Visiting Osceola, Wisconsin is always a treat. The small town is one of several that border the state with Minnesota. I’ve been passing through for thirty years on the way to the family cabin. It is always a pleasant rest stop and an answer to that road trip inquiry “Are we there yet?” Once in Osceola, the answer is “Almost.”

I arrived here last Tuesday, a wet cloudy morning and immediately climbed down stairs next to the Watershed Cafe, to the base of Cascade Falls. This day was more challenging than my trip to Minnehaha Falls.

The lingering snow wasn’t doing me any favors, the empty branches were annoying hands hindering my sight, and the rocks didn’t seem to be very ideal for foreground.

Nothing wrong with any of that.

Creativity’s box is unleashed when the obvious isn’t present. I started working the scene by going farther away from the base of the falls.

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Cascade Falls: wet shot

What I call “wet shot” is imagining you’re standing the river itself, feeling the energy of its rush. You’re directly immersed into the river, producing a different feeling than with a foreground like a bank or rock pile. To achieve this, I simply balanced on slippery rocks and extended as far into the shallow river as I could.

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Cascade Falls: rock shot

Crossing the river, I found rocks more to my liking. I’ve heard that three’s a company in a photograph and is a technique or pattern for which to look. After a few months of testing this myself to some degree, I generally agree it’s a useful technique. Here the two rocks middle right create a stepping stone for the eye to the waterfall, filling in the space nicely between the foreground rocks and falls. I think it helps with flow and pattern in the image. The rocks were large enough and not cropped which pleased me.

From here, I wanted to try something different.

Through the woods
Through the woods

I had the vision to try and capture the falls through the woods, like a hiker emerging from the trail to see a refreshing sight by which to relax. This proved difficult. I wanted to zoom from a distance and perhaps capture either a foreground or a nice framing from the trees. I didn’t get a photo I liked but show this here to demonstrate for what I aiming. I will attempt it again when the foliage returns and expect better results.


My final composition came after a slippery ascent to the waterfall’s right where long ice hung in defiance of the warming weather, and next to second stack offering a cool blue hue. This image isn’t unique to the photography world but stuck out to me as the image of the day.

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