Monday, September 24, 2012

Maxwell Falls

Finding myself with some extra time on my hands today -- and upon hearing reports from a neighbor of beautiful foliage in Evergreen -- I decided to take Ginny up to the Maxwell Falls Trail.

The foliage was definitely brilliant, but overcast skies presented quite a challenge.  Keeping my polarizing filter on my wide angle lens to try and punch up the vibrancy of the colors may have been a bad decision.  Losing the two stops of light meant I had to jack up the ISO to obscene levels to shoot handheld.

Pines were by far the dominant tree, which helped some lone aspens to really stand out.

I'd read that the falls were more a series of cascades than a sheer drop.  And I knew that water levels were likely to be really low after such a dry summer.  So after about 90 minutes of hiking when I crossed the first running water I'd seen I figured that might be as good as it got.  So I set up my tripod and shot this one-foot drop.  Admittedly, not especially impressive.

I saw other hikers continue along the trail, so I thought maybe a more inspiring view might come available.  the trail went up along the course of the water for a while, but then veered away.  Even without a sign, I feared that I'd reached the prime spot.  So I meandered down to the edge of the water where I found water plummeting twice as far as my first spot.  Or, about two feet.  A slightly more interesting sight with the moss and leaves, but still not what I'd call a "waterfall."

Unfortunately, I needed to head back to town so didn't have the opportunity to press on further.  The sun was trying to break through the clouds, which illuminated some of the turning leaves more brightly on my hike back to the car than they'd been on my way out.

The brightest conditions on the whole hike were when I crossed back over where I'd first seen the creek, and I still had an ISO equivalent of 3200 for this shot.

Some of the best visuals came from the sections of the trail where leaves were starting to fall.  Enough remained on the trees to keep them interesting, and the litter on the ground still had most of its color as well.

It's tempting to call the trip a disappointment -- no really killer pics, and I don't believe I ever reached the falls the trail is named for.  But the fact is that any day spent outside in Colorado is a blessing.  And with the trailhead only about 40 minutes from home, I can take a shot at redemption pretty easily some other day. :)

No comments: