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Author Topic: Photographing Waterfalls  (Read 17206 times)

tim wolcott

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Photographing Waterfalls
« on: June 08, 2010, 07:06:36 PM »

I have found waterfalls to be one of the most elegant ways to use photography.  I have been showing and exhibiting my images all over the world and avoided waterfalls until really the last 7 years.  The reason for this is that the snooty galleries referred to them as the black plague much like Europe with waterfalls.

But I believe they are the easy shoot, that everyone thinks they are.  Of course we all have to many shots of Yosemite falls shot from the same angle and shot from a far.  

So I decided to envision the most elegant ways to shoot waterfalls and set out to find them and capture them.  I drew most of what I wanted to see and hoped to find.  I know this sounds weird drawing photographs?  But I draw nearly everything I hope to see, so it refreshes my mind when I'm in the field.  And yes I'm a horrible drawer, maybe the worst on the planet.  But it gives me ideas and let's me remember what I've seen over the years and allows me to put the pieces of the puzzle together.  

So I envisioned some waterfalls in in the spring fall and summer.  But as Mark pointed out shooting a waterfall is almost an instinct.  But just because its a waterfall does not mean it should be shot.  It must have all the elements of something amazing.  I study painting, asian folding screens, other historical photographs.  We all can learn something from the masters who came before us.

So now I have traveled many many places and seen many different types of waterfalls.  

I have written this before but I use a framing card to compose my images just as Ansel taught me.  So here are some of my favorites.  

So some of these are pano stitches and others are shot straight.  Most are scouted up to years in advance trying to figure out exactly what the perfect time to be there is.  They are in no order of importance just 25 that I like.  

I hope they inspire you to find your magical spots.  

www.GalleryoftheAmericanLandscape.com        Tim
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 06:48:29 PM by tim wolcott »
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EduPerez

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2010, 04:14:02 AM »

Quote from: tim wolcott
[...]
I hope they inspire you to find your magical spots.  
[...]
Very inspiring, indeed! Thanks.
I specially liked the last one: water seems to be going to flow out of my monitor.
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grilla

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2010, 09:48:38 AM »

I live in the Pacific Northwest. I saw the article by Mark Dubovoy and your well written post today. How do you get a waterfall photograph that is different from the millions that are out there is something I struggle with every time I am in the field. Composition is oftentimes difficult because you cant get to the specific spot you really want to take the photograph. IMHO its easy to get a good waterfall photograph. It is incredibly hard however to get a great one. This weekend I am taking a full day workshop with a local professional photographer that is all about moving water. Samples too come.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2010, 09:50:19 AM by grilla »
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Enda Cavanagh

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2010, 12:10:35 PM »

Hi there
You have some really beautiful shots. I particularly like No.s 2, 8 and very much so No. 11. These shots in particular show really beautiful strong compositions. My only gripe though would be the shadows in No. 2 and 8 are a bid weak. Maybe you need to increase the contrast in the shadow areas a bit.
Really well done.

tim wolcott

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2010, 02:22:34 PM »

Quote from: Chairman Bill
These aren't waterfall shots. They're beautiful landscapes that just happen to have waterfalls in them. I think there's a difference.


Bill, you are so right.  They are landscapes with a waterfall in them.

I make my living selling my exhibition images so I try to shoot everything like its a piece of fine art.  My goal everytime is to go out and find something unique and amazing.  I spend an amazing amount of time researching and scouting, many times I leave the cabin or hotel with headlamps on and return at night with them on.  The hard part there is no food or drink in the woods.  

But at the end of the day, wine and good beer usually accompany our meals.  Glad you liked them.  T
« Last Edit: June 14, 2010, 01:03:35 PM by tim wolcott »
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ckimmerle

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2010, 02:31:53 PM »

Quote from: grilla
....its easy to get a good waterfall photograph. It is incredibly hard however to get a great one.

....its easy to get a good photograph. It is incredibly hard however to get a great one.
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Dick Roadnight

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2010, 05:25:14 PM »

Very nice ... I like the ones with the autumn colours.
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tim wolcott

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #9 on: June 09, 2010, 06:45:41 PM »

Quote from: Enda Cavanagh
Hi there
You have some really beautiful shots. I particularly like No.s 2, 8 and very much so No. 11. These shots in particular show really beautiful strong compositions. My only gripe though would be the shadows in No. 2 and 8 are a bid weak. Maybe you need to increase the contrast in the shadow areas a bit.
Really well done.


I checked them and you were right.  I grabbed the old jpegs before adjusting the contrast.  Thanks for pointing that out.  T
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JamiePeters

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2010, 01:42:09 AM »

I only saw some of these in the gallery.  To see some of these as large as 80 inches show just the talent you have acquired.  These are far nicer than the ones in the article.  The waterfalls are as Bill said landscapes witha waterfall in the shot.  I see that there really is no other way to shoot waterfalls.  

