Monday, May 30, 2011

Photographing Waterfalls

Waterfalls and streams are popular photography subjects because they can easily be made into a soothing digital desktop wallpaper. A common element in many waterfall pictures is the silky smooth appearance of the water. This is not difficult to capture, with the right tools and techniques.

Tripod
Without a tripod, the pictures below would not have been possible. This is because we typically use shutter speeds of 2 seconds or more, which is not possible to hand-hold without getting camera shake.
Polarizing Filter or ND Filter
Circular polarizing filters are designed to reduce reflections and increase saturation. As a side effect, they also cut down about 1.5 stops of light coming through the lens.

ND filters are neutral density filters, available in different strengths. They act like sunglasses for your lens by cutting down the light coming into the lens.



Timing and Location

UluYamStream 2 Photographing Waterfalls
Finally it’s time to use these tools to get the shot. Shooting a time when the sun is not too strong will give you the best chance of slowing down the shutter speed. This is because even at ISO100 and F22, your shutter speed may not reach the required levels if there is too much light. A shutter speed range of 2 seconds to 5 seconds is your target. Shooting in forest cover will also increase the possibility of lower light levels.

Vary your shutter speeds for different moods. There are many other variables to fine-tune, like composition, color balance and foreground interest. So keep on experimenting to get the perfect waterfall shot.

UluYam TreeTrunk Sunset Photographing WaterfallsSmoothening Ripples

You can also apply this technique on other water surfaces, like lakes and dams. Ripples on a lake can be smoothened out by using a long exposure. The result is a mirror-like calmness. Reflections on this surface are sometimes rendered as wavy surreal reflections. This was exactly the technique used for the 2 images below.







41 comments:

  1. very informative blog. I was thinking of taking a photography class in college, but I think the info on your blog can give a good head start.

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  2. They always look so beautiful.

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  3. Wow, thanks! This certainly is useful!

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  4. Beautiful pictures and very interesting tips, thanks!

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  5. I wish I could take such good pictures!

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  6. Great blog! Keep the posts coming, i enjoy reading them!

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  7. beautiful waterscapes. Nice tips too.

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  8. Good stuff. You know so much about this area of the arts, tis quite inspiring.

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  9. these are absolutly amazing! really good stuff

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  10. Why are there smoke on the water?

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  11. Did you teach yourself this or did you go to school or something.

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  12. I have to say that You can take really good shots!

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  13. As always, beautiful pictures and inspiring posts! Keep them coming!

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  14. Next thing I'm gonna get is a Polarizing Filter need it big time when shooting pics of my monster fishtank.

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  15. I was just at a waterfall on my camping trip and my pictures came out meh. :( Wish you had posted this before I went!

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  16. beautiful pictures. good post ill be back for more!

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  17. wow.. beautiful pictures! That last one is simply amazing!

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  18. Great tips as usual and lovely pictures.

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  19. Awesome writeup and nice photos :)

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  20. Beautiful pictures, informative information.

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  21. My girlfriend loves photography. I'll make sure she see's this!

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  22. well done man very informative

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  23. very nice pictures once again

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  24. I like the second picture!

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  25. amazing pictures, it looks like steam more than water!!

    You can visit my blog here.

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  26. Its amazing the kind of things we can find if we take the time to look at them, most people don't have the perceptive skill to see beauty in simple things. You definitely have talent

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  27. Seriously, just look for what you want to find its all around you.

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  28. amazingly beautiful pics =D

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  29. Excellent info for all the shutterbugs out there! Thanks!

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