My first visit to the Cascade d’Ardent in France was too short, and I came away knowing that I’d left some great shots on the table. That’s never a satisfying feeling! So on my second trip I arrived with plenty of time to explore the smaller falls upstream.
It’s interesting to see how the water flow changes throughout the year, and I’m always surprised by how much it’s affected by the weather. On this occasion the river was pretty shallow, allowing me to get to spots like this that I didn’t dare to venture into before.
I’ve been caught out a few times in places I didn’t expect to be slippery and it’s always a quick wake up call! When the torrent is weaker it’s easier to get closer to the water, and it also reveals some nice details in the falls you might not see when they’re at at full strength.
From the car you’re never that close to the torrent that runs through the Gorges du Bronze, but there is a spot where you can park up and walk down to the water. It’s not a marked trail so you have to use your imagination a little, but it’s only 150m or so.
I had the place completely to myself, so I spent a couple of hours just exploring up and down the river. I saw a number of paint markings on rocks here which I think are used for canyoning routes. Have you ever heard of canyoning?
The basic idea is to follow a canyon through the water, rappelling, climbing, jumping and swimming your way down. I’ve never tried it myself, it’s always been the wrong side of my risk/reward scale!
While exploring la Cascade d’Ardent at the weekend I managed to accomplish a couple of photography firsts. Not only did I get my tripod wet for the first time, I also successfully shot flowing water in daylight with a Neutral Density filter.
During the day there is normally too much light for a longer exposure. An ND filter acts like a pair of sunglasses for your camera, letting in less light than usual. This means you can use longer shutter speeds to get a silky smooth water effect, even in the middle of the day.
Somehow this was the first occasion I had both an ND filter and my tripod at the same time in the right location. I had so much fun experimenting with the filter and the angles. I even had a few people stop and watch me carefully set up my tripod in the water. They probably thought I was crazy!
Do you often use a neutral density filter? Maybe you like to get your feet wet in a stream every now and then?! I’d love to hear from you!