Last week I posted the story of the shots at the Düden coast waterfall, the impressive tidefall that crashes over the cliffs into the Mediterranean. Some way in land, there’s also Düden Park. A paid entry area set up around Düden waterfall. I’ve no problem with it being paid entry, it restricts access and also protects the river, falls and the gorge from ne’er-do-wells (you know those horrible types who just want to damage anything), and also leave litter everywhere!
I visited this park in November, on a gorgeous sunny day, intentionally I was early, as soon as the park opened so as to avoid the expected bus tours. This was one of the few times that I have been very lucky with the weather, and other people. The trees of the park that crowd around the river and crown the gorge were in their autumn colours and the morning sun was giving them all a wonderful glow.
On entry into the park we followed the fast flowing river...then the path led us through a small cluster of small gift shops and cafes selling traditional Turkish savoury pancakes, toasted sandwiches and suchlike. Most of which were still not open. No one else around, wonderful light; excellent!
After the huddle of huts selling the path took us on. and the river disappeared...over the edge. The park is placed around a narrow bottle-shaped gorge, the main fall being at the wider end where the river had evidently eroded its plunge pool down below before racing on through the narrowing gorge on towards the sea. From the top of the gorge the scene was picturesque, the park laid out nicely with walkways alongside the river below, and a spiral staircase taking you down, inside the rock and caves, to bottom of the main fall.
A surprise was in store. Halfway down this spiral staircase through the small caves, was a side chamber actually behind the main fall. Bracketed shots had to be taken, the sun was streaming in through the water, mineral deposits were gleaming with drops of fresh pure water. It had to be framed up on a tripod. Several compositions were taken at varying exposure ranges, trying to capture the extreme range of bright sunlight and dark, almost black, shadows inside the cave. I was conscious of the time this was taking. Tourists would undoubtedly come, I had to get the main shots while I had this stunning place virtually to myself.
In the Cave behind the fall, 3 images bracketed, f/11, 29mm, ISO100
Back to the staircase and down...there it was...the mouth of the cave opening out beneath tree roots to reveal the gorge sweeping around before me. To the left, the main fall, in front a wall of greenery, a second fall to the right of this and then, away to the right, the fast river flowing on. The plunge pool itself, was thrown into deep shadow contrasting beautifully with the golden autumn colours lit by the summer sun. I’m fighting a strong urge to get very poetic as I write this...<focus – keep on topic>...let’s just say it really felt like something out of paradise!
The shots were framed from inside the cave mouth, trying to capture some of the glorious scene and to do it justice.
Out of the dark and into the Light, f/16, 1/6, 20mm, ISO100
This wasn’t the shot I really wanted.
Over to the left, the path opened out on a viewing area near the main fall, from the the secondary fal and the sweep of the golden gorge beneath a blue sky would be fully spread out. Nature was really playing nicely today; even the blue sky had a sprinkling of cloud to make it interesting. This was gorgeous. Seriously gorgeous. The title for this shot was easy!
The Embrace of Paradise, f/8, 10sec, 12mm, ISO400
I stood here in this position for at least 15 minutes taking images. The odd tourist was now floating through, a selfie and then gone. Look, even if you’re not interested in photography, surely this place deserved more than a cursory glance and a couple of frames filled with your own big face!
I stopped to take my wife’s picture, not filling the frame with us but with the fall, a proper momento, and then went back to variations of the shot above. It’s not perfect! How could I ever do this justice? Maybe with what I know now, I would try a couple more variation that I didn’t know back then, perhaps I would frame further back to get more of the overhang at the top of the fall to frame it better. A reason to go back, and I definitely will!
Walking away from the fall, (as always I didn’t want to, but had to as we couldn’t stay here all day, sadly, a few more tourists were trickling down and there was more to explore before making our way back to the city.
Front on shots were taken, and close ups of the water splashing the rocks, this type of detail has always fascinated me; something about the way the water hits rock, the random patterns that it creates as it splashes then slides down into the. The main challenge for shots now, as the sun climbed, were the bright highlights, especially on the faster flowing waterfall to the side. It was creamy white even at fast shutter speeds.
Fairy Land, f/16 1/6, 20mm, ISO100
Around a kink in the gorge and there we were treated to another surprise, yet another arm of the river crashing in to the river from above. It was a tight spot, close up, not much room to frame the shot without the tables and chairs of a mid-gorge tea shop getting in the way, nonetheless, the patterns of rock, water and foliage make an interest mix of textures and colours. An amazing place!
A Confluence of Possibility, f/8, 1/4, 17mm, ISO100
We climbed up the opposite wall from our original starting point. I say climbed up, it sounds athletic, perhaps I should point out that it is installed stairway...there was no actual climbing involved! A short pano was taken; two shots had to be stitched to get the whole view in shot. I am not sure it works! Another example of a great view not necessarily being a great photograph, perhaps. Exposure was still a challenge thanks to the bright sun, again knowing what I know now, and having the filter kit that I have now, I am sure I could have balanced the exposure much better.
Duden Waterfalls, f/20, 1/4, 15mm, ISO100
How to leave this place? We grabbed a snack, and I took some close up shots of the river back at the top near the huddle of huts with the sound of the crashing water so loud as it echoed in the gorge nearby, so loud but somehow so soothing! I’ve always thought I would like to live within earshot of a waterfall, a perfect example of nature doing its things serving as a constant reminder of -...I knew it, I’m getting poetic...
A watery grave, f/8, 1/30, 20mm, ISO500
Düden had that effect on me, I challenge any photographer, or nature lover (or both), not to be overawed by the beauty down in Düden Park gorge! Absolutely blumming gorgeous! I’m not sure I captured exactly how it made me feel, a challenge I look forward to taking on again.
What are your favourite places to visit? Do you have any techniques to help you capture the feeling?
Share your ideas here!
The Frustrated Photog.