The photography opportunities are incredible although I’m not sure I’ve been that successful in giving full justice to the scenery. The scale of the bluffs and icefield, which rise 2 km almost vertically from the valley floor, is truly immense. So much so, that even using my wide-angle lens at 16mm it was difficult to capture peak to foreground in a single shot (I sometimes used vertical panoramas to overcome this). During our visit we also found the light to be a bit challenging due to the enclosed nature of the valley and very strong contrasts.
A note about the valley’s many waterfalls. Looking at other people’s images and videos there are several permanent waterfalls but many are ephemeral. Even the permanent ones can reduce to a trickle at times. To see them at their best I imagine you’d either need to time a trip during or immediately following rainfall, or otherwise a hot period in mid summer when ice-melt is at its peak. I suspect in the winter, when most precipitation is falling as snow, is the least best time to see them in action.
Here’s a few highlights!
The head of the Earnslaw Burn; for scale those cliffs are approximately 1,000m high, then it’s a further 1,000m vertical to the summit of Mt Earnslaw
The waterfall on the left is perhaps the most iconic in the valley; it featured in ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ (the dwarves walked under it soon after leaving Rivendell)
There’s a fair few of these gnarly small trees around the place; this one was split down the middle and made for an interesting composition
Pre-dawn reflections on one of the several small tarns dotting the valley floor
A 1.6 second exposure gives this waterfall a smooth and surreal quality
This waterfall cascades down right beside the track around 40 minutes from the head of the valley
The rumble of ice falling from the Earnslaw Glacier fills the valley on a frequent basis
A 5-minute highlights reel of my 3 days exploring the Earnslaw Burn
Have you been to the Earnslaw Burn? Or do you wanna go and have some questions? Fire away in the comments!