Print of the Month July 2006

060 Takakkaw Falls

060 Takakkaw Falls

Takakkaw Falls-YOHO Canadian Rockies

Takakkaw means, “it is wonderful” in the Cree language.

It is generally accepted that one should not make photographs in mid day lighting. As a result, many photographers head back to their camp or hotel around 11am and return to the field at 3pm for the afternoon and evening light.

I was up early that morning and out on the road by 6am. It was still dark but I knew I was headed for Yoho National Park to find and photograph the tallest waterfall in Canada. The drive was approximately one hour from the hotel which was just fine for it allowed time for coffee, an apple and a couple of very fine bear claws.

We arrived at the Takakkaw Falls Campground around 7:30 and immediately removed my backpack with my 5 x 7 view camera, tripods and a few extra apples and headed off down the path to the falls. The path winds downward along The Yoho River and as you get closer you begin to hear the powerful rush of water that Takakkaw Falls makes as it crashes into the Yoho River. It’s the second tallest waterfall in Canada at 833 feet.

At 8:30 I exposed 2 negatives of the falls from different vantage points and used the Yoho River in the foreground. The compositions were fine but I felt they lacked depth. And they lacked suitable cloud formations. For the next two hours I explored the river for a better vantage point. After making a few detail photographs I decided on an early lunch and enjoyed the apple in my pack. It was only 11 o’clock and the sun was getting very hot. Walking in the river offered little relief from the heat. Finally looking to my left I saw an attractive opening in the trees on the bank. Moving up through the opening and looking back I knew I found my composition. Placing the falls in the top right third and the foreground trees on either side created my depth. As luck would have it, the clouds were rolling in. I selected my 150mm lens and a yellow filter to darken the mid day sky.

This negative was made close to one o’clock in the afternoon. In reality if you know how to expose your film – or digital sensor you can make photographs any time of the day.

Placing the shadowed pines on the right on Zone III or EV 11 the waterfall fell on EV 17 or Zone IX. I made a note to give the T-Max negative minus one development.

Next I needed to consider which shutter speed to use for the waterfall. ¼ second seemed appropriate to give sufficient detail to the falling water. I calculated f-45 at ¼ sec and then opened up one stop for the yellow filter.

The negative is Kodak T-Max 400 and I developed it in T-max RS developer.

About the Print of the Month

The Print of the Month is a new print offered at an early-edition discount. Normal pricing must apply once the print is offered by a gallery.

The Print of the Month is a silver gelatin print, each one created by hand using traditional darkroom methods.

Prints are limited to 50 per edition.

Typically the Print of the Month is made from a T-Max 100 negative, which is processed in D-76 mixed 1:1.

Each fine art print is made by hand using Ilford-based double weight paper.

The prints are double fixed and selenium toned for longevity.  They are then washed in a vertical print washer to completely eliminate any residue.  Prints are carefully allowed to dry for two days.  Next, each print is mounted on museum quality archival mat boards with acid-free mounting tissue.  Although each print takes a considerable amount of time and meticulous effort, this archival printing and mounting process is the only way to ensure print permanence and collectability. Give it proper care and your print will last hundreds of years without fading.

My signature and the print number are visible on the mat, below the print.

The Print of the Month offers a 50% savings off the normal investment.

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