Having seen my own, and a few other people’s, photos of Joy Falls, I have to wonder if it is actually possible to begin to do this waterfall photographic justice. A huge part of the problem, of course, is that wherever you stand, trees seem to obscure the view. Another part of the problem is that the drop-offs are so massive, and the potential for your gear (or your person) to tumble over, so apparently likely, that you are both on the edge and on edge as you soak in what you are seeing. Adrenalin levels are high. This set of falls pleases yet teases – reveals yet conceals – simultaneously. Your eyes can join the dots and yield a really pleasing whole – a long, medium width strip of fine, misty white veil with several tiers – but the camera just cannot – or not one attached to a human attached to terra firma.
I shot with my tripodded camera also around my neck for safety, and with my arm looped right around a young, healthy tree, leaning into it, so I couldn’t get bumped or just somehow accidentally start sliding. If I had brought the rope that was in the boot of my car, I would have anchored myself with it. Steve dropped something he was carrying and it did exactly as I was expecting: it just rolled a metre down the incline before dropping irrevocably over the edge into space, never to be seen again. Each of us announced any movements we intended making in advance so we didn’t accidentally even hint at bumping the other one. Any loss of balance or position could have been disastrous.
Apart from this danger of trying to get a view and shoot from it, the trip itself was not at all dangerous. We parked where “Joy 3” (pink) track met Joy Road (red). Sure, you couldn’t drive along Joy 3 (an old logging road), but it was easy and delightful walking. At the end of Joy 3, there were tapes to guide you in through pleasant forest. We took our shots at about where the “l”s are in the word Falls. But don’t think that tapes mean it’s easy. Tapes help if you know what you’re doing and are already doing it. This is yet another waterfall that is for experienced bushwalkers. If you want to learn to navigate so you can enjoy areas like this, I suggest you join an orienteering club. That will also increase your confidence in the bush.