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04-11-2012, 04:30 AM   #1
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Waterfalls without Polarizing filter?

We are going to Appalachian State this weekend with our son. We want to visit a couple of waterfalls and I would love to get some pictures. I've read online that I really need a polarizing filter but I don't have one and with the time crunch, can't order online. Soooo, am I wasting my time trying to get shots of the waterfalls, without the filter? Obviously, I'll be carrying my camera anyway for other pictures but if waterfall pics will be a waste of time, I don't want to haul my tripod too.

Thanks for any and all responses! You all ROCK!
~Jenn


04-11-2012, 04:39 AM   #2
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No Jenn. You won't be wasting your time shooting without that filter. You'll do just fine if you apply some consideration to the shutter speed when you're there to create effects like motion blur in the flowing water. Without a polarising filter, your blues won't be as nicely saturated and there will be more glare in your images but that's not a deal breaker in getting decent results. An even more important filter in my mind for daytime shooting of waterfalls is a neutral density filter. The tripod IMO is a must. In any case just enjoy the shoot and hope it works out for you.
04-11-2012, 04:54 AM   #3
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Thank you for the speedy and intelligent reply Ash! I'll follow your advice, go for it and if nothing else, learn a lot!
04-11-2012, 05:02 AM   #4
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I can only second Ash's comments, and add that I've often photographed waterfalls with nothing more than a protective UV filter. If the falls are in shade, or if you can shoot before the sun comes up or after it goes down, then you don't have as much trouble with glare. The hardest falls to shoot, whether or not you have a polarizer, are those which are partly in sun and partly in shade, especially if the shade is really dark. A graduated ND filter would be good in those conditions. Of course, you need a tripod and remote or cable shutter release for the longer exposures.

Don't forget to bracket your shots, too.

04-11-2012, 05:35 AM   #5
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Ummm Tamia, I'm not sure what bracketing is or how to do it.
04-11-2012, 06:03 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by smilinjenn71 Quote
Ummm Tamia, I'm not sure what bracketing is or how to do it.
Bracketing is a kind of hedging your bets. To bracket, shoot a series of images of your subject while altering exposure in regular increments, underexposing or overexposing up to one or two full stops (1.0 or 2.0 EV), depending on conditions. This makes it more likely that at least one shot will be exactly what you're looking for.
04-11-2012, 06:15 AM   #7
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If you have a K10d or newer Pentax camera, if you look in the menu you'll find a multi-capture feature. It can take up to 9 frames, and then combine them. You'll need a tripod, but as long as you use a longer exposure and this feature, you'll be able to get reasonably long-looking exposures without a filter.
04-11-2012, 06:56 AM   #8
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Ooohhh OK Tamia - easy enough....thanks! I have a k-x, will have to look in the manual.

04-11-2012, 08:10 AM   #9
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Jenn, I have spent a looooot of time in Appalachia with my camera. Even if you don't plan to shoot waterfalls, bring a tripod if you can. It's surprisingly dark in the forest, and being forced to shoot everything at high ISO/wide aperture/slow shutter speeds is a drag.
04-11-2012, 08:41 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by v5planet Quote
Jenn, I have spent a looooot of time in Appalachia with my camera. Even if you don't plan to shoot waterfalls, bring a tripod if you can. It's surprisingly dark in the forest, and being forced to shoot everything at high ISO/wide aperture/slow shutter speeds is a drag.

Will do....thank you!
04-11-2012, 09:11 AM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Tamia Quote
you need a tripod and remote or cable shutter release for the longer exposures.

Ideally good for the timing of the pic, but... If a cable release or remote is not avalable or practical - one could usually get away with the self timer setings
04-12-2012, 05:13 AM   #12
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the timer will serve you well, even if you just set the camera on a rock instead of a tripod. Play with shutter speeds and exposures, you'll be sure to get a couple keepers.
04-12-2012, 05:55 AM   #13
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What is the purpose of using a polarizer when shooting a waterfall in the first place?
04-12-2012, 06:45 AM   #14
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Mostly to remove the haze from suspended water droplets and glare from wet rocks. You can also, if the flow is laminar, better see through the water to the rocks behind. If it's shady, the polarizer will be of less value.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ter-or/4765003361/in/set-72157624428671784/

This longer exposure probably would have benefited from the polarizer:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ter-or/4765003619/in/set-72157624428671784/
04-12-2012, 07:26 PM   #15
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I have a couple of CPL's (one for each ring size) but when shooting waterfalls it's the ND filters I reach for personally...

Even without ND's it's a tripod you'll be needing more than anything...
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