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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shooting Waterfalls

Quick pro tips for capturing summer’s cascades and tumbling torrents

Composing a waterfall image may require getting your feet wet if you're photographing it from the river downstream. I like to include a strong foreground element, and usually the river flow or riverbank creates a compelling foreground that leads the eye into the image and gives a sense of depth to the composition. Another option that I discussed in my previous OP column is the use of a telephoto lens to zoom in on elements of the waterfall and the more abstract compositions within it. If it's not possible to get to the river below the falls, then still look for a strong foreground element that will lead the eye into the waterfall; this can be leaves or flowers that are closer to the lens. Avoid the two-dimensional snapshot look when photographing falls from a distance; challenge yourself to find ways to make the image three-dimensional with use of strong foreground elements and natural lines or S curves leading to the falls.

Additionally, when photographing in the shade or with a neutral-density filter, I often find it necessary to warm up the image with the white balance adjustment so the water doesn't have a blue cast.

Waterfall photography is an exhilarating and fulfilling way to experience the beauty of nature. As with all skills, practice and experimentation will lead to better results that you'll be proud to share with your viewers.

See more of Elizabeth Carmel's photography at elizabethcarmel.com and thecarmelgallery.com. Visit elizabethcarmel.com for workshop information.

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