Cedar Cliff Falls Revisited / by Jeremy Mudd

In July 2017 I visited Cedar Cliff Falls near Cedarville Ohio with the hopes of getting some good waterfall images after several days of hard rain. Cedar Cliff is a 25-30ft man-made waterfall on the Massie Creek. It was originally constructed to power a mill which ceased operation in 1917 and was torn down.

Sadly, my plans were dashed as the falls area was completely overgrown. Not only were the falls barely even visible from the footbridge, the ability to get a good image of the falls from the observation areas to the left and right was rendered impossible as it was obscured by trees/brush/honeysuckle. To say that I was disappointed would be an understatement. I shot one image from the bridge as a reference shot before I packed up and left.

Bronica S2A, 75mm f/2.8 lens on Fuji ACROS 100 @ f/8, 1 second

Fast-forward to now. A few weeks back I saw a news story about the Parks Service doing a massive clearing of the area – mainly in an attempt to keep teenagers from swimming/jumping into the water below the falls. With the area cleaned up and exposed, the theory was that it would make it harder to break the law in plain view of the parking lot. Bad for them, but good for all of us that wanted to finally get some good images.


I showed up just after dawn with my Mamiya RB67 medium format film camera. With the recent announcement that Fuji is discontinuing my favorite B&W landscape film, ACROS 100, I decided to try out a new-to me film to see if it was a suitable replacement for ACROS when my huge stockpile finally runs out. I have 60 boxes of it now, which means I only have 3000 shots left before I’m out. Now I know how Gollum felt.

The film I was trying out this time was Ilford PanF 50. Allegedly it has smooth grain, but is not as easy to calculate reciprocity failure as ACROS, but nothing really is. That means that long exposures on waterfalls require some interesting math. I also have read a few reports of mysterious white dots showing up on some people’s images – reasons why were unknown but speculations were temperature issues during development, old developer, old fixer, fixing too long, etc. Knowing that I have good development habits and ensuring that I have fresh chems to develop, I thought I’d be OK.

Here’s one of the images from the roll. Notice how much more visible the falls are after the massive clean-up effort. This was shot from the same footbridge as the first shot I posted. This is a straight scan before any touch-up or dust-removal from the negative. Pretty good huh?

Mamiya RB67 ProS w/90mm lens on Ilford PanF 50 @ f/16, 2 minutes with a 4-stop ND filter

Well, not so fast. Here’s a zoom into the image. White dots everywhere. Too much to deal with in Photoshop and basically an image that can’t be printed.

100% crop. White dots everywhere. Ugh.

So I can cross PanF off of my list. I spend too much time getting into some of these areas, shooting, developing, scanning, and printing to worry about problems that are beyond my control.  In the near future I’ll try Kodak Tmax 100 to see how it does.

I went back and shot a roll of ACROS a few days later, along with several digital images from different vantage points. Here are some of the digital images. I have not had time yet to scan the ACRO shots but will soon. Enjoy!

Nikon D750 w/24-85mm lens @50mm, f/16, ISO 50, 3 seconds

Nikon D750 w/80mm-400mm lens @200mm, f/16, ISO 50, 3 seconds

Nikon D750 w/18-35mm lens @18mm, f/16, ISO 50, 3 seconds

Nikon D750 w/24-85mm lens @85mm, f/16, ISO 50, 60 seconds with 4-stop ND filter

If you are interested in visiting Cedar Cliff Falls, its only a short drive on US-42 just outside of Xenia, Ohio. It is part of Peterson Park and is located at 2750 US-42, Cedarville, OH 45314. The falls are visible from the parking lot, with only a short 2-3 minute walk from the parking lot to the footbridge. There is also a trail that leads from the falls area back to an old log cabin and an Indian mound. I suggest taking the upper trail out to the cabin and Indian mound, and then walking back on the lower trail that runs along the river and under a large rock outcrop that has some interesting remnants of a long-ago footbridge.

That’s it for now. Next blog will be a visit to Fallsville Falls to try out some Kodak Tmax100. Thanks for reading! If you have any questions please email me at Jeremy.mudd@gmail.com.

6/27/2018 UPDATE: I scanned one of the first shots from the roll of ACROS that I shot and as usual it looks great. I'm really going to be sad when this film is gone.

Cedar Cliff Falls - Mamiya RB67 ProS w/90mm lens @ f/16, 30 seconds with a polarizer and 4-stop ND filter on Fuji ACROS 100 film.