I often spend grey overcast days searching for new places. I’m using some apps on my smartphone to check when (and if) the sun will light up the scene or maybe if the moon decides to show up one night.

If I’m not in the mood for new places then I go visit some waterfalls, rivers or streams. Even if the light is flat its possible to create beautiful images. I’d thought I’d share some of my techniques with you in this post.

First of all you have to find yourself some running water. I Norway that is not a big problem, but maybe it is for you. The next thing is to find yourself a composition and that’s often a bigger problem for most people. I often fail here, but I’ll share my five top tips with you.

  1. Curves in the water flow often gives a nice line into the picture. If you can combine that curve with a waterfall, or any obvious point of interest, then you should start looking for place to put your camera.
  2. Rocks partly covered by the water flowing will make beautiful objects. Look for mossy rocks, colored rocks or even many rocks that create some kind of line into the image.
  3. If you manage to frame your image with either rocks, trees or other natural objects it will often result in a more pleasing composition. So look for some contrasts around your composition.
  4. Your light meter will most certainly overexpose your image the water flow if the water is white. The reason for this is simple. At any given time the water will reflect some light to your camera. But if you have a longer exposure the variations in the water will end up reflecting more than the light meter estimates. I often grab more than one frame and to some bracketing afterwards.
  5. Waterfalls with long exposures will create a dreamy look, but what you often want is a crisp surrounding. Around a waterfall there are often wind. This wind will make the leaves and grass move. So I often combine different timed images in a time bracket, basically what you want is the same aperture but different times. And then you blend these together. Some times I do have to adjust the ISO setting to get what I want, but as long as its within reasonable values it will work out quite OK.

So there you go. My top five tips for waterfalls. Below is my attempt. Do you like it?f

Frozen fall
Frozen fall