Cold Thunder

An image of the base of Horsetail Falls from a December cold snap.

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Any suggestions appreciated, but I’ve always struggled with the comp on this one. There seems to be competition between centering the falls and centering the pool at the base of the falls?

Technical Details


I really like the image, especially the ice formations. I don’t know if there is anyway to get more detail in the falling water but if you had multiple exposures you might be able to get details with a shorter exposure. It does not bother me that the falling water is centered.

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John, this is terrific! I love the cold feel and the fall centering doesn’t bother me at all. Great image all around, and wonderful composition too.

Many years ago during a really heavy freeze, I headed out to the gorge and captured several images. The east winds were so strong that I had to literally push my SUV door open to get out. I did the whole waterfall circuit then headed back on I84 and stopped at Rooster Rock State Park. I forgot that I was now facing west and when I opened the SUV door, it caught the wind and whipped out of my hand, breaking a hinge. Fortunately I was able to close the door and get back home. :slightly_smiling_face:

Anyway, excellent image with a lot of character in it.

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This is fantastic! Of course, COLD comes across in terms of feeling, but I’m also really enjoying the graphic nature of this as well as the juxtaposition of the soft (and dramatic) falling water and the details of the icey formations. Very nicely crafted.

Only one suggestion and that might be to dodge the falling water a little. Maybe it’s too much and not good to make the same value as the icy formations, but the falling water is a little gray.

And the only other wish would be a little more elbow room at the bottom of the frame. Very minor though.

Beautifully seen and captured.



Oh burrrrr! This is a great image John. I love the graphic nature of the ice and the accumulation of hundreds of icicles. I’ve always wanted to get a winter ice falls shot but it’s so hard to get out of bed when the temperatures are this cold! :crazy_face:

Well Done!

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Hey John! Great image, isn’t that fleeting snow and ice in the gorge special when it happens?

Agree with Lon that the water could be dodged a bit, as it feels a bit dull. But I’d also be careful to maintain some of the texture in it with the relative darker areas. Looks like the left edge of the water is where it needs to be, it’s more the right side that could use dodging.

About the centering - I think the issues are that the pool is larger/irregular on the right, and that you’ve got that bright snowy ice melding with the falls in the middle. I would probably suggest darkening that snowy area regardless of whether you want it centered or not. However, this alone would highlight the fact that the falls are just a little off-center to the left - and I don’t think they’re far enough left for it to feel intentional, more like it’s so close to centered that it should be centered. So then countermeasures are needed…

My solution to the centering conundrum would be to crop a bit more off the right, just to the left of that bright pillar of ice along the right edge. But then you don’t have a 2x3 anymore and printing becomes a headache with how tightly everything is framed - so instead of cropping, maybe just linearly scale the whole image and stretch it off the right edge. There’s nothing here that’s so recognizable as to look stretched, and this still moves the falls over toward the center. While I was at it, I also did a very slight free transform to push the falls a little more centered in the top half.

There are also a few bright areas that could be darkened to prevent them from stealing attention (left center edge, bottom center edge, upper left area, and the formations just left of the falls about halfway up).

All these changes really complete the image for me:

Incredible image. In fact, this would be incredible without the falls. Maybe better. One thing came to mind. Since you don’t see the source of the water you don’t know whether it’s falling or rising. Well I wouldn’t go that far but I do feel that the water is blocking the best part of the image. Perhaps the water needs more definition to make its presence stronger. Just talking off the top of my head.

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Thank you all for the comments and suggestions!

Your version looks great @Alex_Noriega . Thanks again for the marathon week of comments!!

:flushed::flushed::flushed: Note to self, take care to park into the wind.

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I really like this image. I think it truly expresses the coldness of the moment, and you’ve captured the details of the ice formations behind the waterfall very well. I love to capture scenes like this in the middle of winter where the viewer can feel what it must have been like to be there themself. Nice work.

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