- Mikkel St. Jean-Duncan didn’t go to the Bighorn River in the Canadian Rockies just to kayak this 50-foot waterfall, Curtain Call. He also went for Crescent Falls, the 88-foot behemoth in the background. “He really wanted the first descent,” says Creary, of Canmore, Alberta. But while scouting the big one, St. Jean-Duncan noticed rocks suspended in the water beneath the falls: it landed on a gravel bar. “Curtain Call was a pretty good consolation prize,” says Creary. “Especially for me. The light at the lip was almost ethereal.” THE TOOLS: Canon 5D Mark II, 70–200 f/2.8 lens with a 2x teleconverter, ISO 100, f/8, 1/1,000 second
- California's record snowpack and a late-season melt gave Marr and an 11-person crew of kayakers a rare July opportunity to paddle the Royal Gorge of the American River, a three-day Class V run in the Sierras. On the expedition's second day, Rush Sturges ran the 90-foot Scott's Drop, a two-stage slide that forms the highest of five waterfalls taller than 40 feet that kayakers face in the gorge. "You could definitely get hurt there," says Marr, who lives in Ottawa. Sturges's line almost convinced Marr, also a first-rate kayaker, to try the waterfall. "Next time," he says. THE TOOLS: Canon EOS 7D, 10–20mm f/4–5.6 lens, ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/1,600 second
- To capture kayaker Rafa Ortiz, of Mexico City, paddling off Washington's 189-foot Palouse Falls, Gilman set three cameras on tripods and triggered them remotely. "I didn't want to shoot handheld because I was shaking too much," says the Denver-based photographer. "On 100-plus-foot waterfalls, it's not like things go kind of bad." Ortiz fell nearly four full seconds and was ejected from his kayak on impact. He walked away unhurt and hopes to paddle off Brazil's 200-foot Iguazu Falls in November. THE TOOLS: Nikon D800, 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 250, f/5, 1/2,500 second
- "Tatlow Creek falls at a ridiculous rate, with something like ten drops over 25 feet in three miles," says Squamish, British Columbia-based Rogers of the creek where he photographed Fred Norquist running the crux rapid last August. It's a small but treacherous upper drop leading into a 40-foot slide. "That top drop is the linchpin of the whole thing, because below it is a cauldron that's exceptionally powerful," says Rogers. Get caught in the cauldron and you're likely to be flushed over to the opposite-side falls, which land on shallow rocks. "Swimming up top," Rogers says, "would be really bad news." THE TOOLS: Nikon D3S, 18–35mm f/3.5–4.5 lens, ISO 3,200, f/6.3, 1/500 second
- "The first thing people ask me when they see this image is, 'How did you Photoshop it?'" says Denver, Colorado, photographer Lucas Gilman. "I didn't." Thirty minutes before sunset, Gilman positioned himself on a suspension bridge just downstream of the 60-foot Rainbow Falls on Michigan's Black River. When kayaker Steve Fisher paddled into the calm water beneath him, Gilman snapped the photo. "It was like a kaleidoscope of foam patterns," says Gilman. The suds, which aren't pollution, form when air mixes with water and the gas bubbles released by decomposing leaves. THE TOOLS: Nikon D3X, Nikkor 24–70mm f/2.8 lens, ISO 200, f/5, 1/500 second
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