This pair of photos was created on one of the most popular mountain trails in the Adirondacks, the trail from Heart Lake to Algonquin Peak. Algonquin is the second highest mountain in New York State and it's summit is a relatively short distance from the most popular staging trailhead for trips into the High Peaks of the Adirondacks (Heart Lake/Adirondack Loj).
This is one of those instances where the even overcast light was beneficial. Had it been sunny, the shadows would have been darker, and the highlights brighter, making it difficult to create a photograph where details could be seen in both. On the other hand, the low light made it essential to have a tripod in order to create a great photo. I've discovered that I'm one of the few people in the Adirondacks crazy enough to carry a tripod to the top of a mountain! (but it pays off).
I created the photo of the waterfall first, liking the contrast between the green moss and the dark rocks. The log in the foreground adds static compositional interest while the swirling foam adds some dynamic interest to the otherwise blank water in the bottom left of the composition. Also, notice that while at the top of the frame, the waterfall is somewhat centered, the cascade zig-zags right, then left (as we view the photo) through the composition, adding visual interest.
Afterward, I packed up my gear and took about two steps down the trail, when I noticed the great downstream view. Out came the gear again! I think I actually prefer this view over the view of the falls. Compositionally, the line of birches that extend from the top left of the frame to the right-center are very interesting. Plus, I love the way the overcast skies lights up the leaves on the trees. The water and the rocks are somewhat centered in the foreground, but they help direct the eye toward the trees, which , I think, are more interesting.
For the Shutterbugs:
"Waterfall on the Trail to Algonquin Mountain" was created with my Hasselblad 500 CM camera, and 50mm lens, Bogen 3021 tripod: f22 for 4s. Exposure for the downstream view was f22 for 2s. Film - Fuji Velvia, ISO 50. No Filtration. For information on photographing moving water, see Tip #4 - Photographing Water - Part 1.