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"Perfect" waterfalls?

Discussion in 'AP Magazine Feedback & Suggestions' started by GeoffR, Sep 13, 2015.

  1. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Nice article on photographing waterfalls in the latest AP (19 September 2015), shame that all the images are long exposures turning the water into streaks and completely removing the drama of moving water. Purely personal I know but I prefer images that look like water, captured with faster shutter speeds.
  2. Grierson

    Grierson Well-Known Member

    Agree 100% ^^WWHS^^
  3. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    I think all ghosty waterfalls have been done to death.
  4. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    We seem to be getting some kind of consensus here. Im another one who believes that landscape shots should look believably natural.
  5. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Ah! But does it sell to the masses?
    Smooth water. Sunsets. Harsh b&w street scenes - that's the current recipe. I wonder if it is working though?

    Oh, and yes. Me too for a well thought out, well executed landscape or seascape, without the gimmicks.
  6. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Well I don't. Couldn't disagree more. Of course they can do, but it's that word "should" that I think is untenable.

    In this case, what could it possibly mean? Water frozen in motions doesn't look natural either, it's just not something we see in real life. It's completely unbelievable. In fact it's simply not possible to portray a waterfall looking natural with a still photograph. Freeze the movement, and you deny the motion that is the very most obvious thing about a waterfall. That's just as much an artistic choice as allowing motion blur to make it stop looking like water, but depicting the motion. Neither is "believably natural", both are differing forms of artistic depiction.

    Personally, I quite like trying to use a fairly slow speed to keep some detail in the water but also allow some blur, ideally with a burst of flash to freeze some drops. Again, not remotely what we actually see or could really describe as "believably natural", but landscape photography for me is not at all about capturing the "believably natural", but about trying to capture the essence of a place, which is not at all the same thing.
  7. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    By using a 10-stop filter and taking one exposure with the filter at, say, 2 seconds, and another exposure without the filter at 1/500 sec, and then blending the two exposures, one might be able to get a compromise between the two - a waterfall that both had "sparkle" and the illusion of motion.
  8. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    Count me out of a consensus. I think motion blur usually adds to such scenes. I don't think frozen motion on water looks natural. I would tend to photograph a smaller fall with more motion blur. A larger fall with clouds of mist I think needs less. Personal taste and I haven't seen the article yet. The whole question of what is natural looking I think is rather complex. For example, how natural is black and white? A depth of field with front to back sharpness isn't really how we observe the world either.
  9. Geren

    Geren Well-Known Member

    Given that I think you could probably produce utterly rubbish versions of either, I'll stick my neck out and say that I like properly noice versions of either.
  10. Catriona

    Catriona Well-Known Member

    Absolutely right.
    My problem with seeing the same long exposure theme pushed by magazines and described as the perfect portrayal, is that to ignore different versions of the same view done in different ways, prevents us from making up our own minds on the subject.
    There is no one perfect way.

    I think it must be because it is September...
  11. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    It's just a matter of taste. Produce what you like and never mind what other people think.
    I do think that one's taste should not be influenced by convenience.
  12. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    FWIW 1/30th is, according to some, the closest approximation to the shutter speed we see.

    With water that's a shutter speed I'm likely to avoid though.....for raging torrents I might want to freeze movement to show power and with gentle streams I might want blurry to convey calmness.
  13. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Ditto, although I love really long exposures, especially for seascapes.
  14. Zou

    Zou Well-Known Member

    Ditto to this too.
  15. PhotoEcosse

    PhotoEcosse Well-Known Member

    That really says it all. Fill in the dotted bits with words of your own choice.

    Expose to produce the image that will convey the message and emotion you wish to communicate.

  16. AlexMonro

    AlexMonro Old Grand Part Deux

    Interesting idea, Eric.

    I'm tempted to give it a go the next time I get the chance (might be a while, have to get a 10-stop ND first). I'd certainly be interested to see other people's efforts in this direction.

    I vaguely recall an article in AP a few years ago with Charlie Waite doing seascapes with multiple short exposures (on film) - that might've created a similar effect.

    I was clearly mistaken about a consensus, and it's interesting so see the range of ideas. Perhaps Geren has the most important point.

    However, when I look at small and medium sized waterfalls from relatively close distances, I get an impression of lots of drops and blobs of water, and, at the top of the splashes, not actually moving very fast. To me, a relatively fast shutter speed (1/50 - 1/100s) seems to best convey that look on paper.

    Very large waterfalls, viewed from further away, have a different look, in particular the bottom is often surrounded by misty fine spray, so a slower shutter speed probably comes closer to it.
  17. Ffolrord

    Ffolrord Well-Known Member

    Seen the article now, although not on the best screen (digital version). The exposures are a bit too long for my taste. It's a fine line and for me that line is crossed when overbright patches at the base of the falls are introduced and I think the images suffer from this. I like some of the compositions but I have seen better executions of similar scenes so not perfect waterfalls for me. Not bad but not perfect.

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