I wish I could see them all printed large.  JP
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tim wolcott

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2010, 05:49:49 PM »

Quote from: grilla
I live in the Pacific Northwest. I saw the article by Mark Dubovoy and your well written post today. How do you get a waterfall photograph that is different from the millions that are out there is something I struggle with every time I am in the field. Composition is oftentimes difficult because you cant get to the specific spot you really want to take the photograph. IMHO its easy to get a good waterfall photograph. It is incredibly hard however to get a great one. This weekend I am taking a full day workshop with a local professional photographer that is all about moving water. Samples too come.

You ask how do you get a waterfall different than the others.  Keep looking and use a framing card to position the exact composition.  All to often the physics of waterfall tend to wash away the good landscape around the area surrounding the falls.  

I have spent a tremendous amount of travel, money and time to find these.  You tend to find waterfall to be very drab and boring most of time and all to often with hugh amount dead trees, limbs and ect sticking out do to flash floods.  

But to find a fall scene or a great spring bloom scene like the dogwoods is very very hard to find and extremely hard to shoot.  Most photos will not have trees, leaves or flowers in the shot with a time exposure, because the of the wind.  So yes the timing and days must be perfect.  Glad you enjoyed them.

I will be doing some workshops in the waterfall heaven park.  If your interested.  Tim
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Mark D Segal

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2010, 07:11:14 PM »

Mark, I agree with your evaluation about which of the images are the most successful in your interesting presentation. Not mentioned in the article is the texture of the falling water (not only its luminosity). I'm interested in hearing more about how you managed shutter speed and f/stop to get the water looking as silky as it does.

Cheers,

Mark
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JamiePeters

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2010, 11:37:12 AM »

Quote from: Mark D Segal
Mark, I agree with your evaluation about which of the images are the most successful in your interesting presentation. Not mentioned in the article is the texture of the falling water (not only its luminosity). I'm interested in hearing more about how you managed shutter speed and f/stop to get the water looking as silky as it does.

Cheers,

Mark

Mark who are replying to.  This article or Marks article.  Or are you responding to Tim's images.

Tim I would like to know some of the info that Mark is asking about.  JP
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Lisa Nikodym

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2010, 11:40:06 AM »

Gorgeous, gorgeous photos!  I really admire them.

Would you mind telling us, where is "waterfall heaven park"?

Lisa

Mark D Segal

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #15 on: June 11, 2010, 11:59:58 AM »

Quote from: JamiePeters
Mark who are replying to.  This article or Marks article.  Or are you responding to Tim's images.

Tim I would like to know some of the info that Mark is asking about.  JP

To de-confuse matters between the two Marks - Mark Segal is asking Mark Dubovoy, who is the author of the L-L Feature Article, how he obtained the silky texture of the waterfalls. I was not responding to Tim's images.
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laughingbear

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #16 on: June 12, 2010, 01:29:38 AM »

Quote from: tim wolcott
I hope they inspire you to find your magical spots.

Hello Tim,

I am puzzled by the second (615.19k) picture. Would I be wrong to assume that this is digitally composed?

I mean the leaves show no movement at all, hence I came to think, that you might have shot a few with high speed, and later imposed them onto the long exposure.

... not sure though.

Thanks for showing, most inspiring they are!

Best
Georg
« Last Edit: June 12, 2010, 01:30:48 AM by laughingbear »
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Jason Denning

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2010, 04:03:17 AM »

Is this a great one?

[attachment=22563:TIER_WAT...est_flat.jpg]

Quote from: grilla
I live in the Pacific Northwest. I saw the article by Mark Dubovoy and your well written post today. How do you get a waterfall photograph that is different from the millions that are out there is something I struggle with every time I am in the field. Composition is oftentimes difficult because you cant get to the specific spot you really want to take the photograph. IMHO its easy to get a good waterfall photograph. It is incredibly hard however to get a great one. This weekend I am taking a full day workshop with a local professional photographer that is all about moving water. Samples too come.
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kikashi

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #18 on: June 12, 2010, 04:20:39 AM »

Quote from: Jason Denning
Is this a great one?

[attachment=22563:TIER_WAT...est_flat.jpg]
It's pretty but the water in the upper right has a curious pink cast to it.

Jeremy
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RobSaecker

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Photographing Waterfalls
« Reply #19 on: June 12, 2010, 11:21:21 AM »

Quote from: laughingbear
I am puzzled by the second (615.19k) picture. Would I be wrong to assume that this is digitally composed?

I mean the leaves show no movement at all, hence I came to think, that you might have shot a few with high speed, and later imposed them onto the long exposure.

Georg

Georg,

those are fallen leaves lying on the rock, they would not be in motion.

There is something slightly artificial looking to some of the leaves, but I take that to be an artifact of a low resolution image on screen.
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