A soldier from the regiment fell in love with Bella when he first met her, but was hurt when she didn’t answer his proposal of marriage. He knew nothing of her disability, but sent word to her that when she rang the dinner bell three times that evening he would know that she had accepted his proposal.
The jealous army cook overheard the conversation and deliberately rang the bell twice that evening before Bella could reach it. The young soldier departed by train, his heart broken. He would soon die in action, and Bella would ring the bell three times every day until she died. Years later when she was found dead below the bell tower, she was accompanied by a note stating that luck would come to any who rang the bell a single time in celebration of an anniversary, or three times upon the day of the acceptance of a proposal.
It is said that if you look up at the bridge as the bells are rung today you may see the young soldier and a lovely woman, together in death as they could never be in life. In the sound of rushing water and bird songs can be heard as lovely a wedding song as has ever been played.
I first saw Bell Falls on a family outing, exploring the north woods of Ontario. The area is quite secluded and the air so fresh and beautiful. As with most rivers and waterfalls, the level and flow of the water changes with the seasons. The scenes I shot here in mid-summer had a larger than usual flow from the melting snow from the long and harsh winter in the area. Abundant spring rains also raised the water level.
When you are shooting near a river, finding an interesting angle is the first challenge to be solved. Very slippery rocks and fast rushing water can make for beautiful pictures but they can also lead to an unexpected ice cold bath if you aren’t careful.
I am never satisfied with simply following a path and standing at the edge of a river when I’m looking for the perfect shot. It’s very important to explore all of the area first and then decide the best way to share the scene with someone else. Once I’ve found the perfect place, the difficulty comes from finding the proper way to mount the camera to capture the scene. It often happens that a tripod half in and half out of the water is required. Sometimes it seems as though you need to be a yoga guru to set the shot.
The area near Bell Falls is rife with beautiful water-polished rock that reflects the sun like soft glass in many smoothly chiseled forms. Over the centuries the water has sculpted valleys in the rock that you can watch for hours. It is always interesting to me to see how others rush by and don’t stop to look at the intricacies Mother Nature has created for our viewing pleasure.