A Hiking Trip in Hamilton, Ontario: Webster and Tews Falls + Our Photography Backstory



This weekend Eric and I went on a hiking adventure in Hamilton with our cameras, backpacks, and tripod in tote. I totally underestimated how tiring lugging 10 pounds of camera equipment would be while fumbling all over steep trails. Somehow I didn’t wipe out despite wearing my 5 year old sneakers with the soles worn out. I will not be making that mistake twice!

I didn’t know this until recently, but Hamilton has over 120 waterfalls, making it a very scenic area for photography. Hamilton calls itself the “waterfall capital of the world”. Quite a claim! As I type this post on Sunday evening, Eric is printing a map and plans to pin all of the 120 falls that we visit this summer. He has that “man on a mission” look in his eyes. Help…

Before I get to our weekend adventure, here’s a little backstory about how we came to love photography. It’s a fairly recent interest of ours, or maybe I’m just in denial about how long ago 2007 really is…


Eric bought his first DSLR camera (a Canon 30D) and promptly fell in love with travel photography on a trip to Mexico. I was intimidated by using such a huge camera with so many (breakable) functions, so I stuck with my point-and-shoot (Canon Powershot). His camera made me nervous! My track record wasn’t exactly stellar with my point-and-shoot camera anyways; I dropped it countless times. Plus, I could tuck it into my purse wherever I went and it was easy to use. The point-and-shoot did the trick for a while, but as I would soon find out, I quickly outgrew it (or maybe my purse just got bigger). We continued to enjoy travel photography whenever we found ourselves away from home.

We got engaged in Mexico. Thanks to my point-and-shoot snuck in my purse, I have evidence!

End of 2008

We’re married.

October 31st, I started Oh She Glows. I continued to use my point-and-shoot camera for about a year and a half. Eric’s camera sat mostly unused in the closet while I ignored it.

Here are a few of the first food pictures I took on the blog (one, two, and three) with my point-and-shoot.



Mid-to-end of 2009, after much persuasion from Eric (I think he was trying to tell me something!), I tried out his fancy pants camera. Well, his camera didn’t leave my sticky little hands from that point forward. The clarity was unreal and I instantly regretted not using it sooner. I was still intimidated by all of the functions on the 30D and continued to shoot in automatic mode (often with a flash), even though he insisted I shoot in raw mode to get the most benefit out of it.

All in due time. I think it’s clear by this point that I’m not one to rush into anything!


I finally started to shoot in raw, manual mode by the end of 2010. Whohoo! I’d like to say that it was easy at first, but there was definitely a major learning curve. All the rules seemed opposite of logic. Habits can be hard to break so I went back to automatic a few times before manual mode finally clicked (literally) with my brain. Once I figured out what my camera could do for me, it opened up a whole other understanding and interest.


I invested in my own camera equipment [see my FAQ page (question #10) for more info], Eric got his camera back (but now wants a new one), and photography is now a huge part of our lives. It drives me crazy at times and can be incredibly frustrating, but the challenge is what keeps me coming back each day. I also learned quite a bit from the book Plate to Pixel. My old point-and-shoot finally died so I now have a newer Canon Powershot camera, still tucked away in my purse at all times! Eric has started to teach himself how to create HDR photos as well as dabbling with Microsoft Photosynth more recently. More on that later.

June 2012

Our first hiking destination this weekend was to Webster Falls (photo top of page). It’s very close to the parking lot and extremely easy to get to on well-groomed paths. Very family friendly! After Webster, we walked over to Tews Falls, which was only a 15 minute walk or so from Webster. This walk was a bit more challenging with plenty of stairs, but it was still on well-groomed trails and very easy to find. You can see Tews falls below on the right. This picture was taken from the look out point. Gorgeous!

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Apparently there are stairs that lead down to the base of the falls, but they were closed this weekend. I would’ve just packed up and headed to the next waterfall, but Eric thought it was a good idea to get to the base of Tews falls on our own. Off roading! Eek. I thought he was crazy, but he eventually convinced me with aid of the random directions he printed online. Double eek.


