Fallsville Waterfalls are located on Clear Creek in the Fallsville Wildlife area in Highland County, Ohio. In the early 1820’s a gentleman named John Timberlake built a stone house and grist mill next to the waterfalls. He platted Fallsville in 1848 with the hopes of attracting a railroad and more businesses; at that time in addition to the mill, the town had a few dozen houses and three streets. Sadly the railroad never came, and the town began to dwindle. Auburn Church was built in 1891 & the last official resident of Fallsville passed away in 1893 as it faded away into oblivion. The nearby church and the falls still remain, but there are not many other signs that a small town once was there.
I’ve been to Fallsville Falls twice in the past. They can be somewhat hard to find – the first time I went last year in the Fall, I drove around and parked at every little gravel lot I could find in the Wildlife Area and followed several trails that went nowhere. Eventually I found it but by then the light was bad; so only on my second visit a few weeks after that was I rewarded with some decent shots, but by then the leaves had fallen. That’s why I’m back this summer again.
The Falls sit in the middle of a hunting area; so if you go there during hunting season wear your orange. The hike from the small gravel lot to the falls is fairly short, but getting down to the falls to take images can be an adventure. If its rained recently you’ll be rewarded with great flow, but the doubled-edged sword is the fact that you basically have to pray for your life as you are trying to get down to the water level on a slipperly/mossy/rocky descent.
Once down, the best views of the falls are on the opposite side of the creek, so you’ll need to cross the water. Depending on flow and where you cross, it may only be a few inches or a foot or two. So bring waterproof boots or wellies.
On this visit I shot both digital and film. For color film I brought my trusty Kodak Ektar 100, and for B&W I brought some Kodak Tmax 100. This was my first time using Tmax 100 as part of my ongoing quest to find a film that may take the place of my beloved ACROS 100 when I finally run out of my stash.
Here’s a few of the Ektar and Tmax 100 shots – I’ll get to my thoughts on Tmax at the end after I give some location info and tips on Fallsville.
If you want to visit Fallsville, the address is: Fallsville Wildlife Area, 10211 Careytown Rd, New Vienna, OH 45159. The parking lot is a very small gravel lot that maybe has enough room for 4 or 5 vehicles.
Once parked, head down the wide two-track gravel lane until it ends and becomes single-track trail. There will be the remnants of an old quarry on your right that is now filled with water. Follow the trail to the left, and by that point you will hear the falls. There is a vantage point to the right where you can see the top of them, but again the best views are from the lower area. There are several points to get down that are marked with letters. I can’t recall them now, but the 3rd or 4th point is the best if you are carrying a lot of gear. It’s less steep. The bad part is once down there you need to double back to get closer to the falls – to me that’s a good trade-off versus tumbling down a steep hill and breaking bones/gear.
Regarding Tmax 100: I shot 2 rolls of Tmax on this outing. I used various lenses on my RB67 with a 4-stop ND filter and polarizer, and changed up compositions several times. I used a free reciprocity app to calculate exposure times. After developing the first roll and looking at the negs, some shots were over-exposed while others were under-exposed. In all cases of the over-exposed shots the highlights were completely blown out and there was no detail in the falls. I’m not certain if the app was off or not, but knowing that - for the second roll I Semi-Stand developed it in Rodinal 1:100. The second roll looked much better.
I think the Tmax looks more contrasty and less “flat” and “even” than ACROS. Not certain if I like that or not. That also could have been the result of the semi-stand development process. One notable plus is that the negatives dried totally flat with no curvature which made scanning super easy. Also, it seemed a little thicker than ACROS.
The Ektar shots are my favorite - over and above even the digital shots that I didn't post here. I had to bracket my digital shots to get the same dynamic range I was able to get out of a single Ektar image. I will probably offer one or two of the Ektar images up for sale on the site, and will do a black and white edit from them versus using the Tmax.
So for me, the jury is still out on Tmax. I’m not certain if the free reciprocity app was a bust but I guess you do get what you pay for. I bought a 5-pack of Tmax so I will shoot the other three rolls and see how it goes. Look for more on this in the future. I also want to try some Ilford Delta 100, so I plan on picking up a few rolls and add that into the mix.
Thanks for reading!