Top Tips for Photograping Waterfalls

September 9th, 2011 by Rick Sammon

“Hurricane Hal,” formerly known as Bull Schmitt from the Light Photographic Workshops, is here in Croton on Hudson, New York shooting with me – because Hurricane Irene washed out his B&H seminar.

Today we photographed waterfalls – large and small. Here are a few tips, from Hurricane Hal and me, for capturing the beauty of flowing water.

• Use a tripod – to steady your camera during long exposures.
• Shoot at 1 second or more to blur moving water.
• Pack a ND (Neutral Density) filter, which will let you shoot at slow shutter speeds in bright light.
• A polarizing filter can also reduce the amount of light entering the lens.
• Use your camera’s self-timer or a cable release to avoid camera shake during a long exposure.
• Check your histogram to check your exposure.
• Bring a lens cloth to keep your lens clean.
• Use Live View to check your scene – composition, focus and exposure. Zoom in for precise focus.

Hurricane Hal and I hope to see you at the California Photo Fest in October in California.

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One Response to “Top Tips for Photograping Waterfalls”

  1. Mike Spivey says:

    Good stuff. However, the shutter speed depends on the waterfall. The top image certainly was not at 1 second. If it had been, the waterfall would be white with no detail. On small waterfalls, I experiment. Sometimes 1/4 to 1/2 second can give an “angel hair” look.

    On huge waterfalls, a very fast shutter speed can freeze the water and give a sense of the power of the falls.

    Thanks for expounding on one of my favorite subjects.

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