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Thread: How to photograph waterfalls.

  1. #1

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    How to photograph waterfalls.

    Came across this article this morning and thought it might be useful to post a link. Even more interesting was a comment at the end of the article which I have posted in full for those who don't want to plough through the whole article.

    https://www.digitalphotomentor.com/h...ginners-guide/

    "Mark Stanley-Adams • a month ago

    Here's a tip for those who might find the cost of ND filters too high. You can simulate the ND filter effect using image stacking in Adobe Photoshop ®. Correctly combining, for example, 30x 1 second exposures produces precisely the same effect as 1x 30 second exposure. Not only can you capture images in bright light without the filter, but it's also possible to shoot hand-held if your shutter is fast enough. Two things to bear in mind if you do shoot hand-held; firstly, you'd want to keep your shutter speed relatively slow to avoid having to take take enormous numbers of images. Shooting at 1/500 sec would require 500 images just to simulate a 1 second exposure - not very practical, I'm sure you'll agree. And secondly, you'd need to remember to align the layers when stacking them."
    Last edited by John 2; 2nd March 2017 at 10:56 AM.

  2. #2

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Quote Originally Posted by John 2 View Post
    Came across this article this morning and thought it might be useful to post a link. Even more interesting was a comment at the end of the article which I have posted in full for those who don't want to plough through the whole article.

    "Mark Stanley-Adams • a month ago

    Here's a tip for those who might find the cost of ND filters too high. You can simulate the ND filter effect using image stacking in Adobe Photoshop ®. Correctly combining, for example, 30x 1 second exposures produces precisely the same effect as 1x 30 second exposure. Not only can you capture images in bright light without the filter, but it's also possible to shoot hand-held if your shutter is fast enough. Two things to bear in mind if you do shoot hand-held; firstly, you'd want to keep your shutter speed relatively slow to avoid having to take take enormous numbers of images. Shooting at 1/500 sec would require 500 images just to simulate a 1 second exposure - not very practical, I'm sure you'll agree. And secondly, you'd need to remember to align the layers when stacking them."
    First I thought exposure was meant. But it's about motion.
    Is Adobe Photoshop cheaper as a ND filter?

    George

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Quote Originally Posted by george013 View Post
    ..................Is Adobe Photoshop cheaper as a ND filter?

    George
    George, I don't understand your comment. I don't think anyone would be foolish enough to believe that the article is recommending buying Photoshop as an alternative to an ND filter or for that matter, a set of ND filters. Merely suggesting that if you have PS or the facility to work with layers, there is another way.

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Quote Originally Posted by John 2 View Post
    George, I don't understand your comment. I don't think anyone would be foolish enough to believe that the article is recommending buying Photoshop as an alternative to an ND filter or for that matter, a set of ND filters. Merely suggesting that if you have PS or the facility to work with layers, there is another way.
    Of course I know what he meant. But he could formulate what he meant different. By example "You can simulate a long exposure image out off more shorter exposure images by stacking them".
    And I didn't read the article.
    Thinking about it further, that's the way star trails are made, isn't it?

    George

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    When I think about it, my Nikon D7000 and D7100 had a facility to do this and merge the resulting images in camera. Useful, and I wish my Fuji had that same facility. I must try this because the it should allow for a great deal of fine adjustment in that the degree of blur can I guess, be quite finely adjusted by changing the no. of exposures being blended.

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Quote Originally Posted by John 2 View Post
    When I think about it, my Nikon D7000 and D7100 had a facility to do this and merge the resulting images in camera. Useful, and I wish my Fuji had that same facility. I must try this because the it should allow for a great deal of fine adjustment in that the degree of blur can I guess, be quite finely adjusted by changing the no. of exposures being blended.
    In-camera multiple exposure is about the only thing I miss from my Nikon days as I used it quite often to blur water and rather liked the slightly textured results over the more traditional super-blur you get with a big stopper.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    In terms of how best to photograph moving water, the best thing I've seen is the contribution made on here some time ago by Frank Miller, who hasn't been around for a while. I followed his teaching and it was brilliant.

    Have a read of the first 14 posts in this thread started by Frank.

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    i bought one of those variable ND filters, it wasnt overly expensive, i know some filters can be quite dear but ive never really noticed the cheaper filters being that bad. (obviously not the £5 Chinese knock offs)

    anyway back on topic, although im a big fan of PS, (not got the latest version though) i would much rather try and get the shot right in the camera than afterwards in PP

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Here's a nice tutorial with shots comparing different approaches to filtering and shutter speed: Project 52 by Frank Miller

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    I'm old enough to have come by my curmudgeony honestly, but I find the insistence of everyone with a camera on turning a beautiful waterfall into a cliché a photographic obscenity. There is a place for this kind of thing -- if there just isn't enough flow to define the water path when you happen to be there, for example. But, in general, the photographic world would be improved immensely by banning any more cotton candy waterfall shots.

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    I'm old enough to have come by my curmudgeony honestly, but I find the insistence of everyone with a camera on turning a beautiful waterfall into a cliché a photographic obscenity. There is a place for this kind of thing -- if there just isn't enough flow to define the water path when you happen to be there, for example. But, in general, the photographic world would be improved immensely by banning any more cotton candy waterfall shots.

    You'll have to tell me how I can get a night shot of the illuminated Niagara Falls without getting the look you so detest.


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    How to photograph waterfalls.




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    How to photograph waterfalls.

