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04-13-2012, 07:23 PM   #16
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I just wait till the sun dips below the horizon, or you could use a cloudy day. As others have noted I believe we have some confusion.
Polarizing filters are for removing glare from objects and surfaces.
Neutral Density filters are just sunglasses for the camera so you can get longer exposure times without totally blowing out the lighting to make the water all misty. Stopping down is often enough though unless its direct sunlight. Remember to turn off shake reduction and use the 2 second timer though since even pressing the shutter button shakes too much.
Also sometimes its nice to stop the action of a waterfall with a higher shutter speed, they look good that way too and much more aggressive rather than misty peaceful.

This image is rather cluttered and not impressive but it would've been totally spoiled if a polarizing filter had chopped all the reflected light from a setting sun. (actually this looks terrible when this small)


04-15-2012, 07:42 AM   #17
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Well, I gave it a go but wasn't happy with the results. Mind you, I was with my hubby and kids, so they weren't exactly patient in my pursuits. The sun wasn't in a great spot and it was quite sunny, as well. Luckily we will be returning to the mountains quite a bit over the next 4yrs since our son is attending Appalachian State!! I'll post a couple of the pics - but again.....not happy with it - although I did learn a lot!

I used my tripod w/level indicator but this still seems a bit skewed. Funny enough, I think I like the one with the branches/leaves in the foreground the best. Oh well......
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04-15-2012, 07:16 PM   #18
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I would suggest changing the ISO to 100, give you more wiggle room in the sunlight.

The second pics out of focus branches do look cool but my personal preference would be to get higher and only have them over the bottom half below the upper falls.

I'm noticing that the lens you used gets a rather warmer yellow cast when stopped down all the way, which is more interesting than it is unpleasant, just a different tone.

On the second pic I see you were at 200mm focal length and F5.6 which is wide open for that lens and focal length, that's likely the main cause of the purple fringing around the areas where the light was reflecting off the dark water. If you changed to ISO 100 and stopped down a tad or moved closer and used a part of the focal length that has a wider maximum aperture you would do better I think.

As far as level, when I'm out in nature I just give up on perfect, there is not one straight object or plane including the horizon to work with so I just go with whatever makes the least things crooked. You got things level enough that a person would have to be fairly anal to complain about it to you.

If any of that was gibberish I can clarify.

Overall, nice work, keep posting.
04-15-2012, 09:54 PM   #19
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1/500 is too fast

I agree with PPPPPP42; lower the ISO to 100. That will let you get the shutter speed lower.

The second shot was at 1/500 second, which is way too fast to achieve that creamy look of moving water. You have almost stopped the individual water droplets in their fall. Try shooting in Tav mode (shutter priority) and set your shutter speed as slow as you can.

If you shot at ISO 100, f/22 at 1/15 second, you'd get the flowing look of the water. If you could get the shutter speed down to 1/4 or even 1/2, it would be better.

If you can't get the shutter speed that low with a proper exposure, you can try setting it that low manually, and deliberately overexposing by one or two stops. This is especially true if you shoot RAW, rather than JPEG. One or two stops of overexposure is easy to bring back in post processing. You can change the brightness in PP, but generally not the subject motion blur, but that's okay, because subject motion blur is what you're trying to achieve.

To shoot waterfalls and get that silky moving water, a tripod is almost essential. If you can't use a tripod, or don't like lugging it around while hiking, a monopod is almost as good. You're goal is to shoot as slow a shutter speed as possible, but you probably can't handhold the camera at less than 1/30 second, which is still a little fast. A monopod and good technique will allow you to shoot down to 1/4 or 1/2 second, without camera motion blur.

04-16-2012, 03:36 AM   #20
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Just for me personally, when I am shooting waterfalls, I try to use Tv mode and set the shutter speed for what I want. If I have a tripod, I will got for 1/4 second or 1/2 second. If I am handholding, I usually decide based on the lens I am using -- but usually more of a maximum of 1/10 second. Filters are useful to help you cut down on glare and get a longer shutter speed without stopping down too much (at f22 photos start getting soft because of something called diffraction).

