Swallow Falls State Park, famous for it’s ancient hemlock forest and spectacular waterfalls, is an unbelievably picturesque park situated deep in the mountains of northwestern Maryland. As I photographed the emotive scenery, I found that including people in a composition helped to express the thrilling atmosphere of the park. This photo of our family at the trail head uses different elements like the hemlock, fence and van to suggest the transition from every-day travel to on-foot adventure.
The first falls we visited in the park was Muddy Creek Falls. At 53 feet, it is the tallest waterfall in Maryland. For this picture, I could have easily cropped out Daniel and the boardwalk, but having someone just standing there gazing at the falls helped to evoke a feeling of remote seclusion and aural amazement. Technically, this picture was hard to capture. To make the water look like it was flowing, I needed to use a shutter speed slower than 1/15th of a second. This almost allowed too much light for an aperture of f/29 to compensate for. But thankfully the sun was still deeply shrouded in clouds and there wasn’t an overabundance of light to hinder capturing the desired effect.
I was laying flat out on the rock on top of Swallow Falls trying to get a dynamic shot of the the twisting valley below. Well, Michael just so happened to be standing in my way and as I waited for him to move, I couldn’t help but snap a few shots.
If you ask me, I think the picture turned out better than if he would have moved. Now it doesn’t just speak of beauty, it speaks of determination and durability as well.
While we were at such a beautiful park, we figured that while we were at it, we might as well try to get a good senior portrait of Daniel.
I wasn’t exactly prepared to do this but we
took a shot at it anyway. One interesting thing I remember about taking this picture was that to get the right perspective, I precariously positioned myself and the tripod on a few rocks half off the shore of the Youghiogheny River. We also had to wait patiently for the harsh sunlight to be defused by the thick clouds which rolled quickly by.
I liked this candid photo of the family just standing in awe of the mighty power and overwhelming beauty of the sight and sound of a rushing waterfall. The only thing I regret is the fact that you can’t see what they are looking at too well. It could have been a more dynamical image if I had heightened my angle of view or even completely changed my viewpoint to be looking up at them from somewhere in the canyon below.
Even though this composition doesn’t include any people, it might look appealing to the next one who goes hiking by. It’s just a simple, moss covered log sitting next to the trail, waiting for the next weary hiker to sit down for a rest. In this case, I was glad for the sun to be shining
as it added depth and texture to the image.
As a family, we thoroughly enjoyed our visit and recommend you stop there on your next visit to the Appalachian Mountains.