Florence Thompson captured this photograph of a partially frozen Margaret Falls during a recent Shuswap Photo Arts Club outing.

Florence Thompson captured this photograph of a partially frozen Margaret Falls during a recent Shuswap Photo Arts Club outing.

Shuswap Photo Arts Club focuses on wintry Margaret Falls

Florence Thompson shares tips for photographing iconic Shuswap attraction

Florence Thompson,


Margaret Falls is found within Herald Provincial Park at the base of Bastion Mountain.

This half-kilometer scenic trail draws many residents and tourists year-round.

After being closed due to the horrendous mudslides of spring 2017, this rocky gorge was reopened to the public in October 2019. Since that time, this trail network has been a popular destination, once again, for the Shuswap Photo Arts Club.

A recent outdoor photo shoot was held at the falls in late February.

Despite the treacherous icy trail, the club members came away with many creative shots of a partially frozen waterfall and the twisting Reinecker Creek.

While it may seem to be an easy task, shooting waterfalls can be quite challenging.

Our club’s goal was to practice longer exposures and to create vertoramas (vertical panorama) of the magnificent waterfall.

Wide-angle and telephoto lenses, filters, extra batteries and tripods were suggested gear for capturing the falls. Lightroom and Photoshop could be used for post-processing and stitching the shots together.

We all created our own shot lists. I decided I wanted to capture some intricate detail too, as the frost and ice formations were extremely beautiful.

I chose to use my 24-70mm lens. The sun was behind the waterfall when I arrived, so there was not much dynamic range.

I set the ISO to 100 and increased the aperture (the f/number), to decrease the amount of light passing through the lens.

Because a faster shutter speed freezes movement of water, the goal was to slow the shutter speed to several seconds of exposure to achieve a blurry effect on the water.

I was able to get a pleasant silky water effect without using any filters. I went on to do a study of the various sections of the falls using a variety of shutter speeds and captured some amazing details in the icy shapes and patterns.

The next challenge was getting down the slippery slope to the parking lot!

What we learned:

1). Neutral density filters and polarizers can be useful in decreasing the shutter speed even more, to get that silky smooth appearance in moving water that most photographers are after.

2). Although it is certainly possible to capture the waterfall without a tripod, a tripod and cable release allows a slower shutter speed and helps eliminate camera vibration.

At Margaret Falls, you are limited to where you can set up to capture a frontal waterfall scene. Due to the vibrations on the bridge from the rushing water and, of course, due to other observers on the bridge, placing a tripod on the perforated metal bridge is not that helpful.

3). After an exciting day, the post-processing and a zoom presentation, we found club members with many creative shots, varied approaches and successful images.

If you wish to photograph Margaret Falls at this time of year, traction grips are advised to get there and back. So, pack up your gear and head out for an incredible photo-shoot!

To learn more, visit shuswapphotoarts.com or email spaclub55@gmail.com to join our next meeting, held the second and fourth Monday of the month.

Read more: Shuswap Photo Arts Club looking to snap up new members

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