Noisy Water

Whatcom Falls, winter.
Whatcom Falls

Whatcom Creek thundered over the falls in Whatcom Falls and Maritime Heritage Parks on Wednesday morning when I went out in the snow to capture a bit of our fairy wonderland. The creek’s name derives from the Lummi word Xwotʼqom, meaning “noisy water,” and it lived up to its name on this crisp winter morning.

With the temperature hovering around 15°F I bundled up to stay warm while walking around both parks with my camera and tripod on my shoulder. There weren’t a lot of other folks out, but I came across people who live in the neighborhood walking, bicycling, and skiing through the park. There was even a young man skiing in shorts and a t-shirt, apparently working hard enough to stay warm in the cold.

Snow-covered trees frame Derby Pond
Derby Pond

Derby Pond, a busy place with young fishermen in other seasons, was quiet this morning. The mallards, which often come toward the shore looking for handouts, swam in the middle of the pond. As I stood and watched, a pair of ducks came in for an ungainly landing just outside the frame of my camera.

Whirlpool Falls
Whirlpool Falls

No one was swimming in the pool below whirlpool falls. On warm summer days it’s a popular place to get wet.

Whatcom Falls stone bridge
WPA Stone Bridge

I carefully made my way down to the edge of the creek downstream of the stone bridge to capture a new version of this iconic image. I’ve now photographed it in the snow three times in the nearly 30 years I’ve lived in Bellingham. We just don’t get snow that lingers all that often and driving across town to the park can be a dicey matter. My previous winter photos here were made in December 1996 and December 2008. Every dozen years or so feels about right for a repeat.

Whatcom Creek framed by snow-covered trees
Whatcom Creek below the Post Office

I left Whatcom Falls Park and headed downtown to Maritime Heritage Park, the home of the second large waterfall on Whatcom Creek. It’s near here that Henry Roeder and associates built a sawmill in the 1850s and established one of the communities that became Bellingham. The noisy waters were roaring here, too. Just behind me someone was buried deep in their sleeping bag to stay warm under the bridge formerly known as the Pickett Bridge.

Technical Notes: I made all these images with my Canon 5D Mark IV with either my 24-105mm or 16-35mm lens. Using a tripod let me choose a slow shutter speed to blur the fast-moving water and create the silk look. These have had minimal adjustment in Adobe Lightroom.

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