Photographing 2 of 133 Waterfalls Near Hamilton, Ontario (The City of Waterfalls)

Mike took his friends Dave and Andy to photograph two falls. Good thing they wore hiking boots!

By Mike Goodwin – subscribe to Mike’s YouTube channel

With Niagara Falls less than an hour down the highway, it’s easy to overlook Hamilton, the “City of Waterfalls”.

Because the Niagara Escarpment creates a series of steep cliffs as it runs through southern Ontario, there are hundreds of falls along its path, especially near Hamilton.

Mike: We didn’t go to Albion Falls this time. Maybe next time.

If you live nearby, like Dave and I do, we know how lucky we are to have access to the many local trails and waterfalls, most of which are on publicly accessible land.

Although the trails we took on this day were technically closed (old beat-up sign said so), they were well worn and we met a few other hikers along the way.

Dave: Spencer Creek was running fast

Perfect Weather for Photographing Falls and Forests

It was a spectacular sunny, warm November day when we decided to hike up to Webster’s Falls and if time and stamina permitted, up to Tews Falls.

Their creeks run approximately parallel to each other at the beginning, so we’d have to hike up to Webster’s Falls and then back out to our starting point, and about 100 metres up along a railway track, catch a different trail to Tews Falls. (Note: it is technically illegal to cross or walk along the railway tracks. At times, CN Rail police may be nearby. Use your own judgement.)

In both cases, the creeks were running fast since there had already been a snow melt earlier in the month. That promised significant water coming over the falls.

Dave: Lower Tews Falls on the way up Logie’s Creek

We Had to Work for Our Photographs

This trip was not a “roadside park and shoot” expedition. My fitness app recorded that we climbed the equivalent of 55 floors over a distance of 11.65 km (7.24 miles).

Many times, the trail led us up the hill and then back down, close to water’s edge. Also, the trails were muddy, with many obstacles such as roots, rocks and fallen trees in the way. We had to constantly look at our feet as we hiked.

Andy: Another series of smaller falls on Logie’s Creek

Since Andy was new to this area, I’m not sure he expected this (Andy: “Uh, not quite. Not like the easy walk-in you showed me at Sherman Falls.”), but the three of us took advantage of the beautiful day to get many shots and a video.

Andy: Spencer Creek, strewn with boulders

Tips if You’re New to Photographing Falls Near Hamilton

  • We chose to hike over 11 km, but you can shoot some of the area’s most impressive falls within steps of where you leave your car. Note that in some locations, you’ll have to pay for parking.
  • Easy to shoot “no hiking” falls include Sherman Falls, Tiffany Falls and Little Davis Falls. You can shoot Felker’s Falls from the top just 50 steps from the parking lot.
  • Think safety. The trails and woodlands are mostly natural. Generally, there are no hand rails, no protective fences or guard rails. In many places, you can stand near the top of the falls or on various cliffs with no protection. You’re responsible for your own safety.
  • It’s easy to trip, slip or twist an ankle on the trails if you’re not paying attention. Be sure you’re wearing sturdy hiking boots with good support.

Mike: Sherman Falls is a great winter subject – an easy walk from your car

You Could Ignore the Falls and Photograph Just Rocks and Trees

The terrain along Spencer Creek up to Webster’s Falls is spectacular. You’re in a deep forested gorge made up of mostly limestone. The boulders that litter the gorge seem square-cut, as if by giant saws. They’re like massive building blocks, and many are covered in fluorescent moss.

It would be worth returning in the spring to photograph the forest when bright yellow-green leaves would make a stunning contrast to the mossy rocks.

Mike: The boulders look like they landed here from space. Amazing!

What to Wear When You’re Photographing Hamilton Waterfalls

Obviously, pay attention to the weather to decide whether to bring rain gear.

If you’re only photographing locations near where you parked, chances are the trails are easy and probably groomed. If you’re hiking, remember it can be “very natural” out there. So, good hiking boots and maybe walking poles are in order.

Try to limit how much gear you’re carrying. Reduce weight wherever possible.

However, bring water and snacks. You might consider wearing rubber boots if you want to stand in the creek. We found some spots where we could get “into the creek” on rocks, but there were times when we wished we’d worn rubber boots.

Remember your lens cloth. There’s lots of spray from some of the falls.

Dave: It was worth the hike to shoot Webster’s Falls

Photographing Frozen Waterfalls in Winter

Some winters, a number of the waterfalls totally or partially freeze, becoming awesome subjects for winter wonderland compositions.

