Over the past several weeks I have taken a few photographer friends to the Mount Evans Wilderness and the surrounding area to shoot. I’ve visited this area so many times, but still find new and wonderful things to photograph every visit. This time of the year with the snow run-off, it’s easy to lose track of time listening to the wonderful sounds of the water as it makes its way down the mountain. The area surrounding the creek is so lush and green. Flowers start to bloom and day becomes overcast in the late afternoon offering some great light. All in all, it’s a nature photographer’s paradise.
Most of the great waterfall pictures you see are taken at long shutter speeds. While I have done this for many years as well, I’ve been getting into faster shutter speeds lately for a different effect. Instead of letting a lot of water pass for a long duration such as 1-5 seconds, I’ve been shooting moving water at ¼ and ½ of a second. I really like the look of the water at these shutter speeds. It shows motion and at the same time adds interest to the flow of the water.
I have included three images as examples of this. Image 1 and 2 are taken at 1/3 of a second. Image 3 is taken at 1/2 of a second. As I often teach, if you are unsure, make several images at different shutter speeds so you have a lot to choose from. Make sure to bring your tripod and a hot-shoe bubble level for best results. Also, using a polarizer will allow you to dial the reflection onto or off of the water. This way you can see below the surface of the water if you desire. As an added bonus, you reduce the amount of light coming into the camera allowing longer shutter speeds. Try to avoid large fallen trees and branches as part of your composition as it will attract the eye in the final image.