The falls were nice, but... (Bonus: before and afters!)

The sunset was better.

So yesterday, we made our return to Palouse Falls. At least, for some of us it was a return. For some it was their first time, and for some it had just been a while since they'd been there. As most of you know, I was there a little over a week ago and forgot my camera battery... fail! 

However, that may have been a blessing in disguise, because it forced me to come back on a day with much more promising weather and lighting! The sunset last night was beautiful and is by far my favorite shot from the whole afternoon.

Here are some shots of the falls, too:

It's really hard to get the feeling of what it's like to stand on the edge of these cliffs from these photos. The wind is gusting and the falls are rushing and muting out all other sounds. The sunlight is painting everything golden and it's blinding you, but you probably don't even care because you're too distracted by how expansive and open everything feels. This is the kind of place that floods every thought out of your brain, and those are my favorite places. 

Something I've learned out of editing these photos is how hard it is to make a photo feel like the scene felt from your own vision at the time. The camera is nothing but a mechanical tool that records the scene, but it doesn't see all the gleaming light and the colors and all the dynamic range that your eyes see. So in order to take a photo back to what you saw originally, a lot of Photoshop work has to happen. 

Here are a couple examples:

The first couple images are straight out of camera; zero adjustments to exposure, temperature, crop, etc. This is what most people would get when they approached this scene with no knowledge of dynamic range or photography in general. Your camera can most likely only expose for the sky or the foreground, but not both at the same time. That's where exposure stacking comes in! If your camera is on a tripod, you can take shots to correctly expose each piece and stack them together in Photoshop. Additionally, I did a lot of color and temperature work to make the photo look like what I actually saw in the scene: warm, evening sunshine on the rocks, blue sky, and blue water. 

The same concept goes for this shot. The sky was beautiful, but shooting to expose just the sky forces the foreground to fall into a silhouette. Shooting the foreground causes the sky to blow out and look white. Again, exposure stacking is the solution. Additionally, I made a bunch of saturation boosts and some color temperature work on each individual part of the scene to tweak it how I wanted, and cropped in a little bit. 

Besides the camera, Photoshop is the second most powerful tool photographers have to make their photographs their own unique view of what they see. If you believe that you shouldn't touch your photos with any post production programs at all, you're closing yourself off to so many opportunities to push your photos even farther. 

Finally, here's a shot of Richard and 


 getting set up to shoot some long exposure shots of the falls.

Adventures to new places with other photographers is always a fun time! Be sure to check out the work from everyone that came along on our day trip yesterday.

Abby Muir: 


James Nisbet: 


Richard Russell: 


Colton McCoy: 



Steven Tinnell: