Mount Frankland South National Park
Directions - From the centre of Walpole, head west on South Western Highway until you see the signs for Fernhook Falls. Turn right onto Beardmore Road (gravel road) and follow this until you reach Fernhook Falls Campground. The trail starts at the visitor info gazebo.
The Hike - Having a pretty fluid day exploring some spots around Walpole thanks to the weather prediction changing my plans, the next stop was a visit to Fernhook Falls. This is a place I've passed a few times heading out to Mount Frankland but never stopped in to have a good look around. With plenty of time to do whatever took my fancy today, I thought I would rectify this and head out to photograph the falls with my new ND filters I purchased before the trip. The drive out is pleasant with the dirt track of Beardmore Rd making you feel like you're out in the middle of nowhere. Arriving at the campground, there were plenty of people here having a look around thanks to the start of the school holidays this weekend.
Initially I had just planned to visit so I could get some practice in with my new filters so when I arrived, I just grabbed my tripod, camera and filters. When I reached the little gazebo area with all the info boards I realised that there was more to this place than just the falls and a few campsites. I continued on towards the falls, thinking I could decide later on if I wanted to do this up as a proper post for the website (spoiler - I decided to write it up). The paved path leads down to a boardwalk section that I think once had better views of the falls before the vegetation grew a little too tall. You get some fleeting views of the water through the Balgas and Kingias but you know it's there because of the thunderous roar of the rushing water. From the boardwalk it doesn't look like you can get better views of the falls but as you move along, there is an obvious track down to the rocks lining the river. This is where things get interesting as the rocky platforms allow you to explore the various little rapids downstream from the falls and eventually up to a few good spots overlooking the main event. As always, be very careful on the rocks as there is a good chance they will be slippery.
I was kind of hoping by this point in the day that the clouds would have rolled in and provided some even lighting but it was still super sunny. With the main part of the falls being in a north-easterly direction from the best places to shoot from, I wasn't super confident that the shots would be any good. Add in I had only used these filters once at Quininup Falls, it would involve a lot of trial and error to get the shots I thought I could manage with this setup. One thing I did find out at Quininup Falls was that if I didn't shield the filter from the light, a halo would appear in the final shot as the light entered the gap between the lens and filter and reeked havoc. Shooting the best angles I could of the lower rapids, the results were okay but not super spectacular. Luckily the clouds started to come over but only in very brief bursts so moving quick, I found some better spots to photograph the main falls as they cascade down from the road bridge. There were a few good spots I could get to with a bit of rock hopping and in the end I was pretty happy with the results given the lighting trouble I had. This spot would be fantastic in the late afternoon and I was half thinking of staying here the night but didn't have phone reception to book (or cash).