Road trip, part 2 (Cataracts)

Cataracts Provincial Park is a lovely little spot for a picnic. It’s nominally accessible in winter, but for the love of your suspension system do not approach it from the dirt road through Markland. Holy ruts and potholes, Batman! We crawled down that road at top speeds approaching a blistering 20k/h and Katherine learned lots of new words. (John was driving, or she would have learned more of a slightly more varied hue and in more languages.)

Finally we got to Colinet and whizzed through to Cataracts (the sun was overhead and I was hoping to get pictures at the bottom of the canyon), the dirt road to which was surprisingly good. Hopped out and wandered down the stairs into the gorge.

Cataracts Bridge
Cataracts Bridge, from down in the gorge

It is almost an impossible thing to photograph differently and rather tricky to do well. The light is generally either complete shadow or startlingly harsh and dealing with the contrasts is a matter of balance. It’s probably one of those places in which HDR photography would work well, but I personally dislike the look of HDR and never use it.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against it and can understand how it works and appeals to others, but I just don’t like looking at it. Similarly, I don’t like Cubism either, although I can appreciate it and see how others might and see how it relates to art in general. I just wouldn’t hang it in my living room. Luckily in art, as in life, there is room for all manner of variance of opinion and taste.

Dappled light in the canyon.

The pictures above I was fairly happy with (a tripod would have helped, but you can’t have everything), but the pictures below are mainly so that you can see the cascade that falls adjacent to the bridge and how the lay of the land looks.

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Cascade, with nice young couple in love. We were surprised that anyone else was there!

While this last photo isn’t horrible, you can see what a challenge getting a decent angle is. There are two primary things competing with the eye for attention (among other visual clutter and confusion like rocks and trees) and limited room in which to maneuver (my back was against a rock wall). I adjusted the shadows a little on the left, or much of the cascade would have been darkened.

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Cascade and Bridge in canyon

If you do head down, watch your feet. The decking appears to have been built somewhat haphazardly and groaned ominously underfoot. When I scrambled down off it onto the riverbed to take these shots, I could see joist pieces that were inexpertly crippled together to make long-enough beams and all manner of other vaguely worrisome construction techniques (i.e. poor toe-nailing resulting in supporting lumber splitting or not actually being attached).

But it’s definitely worth a visit. Go in summer, take a picnic (and bug repellant) and don’t jump on the bridge!


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