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 Waterfall Photography Simplified

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Waterfall Photography Simplified – Use these instructions to do waterfall photography and also for any moving water photography. This is how you will get the milky water effect as we call it.  These are basic instructions. Even the beginner can get incredible milky water images. This is long exposure photography. Remember the most important thing here is a good Neutral Density Filter which allows you to slow down your shutter speed.

Corel PaintShop Pro X8 Ultimate

Setting up your Shot

Step 1: You will need to put your camera on a tripod. You will also want to use a remote shutter release to expose the image. If you don’t have one you can also use the camera’s self-timer. This will not work unless you are using a tripod so if you are new to this please know, that’s an absolute must.

Step 2: Set your camera to mirror lock-up to reduce the risk of vibrations from mirror movement during the long exposures.

Step 3: Put your filter on your camera. Even on a cloudy day, you will want to use a Neutral Density Filter. It’s like sunglasses for your camera. You can do a longer exposure which is what makes the milky effect of the water movement. The darker the ND Filter the longer you can expose.

Step 4:  Camera Settings – Set your camera to Manual mode, and then set the aperture to the smallest one (most will be f/22, some f/29). Set your ISO to 100 or the lowest your camera will allow. Now looking through the camera, roll the shutter speed so the exposure level indicator goes to ‘0’ on the exposure scale on the bottom of the screen. Without a filter, on a sunny day, you may not get lower than 1/15th sec. or even that low.   This is why a neutral density filter is so important. We like a 3.0 filter. We can do a 30-second exposure at noon in bright sunshine with that bad boy.

Step 5: Set your Camera on a 2-second timer or use your shutter release to expose the image.  Evaluate the image. If your image has hot spots (areas of overexposed white spots) slow your shutter speed down a stop and test again until it is just right. Remember the darker the filter the longer the exposure and the better the milky flow look.

Photography Magazine Extra
Photography Magazine Extra

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When to go: Since bright screaming sunshine is not our friend during waterfall photography you will want to go on your adventure according to the weather. In the winter I sometimes get to my waterfall and find it completely frozen.  Being partially frozen makes for dynamic shots but sometimes you don’t know until you get there. The bigger the waterfall the fewer chances of it being completely frozen.  Avoiding noon shoots is helpful, but with a good neutral density filter, you can still shoot on the brightest, most sunshiny days.

That’s the owner of the magazine there. She is single by the way, in search of a traveling, successful, handsome, photographer. She is the one who travels the world and takes all of the pictures. We just sit here and do all of the work. 🙂

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