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

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on June 18, 2012


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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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

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Heather June 18, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Gorgeous scenery and pictures. No wonder you were anxious to get back :)


Sandy June 18, 2012 at 6:37 pm

I have hiked Hamilton waterfalls since I was a wee girl (I’m over 50 now) and have always adored them. People don’t know what a gem Hamilton is and I’m so glad you have found us! Thanks for all your recipes. My daughter has a vegan partner and child so your site has been very helpful as I (a vegetarian for most of my life) try to move towards being a vegan as well.


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 19, 2012 at 8:40 am

Hey Sandy, I’m happy to hear that the recipes have come in handy! Thank you. :) We’re so glad to have discovered the trails in Hamilton too…can’t wait to explore more and tell others about it.


laura June 18, 2012 at 6:48 pm

Beautiful! Your photography has bloomed wonderfully :)


alyce June 18, 2012 at 7:01 pm

ooooooh lovely photos! an old boyfriend was a photographer and loved to do those panoramic photos where you assemble a bunch- they are SO cool. i still have a few.

enjoy the scenery :)


Caitlin @ livelovenyc June 18, 2012 at 7:02 pm

I now live in NYC but before I lived here I called Ontario my home. I lived about 1 hour away from Hamilton and had NO IDEA it was so pretty! Who knew? thanks for the gorgeous photos.


Angela (Oh She Glows) June 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

It was our first time hiking in Hamilton too! I had no idea they have so many waterfalls and great trails.


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin June 18, 2012 at 8:21 pm

Gorgeous pictures! I love Webster’s Falls, but I didn’t know about Tews falls. I’ll have to try to find it when I go hiking there later this week!


Sonal June 19, 2012 at 2:25 am

These pictures are so beautiful! I am a fan of the smoother waters too :)


Kari @ bite-sized thoughts June 19, 2012 at 2:53 am

This was such an informative post – and gives me hope for my photography skills continuing to improve (they have a long way to go!!). Also, I am thrilled to say that I have BEEN to Hamilton which is extremely exciting as I sit here on the other side of the world :D


Adina June 19, 2012 at 6:19 am



Robyn June 19, 2012 at 8:51 am

Really enjoyed your post and fantastic photos(and back story too!)…Looks like a great weekend and many more to come(being on a mission is a good thing :). I have had my Nikon D5000 for 2 yrs and no nothing about it(this is really sad I use my cellphone for quick pics :(…I really need a course(or crack open the book that came with it–but it’s so thick!). Your post has put me on a mission to figure my camera out and spen much more time with it,,,thx


LizAshlee June 19, 2012 at 8:55 am

Such gorgeous photos, thanks for sharing!


Steph K June 20, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Wonderful! I live in Hamilton and definitely need to get out and appreciate some of the natural beauty it has to offer!


KimmySue June 20, 2012 at 4:17 pm

What a great day! I have been wanting to begin photography (and a blog!) and you totally inspire me as your pics are always the best!


Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See June 22, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Gorgeous photos and lovely story! Any chance you’ll do a photo tutorial soon for using either point and shoot or manual? :)


Fiona June 23, 2012 at 12:22 am

Your husband is seriously sexy!


MeagAlayne June 23, 2012 at 8:17 pm

I am a Hamilton native and have been enjoying these falls my entire life. I am sad to report that the stairs leading to the base of the falls are closed indefinitely due to safety concerns and (I believe) some environmental concerns with such high traffic. It’s such a gorgeous spot but all the tourism was doing some serious harm to the ecosystem, from what I’ve heard.

I could be mistaken though – It definitely warrants some further research. I am glad you had such a wonderful day in Hamilton, though. We have so many fabulous places to hike, bike, run and explore. This area really is misunderstood :)


Greg April 9, 2013 at 10:01 pm

I’m not certain I belong here. I don’t think I’ve seen a single male poster. Perhaps Eric censors them. LOL

However, I feel obliged to let you know how immediately impressed I was with the quality of your site and the content. I just happened across the site tonight on a search for vegan friendly snacks. I made the Endurance Crackers and Salt and Vinegar Chick Peas tonight. Both were easy and the crackers are awesome. I ended up throwing some crumbled ones into a spinach salad and it became tastier too. Love seeds! I’m really looking forward to exploring some more of your recipes (yes I can cook more than just the simple snacks) and await the cookbook. I recently made the move to whole foods plant based nutrition after becoming much more active over the past 18 months, losing almost 40 pounds, running a few races including a marathon and a 50k; and now training for triathlons.

The kicker that inspired me to post was that fact that you’re obviously from the Hamilton area given the falls posts. I live in Waterdown and we visit the falls on occasion. They are great! As are trail runs through the area (check out the Sulphur Springs 100 miler or relay) – which I gather you also like.

Anyway, just thought I would give you two more “thumbs up” on your work. Like you need it. ;-)

All the best.


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 10, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Hi Greg!

So glad you left a comment! You are so right, I don’t get many comments from men, but I do wish that I did see more of a balance. :) My own husband doesn’t even comment so not sure there is much hope! hah. Anyway, so glad to see you are in the area and thanks for the tips on the hiking spots. We only started exploring the Hamilton area (we’re in Oakville) last summer so we have much more to explore.
Thanks for trying the recipes by the way! Glad they are working out for you. Those are 2 of my fav snacks. Congrats on all the changes you’ve made to your diet…it sounds like you are doing some amazing things! Sadly, I’m not racing anymore as I tore my meniscus last spring. Maybe someday I can get back into it though.
Take care!


Lorrie April 26, 2013 at 12:27 pm

I Love to Hike! Your pictures are beautiful! I hope to see more of your “hiking adventures” this spring and summer (2013). Meanwhile, I think with the weather improving it’s time to get my own hiking boots out and explore!


Abby October 18, 2013 at 11:40 am

I just stumbled upon your blog today and have become addicted. I am from Greensville where Websters Falls so when I saw this it made me so happy. Keep up with your amazing site and great recipes. I will definitely be cooking many of them :)


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