Waterfalls are a unique blend of rushing water, rock structures and trees. The most common trees found near waterfalls are pine and cedar trees. Most notably in Northern Ontario. You can find pockets of broad leaf trees such as Maple, Oak, Poplar and Birch. In the Fall broad leaf trees can add a dash of color to your composition as shown above.
The height of a waterfalls can vary as to location. The color of the rocks are different from location to location. At this particular waterfalls the rock formation is basically black to grey. Other waterfalls you will fine granite that is a reddish color. By photographing in the Fall you can offset bland rock color with orange and red from the Fall leaf color. This particular shot was taken late evening to eliminate harsh lighting. Take a look at the Pine in the upper part of photo that partially overhangs the waterfalls. You will notice the beam of light catching some of the branches. You can pick up sunlight on the upper part of the falls. This adds a nice touch to the composition.
By putting the red Maple on the right hand side of the photo, I am able to create some depth. I try to shoot waterfalls at an angle to give more of a dimensional look as appose to shooting direct on. Shooting a waterfalls dead on will give you a more flat look.
Now for the flowing water. You want to give the water life in your photo. By shooting later in the evening you also achieve lower shutter speeds. When processing the work you want to be able to bring detail to the water. Give it life and action. I accomplish this by setting my shutter speed between 1/10, 1/8, 1/6, 1/4 range. Whatever works at the time. Remember as the evening wears on the light becomes less and less. My f- stop is constant at f22. A good tripod is a must, along with a polarizing filter. One other point is that the volume of water coming over the drop. If their is too much water, most of the rock structure will be underwater. Totally different affect. Myself I prefer as much exposed rock as possible. That means that I pick my times to go during the course of the year.
Well that is it for now. Until next time happy trails.
5 thoughts on “Capturing Waterfalls”
Great post Ken. You make it sound simple. All you need is a waterfall. I do follow the same approach as you. On brighter times of the day I add a ND filter if I need to.
I prefer late evening lighting for this type of work Gerry.
I like how the waterfall is perfectly lined from the top to the bottom. I think this looks unique of its nature.