How I Got the Shot: Jack-in-the-Pulpit


Photograph by Mark Bowie

Jack-in-the-Pulpit Below a Waterfall, Giant Mountain Wilderness Area

Exposure Data:
2.5 seconds, f/16, ISO 200
Nikon D70, Nikkor 12-24mm lens set at 14mm.

Spring rains had swollen a 12-foot seasonal waterfall flowing over a ledge in the Giant Mountain Wilderness. The water would eventually make its way to Chapel Pond. A colony of jack-in-the-pulpits had sprouted in the run-off. I had never seen so many in one place; there were dozens! Having found a particularly wholesome specimen, I tramped into the little stream with my camera and tripod, then used one of my favorite techniques to present a subject in the context of its overall environment. I got down low and close to the flower and framed it and its host waterfall with a wide-angle lens. The lens accentuated the foreground. This was the flower, in all its glory—here because of the moisture and nutrients provided by the cascade.

It had rained earlier and the now overcast skies provided even illumination of the scene. I used a polarizer to cut glare off the stream, the wet rocks and foliage. It popped the contrast and saturated the colors, and the jack-in-the-pulpit leapt from the busy background.

Mark Bowie is a frequent contributor to Adirondack Life magazine and a much sought-after public speaker, offering presentations to camera clubs, environmental groups and others. He is a staff instructor for the Adirondack Photography Institute (API). He and fellow instructor, Joe LeFevre, will lead a photo workshop to Olympic National Park, WA June 14-19. For program descriptions and pricing for API’s 2015 workshops, see For more on Mark’s work, visit

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