You have a good first start. Keep working on it.
04-16-2012, 04:16 AM   #21
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GREAT tips everyone! Thank you so much! I didn't consider shooting in Tv - so that should prove to be helpful. I will have to see if my camera has ISO 100 - maybe it's in an extended setting. (??) When I look at standard ISO it seems to only go as low as 200. Camera body is k-x.
04-16-2012, 05:12 AM   #22
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Here's a limited (but varied) selection of my recent shots from Iguazu Falls in Argentina. I'd be interested to hear if anyone thinks a polariser would have helped. All hand held.
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04-16-2012, 06:46 PM   #23
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On the second shot a polarizing filter may have cut the glare off the mist allowing you to see down the valley more, I've never actually tried using it for that purpose though.

As far as slower shutter speeds go I rather like the look of a stopped waterfall, the shaving cream dispenser can get old in a hurry and a lot of the power of the water is lost that way. I only blur things if I want to turn it into a gently flowing mist. It would be my opinion that sj71's 2nd pic would not look as good blurred as it does frozen.

04-16-2012, 09:18 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by smilinjenn71 Quote
When I look at standard ISO it seems to only go as low as 200. Camera body is k-x.
I have a K-r but it's probably the same - Custom Settings Page -> Expanded Sensitivity -> Set it to ON.

Oh also, here's a long exposure shot I did the other day, it's not water, but see how you get weird effects if there's a strong wind blowing in to the trees. Kinda looks cool but you might not want it in your shots, so that's something to be watchful of when doing looong exposures. I did it here because I wanted to make the people on the bridge disappear - was a busy day and there were people constantly walking across it. ><

58 seconds exposure, f 22, and I think I had my ND filter at like...I dunno... 5 stops or something.

If you do shots at f22 though, make sure your sensor/lens/filter is clean! I had so many dust spots on this! Ordered a sensor cleaning kit as soon as I got home.
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04-17-2012, 07:30 PM   #25
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I purchased a K-r just over a year ago and came to this forum at about the same time. I immediately took the advice of many by purchasing a copy of "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson. It is a GREAT resource for anyone new to DSLR/SLR photography. The two photos I've attached were among my very first attempts at waterfall photography. I took the advice in the book and procured a neutral density filter AND a polarizing filter. It may seem odd, but I think I took some shots with BOTH attached to my lens. The neutral density allows you to use longer shutter speed in bright light, while the polarizer affects glare off the water. You can tell a dramatic difference between the shot with the polarizer and the one without. Both were taken at .6 second shutter speed at f32, manual exposure on my 18-55 kit lens at 35mm.

The shot with the polarizer removes a lot of reflected glare from the surface of the water, and the blue sky and clouds are more defined. Notice how the leaves under the water in the forground are more pronounced.

I took many other photos that day...and I have to admit I didn't have any family or friends around while I experimented. I also used a tri-pod.

I would not have known how to approach these shots without the lessons from the Peterson book, and I've never taken a photography class.

Keep after it!
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04-17-2012, 09:43 PM   #26
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Sandy Hancock... A polarizer can be problematic on wide angle shots with lots of blue sky in them. This is because the polarizing effect is not uniform. It is dependent on the angle of the light. A polarizer is most effective, when the light is coming from an angle perpendicular to the lens axis.

With a very wide angle shot, such as your first two, because they are so wide, the angle of the sunlight varies quite a bit from one side of the image to the other. When that happens, you can often see a very (VERY) noticeable difference, particularly in the blue sky. One side will be much, much darker than the other. I took a couple of shots in the Caribbean and it spoiled what was otherwise a pretty nice shot. I shot it with my Pentax K10D, the 18-55mm kit lens at 18mm and a Cokin polarizer. One side was a very pale, robin's egg blue, while the opposite side was a deep, deep royal blue. It did not look at all natural.

Don't get me wrong. Polarizers have their place. But, like almost everything else, they have their limits.

When I've shot waterfalls, it never occured to me to use a polarizer; just neutral density filters.
04-18-2012, 04:38 PM   #27
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Thanks for all of the great and helpful replies! Gotta check the settings on my camera, thank you Tom Woj! And yes, I have "Understanding Exposure" too, Tonyr99.....love that book! It's been of great help and I've learned a lot. I do believe I'll still need a filter to stop down enough for that pretty-cotton-candy-effect though. Now to decide polarizing or ND......aww heck, I think I should buy both!
04-28-2012, 10:39 AM   #28
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I use both a polarizor and a 3 stop (or 2stop for 52 mm filters) ND filter for waterfalls. the ND filter slows the shutter down while the polarizor reduces the reflections. Here is one of my first waterfall pics from last summer with my camera handheld braced on a fence post (3seconds). A little improvising in a difficult location.


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