I posted a photo of Gibbon Falls in black and white last month that I took during my recent trip to Yellowstone National Park. This photograph of Gibbon Falls is a wider view and it was processed in color. I used a slow shutter speed to smooth out the water in order to highlight the stair-steps the water follows as it moves down the wall. I really like the little ribbons of water and the contrasting white water against the rust-colored stone. I think this waterfall is more impressive in person than it is in a photograph.
I thought I would provide a few tips on how to photograph waterfalls. The first thing I do is to look at the flow and see how fast the water is flowing and if there are any interesting swirls. Many people think that you need really long exposures to get the silky water. That’s not always true. Generally speaking you need somewhere between 1/4th of a second and a full second depending on how fast it is flowing. For this waterfall, I decided that 1/4th of a second was good. Bu you can see on the upper-right corner how it is a little bit too silky. Second, cloudy days are better than sunny days. The diffracted light helps reduce or eliminate the contrasting sunlight/shadow areas. Third, a sturdy tripod. This will help with camera shake and provide a sharp image. Fourth, Eliminate anything that moves from the frame, especially plants and trees. They will come out blurry unless the wind is completely still. Lastly, explore different parts of the waterfall. Zoom-in to an interesting area and focus on that versus the entire waterfall. I hope these tips help the next time you are out in a wonderful area like our National Parks.
This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5DS using my Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 II Lens set on 114mm. The camera was set on Aperture Priority mode with the aperture set at f/18, shutter speed at 1/4th of a second and the ISO set at 100. I used a tripod for stability. This is a single image processed in Lightroom and finalized in Photoshop using Nik Color Efex Pro.
You can access my Yellowstone/Grand Teton collection by clicking here. Please use the section below to post your comments, questions or suggestions.
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