I took a short walk in the Blue Mountains yesterday, with camera at the hip. A storm was on its way, and I’d read that gloomy weather is ideal for taking shots of waterfalls.
I wanted to practise getting that ‘soft water’ effect, popular on postcard and poster shots. It’s phoney of course, but it’s satisfying when you can make a shot look something like what the pros can manage. A bit of photoshopping was required too – another learning experience for me.
Grey days make waterfall shooting easier because direct sunlight catching on spray causes too much contrast, or tricks the automatic settings on the camera into thinking that the surroundings are brighter than they are.
The Leura Cascades are modest as waterfalls go. The first step was to point and shoot.
All very well and good, but my aim was to try for that soft water. So I switched the camera to Tv mode, and set the exposure to 1 second. I had no tripod with me, so I set the self timer to “2 second” mode, strategically placed the camera on a rock, pressed the shutter and stepped back.
This was the result.
No too bad, but I felt that the surroundings looked a bit washed out and uninteresting.
So over to Photoshop in Lightroom 3. I followed a little tutorial on YouTube, then using Develop/Effects/Vignette I slightly darkened the corners of the frame, focussing the attention on the water and adding a little magic to the atmosphere.
Here’s the final shot again…