Sunday, December 6, 2015


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So, I have posted almost 40 subjects, including "Photos of the week" since August.  You would think I would run out of subjects to talk about in my weekly tutorial section.  Maybe I will someday.  I would hope you go back to my main page and review some of the subjects I have talked about because they may be subjects you may have questions about.  
This week's subject is actually one of my favorite subjects, because it is one that I hold dear to my heart.  Because back when I worked at the camera store, I had someone who was retiring from the forest service, and he now wanted to spend his retirement years hiking in the mountains and taking pictures of the beautiful scenery.  One of the things he wanted to master was that of taking pictures of streams and waterfalls and make them look like the water was blurred, or shoot them so they looked more beautiful in some way.  So, I spent time talking to him about the steps to take to make waterfalls look more spectacular:
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So, let's look at some tips that I, and I am sure they are probably in the books already too, would give on how to take pictures of great waterfalls.  

#1 - Height adds drama.  If you can find a waterfall that is tall, then you can add more drama to the picture.  Just look at how much more you can blur the water and make it look more "dreamy" when the water has to fall further.  So, find falls that the water has to fall further.

#2 -  Check the weather before you go.  Will the weather effect the water flow of your waterfall. If you go after a major storm, what will the waterfall look like?  A flood?  Watch the weather for sure.  It can make a big difference in good or bad.

#3 - Plan your trip -  Plan the right time of day.  Plan if you will be going if there will be a lot of people, and how to get around them.  What time will have the shadows, etc?

#4 - Change perspective -  Sometimes you can find that getting different angles on your waterfall can create something totally different and more exciting.  What about shooting from the bottom looking  up, or from the top looking down.  Try different angles and see if there is something that other people haven't tried.  It might be award winning.

#5 - Composition changes things.  Try framing your waterfall, by adding trees in the foreground, rocks, what can you add to make it more interesting?  

#6 -  Use a filter if possible.  Use a neutral density filter or a polarizing filter to change the effect.  If anything, it may at least allow you to slow your shutter speed down.

#7-  Check your shutter speed.  This is the key to getting a "dreamy look" to the water.  If you can change your shutter speed, use a slow shutter speed.  My friend always used 1 second or slower on his shutter speed.  That created that dreamy looking water.  That brings up the next few steps as a must:
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#8 - Use a tripod.  There is no way to get a good sharp picture of everything around the water without the use of a tripod.  And if you are using the slow shutter speed, you must have it on a tripod.  Then the only thing that will blur, will be the water.  It is an absolute must, to get these kind of pictures, you must use a tripod.  

#9- For your digital cameras, make sure you check the white balance to make sure all the other colors come out right.  Don't have blue water when it isn't blue.  Don't have grey water when it should be white.  So, check those things.

#10-  Use bracketing --   Every good photographer will take several photos of different exposures of the same thing, and then analyze them all when they get back home to see which one they like the best.  That means, 1 perfectly exposed, 1 slightly underexposed, and 1 slightly overexposed.  See which one you like.  You may be surprised at your pick.  

There you have it.  Here are just a few great photos of waterfalls.  And then I will see you on Thursday for this week's "Photos of the Week".

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