Hot summer: cool cascades

A hot summer day, a cool location and a light camera-set: not the worst plan to spend a day off with a friend. I took my Sony Alpha 6000 and a Sigma 35/2.8 out to a small town near Stuttgart: Bad Urach. It is famous for being the birthplace of the Pretzel (the real, soft and tasty one and not those small, dry party-pretzels from the supermarket). But most people visit it for health reasons – it has got mineral water springs, great for taking a relaxing and healing bath – or for hiking the “Swabian Alb”, a beautiful and lush landscape worth exploring.

We chose to visit the cascades – it’s a light walk through a green valley. A small stream lead us to the high cliff, where the cascades drop down. Being an extremely hot summer-season, they lacked the usual amounts of water. But still, with the sun streaming through the trees in the right angle, they presented us with an impressive atmosphere. To capture it, I chose two paths: HDR and long time exposure. Having neither a tripod nor ND-filters at disposal, I chose ISO 100 and the smallest possible aperture – 22 – knowing, that I would have to trade sharpness with the required longer exposure times. Must have been fun for my friend to watch me bending down in the strangest positions, trying to stabilise the camera by pressing it down to rocks or branches…

Processing the photos in Lightroom was easy and straightforward. The dehaze and clarity sliders were of great help to better bring out the streaming sunlight. I created both colour and black&white-versions, using Silver Efex Pro for the latter. The original NIK-filters still worked in Lightroom Classic CC, but I chose to take advantage of the upgrade offer from DxO: smaller footprint and promised compatibility for future Lightroom-versions.

P.S.: If you ever happen to visit the Bad Urach-region, make sure to check out two nice places for lunch or coffee: “Schlössle Seeburg”, a fairy-tale-like place just up the hill outside town (see the photos below) and restaurant “Forellenhof Rössle” in the village of Honau. Try their fresh-from-the-creek trout, accompanied by their famous “Rahmkartoffeln” – thinly sliced potatoes, simmered in cream for hours. This place is overlooked by – again fairy-tale-like – castle “Schloss Lichtenstein” – a great photo-spot and especially beautiful in fall or winter.