Buttermilk Falls - Tremendous setting for Portrait Photography
In part one I started to outline how I found this beautiful spot for portrait photography. Before I go too far into this post, I want to emphasize that I am positive everyone has a tremendous location near their home. Although it might not have the same features, it is sure to have great possibilities for fun portrait photography.
As I climbed the steps to the falls and maneuvered around trees in the path, I noticed many beautiful items along the way. First, the walls to the right are possible because many workers cut out this hillside years ago. The stone in the hillside was used in many local and not so local buildings years ago as workers worked hard mining the stone.
I also noticed how some people did not have a love for the land and littered both the stream and path with garbage. Remnants of civilization that has little regard for the beauty and sanctity of this setting. I noticed names and initials carved in the trees and in the wooden benches along the path.
When I came upon the falls, the roar was very loud and I could not hear anything except the pounding of my heart. I was mesmerized by its beauty and quickly decided that this would make a great spot for photography. All around the pool of water that is at the base of the falls are cut out spaces which make tremendous places for portraits. One beautiful place takes some climbing to enter and unfortunately is riddled with broken glass and other debris.
Over the years, I encountered many different people along the path and around the falls. Some are general tourist who found the falls in a similar manner that I did and others were directed here from a friend or flyer. In the fall, I schedule a portrait session with a high school senior. We waited months for the leaves to change and the weather to be 'perfect'. When we arrived to the falls, we noticed it was filled with cars along the road and the typical 'quiet' path was filled with people and loud sounds. From the right and above us came men in blue and gray. Some were covered in dirt carrying long guns and looking very determined to attack the men in different colored uniforms. Did we trip over a switch and end up many years ago in the midst of a civil war battle? Was this a movie set? No, scheduled our portrait session on the same day when a reenactment of times gone by was taking place. What should we do? Go home and attempt to schedule a future session? No, we decided to utilize the tremendous props that were made available for us. I could not pass up these fun props.
|Stage Coach High School Portrait|
This first image is not directly at the base of the falls but above it along side the railroad tracks.
I couldn't resist the great backdrop and immediately asked the owners if we could take a few photographs in front of the stage coach.
The second shot is from the same setting but I added a strong bare flash from camera left and added some post processing in Lightroom to create a more antique look.
|Antique Stage Coach High School Senior Portraits|
|Buttermilk Falls Camping Portraits|
In the third photo, we borrowed a hat from the owners of the stage coach and lit her with a light on camera left. I couldn't resist the fun look and figured this would make a tremendous memory for this high school senior.
I have hundreds of different looks that I have been able to gather from this beautiful setting. Although there are some that look the same, with a little ingenuity, new looks are created every time.
Look for creative ways to use familiar spots. In this example, we could have walked away and came back when there was no one around, we decided to stay and have a fun time utilizing the change in scenery to create a very fun look.
|High School Senior reading on railroad tracks|
Watch for unique ways to photograph your subject.
Buttermilk Falls is seconds from the PA turnpike near the route 18 exit and close to Pittsburgh, PA and Youngstown, Ohio.