Third Try's a Charm

I had to take a couple steps back to come up with the start to the story of this particular photo objective. It started with a video I saw about moonbows at Yellowstone National Park, a rainbow-like phenomenon that occurs with the mist from a waterfall under a full moon.  In the spring of 2013, I had recently heard about this phenomenon, just as a full moon was coming out over Whistler. I had also heard from a friend about a secret path you could take to reach the bottom of Brandywine Falls, and enjoy the view from the bottom. Equipped with a vague description of how to find the trail, my friends and I headed out with our cameras, a couple beers, and high hopes. As soon as we reached the lookout for the falls, we saw there was no moonbow to be seen. However, that didn't stop our curiosity of what the falls would look like from the bottom. Finding this secret trail proved difficult, especially in the dark, but after an hour we finally reached the bottom of the falls. Still no moonbow, but the falls were illuminated by the moon and awesome; as in, awe-inspiring. Although some hazy clouds had rolled in, I could tell the north star was just above the falls, meaning this viewpoint had potential for a great star trail. That night I snapped the first shot from this story.

After we made it home, I made it a personal ambition to capture a star trail from this place, combining the rotational star trails around Polaris and the beauty of Brandywine Falls. About a month later, we caught a patch of very nice, warm, clear days and nights. This time I opted to make a solo mission down to the falls, which proved to be extremely scary and unnerving, as bears were starting to wake up and search for food. This time I didn't account for the fact that the heat had sped up the alpine melt, and the falls were gushing. I couldn't get nearly as close as I wanted, so I compromised on my angle and thought I would experiment with a single frame star trail (the second image in this story). My lens also got coated in mist from the waterfall, so the image came out with a mysterious fog to it.

I came home from the second mission a little defeated, and vowed to come back in the fall when the river would be running much slower and I could get closer to the falls. Finally the conditions aligned and I ventured down with my friend and amazing photographer Reuben Krabbe. We got down, set up, and I ran my camera for an hour while he experimented with various angles and techniques. When I got home and finally compiled the star trail image I was quite pleased with the result. A couple lofty ideas, juvenile ambition, and 4 months later, I finally got the image I was looking for.

The first attempt
The second attempt, a 45min single exposure
The third and final attempt, mission accomplished