After hiking on what was mostly ungroomed, rocky trails, we ended up getting off-trail for over half an hour. The directions mentioned a campground and when we came across this “lost cabin” we thought that was it. Well, it wasn’t the campground, but we were so tired at this point we were debating a nap!


By the time we arrived to the base, we were hot, sweaty, slightly cranky (mostly me), and thankful to be near water. Thirty seconds prior to this, I threatened Eric that I was leaving if we didn’t find it soon. ha!


It was off with the sneakers and on with the Crocs!!!

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The water was freezing at first, but really refreshing! I was a bit scared getting in the water, but I survived.

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The view of Tews from the base! The hike was definitely worth it.



Water is a great way to learn the influence of shutter speed. The images below left are taken using a fast shutter speed (approx 1/400 of a second) and the images below right are taken using a very slow shutter speed (around 1 second or so). The tripod is necessary to ground the camera and prevent shake (although I think there was still a bit of shake as it was on uneven rocks). Also, when using slow shutter speeds, the pictures will be really blurry without a tripod. Lugging the tripod was a pain, but I wouldn’t have been able to get the pictures on the right without it.

You can see that the fast shutter speed (left) results in choppier water, while the slow shutter speed (right) results in flowy & smooth water. I’m partial to the right. What about you?

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I was covered in Goosebumps head to toe after I got out of the water, but quickly sweat up a storm during the uphill hike back.


After taking tons of pictures, we sat on a rock and relaxed! It was so peaceful listening to the waterfall. We munched on some  Endurance Crackers for good measure.


The end of day 1 left us sore and stiff, but super excited for day 2. That will have to wait for another post!

In the meantime, check out this Microsoft Photosynth 360 panoramic that Eric put together. In a nut shell, Eric took between 50-125 photos in a 360 degree grid of the area, from the bottom to the top. Then he put them all into this Microsoft Photosynth program and the result is below. There are a couple patchy areas, but I think it’s a great first effort! This type of photography suits his mathematical and analytical personality very well! He’s working on a few tutorial posts for the blog coming up (on HDR and Photosynth), so keep your eyes peeled.

You can click and drag your mouse and scroll to zoom into the photo. You will need Silverlight installed to view it, by the way.

Falls from day 2


See you for part 2!

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{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

Brooke June 18, 2012

Those pictures are awesome! I’d have to say that I like the water with the fast shutter speed the best. It looks like I’m there in the picture watching the clear water flowing over the rocks. I love waterfalls and if I ever make it up to that area, I’m definitely going hiking! Btw, I have to say those endurance crackers are sooooo yummy! I love how they are suitable for virtually any type of diet – vegan, raw (if dehydrated), gluten-free, anti-fungal, etc. Keep up the great work with the recipes….and the photos :-)


Angela June 18, 2012

Thanks Brooke, I’m glad you enjoy the crackers! I keep a stash in the freezer and just pop some into my bag when hiking or for a car trip. They transport quite well.


Andrea June 18, 2012

I am curious, what is an anti-fungal diet? Sounds interesting!


Brooke June 18, 2012

Hi Andrea,

I just looked into anti-fungal diets recently because…this is kind of embarrassing…but, I had a fungal infection in my armpits. So weird, right? That had never happened to me in my entire life. As soon as I put Lotrimin on them, the itchy and red infection went away. It’s somewhat common because I googled my symptoms (I don’t usually do this as it can be scary). Anyways, I didn’t want to just calm the symptoms, I wanted to fix the root cause. So, I started looking into anti-fungal diets and herbs. Basically, it’s a type of anti-candida diet with no sugar, no gluten, no dairy, and no fruit. There are so many different protocols though. Some include beans, some don’t. Some include starchy veggies, some don’t. Some include tofu and fermented soybean products, others don’t. You also don’t have to stay on the diet forever. Some people have bad systemic problems but others can do it for a short time to kill the fungus and then go back to a regular, whole foods, organic diet. It can get confusing, but if one knows how to listen to their body, they can wean out the bad information and focus on the good. I have yet to master that skill though….


