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Waterfall Critique

Discussion in 'Landscapes, Architecture, and Cityscapes' started by adr3naline, Sep 7, 2008.

  1. Hey everyone... I'm curious if you wouldn't mind giving me your thoughts on this waterfall. I'm really struggling with my exposures and not getting washed out when there's sunlight. Any thoughts would be helpful, thanks!

  2. SteveK


    Mar 16, 2005
    Mike, I really like the picture if you cut it off just as the waterfalls begins, and just have the lower portion. The blurred motion you achieved is really nice. To expose the trees and the waterfalls together better, you'd almost be best with an overcast sky. You can in post processing, expose for the bright areas, cutting down the exposure, and then taking a 2nd copy of the original, exposing it for the shadows, and then blend the two images together.
  3. Is there any techniques to produce a well exposed picture without using multiple images? I'm sure photographers in the past before digital did it... right? Or did they merge their images somehow also?
  4. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005

    Mike :

    You could use a graduated neutral density (GND) filter tilted for the "light line", possibly in conjunction with a circular polariser (CP) to cut down the glare and reflection a bit. That sounds daunting, I know, but it is "doable".

    John P.
  5. as was said by john
    this image is IMPOSSIBLE to "get" without a gradient neutral density filter
  6. So, what does a gradient neutral density filter do exactly... sounds like it might be a filter that has a gradient tint to it to the (in the case of my photo) upper portion would be darkened by the tint while the lower portion would be clear for the correct exposure?
  7. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Mike :

    Exactly so. One can get GNDs that are screw-on like any filter, with the "light-line" placed about 50%, or one can get filters to fit a Lee or Cokin filter holder and adjust angle and position.

    Personally, I like Singh-Ray filters, but there are a number of fine filter companies to turn to.

    The polariser, BTW, would cut the ambient glare quite a bit, as well as some reflections, which would further bring the image dynamic range closer to the camera dynamic range, and probably make it easier to achieve a more "even" exposure for the water, sky-lit trees, and the creek banks.

    John P.
  8. Mike, waterfalls are best shot on overcast (a light cloud layer is best) days or very early before the sun is to high in the sky, here is an example

    Edit: Looking at this image, I dont think a GND would help. The problem even in the foreground is the water is so bright/blown from the sun and the rocks are black in the shade. You might be able to get more detail out of the shadows in PP but they most likely would be noisy.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 8, 2008
  9. rotxlk82


    Jul 20, 2007
    As Douglas noted above, 'easy' light conditions are favourable when shooting this sort of thing, in the case of your shot there was just too much latitude for the camera to deal with

    People have allready suggested GNDs however if you have Photoshop you can always make several exposures (bracketing is the easy way to do this) and then merge to HDR.
  10. Mike126


    Aug 14, 2008
    Herndon, Va
    Mike - I have several spots that I frequent with similar issues. I try to shoot them early in the morning or late evening to reduce the amount of reflection off of the rocks. Also as others have suggested try using a polirizer and ND filter.

    Overall, I like your composition.....

  11. Mike,
    Don't shoot against Bright scenes, etc...:biggrin:
  12. It's difficult to shoot waterfalls when sun is shining on them. I try and shoot when the waterfall is completely in the shade , or when it's cloudy out. A GRAD ND would help with the top section , but would not help with the hot spot in the lower section. I prefer digital blending for a scene like this. Take one shot exposed for the shadows , and another exposed for the highlights , and blend them together. Of course you must use tripod for both shots .
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 9, 2008
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