When to Go: This is a milky way location. Go during a new moon if you can, but otherwise, it is still an incredibly dynamic place to do photography even without it. It is a major tourist destination, so the weekdays and off-season are the best time to go. It gets brutally cold here in the winter so keep that in mind also.
Aperture Priority – It is used to get your depth of field (control how much is in focus from your subject back). If your shutter speed drops to 1/30th of a second, it is because you lack light and you will need to put your camera on a tripod to avoid blurry pictures. Anything handheld below 1/30th of a second will be blurry. The higher the “f” in number, the less light that will into the camera and your shutter speed will drop to let more light in. When your “f” number goes up, your aperture closes. At f-22 you are barely letting any light in. Always watch your shutter speed. When taking your shot look at the bottom of the screen through the viewfinder and check your shutter speed. Do not to let your shutter speed go too low when hand holding. Sometimes you cannot get a super high f stop because you do not have enough light. This will happen quite often at times such as sunset. Again, put your camera on a tripod and now your photos will not blur except for any subject that is moving in the image.
You might want the opposite effect. That is when your subject is in complete focus, and the background is totally blurred called the bokeh effect. You will use your lowest F-number such as 2.8, or 3.5. Go as small as your particular lens will allow. Shooting in Aperture Priority allows you to control this.
Shutter Priority – If you have moving subjects such as the birds flying or boats moving you will want to shoot in shutter priority to be sure they come out clear. When boats are slowly going by shoot at 1/250th of a second and adjust your ISO accordingly. If they are moving very fast increase your shutter speed to about 1/500th of a second. If it’s a bright sunny day go as high as 1/1000th to 1/1200th of a second to get the birds crystal clear as they fly by.
Manual Mode – You have moving waters here. You can do your long exposure running, milky water shots like our picture above. You will have to use a tripod for this effect. All of your settings will vary depending on the lighting and what neutral density filter you have. You will shoot in manual mode for the milky waters. ISO is always 100 or as low as your camera will allow. Aperture is f22. Your shutter speed will vary depending on the light. Take some test shots to decide on your shutter speed after you put your neutral density filter on. (It’s like sunglasses for your camera to stop light from coming in). Use your live view mode to focus to lock the mirror up and avoid any camera movement. Use your shutter release or your 2-second timer to also prevent camera movement. Voila. You now have your milky water exposure. You will want at least a 2-second exposure for water. If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you may not get more than 1/15th of a second in the sun. That does not give you a good effect. Go to our store to buy your ND filter. I have a 3.0 for super long exposure in the sunshine.
Read more on our Photography Techniques Page. You can go to our waterfall photography section to learn how to shoot any moving waters. You can also go to our Basic Photography section if you need a more detailed explanation of shutter speed or aperture priority modes.
If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you can buy one here. We highly suggest you do not go anywhere without one. It makes all the difference between lifeless images and outstanding, dynamic images.