Andrea June 19, 2012

Wow, that is very interesting, thanks for the response Brooke! I don’t think I could go without fruit!


Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table June 18, 2012

Gorgeous hike I’ve recently become addicted to hiking – such a peaceful weekend activity.

Love the pics too. I’m still waiting for the photography bug to grab me. :)


Danielle @ Dish'n'Dash June 18, 2012

I’ve heard about all the amazing waterfalls in Hamilton but have never been to them! Will have to try to get there on a trip home sometime (home is Cambridge).
Love the 360degree panoramic! Makes me feel like I am there.


Kaila @healthyhelperblog! June 18, 2012

Gorgeous pictures Ange! I especially love the butterfly one!!! How did you ever capture a moment like that?!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 18, 2012

beginner’s luck probably!


Ashley June 18, 2012

Awesome!! I have the Canon 7d now too and absolutely love it. I definitely want the macro and 24-70. Jealousss. :) Love seeing your photo journey. I should do a post like this at some point, too. xo


Dawn June 18, 2012

Holy! I love all the pics, but the panoramic one makes me feel like I was there too! The best is zooming up to the top of the pic and seeing the tree canopy with the sky. Love! <3


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 18, 2012

That will make Eric happy to hear!


Lisa June 18, 2012


Yeah, I loved all the pictures too but especially the panoramic one. I put it on full screen and toggled the picture up to the sky. I felt like I was laying on the forest floor and looking up at the sky through the tops of the trees.


Willow June 18, 2012

What an awesome adventure! And such a beautiful place, wow!

I always love hearing other people’s photographic journeys, switching from point and shoot to something bigger, growing into new things… this was so much fun to read! And that is a great Photosynth job! It’s so cool that Eric is into photography too, and clearly very good at it! :D


Sana June 18, 2012

Woahh! Cool pictures :)


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 18, 2012

Oh wow Ange, this looks incredible! Looks like you and I had similar agendas this weekend, but our hike wasn’t nearly as long as yours (think 2 hours instead of 2 days!) I’d love to go see some of the trails that have waterfalls along the way. We were at the Kelso conservation area but I did see a few other maps for waterfall trails. You guys look like pros with your tripods in the water! :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 18, 2012

Ah I love Kelso :) Did you get to the beach at all? I was wondering if the water is low this year. A couple of the waterfalls we went to were quite dried up. Need rain!


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat June 18, 2012

We saw the beach, but didn’t have swimming gear with us so we didn’t venture down. The water did seem a little low though, and it was packed!


Elizabeth June 18, 2012

Beautiful pics! I live in Hamilton and used to run those trails (before kids)….thanks for reminding me that I must go back. Maybe for a hike and picnic with my family this summer….the hike might be a little slower than it used it be – with a 4 year old and 1 year old.


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 18, 2012

I bet that was a great run! I was saying to Eric I would like to run them sometime. I bet your kids would love the waterfalls. :) I was surprised at how well-groomed many of the trails were…nice for families.


katie@ KatieDid June 18, 2012

awesome story, I cannot believe how far your photography has come since that cookie picture! I also enjoy looking back on old photos and feeling proud of how things have improved, but my its a slow learning process huh! Well worth it.


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 18, 2012

Yea it’s fun to look back and see progress! That’s half the fun…the journey.


The Mrs @ Success Along the Weigh June 18, 2012

Absolutely gorgeous pics! I love seeing your journey through photography, gives us all some hope.


Radha June 18, 2012

Angela~ I am so like you. Hubby got me a Canon T2i for my May birthday and I have not learned much about it. Intimidated. Big learning curve.
Yes, I will learn and enjoy my new camera.
So loving your blog over the years. I hope you are happy in the apartment.


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 18, 2012

Goodluck with your new camera! Thanks for your kind words about the blog, so glad you enjoy it.


