Man on top of waterfall looking over the edge

Spring Forward

I am looking forward to the return of warmer, drier weather so we can all get back out to enjoy the landscapes around us without getting frostbite or crashing through a frozen pond. Not that I am averse to a little snow and ice when suitably attired in winter coat and boots. But I do miss the sun.

Springing forward is not something I planned to do when taking this shot. That would not have been a good idea. It’s a selfie. After setting up the camera on the tripod and adjusting settings, I placed myself atop the waterfall and used my remote trigger to take the shot, holding the pose for two seconds. It isn’t the greatest photo, but it is a memory of a great hike.

Where and Why

I was at a local conservation area, Balls Falls, in the beautiful Lincoln region of Niagara. I chose to hike to the Upper Falls, as a test of the new backpack I was sporting, which allows me to carry everything I may need for any occasion – also useful for event photography, to avoid running back to the car. I weighed it prior to leaving the house, using the bathroom scales. A little over 18 kilos (40 pounds Imperial).

Clambering among the rocks like a goat while wearing this was quite a workout for a man North of 60. But nothing too strenuous for an adventurer. It’s about 1.5 kilometres. If you stick to the path. I’ve never been good at that, and I like a challenge. So over the rocks I went. I persuaded myself it was the reason for the outing. I had chosen this location to test myself as much as the backpack. Anyway…

As a reward to me I took some time at the waterfall to unpack the backpack. It looked like an explosion in a camera factory. A picnic gone wrong. But, I had loaded it with everything but the kitchen sink. To test it. See what it could hold, how to load it effectively, what to put in the various compartments and zip pockets and still have them easily accessible. I even had my laptop. I had fun. It’s a man thing.


I had also packed my ND filters, which I rarely use, but this proved a perfect opportunity. ND filters are like sunglasses for your camera. They allow slow shutter speeds in very bright sunlight. That’s exactly what the photos from here, now, required. I wanted to get that silky flowing water effect and ND filters are the easiest way to achieve that. I put on a 16 stop and took some test shots. When I was happy, I shot this.

After the photography was over, I packed up and sat for a while before hiking back to the parking lot. It was relaxing just to watch and listen to the scene. It’s easy to focus so much on the technical aspects of getting a good photo that we forget to enjoy the actual landscape around us. Don’t do that. Take some time to realise why you are out there. To enjoy the scene that you will soon share with others. Except that you will have the memory of actually being there. Bonus.


After packing up the backpack I meandered back to the car, taking the easy way and sticking to the trail. I had tired myself in a good way, and earned a rest. The backpack was a star. Even fully loaded it was comfortable to wear. It did not chafe the shoulders. The weight distribution was spot on, no back pain or discomfort. No projecting bulges digging painfully in to soft tissue. Apart from the actual weight I hardly noticed it. Which is exactly what you want in a backpack if you are going hiking.

The whole outing was so easy and enjoyable that I stopped off at another conservation area on the way home, and went off for another jaunt. And returned home tired, weary, but in a good way. It was most enjoyable. This photo will always remind me of the fun I had on this most uneventful day.

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