; a smooth gentle fall that takes some time;  or a mixture of the two; smooth and quick or rough and slower.

There is one other aspect to this photo that really makes me smile when I look at it. The location.  You might be asking where is this place and why isn’t it a big tourist spot, but the reality of this image is much different than the reality of the scene it sits in.

Just above the falls lay two giant cement pillars and they are holding up a highway that spans across the entire view.  I almost didn’t stop when I saw it because I didn’t want to have to do all the editing work to remove the unattractive objects. The falls were just amazing to look at though so I pulled into the parking lot across the street and headed over.

I took a few wide angle shots before I decided that it wasn’t worth the editing effort.  That’s when I took the camera all the way to the ground and got as close to the water as possible without getting soaked. I tried a few different angles but this was easily my favorite. Editing was relatively simple with minor exposure and color adjustments.

The Four Paths


You can see the wide angle photo over on the Facebook page.


Mad River Light

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.  We’ve all heard that saying before, but the question is, have you listened to that advice?  Sometimes I think I know better and give up, figuring it will save the wasted time.  It’s a toss-up between giving it (whatever it is) another try or listening to that other phrase I’ve heard before;  insanity is the repeating of something over and over again, expecting different results.


Mad River Light – Warren, VT

I learned a while ago to never expect the same results when it comes to photography.  Too many changing variables make it an impossible task, although it might be a fun experiment to attempt: Try and take the exact same photo on two separate days.  I doubt an exact match could happen, but it would be interesting to see how close the two could get.

By the end of my most recent trip to the Mad River Valley, I was beginning to wonder if getting mediocre results was all that I was going to get at this one particular spot that week.  I had been there  every day of the trip.  Sunrise, sunset, cloudy, sunny, and each night when I looked through the days captures, I would be disappointed with the results.  Not always bad, but just not the beautiful scenes I was seeing in person.  I was missing something and made it a goal to go back on my last day and figure it out.

I sat there for about 15 minutes, just looking around while remembering the photos that had come up short.  I knew I needed to showcase the light better for this scene, but until then I had missed what I was doing wrong and I concluded that it was nothing.  The cloudy days simply lacked the punch that the scene needed and the photos from the previous sunny days had way too much contrast in them to ever photograph well in one exposure.

It was about an hour prior to heading home from our summer vacation before I figured this out, so I was feeling a little embarrassed, but I was also glad I hadn’t given up.  There was still time to shoot and I probably had some good sets from the previous days to edit as well. They just needed some HDR and color work.

That was still unproven to me though and I wasn’t going to rely on speculation for what I knew could be a beautiful image, so I grabbed my gear, setup, and refocused on the same rock I had the previous 4 days.  This time, paying close attention to the histogram on the back of my camera to make sure I captured the full range of light.

Processing was done with the following applications and in the sequence listed: Lightroom; Photomatix; Lightroom; Photoshop; Lightroom; Nik Color Efex Pro; and Lightroom.  Not every image I work on is quite this involved, but you can see that Adobe Lightroom is the goto program in my workflow.  After every step of the process, I look at it in LR and almost always make a tweak or two.  When I’m finally happy, the image gets added to a fav collection where I can export it in just about any format I need. There are limits to everything of course and LR is no different.  That’s where the other programs come in. Cloning and masking are done in Photoshop. HDR processing is done in Photomatix, and color tweaking is done with the Nik product.   They are all just tools in box.  If the vision is there, the results will follow.   This image was one of the last from the trip, but it is very high on my list of memories from it and it proved again, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I will add the before photos to the Facebook page soon if you want to see the transformation for yourself.

Mad River Light


Tomorrow I’ll have a “who to follow” and an image from Cape Cod.


Chapman Falls – Devil’s Hopyard State Park


Ever since I first picked up a camera, I have loved photographing waterfalls.  It’s easy to understand why.  Who doesn’t like them?  They offer up beauty, power, and for photographers, endless shooting possibilities.  By adjusting the shutter speed, you can go from a high speed shot, stopping the water in its tracks, or you can slow it down to make it silky smooth,  which is the way I like to shoot them most of the time.


Chapman Falls

It was a beautiful early spring afternoon back in 2010 when I took my first ever trip to Devil’s Hopyard State Park in East Haddam, CT.  I took my time walking around the park along the various marked trails, noting a couple of spots that would be nice to photograph after the leaves turn in the fall.  By the time I made it back to Chapman Falls, the park’s most crowd pleasing feature, it was just starting to get dark out.  The lower light helped in slowing down the shutter speed but it was still faster than I wanted, so I added a circular polarizer bringing the speed down another couple of stops.

This was one of first ever HDR images I ever produced and it solidified my choice in which software to use.  Photomatix Pro is still my favorite HDR software but I also use Photoshop and Nik HDR Efex Pro once in a while.  I am most comfortable with Photomatix and it continues to produce the results I am looking for most of the time so it remains on top as I move forward in HDR.

Chapman Falls


Tomorrow? Another from the darkroom days.