Christine (The Brighter Side of Life) June 18, 2012

Gorgeous shots! Webster Falls is such a beautiful area – awesome escarpment country. Love all the huge (house-sized) rocks, etc. A friend told about it a few weeks ago so we headed there with our two little boys. We had such a great day and hiked for a couple of hours. Didn’t make it to Tews – we’ll hit that one on our next visit.

Thank you for giving me hope on the camera front! I’ve been a point-and-shoot person for years for two reasons: not wanting to lug around huge camera equipment wherever I go, and also, the intimidation factor (I find camera manuals to be very daunting). Anyway, I love quality photography and capturing beautiful scenes, so I’m sure I’ll venture out of my comfort zone on this at some point…

Btw, regarding the waterfall pics – I like them equally… the fast shutter speed makes me feel like I’m really there (I can imagine dipping my toes in!), and the slow speed (flowy water) gives the images a picturesque, “professional” kind of look – like you’d see in a beautiful wall calendar.


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 18, 2012

Hey Christine, Glad to hear that you enjoyed Webster falls. We can’t wait to go back and hike more of the trail (I think it was the Bruce trail attached, but I could be mistaken!). I still can’t believe there are 120 waterfalls in that area…quite amazing.
Love your thoughts on the shutter speeds! Goodluck with your own photography.


Carly June 18, 2012

It is the Bruce! This makes me miss living in Burlington – even though the waterfalls here in BC are a bit higher :). A fun place for getting some shots (and a nice easy hiking spot) is Hendrie Park, think its still Burlington at that point, but really right on border of Burl/Ham. The chickadees will feed out of your hand and there’s loads of them!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 19, 2012

Thanks for the tip, we will have to check it out!


Danielle June 18, 2012

Those are great pictures! I love the look of the pictures on the right with the ‘smooth’ water. So peaceful looking! As a Hamiltonian it makes me really excited to see others venturing to Hamilton to discover all the waterfalls. They are a definitely a hidden gem in a city that doesn’t really have a reputation for being beautiful. I feel so lucky to be a few minutes from beautiful trails that lead to waterfalls such as these. Keep up the great work with the photography!


Holly W June 18, 2012

You really have come a long way in your photographic journey. It gives me hope, as I’m still stuck in the comfort zone of the automatic setting on my dslr. one day, right!
Your photos are beautiful – i personally like the ones on the right as well. the soft water is a great contrast to the sharp rocks.


Alexandra June 18, 2012

I lived in Hamilton for two years while I went to McMaster university and never once did I go to see the falls! I knew they existed, but I could never gather up the courage to make the effort and hike. I regret it now! It looks soo beautiful. Looks like you had an amazing time and can’t wait to see Part II :)


Yellow Haired Girl June 18, 2012

What a fun weekend! Love the pics … and loved learning how you two developed such a passion for photography!


Joann@womaninreallife June 18, 2012

I grew up in Hamilton, and loved to walk the trails and the forests on the side of the “mountain.” Hamilton is so much nicer than many people think it is. Lots of trees, old houses and great shops. I didn’t know, though, that there were quite some many waterfalls! Wow! I am hoping to go back this summer for some hikes in the university area. Lovely photos you guys took!


janet @ the taste space June 18, 2012

What a wonderful weekend. You are such a trooper for taking your camera with you. I just did a 5-day hike in the Colombian jungle and we only took the small point-and-shoot with us.. and even then we were quite tired, so we didn’t take that many photos! I will have to check out these trails, for sure, though, since they are so close. :)


Zestful Lou June 18, 2012

It’s so encouraging to see some of your first ever blog photos. You’ve come such a long way! There’s hope for me yet!


The Blissful Baker June 18, 2012

Your pictures are beautiful! I dream of having a camera like that someday…but for now my blog @ bakingblissful.blogspot.com is just gonna have to live with the food being photographed by a point and shoot!


Margot June 18, 2012

Is it possible to post the maps you used and Eric assembled and where you did all of your research on the area before the hike? Please and thank you!


