Punchbowls are a rare formation for waterfalls and there are only a handful of them across the entire United States. We are lucky to have an awesome example here in New England at the top tier of Sabbaday Falls in the Southern tier of The White Mountains.
Making this picture took a lot of careful planning and execution to capture the falls on a summer afternoon with the right flow of water at the falls. It’s a picture that I am very proud of as it captures the energy and history of the location and makes me think of the thousands of years of water flow that have carved this formation into the sculpted granite rock that serves as the foundation for the beautiful spot.
Situated along the stunningly scenic northbound drive on Route 100 in Granville, VT is Moss Glen Falls which is a pristine gem of the New England landscape. I love checking out the location as the seasons come and go and while the waterfall changes in form and flow it’s a stunning location all throughout the year.
The Horseshoe Falls section of the Niagara Falls waterfall trifecta is one of the pinnacle locations of the world for seeing water in motion. It’s a location so spectacular and mind-blowing that it becomes hard to comprehend when you start to consider the millions of cubic feet of water that pour over the falls every minute. The area that runs along the USA/Canada border stretches our imaginations of the natural world, and is a real treat to see and photograph.
As you can see, the falls look gorgeous from the Canadian side where they wrap with thundering curvature towards the United States. I was able to plan for nice evening light during my visit to the area and just tried to communicate the power, size, and scale of such an incredible amount of water thundering over falls at that very moment.
I have sold several different viewpoints from this perspective as prints and really love the power and awe that they communicate. While I often take pride in finding the hidden gems within lesser known locations, Niagara is one of those spots that just screams to have its strength displayed in full-force.
After working the daytime views I stayed for the same vantage point in the darkness of night, and it brings some different character to the same powerful scene. All in all, Niagara is a place that strikes viewers with awe and is a marvelous feature of the planet to see, and to photograph.
Around this time of the year at the waterfalls the water gets cold and the natural conditions take on a new element of change as they wash away the leaves from the autumn months and take on their winter form. The waterfalls of New England are rather unique because they go through such drastic change throughout the year as the seasons come and go, making them truly unique during each and every visit. This here is Doane’s Falls in the Massachusetts town of Royalston, an area of the state that is quite interesting in terms of water features.
These cascades sit on the Lawrence Brook which provides a powerful source of water for the cascades that run through this stretch of land. On this visit the water running through the falls was ice cold just like the air temperatures, and had already washed away most of the autumn leave coverage which left behind a more barren but still beautiful formation.
The action and clarity that rivers display during the winter months makes for especially clean forms, and makes the hard work and extra gear worth the effort. The rivers are often displaying their last gasps of motion before ice and snow take over during the long winter.
As the temperatures dip below freezing the battle between rivers and mother nature is usually an ebb and flow that can fall in either direction, and during the times of transition the rivers and waterfalls are sometimes at their most interesting state. Doane’s Falls and the Lawrence river were having their last few days of smooth flow during this visit, and it was a good chance to witness them before the freeze.
Over the past 2 years I have been working on one of my favorite personal artistic projects of my careers, Waterfalls of New England, which has since taken me all around the area to some of the more remote and distant hidden gems of the forest that many people never see or know of their existence. It has been a project more fulfilling and rewarding than I ever would have imagined going into it, and it’s one that I will talk about a whole lot more in upcoming posts. In some ways the project is a whole new venture, but in many ways its just a honing in and focus on many of my favorite subject elements to work on. As a photographer i’ve traveled a whole lot, mostly on commercial projects and sports assignments, but also on artistic ventures that have made seeing new places more rewarding and fulfilling than they ever would be otherwise.
One of the big things that shined through when starting this project and continues to resonate today is how thinking locally is often the based way to tackle pursuits within the art world. Sure there are more recognized places than the spots within the New England states, ones with more marvel and dramatic size, and sure there is a long list of places I hope to travel to and work within during the coming years, but I really have a fondness for chasing work in these areas because its home, its beautiful, and in many ways, New England does compete with anywhere in the world when it comes to artistic beauty. I like to think that knowing the area has given me an upper hand with knowing where to go and what to look for when making these pictures, and looking back at it now its certainly knowledge that pays off and grows over time.
Sabbaday Falls is a twisting waterfall formation along New Hampshires White Mountains region that is one of my favorites and was a starting point and launching pad for this project. The waterfall itself is simply beautiful, and is a rare formation and combination of features that is about as unique as anywhere in the world.
Resting along the middle of gorgeous Kancamangus Highway, the waterfall is a fairly short hike away from the road and it’s approach begins with the lower tier of the 3-section waterfall. Seen above, the lowest section is a roaring short cascade that flows between a carved rock canyon and into the pool and river below. It’s a stellar display of cut rock that has formed over many thousands of years of water ripping between the two seams of White Mountains granite. As pretty as the lower section is, the glory of Sabbaday lies ahead on the trail, as the next formations are seen after ascending about 30 feet up the cliffs where the top tiers come into view.
As you can see, the middle and upper sections of the waterfalls are both visually stunning as well as extremely unique within nature. The middle section of the waterfall is a 20+ foot expanding cascade, with a punchbowl pool above that forms the start of the formation. You can see some of the bridge construction build beside the waterfall in the overview, and it has been constructed with care and allows for awesome exploration of the scene without getting in the way of its beauty. As cool as the formation is as a whole, its the punchbowl at the top of Sabbaday that strikes me as one of its profound features. With careful safety considerations I have explored several of the plunges different views, and they are about as glorious as the natural world can be.
The view from inside the punchbowl is a stunner, and shows the jet of water that blasts from the river above and supplies all of the natural formations below. The punchbowl is an enclosed cavern with naturally carved walls and a deep and swirling pool that makes for a rare formation in these parts of the country, but really amongst the whole planet. This formation is what makes Sabbaday such a gem, and its one of my favorite natural studios to explore within and share with the world.