Steelhead Falls – Mission BC

Steelhead Falls – Mission BC

Steelhead Falls, Mission BC, Waterfall

Landscape photography is a lot harder than portrait photography.  With portraits you can move the person, change the lights, change how they’re posed, their wardrobe… basically anything you want you can change.  With landscape photography, you can get to the perfect location, at the perfect time of day (4am I hear), get the absolute perfect composition… and the sunset isn’t good.  Or the weather is crappy.  Or there’s not a cloud in the sky.  And you can do nothing about it but come back the next morning (at 4am).

I met Brad Koop through the fact he’s another Pentax shooter (there aren’t a lot of us around) and that he has some really amazing landscape photographer (as you can see here).  We met up for a drink at the historic Mission Springs and talked photography.  I mentioned that I wanted to find waterfalls to shoot (possibly with a person in front of them) and he pointed me to Steelhead Falls, about 10 minutes drive from downtown Mission.
Steelhead Falls, Mission BC, Waterfall

I will say that the trip was unintentionally long for me.  I got to the switchback and parked, saw the trail entrance, and followed it.  The trail went down the hill, switch backing along the road, which made perfect sense as I expected it would cut inland when I hit the dam at the bottom of the hill.  When it didn’t, with a sinking heart I re-checked the map (hard to zoom in on an embedded google map with a custom overlay on an iPhone unfortunately), and realized that I had gone the wrong way.  I’m not in awesome shape, so the prospect of hiking back up the hill without any photos as my trophy, sucked.  But I did it, huffing and puffing all the way up.

At the top I realized where I’d gone wrong, and saw the other trail entrance.  Ugh.  Ok, didn’t look too long on the map so I trudged along, all the while realizing that a) I had brought too much gear and b) that while the Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag is awesome, a better bag might have been a backpack style, if for nothing more than to save my shoulder… there’s only so much padding can do.

Hiking along farther I almost gave up, but then there was a sign pointing the way.  Of course, it basically pointed straight down, a narrow staircase with barely enough room for my butt and a tripod, but we made it.  It was fairly dark, maybe 5pm at this point, the sun was basically down, it was raining, things were getting darker, and I started wondering just how many bears were out here, and how tasty I would be to them.  Spent a few minutes shooting some shots and scouting the area (for the aforementioned model I want to bring), and then packed up and headed home.

Steelhead Falls, Mission BC, Waterfall

Turns out going up is way harder than going down, who knew.  I did make it though, and discovered there’s a parking lot almost at the top of the hill, which I’ll definitely be using next time.  I also avoided any bears that were in the area, and returned unscathed but tired and sweaty.

There are 3 comments

  1. David Hodgins

    Now kick it up another notch, and do wildlife. The lenses and gear are even bigger, all the same challenges are present with weather and terrain, and THEN you have to hope the animal a) shows up at the appointed time, and b) does something interesting. Waterfalls don’t move around as much, and don’t avoid the area because you sneezed.

    Remind me again why I don’t shoot studio?

  2. Brad

    Yup, camera gear in the bush. Nothing like going off the trail and bushwhacking for the better angle either. The shots you got look like a decent reward for the trip, and maybe next time the model can help carry some gear that your VAL can’t. Should leave you free and clear to just lead the way.


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