Elyse June 18, 2012

Great pictures! I am from Hamilton, and last summer my boyfriend and I made it our mission to see as many of the 120 waterfalls as we could. We only made it to about 10 before moving to Korea for a couple years, but it was still a neat challenge and we’ll hopefully get to the rest next summer when we get back. Best of luck!


Siobhan @ SiobhanMcCarthy.ca June 18, 2012

I love this post! I was recently thinking about how I should get out of the point and shoot camera and go a little more technical. Like you, I`ve had this idea put into my head a long time ago and I just haven`t done it yet. Your pictures are beautiful and they really show the difference!


Erica { EricaDHouse.com } June 18, 2012

I am saving up for my first DSR camera now and am trying to learn as much as possible about photography. Thank you for this post!


Andrea @ Vegvacious June 18, 2012

I’m ashamed to say that I went to McMaster for 3 years and never ever laid eyes on a waterfall in Hamilton! I think it’s worth my 2 hour drive to check them out now! I had no idea such a beautiful spot was smack dab in the middle of southern Ontario!


Moni Meals June 18, 2012

Stunning photos Angela!! I want to visit there-Cross that out, I want to live there! I really enjoyed your backstory on photography too, I am inspired. :)
What a fun adventure to do with the husband too. :-)


Earthy Nicole June 18, 2012

Love this post! I have always taken tons of photos but didn’t start caring about the quality as much until I had my daughter. I couldn’t (and still can’t) stand the thought of dragging her to a studio and have posed photos that cost us too much. Instead, I invested in an SLR and take all my own photos of her. I love that in every photo, there’s a story and moments are caught, not poses… I’m definitely due for a lens upgrade though, at least. Anyways, love that 360 shot! P.S. I wish my husband would get into photography – he stinks at it, lol!


Stephanie @ The Fitness Adventures June 18, 2012

Gorgeous waterfall pictures!


Anna @ The Guiltless Life June 18, 2012

Wow, yes I love shots that capture water flowing with a slow shutter speed – it somehow translates the power of the moving water so much better. Amazing shots! You have become quite the photography pro ;)


Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy June 18, 2012

looks like an amazing trip! such a gorgeous setting! thanks for sharing! can’t wait for part two!


Averie @ Averie Cooks June 18, 2012

Love the story of your photographic evolution. Mine is similar…From point and shoot to using Lightroom, shooting in RAW and loving Plate to Pixel.

Gorgeous waterfall pics!!


Maria June 18, 2012

I love reading about your photography journey! My husband and I used to share our T2i, but it became much more blissful when we each got our own (I upgraded to the T3i and he went all out on the 5D Mark III). Saved our marriage (okay, it didn’t need saving, but it certainly didn’t hurt) :)


Marissa@ohhhsolovely June 18, 2012

i have always been a big fan of your food photography! the pics you all got this weekend are just beautiful. must have been so nice out there!


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 19, 2012

Thank you Marissa! It’s fun to practice :)


Kaitlyn June 18, 2012

Fantastic pictures! I’m getting better with my food photography (I also loved Plate to Pixel) but I haven’t been practicing anything else except the occasional cat photo. Must start doing so!


Lea June 18, 2012

Those pictures are so pretty! I’ve been having lots of fun learning the ins and outs of my dslr, but I’m still pretty lazy when it comes to dragging it out with me. It’s big and a commitment!

We did a project with HDR photos in one of my graphics arts classes. We used sample pictures, but learned the Photoshop process behind putting them together and they came out pretty cool.


Margaret M. June 18, 2012

Wow! Beautiful pictures, the waterfall is amazing. I myself also love photography and I really wanted to be good photographer someday.


Stefania @ Revitalize with Stefania June 18, 2012

We used to go hiking a lot but now that we have kids, we seldom go (one is turning two in Sept, the other is 4 months.) We would end up carrying them PLUS our gear. I miss it though. Great shots!


Lisa @ The Raw Serenity June 18, 2012

Your pictures are beautiful! The waterfall looks magical.
Looks like you had a great day!
Those crackers also look lush :)


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