The Roar of Niagara
I'll be honest, I came very close to skipping Niagara Falls entirely when I was in Toronto!
I was in the city to shoot for a project I was working on, and the only time left to visit the falls was the morning I was due to leave Canada. As Niagara is a couple of hours drive from the city, I knew I would have to set off no later than 3am if I wanted to reach the falls in time for sunrise. Given the weather forecast was for rain, such an early start wasn't a particularly appealing thought. The temptation to have a lie-in followed by room-service breakfast instead was pretty intense.
But I soon came to my senses. After travelling halfway around the world, I wasn't going to skip visiting one of the most spectacular sights in the world simply because I wanted room service. So I sucked it up and set the alarm.
The storm started almost immediately after I left the city. Getting progressively worse, the further I travelled, I found myself driving through a seemingly endless curtain of rain on my way to the falls. I was pretty sure I was wasting my time, but I figured I was already on the road so I may as well see it through.
Sunrise was due at 5.30am, but despite the rain, I had actually made pretty good time and pulled up shortly before 5am. The rain was still pretty persistent, but it did seem a little lighter than before, so I decided to go and scout the location, and see what happened.
The best time to shoot virtually any photograph is either at sunrise or sunset, but the advantage sunrise is there will rarely be a crowd. Sure enough, at that time of the morning, I had the entire falls to myself. After trying out a few different locations and angles, I found the one which worked for me and then settled down to wait for the daylight to arrive.
And then everything seemed to happen at once. Just as the sky began to glow with the orange hue which comes immediately before the sun breaks the horizon, there was a sudden break in the storm. It only lasted a few minutes, but for the duration of that brief interlude, the clouds seemed to disappear from the sky.
Shooting in such changeable conditions is never easy, and I kept having to make tiny adjustments along the way. A tweak of the camera position here, a change of exposure time there each attempt getting me closer to the photograph I pictured in my head. In the end, I just managed to capture this photograph right before the rain returned.
In total, I was probably only at the falls for less than 45 minutes, during which time I didn't see another soul. I was tired, cold, wet, and hungry, but suddenly the effort seemed totally worthwhile, even if I never did get my room service breakfast.