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Strange and Beautiful

Posted by
Darkelf Photography (Perth, Australia) on 22 March 2022 in Landscape & Rural.


I have been posting few photos from my own backyard and today's image is another one from Western Australia. Winter brings a fair amount of rain to the south west corner of Australia and that means lots of water flowing through our scarce waterfalls. This is the post winter flow of Frankland River near the town of Walpole. The cascading water was wonderful and old moss added a strange but fascinating element to the scene. The moss was a fair while past its prime lush condition and it was dying off slowly. It almost looked like some gooey sludge from an experiment gone wrong but I really liked its quirkiness between the flowing streams.

I worked my way around the entire area to find interesting composition and looked for a way to get as close to the mossy rocks as possible. I found this spot and loved the way the river spread out in many streams before my eyes. The main river was flowing through in the background but its "tentacles" wandered around towards me through the mossy rocks. I got down very low to the ground to find the best perspective. From the top the scene looked good but somewhat flat and I felt that getting low would work better here. I think that it created better dimension and depth through enhancing the height difference between foreground and background.

It was an overcast day so these were perfect conditions for waterfall photography. Light was soft and steady which allowed me to keep the entire scene well exposed in a single frame. I did take a number of exposures at different shutter speeds to pick the one with the best flow. This time I wanted to keep good texture in the streams and also in the foamy parts in the foreground. These additional exposures also came in handy because the longer mossy strands were moving about in the water and I was able to blend in the still parts from faster exposures. Otherwise the moss would look very mushy and blurred.

The foam which you can see here is a natural phenomenon and it is a result of saponin which is a class of chemical compounds found in plants. Saponin, when shaken (not stirred), creates the froth like texture. The brown or cappuccino tone which you can see towards the top of the frame comes from the foam getting stained by the eucalypt leaves in the water. In some spots it can look like a cinnamon topping on the cappuccino-like frothy foam. This area is known for well known in Western Australia because of that cappuccino froth effect.

This is a great area to explore and one can walk up and down the river to find interesting compositions and angles. The best time is probably when the water is flowing well but I suspect it is beautiful all year round. The water does makes the place even more magical though. I wish I could add the sound of the waterfall to the image as there is hardly a better sound around. I could spent hours there just listening to that sound and watching the river rush between the rocks.

Canon EOS R5 4/5 seconds F/8.0 ISO 200 18 mm

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