Behind the Lens: Jagged Rocks, Icy Pools

by Mark Bowie | Photography

Jagged Rocks, Icy Pools

Exposure Data:
Three exposures:  0.6, 1.3 and 2.5 seconds, F/22, ISO 100
Nikon D80 Camera, Nikkor 18-70mm lens at 27mm

Sidewinding along State Route 9 south of Elizabethtown, the Boquet River sluices through jagged rocks, and drops 40–50 feet in a series of cascades known as Split Rock Falls before settling into some pools, then continuing downstream. With the lack of snow on this winter day, the ice-cold water flowed freely and the pools were emerald green. This scene, at the base of the falls, was so enticing, but the contrast range was too wide for my camera to capture the great detail in the bright ice and dark rocks and woods in a single exposure, so I shot three separate exposures and merged them in Adobe Lightroom as a high dynamic range image. The software performed beautifully, producing no ghosting artifacts, even in the flowing water.

I positioned myself so that the three prominent rock outcrops created a strong diagonal “splitting” the green pools. It’s a clean, powerful composition with lots of interesting detail to explore. I used a polarizer to cut glare off the surface of the pools, allowing us to clearly see rocks of different sizes, shapes and colors in the subsurface. The overhanging evergreens complement the pools and add some wavy texture. The outcrops, wet from snow or rain, exhibit some rich browns and are smattered with gray-green lichen. Ice outlines the rock. My relatively slow shutter speeds registered the water with a soft gossamer blur, while retaining some detail in the flow patterns. In processing, I made sure the whites of the falls and ice remained bright, to keep the scene’s other colors lively.

To find such a pristine oasis in winter was a rare treat; photographically, an artists’ palette of earth tones: green, gray, brown and beige… sugar-coated in ice!


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.  Mark will be joined by instructor, Chris Murray, for the Finger Lakes Waterfalls workshop, from June 7-10. For all program descriptions and to register, see API’s website:

Special note: Mark’s new website,, has launched! Explore new image galleries and keep abreast of his workshops, presentations and product releases.

Related Stories

On Newsstands Now

Adirondack Homes & Camps 2023

Celebrating our regional style, from rustic showplaces and historic resorts to modern lakeside living—plus design must-haves, decor how-tos and the ultimate green home by Bill McKibben.
  • Adirondack Life Digital Edition

Adirondack Life Magazine

Subscribe Today!

Latest Articles


Follow Us

Adirondack Life Store

for calendars, apparel, maps and more!