This photo came about following a dreary couple of weeks during which I had felt lethargic, unmotivated and generally depressed. I had the itch to get out and about but I hadn’t really planned where I could possibly go. In fact, that Saturday, I woke early but was feeling so low that I couldn’t even move myself from bed until I had completely missed the opportunity for a sunrise shoot. At around 11am, I finally decided that I would do a bit of research on Google Maps. It was completely by chance that I clicked on a location in Victoria’s high country and realised that I’d come across a waterfall. After checking out some images on Google, I came to the conclusion that Gooram Falls had not yet been properly photographed, though the area seemed like it could yield some interesting opportunities. So off I set on the 2 hour drive from Melbourne and boy, was this place worth it.
The Gooram Falls are west of the Strathbogie Tableland on the Euroa-Mansfield Road. The turn-off is easy to miss if you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for. On arrival, the sky was pretty gloomy and the threat of rain loomed ominously overhead in the form of thick, dark clouds. Never one to squander an opportunity for a moody, stormy shot, I quickly loaded my f-stop gear Tilopa onto my back and hiked out into the bush.
The terrain was slippery and muddy from overnight rainfall. I kept an eye out for snakes as I scrambled over fallen trees, through thick branches of golden wattle and carefully lowered myself down over steep rocks. Eventually, I reached the lower part of the river where the water was coloured by rust. It didn’t make for very interesting photos, so I hiked a little further upstream where the flow was more rapid. As I burst through a tangle of native shrubbery, I found myself standing before this section of the falls. It completely floored me when my eyes swept over all the angles and it wasn’t long before I was able to draw out this composition.
It was around 3pm in the afternoon, so the sun was at about a 70 degree angle behind me. There were times when it was so bright that it cast my shadow (and my tripod’s shadow) directly in front of me, ruining the shot. I had to wait for the moments when it would disappear behind cloud to diffuse the shadow, though still be bright enough to bathe a warm glow over the foreground. Given the level of brightness and the reflection of light coming from the rocks, I used the LEE Circular Landscape Polariser to minimise glare. To create the dreamy, silky effect in the water, I initially used the Singh-Ray Mor-Slo 10-stop though found that the look it created was too smooth for what I was after. I wanted a bit more texture in the water, so used the Singh-Ray ND 3-stop filter combined with the Galen Rowell GND 4-stop to balance out the sky. The final result is a combination of 4 images focus-stacked, shot at 16mm, ISO 100, f/9 with a shutter speed of 1/4 sec.
Shortly after I took this series of shots, the clouds rolled back in and a storm quickly ensued. Lucky for me, I’d gotten the shots I was after and it was certainly the reinvigorating pick-me-up that I needed. There is nothing quite like stealing secret moments out in the stillness of Victoria’s high country. The trek was worth it for the warmth of the sunshine on my back as I took in a deep breath amidst the loud rush of the waterfall before me.