Behind the Lens: Hudson River Freshet

by Mark Bowie | Photography

Spring Freshet, Hudson River

Exposure Data:
1/5 sec, f/9, ISO 200
Nikon D300 camera, Nikkor 80-200mm lens set at 80mm.

Early spring brings the opportunity to see the landscape afresh. Trees have not yet leafed out, which allows us to see well into the woods. The observant notice features not visible, or even present, at other times of year, like this seasonal waterfall on the opposite side of the Hudson River from Route 28 south of the hamlet of North River. With significant snowmelt or rain it plunges off a rocky hillside in fingers of lacy white bridal veils. It has been doing this long enough to have created a small delta at its base that protrudes into the river. But the flow diminishes to a trickle by late spring. Like so many Adirondack landscape features, this waterfall only occurs under certain seasonal conditions.

Early spring has its own look. Coming directly out of winter the land can look raw and a bit beat up. It’s mud season and hiking paths and slopes can be treacherous underfoot. It can also be a challenge to refine compositions to de-clutter the landscape and provide clean visual paths to lead the viewer through our images, but that’s the creative task before us.

I photographed from the opposite shore, using a telephoto zoom lens to shoot a vertical to match the long lines of the birches and bridal veils. The two evergreens at the base serve as pillars in a gateway to the falls, and match the greenery above. In processing I carefully adjusted the contrast to help separate the trees from the falls, used Lightroom’s DeHaze slider to reduce haze coming off the river, and slightly vignetted the image to help contain the eye on the star of the show—this tantalizing feature that makes an appearance but once a year. This really is a uniquely wonderful time to explore with a camera.

Mark Bowie is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life magazine and a much sought-after public speaker, offering presentations for conferences, camera clubs and other groups. He is a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute. He and fellow instructor Joe LeFevre will be leading a waterfalls photography workshop to Ricketts Glen State Park, Pennsylvania May 31st–June2nd. For the program description, and descriptions for all of API’s 2018 workshops, see

For more on Mark’s work, visit

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