Waterfall Fantasy

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The walk in and climb to the bottom of the falls was not so much as a fantasy as a nightmare 🙂

Madden Falls, definitely not a fair weather photographer location, which btw was wanted this particular day, a nice easy walk and a sweet set of falls. Well, the walk to the top of the falls was easy, boardwalk even!, however it dumped you at a lookout possie at the top of the falls which was a pretty ugly, thus some bush bashing was required.
Armed with a gripless pair of wet sneakers and a rough plan of where to go to get to the bottom, I slid, scrambled, climbed down a tree and not so gracefully arrived at the bottom of the falls, 30 minutes later 🙂

It was however, worth it, what a great set of falls tucked away with no one around, well not down here anyway.

This was the last shot of the day and the moment the first bit of cloud swept across, prior to that it was nothing but blue sky. Rarely do i get conditions like this for water shots, however I really love that long exposure sky/cloud coupled with a waterfall. The wind was blowing pretty hard up top and provided the perfect amount of cloud movement to generate the sweep of clouds. I did have to clone out one tree up top which was nothing but a blurry mess.

Techie data:
D7000 with Tokina 11-16mm f2.8 @ 11mm – Aperture: f/11 and Shutter Speed: 61.9s
out front -Hoya screw in circular polariser and B+W screw in neutral density filter (10 stops).

I welcome any suggestions, comments and improvements to my photography, they are always warmly welcomed and always appreciate the time people take to have a look, plus and/or comment.

48 thoughts on “Waterfall Fantasy

  1. Wow, this is Awesome +Gerard Blacklock – so worth your time and effort. Thank you for exercising it for us. This is a wall hanger. I really appreciate your telling us the tale too as it gives me inspiration.

  2. +Gerard Blacklock I have a question for you. For your one minute exposure, did you intentionally keep it that long because you'd like to smooth the clouds in the sky? Or due to the dim light plus your 10 stop. To me, a waterfall with an exposure of 5 seconds vs. 1 minutes in many scenarios looks similar, but the plants might look sharper. Sometimes using a 10-stop filter in mid-day can get us a much shorter exposure. Would love to hear your opinion and exchange ideas. I'm still trying to figure out the best time to photograph waterfall myself.

  3. Hi +Belinda Shi ,
    you are very correct, the difference between a 4-8 second exposure and a 60 second exposure on the water is not noticeable. In this case I used the 10 stop filter only for the cloud movement, which btw can be achieved in photoshop, however I like to get it right out of the camera.
    Also, you are correct the biggest problem with long exposures and waterfalls is the movement of the plants/vegetation, hence the choice of day has alot to do with it.
    The best conditions I have found is dependent on the location, but I have found overcast cloudy days the best since they give nice diffused soft lighting. If this is not possible, then early morning or late afternoon when the falls are in complete shadow. The worst conditions are midday with no clouds since the shadows are very harsh and the light typically very flat.
    Hope this helps, btw I love you iceland stuff!

  4. That´s absolutly true, the importend tools are your eyes. Oh sorry Gerard but I have an question about your processing workflow? You did something special like special software, special sharpening or anything of this method? Or is it the normal process like get down the lights and get up the darks a little bit in Lightroom. If you use LR of course! I would be very happy about some info´s. thx +Gerard Blacklock

  5. +Sebastian Gotthardt
    I use Photoshop software and also Nikon's capture CNX2. For this image the main effect is made by the 10 stop filter, there is some adjustment to the contrast and shadow detail (this is probably what you are referring to in the down the lights and up the darks ) and also some cloning of a small tree on the top of the falls which was very blurry due to the wind up there.
    I do use LR sometimes, but not for processing all the time – it however is a awesome catalog software package.

  6. +anthony ginman
    Thanks Ant, i really like these falls since they have not been photographed very much, i think the only real decent images I have seen are from you and Mike from the other year.
    These falls are quite hard to get to, I went down the right side near the lookout (but walked quite a way down river), however the other side looks a bit easier, maybe next time I will go that way!
    Hope everything is going well in Japan mate, I always look forward to seeing your images from there.

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