It was another eventful day in Yellowstone. We didn’t have the excitement of watching a pack of wolves up close for more than 90 minutes but for me, it was exciting and yet another milestone in my progress toward overcoming my fear of heights.
We were at Firehole Falls on the Firehole River taking images of the falls and blurring the water crashing down the falls with various methods, including a 6 stop neutral density filter, multiple exposure, and the easiest, a very slow shutter speed and small aperture. There were three different sites from which to photograph the falls and while I waited my turn for the others to finish at one viewpoint that had limited access, Moose took me to the last spot with views of what he called “scrubbing bubbles.” The road is close to the edge of the precipice and the snow was piled a few feet high up to the edge of the cliff. I couldn’t tell where the ground ended. At one spot, a large opening at the edge with footprints in the snow in front of it made it appear that someone had fallen through the snow and over the side. I said as much and Moose, completely fearless, walked up to the opening and peered over. “Nope,” he said. I wondered if it might be the preferred spot for the photograph I wanted to get. He took my tripod and planted it right next to the opening, extended his hand to me to help me to the spot. Of course, when I stepped off the packed snow at the road’s edge, my boot sank a foot or so, knocking me off balance and I fell backwards and found myself sitting on the snow. Vinnie helped me up and Moose made sure I didn’t knock him, my camera, and myself over the edge. Then he walked away and left me there. The drop was probably 100 feet and yet I had no fear. Perhaps at last I am beginning to overcome my irrational fear of heights.
Moose asked for my cell phone and created this pano of me to prove that I actually managed to stand at the edge of this precipice and take photographs without fear. Thank you, Moose. The other photograph is the part of the falls I photographed from that vantage point, blurred using my 70-200mm lens with a 1.4x teleconverter, ISO 50, f/Stop 45, Shutter Speed 1/1.6 second, focal length 260mm. The image, while monochromatic, is not black and white. The water is actually a greenish color.
Photograph by Moose Peterson
Photograph by a fearless Carol Smith