Tag Archives: Niagara Falls
Happy 4th of July to all my friends and family who get to celebrate tonight. It’s a bit weird living in Canada and not getting the day off. Not that Canada Day isn’t a fine substitution but it’s not quite the same.
I had high hopes for Canada Day. We decided at the last-minute to go to Niagara falls and see the fireworks. Then we decided to get a room and see them from a really nice high vantage point. Then I decided to not worry about the credit card bill that booking a room on the 41st floor of the Hilton overlooking the Falls would come with. I mean you only do it once, right?
The hotel was OK. I admit after 16 years of Orlando and being VERY familiar with the way Disney does things, I have rather lofty expectations for what a hotel should be. The Hilton sadly did not live up to it in most ways. The lobby was chaos – people trying to check in were milling around looking for help. Other people were standing in the same lines (if you can call people scattered randomly with a lost look on their face a line) for some reason other than check in. Mostly people were crowded around the TVs trying to watch the Eurocup Finals. By people I mean the staff.
Way to impress Hilton, way to impress.
The room itself was OK. The view was good – not great. The giant Casino tower directly in front of the window spoiled a bit of the view. I guess that’s progress or something. No worries though, view of the Horseshoe Falls for the fireworks from the window and I can get the fireworks! That’s all I care about.
When the time comes for the show, I’m ready. I’ve never tried to shoot fireworks through glass, but I’ve taken enough test shots to have things dialed in I think. I’ve turned off every light, covered the mirrors, turned the TV away from the windows to minimize reflection. I have my polarizer on (probably a mistake) to cut down on any stray glare. I have my remote trigger in hand, the camera on manual and I’m ready…
Only the Boom was from the other direction. The display wasn’t over the Horseshoe Falls, but the American Falls! Suddenly I’m turning my tripod around in the window, trying to adjust for new angle, new reflections etc all the while trying to frame the shots and not miss the show. Disaster time. All that planning for nothing.
In the end I did get a few good shots. I learned shooting through glass and with a polarizer means you loose a lot of the light. Instead of f/11 I was shooting at f/8 or lower. I missed a lot of shots because of framing. Being up high does make it harder because the bursts can happen above or below you (vs just above) so many of them were cut off. Overall though it was a cool, if far to brief, show. I’m glad we got to see it.
I spent the night at Niagara Falls Sunday and was greeted with a wonderful sunrise Monday morning. I managed to grab this shot of the Horseshoe Falls before getting too wet from the mist. That big plume in the middle of the shot is a towering jet of spray that shots up 15 stories or more and sprays the area like a rain shower. Big tip I wish I had thought of – bring a rain cover for your camera even if it is beautiful out. I was soaked by the time I was done and so was the camera!
I’ll write more later on my experience. It was mixed to say the least.
You know something, as “kitschy” as a trip to Niagara Falls may seem, it is still one of the coolest places on earth. I took this on a brutally cold night in January and was amazed how the swirling mist formed into ice the moment it hit my lens, my camera – hell my beard. You know you’re crazy when you sit in the swirling vortex of icy doom just to take a picture of pretty water.
I did shoot this HDR because I didn’t have a filter with me to get a long exposure directly. The icy mist did make for a bit of “softness” in the shots. I tried to overcome that with Nik’s Color Efex Pro but then it to became “crunchy.” I never found the happy medium. Oh well, I’ll be back in a few days to try again – this time with fireworks!
Have a great day everyone.