Donut Falls is a short hike in Big Cottonwood Canyon  and one of the most popular, easy, and simple things to do in Utah.  Being a short hike near the Salt Lake Valley, I figured what better way to use the couple hours I had early one Saturday morning.  Never being there I didn’t really know what to expect photographically speaking.  I had gathered a bit of information scouring the web, specifically the website listing the details of the hike.  It seemed intriguing and so I set out for some sunrise shooting to see if I could come back with some decent waterfall pictures.

Seeing a few of the photos of this particular waterfall, I had an idea in mind of what I would see.  That being a donut-shaped hole where Big Cottonwood Creek flows through.  Sounds pretty cool to me and definitely would provide for a different type of waterfall picture.  I set off just as the sun was rising and quickly realized that a sunrise waterfall shot wasn’t going to work due to the deeply recessed canyon in which the creek flowed.  Nonetheless, it provided some gorgeous Utah scenery.

Once I arrived at the falls I was a bit taken back.  Not due to the overwhelming beauty of the falls, but more for the lack of a waterfall.  The actual donut was inaccessible and not much of a site to see.  The water however did cascade down many different levels providing for some beautiful miniature waterfall photos.  I’ve found out that I can spend hours in scenes like this due to the multitude of different compositions you can come up with.  And that is was I did.

[gn_frame align=”center”]One of many smaller waterfalls cascading down the mountain near Donut Falls in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. (Clint Losee)[/gn_frame]

In terms of processing this image, I noticed that two frames were necessary in order to capture the details of the flowing water and the green color in the moss and rocks. Those two frames were blended together using a pretty interesting free software from onOne Software called Perfect Layers 9.5. This helped me to blend the images together and bring out the details that the scene presented.

[gn_note color=”#e4f1f2″]Photo Tip: A simple tip to show action in flowing water is to use a slower shutter speed. Some don’t like the look, but it helps to convey a sense of motion that people can relate to.[/gn_note]
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