Specifically, Webster’s Falls, Tews Falls, Sherman Falls, Tiffany Falls, Devil’s Punchbowl, Felker’s Falls and Albion Falls often freeze.

Again, keep safety in mind, for obvious reasons. If you’re going on a longer hike, you should consider ice cleats for your boots. You may end up on steep frozen terrain and you’ll need the grip to stay upright.

David: Tews Falls starting to freeze over in early winter

David: Tiffany Falls makes an ideal “no hiking” winter composition

Useful Hamilton Waterfall Resource

Here is Tourism Hamilton’s extensive waterfall resource, complete with maps, places to eat and things to do.

Andy: Sun catches the mist from Webster’s Falls over Spencer Creek

Mike Goodwin

Mike is a Print Layout Designer / Photographer from Hamilton, Canada. He's happiest when in a remote setting enjoying the sound of a thundering waterfall or the colours of a vibrant sunrise or sunset.

In addition to his two journeys to photograph Iceland's waterfalls, he's shot extensively in Scotland especially on the Isle of Skye. When not travelling, he shoots mainly in Ontario, where he's lucky enough to have wonderful landscapes including numerous waterfalls nearby.

He also has an interest in photographing wildlife, birds and cityscapes.

Mike Goodwin

Mike is a Print Layout Designer / Photographer from Hamilton, Canada. He's happiest when in a remote setting enjoying the sound of a thundering waterfall or the colours of a vibrant sunrise or sunset.

In addition to his two journeys to photograph Iceland's waterfalls, he's shot extensively in Scotland especially on the Isle of Skye. When not travelling, he shoots mainly in Ontario, where he's lucky enough to have wonderful landscapes including numerous waterfalls nearby.

He also has an interest in photographing wildlife, birds and cityscapes.

Dave Erauw

As a photographer, Dave is inspired by his surroundings, nature and the people around him. Dave thrives on thinking outside of the box, to catch the shots that most people pass by.

In recent years, Dave’s photography business has blossomed exponentially. The town has always been supportive of his work, and his photos now hang in corporate collections.

In addition to shooting in Ontario, Dave has photographed throughout Iceland, Newfoundland, Labrador, Alberta, Utah and Arizona.

Dave Erauw

As a photographer, Dave is inspired by his surroundings, nature and the people around him. Dave thrives on thinking outside of the box, to catch the shots that most people pass by.

In recent years, Dave’s photography business has blossomed exponentially. The town has always been supportive of his work, and his photos now hang in corporate collections.

In addition to shooting in Ontario, Dave has photographed throughout Iceland, Newfoundland, Labrador, Alberta, Utah and Arizona.

Andy Strote

In Andy’s career as a copywriter and creative director in advertising and marketing, he has created numerous campaigns for corporate clients in all media. On these projects, he worked closely with leading photographers and commercial directors.

Along the way, Andy was the co-founder of two successful marketing agencies. The first, which he started in partnership with Simon, often featured Simon’s photography and videography in our campaigns. We grew that company to 30 people before it was acquired by a multi-national IT firm.

Sixteen years after starting his second marketing firm, Andy sold his interest and now has more time to devote to travel which fuels his photography.

Today, our love of photography, filmmaking and the creative communities that surround these passions has brought us together in ExploreDiscoverShoot.

There has never been a better time to be a photographer or filmmaker. Now the onus is on you to grab your camera and go!

Andy Strote


In Andy’s career as a copywriter and creative director in advertising and marketing, he has created numerous campaigns for corporate clients in all media. On these projects, he worked closely with leading photographers and commercial directors.

Along the way, Andy was the co-founder of two successful marketing agencies. The first, which he started in partnership with Simon, often featured Simon’s photography and videography in our campaigns. We grew that company to 30 people before it was acquired by a multi-national IT firm.

Sixteen years after starting his second marketing firm, Andy sold his interest and now has more time to devote to travel which fuels his photography.

Today, our love of photography, filmmaking and the creative communities that surround these passions has brought us together in ExploreDiscoverShoot.

There has never been a better time to be a photographer or filmmaker. Now the onus is on you to grab your camera and go!

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

RELATED ARTICLES

CONTRIBUTE

ExploreDiscoverShoot is a community of landscape and travel photographers and filmmakers.

TAKE PART & GET PUBLISHED!

You’ll get more exposure and live links to your work.

Recently Added

Most Popular