  12. #12
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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    I'm old enough to have come by my curmudgeony honestly, but I find the insistence of everyone with a camera on turning a beautiful waterfall into a cliché a photographic obscenity. There is a place for this kind of thing -- if there just isn't enough flow to define the water path when you happen to be there, for example. But, in general, the photographic world would be improved immensely by banning any more cotton candy waterfall shots.
    I tend to agree with Tom here, without necessarily banning long-exposure shots for those who prefer them that way. I feel that the smoothing effect is completely un-natural and is to be avoided if possible. My way also saves on the cost of an ND filter!

    John

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnRostron View Post
    I tend to agree with Tom here, without necessarily banning long-exposure shots for those who prefer them that way. I feel that the smoothing effect is completely un-natural and is to be avoided if possible. My way also saves on the cost of an ND filter!

    John
    If you believe that the purpose of photography is to capture realism then it is indeed is un-natural. If you view photography as your way of creating an artistic image, then realism and 'natural' may or may not have relevance to what your doing. Your purpose is creating an artistic image.

  14. #14
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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    I'm old enough to have come by my curmudgeony honestly, but I find the insistence of everyone with a camera on turning a beautiful waterfall into a cliché a photographic obscenity. There is a place for this kind of thing -- if there just isn't enough flow to define the water path when you happen to be there, for example. But, in general, the photographic world would be improved immensely by banning any more cotton candy waterfall shots.
    To each her or his own, but I don't agree. There are countless cliched photos of sunsets, full moons, and paths through a woods. Does that mean we shouldn't photograph sunsets, full moons, or paths through woods?

    I don't photograph waterfalls often, but when I do, I often take a number of shots with different shutter speeds so I can compare, after the fact, what the image looks like with no smoothing, a modest amount of smoothing, or a lot of smoothing. I throw out all of them for many shots, but when I find one I think is worth keeping, I make the decision on the basis of what that set of images looks like, not what other people do.

    Here is a somewhat embarrassing example, from years ago:

    How to photograph waterfalls.

    There are all sorts of things wrong with this. Among other things, it was my first attempt at HDR, and the software I used didn't get the alignment of the rock on the right quite right. However, it makes my point. I took shots of this with shorter shutter speeds, but they were simply jumbled and didn't provide the vertical lines I wanted. In hindsight, I would do quite a number of things differently, and I would probably shorten the shutter speed somewhat, but I would still have the look you say we should ban.

  15. #15

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Many years ago, there was a classical music flutist, Jean Pierre Rampal. When I first heard him, I was enchanted and ended up buying a few albums with him as the featured performer. However, I soon realized that I recognized that it was Rampal before I even recognized the composer, and the blush was off his rose for me. There is something similar that I experience with fluffy waterfalls -- I am aware of the photographic effect in a way that overpowers the particular waterfall. Don, I don't think that things need to be naturalistic to be valid artistic expressions. But a technique that sucks the particularity out of a scenic wonder has a lot to overcome to reach any artistic level. Or so ISTM.

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    Many years ago, there was a classical music flutist, Jean Pierre Rampal. When I first heard him, I was enchanted and ended up buying a few albums with him as the featured performer. However, I soon realized that I recognized that it was Rampal before I even recognized the composer, and the blush was off his rose for me. There is something similar that I experience with fluffy waterfalls -- I am aware of the photographic effect in a way that overpowers the particular waterfall. Don, I don't think that things need to be naturalistic to be valid artistic expressions. But a technique that sucks the particularity out of a scenic wonder has a lot to overcome to reach any artistic level. Or so ISTM.
    Just one thing - please don't call me Don. I cannot stand it!

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Firstly if SOOC (straight out of camera) is your sole objective you are putting a huge and totally unneeded restriction on your photography. A photographic print is the result of so many processes that so long as the image is not deceptive for anything reason other than artistic purposes who cares how it is produced. The artistic merit of two identical images produced by two different methods is also identical. The satisfaction in the process that the photographer gets may differ but ultimately viewers (or judges) only judge the outcome.

    The current fashions in photography seem to be the use of very dense ND filters, blurring scenes with camera movement and star trails or milky way shots. The more I see the higher the standard has to be for me appreciate them. A bit like sunsets.

    If you seldom want to take a photo having the silky smooth effect of an expensive ND filter then blending multiple shots is an excellent approach. Photography is not just for those with a big budget. Any technique that avoids expenditure should not be criticised unless the results are poorer. Actually blending can give superior results as you can do a final blend and vary the blend ratio so you introduce a little sparkle or life over the silkiness.

  18. #18

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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Just one thing - please don't call me Don. I cannot stand it!
    Sorry. No offense meant.

  19. #19
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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Quote Originally Posted by tclune View Post
    Sorry. No offense meant.
    None taken.

  20. #20
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    Re: How to photograph waterfalls.

    Tom - if you are complaining about photographers who rely on gimmicks rather than having the skill set to create high quality images, then I can understand your complaint. There is a certain demographic of "photographer" who seems to think they can avoid hard work in developing their skills and dive into a technique like blurred water, HDRI or partial decolourization of an image. The get a few "wows!" from the uninformed on social media and think they have talent. I've even seen B&W handled this way from time to time.


    There are a lot of mediocre images out there that have been created with these and other techniques. A mediocre image is a mediocre image and no amount of gimmickry can change that.

    On the other hand, these techniques in the hands of a skilled photographer can produce some amazing images. I think we have to leave our prejudices aside when we look at the techniques used to create them. A good image is just that and the techniques used to create it should not matter.

    As an example, I suggest you look at the American landscape photographer, Elia Locardi's work. He uses the blurred water in some of his work to great effect.

    http://www.elialocardi.com/Galleries...re-Atmosphere/
    Last edited by Manfred M; 26th October 2017 at 08:32 PM.

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