BRENT PENNINGTON The lower falls at Kent Brook, where it flows into Kent Pond, in Killington, VT, on the morning of 12 June 2015.

When I finished my loon adventure on Kent Pond, I paddled back towards the boat launch, continuing past it down the channel through the marsh to Kent Brook’s entry into the pond.  I’ve photographed Kent Brook a number of times, in all seasons, as it tumbles through carved, smoothed bedrock, down a series of small waterfalls before finally splashing into the pond.  It’s a stunningly lovely spot, with easy access to the water and the falls, and is one of those places that I return to time and time again.

Never by water, however – until now.

 

BRENT PENNINGTON The lower falls at Kent Brook, where it flows into Kent Pond, in Killington, VT, on the morning of 12 June 2015.

The channel is a funny thing, in the sense that anything relating to moving water is endlessly dynamic, always changing almost from moment to moment.  Years ago, the channel was fairly small, as if the stream itself continued through a short marshy area, dominated by cattails, and entered the pond almost in front of the boat launch.

After Hurricane Irene, that all changed – the channel became a deep gouge right up to the base of the falls, and by my definition the geography changed: the pond moved to the falls, claiming the channel as its own.

Now, however, a few years after Irene, it’s changing again.  I had counted on needing the kayak to get close to the falls, sensing that the channel would be too deep.  Instead, I found that I had to get out and walk the kayak over the mid-channel gravel bar, before climbing back in for the final few meter approach.

BRENT PENNINGTON View from the gravel bar at the outflow of Kent Brook on the morning of 12 June 2015.

BRENT PENNINGTON View from the gravel bar at the outflow of Kent Brook on the morning of 12 June 2015.

I had the Olympus TG-3 with me specifically for this portion of the morning, and began playing with it while I was out of the kayak on the gravel bar, taking a series of underwater and partially-submerged shots.  The biggest issue with the TG-3 is the screen, or rather my inability to see the screen if I’m shooting with the camera underwater.  I’d have to submerge with it to use it in a meaningful, deliberate way – and lacking a face mask or the desire to plunge any more of my body into the freezing flow on an already chilly morning – I opted for the easy way: spray and pray.  And with this sort of subject, you’re pretty much guaranteed something

BRENT PENNINGTON The lower falls at Kent Brook, where it flows into Kent Pond, in Killington, VT, on the morning of 12 June 2015.

After playing on the gravel bar, I got back in the kayak and paddled up to the base falls themselves.  The falls here are, overall, more the tumbling variety.  I think the tallest individual drop is under four feet, and most are between one and two feet tall.

Here’s my kayaking tip for the day: any time that you are in flowing water, utilize the terrain features to your advantage.  Eddies form at the side of flow features – the base of waterfalls, rapids, large rocks, etc – and create counter-currents.  So while the main current may be strong and headed downstream, the eddy will run in the other direction, and if you can park your boat in it, the eddy will pull you upstream to the flow feature and hold you there with barely any effort.

There was a good eddy on either side of the falls and I parked in both of them.  The counter-current sucked the nose of the kayak right up against the rocks and held me in place while I shot.

BRENT PENNINGTON The lower falls at Kent Brook, where it flows into Kent Pond, in Killington, VT, on the morning of 12 June 2015.

The TG-3 doesn’t have a huge amount of manual control, but I was able to get the shutter speed down enough to capture motion in the water, while still keeping the image sharp.

It was a good perspective.  Something different.  When I was done, I crossed the gravel bar again, visited a few minutes with a mother mallard and her three ducklings, and headed for the boat launch – breakfast was waiting at home.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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