Capturing Mitchell Falls

I am on record for not being a big fan of waterfall images in general. Unless you place that running water in an wide open interesting context and show the surrounds I find close-ups of running water not so interesting. Wanting to get a nice waterfall image in my portfolio while in Western Australia I figured I might as well get a big one! Or rather, four big ones as Mitchell Falls is not technically one but four stringed together.

Mitchell Falls are found on the Mitchell Plateau, off the Gibb River Road in far north Kimberley, Western Australia. Access requires either a plane or a fun but spine-breaking 5-6 hours of driving on a corrugated rocky dirt road turning north from the Gibb River Road up the Kalumburu Road. The Gibb is a highway compared to the Kalumburu, especially the last 90 k’s to the Mitchell Falls camp ground. I went with my mate’s company All Terrain 4WD Safari and we broke both back shock absorbers going up there! Hardly felt it though, was so bumpy anyway! Just a few days earlier, two 4WDs had rolled over on the road, so if you go up here, safety first and get all the up to minute advice on the road condition from Drysdale River Station.

Once at Mitchell Falls campground you trek about 4-5 gorgeous kilometres through the outback crossing rivers and other waterfalls to get to the Mighty Mitchell Falls. Safely arrived you trek around the waterfall and this is where the real fun begins – find a good spot for shooting without actually testing gravity too much! The area is bushy and rocky and first of all with a steep drop into a huge plunge pool. Very much like the wall you see on the left side of the image below. I did not want any foreground protruding into my image rather I wanted a clean composition. I accomplished this somewhat hanging over the edge, holding on to camera, tripod and cable release with one hand, holding on to a tree with the other hand. With the waterfall roaring loudly in front of me almost shaking the ground this was quite a thrilling shoot.

I used my 9 stop ND filter to slow down time or rather prolong the exposure (how awesome if this thing could really slow down time!). Unable to look through the viewfinder – that would test gravity too much – live view was extremely handy for composing this 2 image vertically stitched panorama. I like this composition as there’s a great sense of height here.

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Mitchell Falls vertical panorama
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

I am also releasing this image as a horizontal panorama as well as seen below. Must cover all bases now that I finally captured a waterfall!

Click to see large size on my gallery! Copyright Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

Mitchell Falls panorama
© Flemming Bo Jensen Photography

11 Comments on “Capturing Mitchell Falls”

  1. hi Flemming,
    Both are stunning compositions that is for sure, doing this majestic location justice.
    Damn, I have a mate heading on the gibb and up there atm… next year it will hopefully be me again. lol

  2. i've always thought waterfall photos (close up or not) are beautiful
    🙂

    yours however, make all the others look.. dare i say it, dull. lol

    nice work flemming!

    1. Yeah it's been posted before, but not the vertical and not the story behind the images 😀 Glad you like the horizontal as that proves it's a great idea to release both of them, something for everyone in my waterfall collection 😀

  3. Top job Flemming. Perfect use of the 9 stop. Especially by still making the whole image look natural. With the 5D Mk II you only need two images to make a great sized panoramic.

    1. Thanks very much Matt! I really like the 9 stop, it does add a slight colour cast which I carefully removed to keep it looking natural. And for verticals, yes I find it works great to just stitch two images together!

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