On July 6th, I ended my holiday weekend checking out a couple state parks in central Illinois along the Illinois River east of Oglesby, IL. I headed out as soon as sunrise began to make the drive from Peoria, IL to check out Starved Rock and Matthiessen State Park. This short trip was a chance for myself to photograph some waterfalls in these parks which is something I've never photographed up to this point. I didn't take too many photos at Starved Rock as most of the trails were still closed due to recent wind damage. With that being said, I was able to hike up into two canyons on this morning since just a trail or two were still opened. I ended up checking out Ottawa canyon and Kaskaskia canyon. I photographed these two waterfalls and then quickly began to head to Matthiessen State Park as they still had all their trails open and cleared. It was a grueling hike as usual especially with camera-gear on your back and a tripod as well. The biggest mistake people make when photographing waterfalls is not a bringing a tripod as it's essential along with a remote trigger to capture "blurred motion". You have to be able to adjust shutter speeds as well which is hard to do without a good DSLR camera, tripod, and remote trigger at your disposal. Matthiessen State Park is well worth checking out this fall and I'll be back I'm sure at some point as I was very impressed with this state park as well. It was my first time hiking in this particular park. By midday, my shoes and socks had already been obliterated and I was already worn out from hiking the trails so I drove back to Peoria, IL. I've added several photos below of some of the waterfalls I photographed with my Canon 5D Mark III below:
Trying my best to "walk on water" on this morning (note-to-self bring a second pair of shoes)!
Starved Rock statue!
Just an idea of the storm damage in this area which was quite impressive...
A good wide-angle lens is very important for this type of photography!
Recent heavy rain bringing a waterfall to "life"!
"A waterfall from the heavens"
I shot this image with my Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8 L lens and created a sunstar by stopping down the aperture to f/16 when shooting directly into the sun! A great review of this lens can be found by a well-known photographer here...
Depth of field, quite important when shooting with a wide-angle lens!
Matthiessen State Park and an amazing waterfall!
The bridge above the waterfall was flooded which made it a chore to get across and down into this canyon to see cascade falls...
Another waterfall in the park!
"Water-in-motion" at this dam...
A great park to visit if you haven't seen the waterfalls!
One more shot as I begin to hike back out of the park...
This was another successful day of photography. It's very hard to hike though both of these parks in one day since some of the trails can be grueling. I'm sure I'll be back at a later date to photograph portions of these parks I couldn't get to on this particular day. I'll update once again if I find some more time for photography in the coming weeks.