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05-21-2011, 04:21 AM   #1
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Niagara Falls: how to shoot?

Going to Niagara Falls [Canadian side for 2 days in July]. Need some help:

1. Technical: Is it worth taking the K5 and the 16-50 on one of those boats that go to the waterfall? I know its WR but I am not sure whether I will be able to take decent shots with the movement of the boat which I imagine would be somewhat rough? Is it better to take a WR point and shoot instead of the WR lens and camera? I have a friend I can borrow one from. I want to get some wide shots of the family near the falls to document the ride.

2. Technical: I plan to rent Pentax 12-24 also. I would like to take a picture with a rainbow in the picture next to the falls. I was told that because of the water droplets in the air, you could get a localized rainbow around the falls. If so, is it more likely to be present at a certain time of the day? When? If so, are there any reasons for choosing a longer lens vs this wide angle for capturing the rainbow in this shot?

3. Geographical: I don't want to take a tripod and waste a lot of time looking around for the best site to shoot from, if I can help it. I want to get up early in the morning to see if I can get the falls to look silky using ND filter as needed. My question is this. Are there particular places near the falls where you would recommend to shoot from so that I can check these sites first. A nice foreground would be great to complement the falls...

05-21-2011, 07:16 AM   #2
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I went there in 2004 and used a Fuji S7000 and got some decent shots from the bottom of the falls looking up and such. Lots of spray and water with no camera problems. If I were to go today, I would certainly take the K5 and 16-50. Maybe even the 10-17. Niagra falls is a great place for a fisheye.
05-21-2011, 07:31 AM   #3
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I noticed you are taking maybe the 12-24. That would be adequate too for a wide angle. I personally like to get the expanse of the falls. Your 16-50 might be wide enough for most shots. Let me know how it works out. I would like to go there again someday with my current gear. My first visit there prompted me to buy a fisheye adapter for the fuji and I got tome reasonable shots with it but the adapter is nothing like the 10-17 I have now.
05-21-2011, 12:05 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by GaryH Quote
Niagra falls is a great place for a fisheye.
Did not think of a fish-eye. That might be interesting on the falls. I might try renting one of those too...Hmm. Thanks for that tip!

05-21-2011, 03:24 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
1. Technical: Is it worth taking the K5 and the 16-50 on one of those boats that go to the waterfall? I know its WR but I am not sure whether I will be able to take decent shots with the movement of the boat which I imagine would be somewhat rough? Is it better to take a WR point and shoot instead of the WR lens and camera? I have a friend I can borrow one from.
A few comments based upon my outdoor experience with K-7, including atrocious atmospheric conditions:

* WR is not waterproof. You are very wise to consider alternatives.

* If I was to take my K-7, I would use a rain sleeve for the camera+lens and I would wear a poncho-like raincoat to bring out the camera only when needed. Plus several wipes to wipe out the lens and camera between shootings.

* I took my wife's Olympus m790sw waterproof P&S several times in very, very wet places and it does the job. The camera is definitely waterpoof. But the IQ is not that great.


All in all, if I was visiting Niagara Falls (probably once in a lifetime experience), I would take my K-7 with a rainsleeve.

Hope that the comments may help...
05-21-2011, 03:56 PM   #6
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Just there last summer- I did not have a WR lens at the time, so I was careful, and did not take my camera in a couple of spots.. ..

1) Maid of the Mist- I would have wanted more than WR lens there- sleeve for sure! It is not that unstable, and there are opportunities for some great shots before you get under the mist.

2) Canadian side- walk under the falls- this was so-so, and I would skip it if I went again. You get sort of beside the falls. WR probably- I took a couple of shots with 10-20, a little hair raising, but not too bad.

3) US side- Cave of the Winds- this was really cool- you can get right under the flow- if you want to get saturated. You can also stand off and shoot without fear with WR. I didn't know that when I went down, so I didn't bring my camera. :-(

4) Places to shoot from- besides the above mentioned closeups, there is an observation tower on the US side- they charge, but we were there after dark, and they were no longer charging. The falls are lit at night, which can make for some fun shots, from there, or from the Canadian side. Foreground can be the family if you use flash. Canadian side has the better shooting spots, I would say, anywhere along the park. We splurged and ate in one of the sky towers on the Canadian side- falls view, dinner, into the evening. Might want something a little longer from there. ;-)

5) Rainbow- the falls are kind of N-S oriented, so in the morning, you would see the rainbow from the US side, I guess. I saw it from the Canadian side in the late afternoon- always very misty.



In general, the area right around the falls is almost as adept as DisneyWorld at slurping dollars out of your wallet. You have been warned.
05-21-2011, 04:44 PM   #7
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Rainbows can occur just about anywhere along the gorge on the American side. Not sure about the Canadian side.



Good luck shooting the Horseshoe falls from the Canadian side. See that mist? Ever since they built those hotel towers it doesn't disperse the way it used to.



Can't wait to go back there with a camera other than a Panasonic FZ-5. There is a lot to take pictures of other than the falls. It might be some of the best people watching in the world. There is a fireworks show over the American falls every Friday night. As the previous poster mentioned, the falls are lit at night as are the rapids above the American falls.



05-22-2011, 01:58 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
Niagara Falls: how to shoot?
From a distance where it's dry and no chance of falling in.

I was there 30 years ago and it's one of the few kinda wonders that's really as big as you imagine it to be.

Don't forget to check it out at night as well, the coloured searchlights makes it look amazing, enjoy.

05-22-2011, 06:40 AM   #9
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Hcc: thanks for the rainsleeve idea; but I think I will get a p/s for the maid of the mist part...

boriscleto: I see you got some great shots, rainbows too. Thanks for the advice. The night shot looks great.

kerrowdown: I had not thought about the colored searchlights. Plenty of shooting I bet.

At this point I am going to borrow a waterproof p/s; then rent either the 12-24 or 10-17 for wide angle and the 28-75 as a general walkaround.
05-22-2011, 06:04 PM   #10
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Hi, I live in Western NY and visit Niagara Falls frequently. I hope my experiences can help you.

1 - for the Maid of the Mist boat tour that takes you to the brink of the Falls borrow the P&S. The boat rocks pretty good but it's the mist that's wicked. You'll be given a disposable raincoat and you'll need it. You will get very wet.

2- from the Canadian side you'll be facing the Falls from across the Niagara River and have the best vantage point to capture the Falls in its entirety. If it's sunny when you're there you will be able to find a rainbow. There are spots on the Canadian viewing side that never get dry from the mist in the air.

3- you can get away without using a tripod. On the Canadian side the viewing area is surrounded by iron & stone railings (to protect visitors from falling into the gorge below). Just rest your camera on a jacket and place it on the railing. I've taken night photos this way sucessfully. Don't miss the night-time, the Falls are illuminated with different color spotlights.

4- and finally, if you have opportunity walk across the Rainbow Bridge to visit the USA side. It offers opportunity to get right next to the precipice of the Falls. Caution -you will need to have passports to travel between to two countries.

Have a great time. the Falls are spectacular.

Last edited by zman; 07-04-2011 at 09:56 AM.
05-22-2011, 06:23 PM   #11
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I believe that one of the requirements for seeing a rainbow is to make sure the sun is to your back.
I'm remembering this (correctly, I hope!) from meteorology classes over 25 yrs. ago.

Good luck and have fun!
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