Yesterday I hiked up a mountain for a fabulous view of snow-covered peaks and dark green valleys for many, many miles in all directions. The only photographs I made were of a waterfall on the way up. The surprise is that I made any at all. Despite — or more likely because of — the clichéd nature of the subject, until a year ago I had essentially no waterfall pictures, even of locations I’d visited multiple times, with camera, where I more recently did make photos. Now I have half a dozen or so waterfalls, and I realize it has become a theme. So I want to start looking at them and thinking about them, learning from them.
My goal is not to categorize these pictures or figure out how to make “better” ones. For me, photography is a visual path to understanding my environment and things I care about in it and why I care about them. It’s not a discovery like finding a gemstone, but more an ongoing process of construction which depends on both the pictures and the thinking. So I don’t expect to reach any conclusions; it’s just exploration.
As part of that personal exploration, it’s very helpful to hear what others think. Most of my waterfalls I have presented here before, but I reproduce them below in a consistent presentation, from old to new. How do you see these images in relation to each other, to other waterfall images, and to images of mine of different subjects? Do you find them distinctive in any way? Have they changed much over the year, or is their continuity more striking? More specifically, in what ways are they different and the same? I do have a few preliminary thoughts, but I’d rather not bias the conversation. What do you see here?