Ender’s Journey - A photographic study of one of Connecticut's hidden gems
Well winter has finally left us for good. The nights are cool and the temperature during the days is getting warmer every day. Flowers are blooming and grass is ready for cutting. So far, this Spring has been a wet one, which is good. The added bonus of this is rivers, streams and reservoirs are flush with water. That also means all the local waterfalls are ripe for photo opportunities.
My favorite waterfall in Connecticut is probably Ender’s Falls in Granby Connecticut. In actuality, Enders is really 6 Waterfalls packed into a half a mile stretch of what I think is Salmon Brook. The falls are a combination of gentle cascades, slides, horsetail and large drops or a combination of each. There are several pools along the way that can even get deep enough for people to swim in. There are even people crazy enough to jump or dive into a few of them.
I have been to Enders now for the past several months. Most recently I was able to capture some stark wintery pictures of the location. Before that, the falls were in desperate need of water but this past Saturday was a treat. With the winter thaw and the spring rains Enders was almost at peak conditions. I got to Enders a little before 9:00am and pretty much had the entire place to myself for almost 3 hours. There were only a couple of go getters out and about on the trail until about noon. I guess it’s still too early in the year for people to be out and about before noon but I wasn’t complaining. It gave me plenty of time to carefully plan out several compositions and really take my time with each drop. A bonus for the day was cool temps and a fairly overcast day with the sun showing itself every now and again. It stayed that way until noon as well.
With both the weather and lack of foot traffic on my side I busted out the neutral density filter and polarizer and began my work. The conditions were good enough not to need the ND filter but I chose to portray the falls this time in a more dreamlike fashion. The pools were so deep that most of the boulders were not there to give a sense of motion except for the final cascade but there was plenty of froth created by the falls that could relay this sense of motion with an extended shutter.
So, let’s begin the journey down Ender’s Falls. This first image is one of the smallest falls right at the top of the trail. It is about 6 feet in height, this shot was taken from an elevated vantage point to the right of the falls. This part is also fairly shallow comparatively to the rest of the brook and there is quite a bit of debris past the swirl.
This next photo is taken directly in front of the falls to highlight the swirling water directly in front of the drop.
Now we move down about fifty yards to the second falls, a chute that has been carved out by the water. You will find interesting geology exposed and on display all along the brook, molded into interesting shapes and covered in moss.
This chute empties into a small pool not too deep then empties out into our first significant drop. This is one of several pictures of the combination horsetail and cascade falls. This one is best viewed from the right-hand side of the brook (walking downstream). It is difficult to photograph with a wide angle as it makes the drop look small but this is approx. a 25-27-foot drop. The pool here extends quite a bit before the next drop. Probably another 50 yards.
Here is a shot more zoomed in. That’s a pretty significant log lodged along the side. The pool here is where you will find people jumping from the elevated sides.
This next picture was a shot from up above the falls on the right-hand side with a 20mm lens. I am about 20 feet up and away from the drop.
In this next scene, the pool shallows and begins to empty into a sideways slide for our next drop. The horsetail falls can still be seen in the background. This angle is level with the beginning of the slide, it is not recommended to shoot from here without some sort of spikes or grippy material on your shoes, as the rock is covered with slippery green moss.
Same top of the drop a little further down to show the combination slide and cascade.
Here we can see the falls as it empties into a deeper pool. During high water occasions, this pool can rise up another 4 feet. The drop here is approx. 30-33 ft. From here people will use the angled rock seen in the upper left corner and highlighted in the previous picture as a slide to plunge into the pool located here.
These next two shots show drop number 4 as well as another small narrow drop which is only a few feet tall.
At this point the brook continues for another 70-80 yards to our next drop, technically a double drop. This drop is hard to get a good photograph. I had to cross over to the left-hand side for this one. Its actually better to shoot it from the right side of the brook (heading down trail) but there was significant brush on that side that I didn’t want to deal with. You can cross over at the bottom of this drop and climb up to a better vantage point on the right but I did not want to risk it at this point as this is the least photogenic of the falls I think even from the other side. There is quite a bit of debris trapped in this area. This is the last deep pool where people will swim and jump into.
Here we are at the end of our journey. This is the last significant falls at the bottom of the trail. This drop is about 23 feet high. It empties into shallower waters with plenty of boulders strewn about as well as fallen trees and other debris.
Well, I hope you enjoyed the virtual journey, now go out and visit this location in real life. You won’t be disappointed! If you know of other waterfalls to visit in Connecticut, please use the comment section to let me know and I will go check it out.