“On the Edge”
“I liked watching more than I liked being part of it and for the first time I realized that it was OK to just be an observer. Some of us were actors and some of us were the audience. Both were important roles.”
― Peter Monn
This photograph caused me a lot of conflict. As a photographer, ‘selfies’ really irk me. I’ve stood overlooking beautiful vistas only to be roughly shoved by crowds of tourists, each bearing a ‘selfie-stick’. There does not seem to be any appreciation for the beautiful views, rather, a desire to show that they were there, with no regard for the place itself.
In this case, I had returned to a beautiful waterfall near my camper. I went to enjoy the raw beauty of the place and capture some of this through photos.
When I arrived, a group of women pull up behind me and we greeted each other. I hiked in, hoping to get ahead of them to enjoy the place privately for a few minutes and then to make some photos.
Shortly after my arrival, the women and their daughters arrived and proceeded to spend the next hour taking pictures of each other, in various poses, with the beautiful waterfall in the background. They then proceeded down the steep slope and edged closer to the water, clambering over the sharp and slippery rocks to get Instagram worthy images. They even went so far as to get into various yoga poses among the raging waters. It was quite nerve-racking to witness this risky behaviour.
Despite this, I was able to make some quite interesting images from my vantage point. That’s where I’m conflicted. Despite the danger present before me, the opportunity for some very beautiful images also presented itself. To the point where I was not sure if I would post the photo at all. In the end I have decided to post the image, with my observations, since it is quite a lovely image.
It should be noted that this is a single, time exposed, image. Because the girl was sitting relatively still, she appears fairly sharp, the water is blurred by its rapid movement.
Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD @ 100mm
1/3 sec, f/32.0 ISO 64
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That’s just how I felt in Bali at the waterfalls we visited, it was just a masd of tourists and selfie sticks with no regard for the beauty before us. Human nature has got weird! Great shot by the way!
Very well done, Ed. I’ve seen people using the Topaz Impression of Photoshop to create a canvas image. After reading your post, I was impressed by the effect on the waterfall and amazed at how still that woman was!
Thank you Miriam. It was carefully timed, as she kept moving and I did not want to make it obvious that I was photographing her.
I can visualized that. The photo looks great with the moving waterfall, her being still, and the woods still. It created such great effect. Excellent, even though you didn’t quite planned it that way.
Some mixed feelings of the image. No insult, it’s certainly well-captured, and the moving water is captivating. As I look at the falls, it’s difficult to gauge their size. They look a bit like a 4-foot-high waterfall shot closely. The girl almost appears to be superimposed on the image. While the human figure should cause my brain to apply scale to the waterfall, the opposite effect is had (brains are whacky!) and it looks like the woman is six inches tall.
Perhaps it’s the incongruity. A wild place and waterfall in the woods, but the person looks like she should be poolside or on a beach.
I don’t mean to be critical, of course.
Just sharing my ramblings.
Nice shot, none the less.
Happy for the critique. The image is somewhat disturbing, for many of the reasons you mention. It’s the disturbing aspect that keeps me going back to it.
The women provided great perspective and an unsettling feeling (is she safe?), which makes this image powerful. It certainly makes you longer and contemplate it, rather than quickly swiping to the next one. That’s all one can hope for these days for one’s photos. Thanks for posting it!
Thank you Lutz
The woman provides valuable perspective and causes a variety of feelings (who is she? Is she safe?), and any picture that evokes a strong feeling is a good one. Thanks for posting!
The woman was part of a group of four women (mothers and daughters) photographing themselves in and around the water. She was not safe, but survived.