A Flowing Melody

 

 

Waterfalls look good when photographed on overcast days as the soft light compliments the lush greenery. Exposure: 2sec at f/22 (ISO 200) Photograph/Rajesh Bhattacharjee

Waterfalls look good when photographed on overcast days as the soft light compliments the lush greenery. Exposure: 2sec at f/22 (ISO 200) Photograph/Rajesh Bhattacharjee

Rajesh Bhattacharjee delves into the beauty and harmony of waterfalls in the forest.

My Assignment 

  • Description: To capture the beauty and flow of rushing forest streams and waterfalls using slow shutterspeeds.
  • Duration: Around 1 year (2 spring seasons).
  • Notes: Experiment with different shutterspeeds and make sure you have your tripod with you always.

Moving water is one of the most beautiful spectacles of nature. After shifting to USA, I was fascinated by waterfalls situated in the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern states. I particularly enjoyed shooting small waterfalls and streams, as I could enter the water, and find various shapes and swirls within it.

I wanted to lay more emphasis on the dynamic characteristic of the waterfall and the energy of the stream.

Abundant moss contrasts well with the the stream. This makes the electric green colour seem more prominent. Exposure: 1/4sec at f/13 (ISO 200).Photograph/Rajesh Bhattacharjee

My Perspective
I love nature and cherish the moments I spend in its lap. Nothing gives me more joy than treks through lush green forests. At the end of the trail, I am rejuvenated by the sounds of the rushing stream. Usually these streams lie in complete seclusion and are camouflaged from the main trek route. I wanted to capture the intricate shapes and the dynamic nature of the flow.

The Process
With the help of a slow shutterspeed, I was able to render a smooth look to the flow of the river. And though the resultant effect was soft flowing water, the dynamism of the waterfall was something I did not wish to lose. Instead, I wanted to lay more emphasis on the energy of the stream. While composing the frame, I made sure that I made a picture wherein the viewer’s eyes smoothly move along the length of the flowing waterfall. After a while, I began including subjects like rocks and leaves to create an element of interest.

I noticed the moving bubbles forming a swirl and I changed my frame in order to give them more prominence. Exposure: 3sec at f/11. Photograph/Rajesh Bhattacharjee

I noticed the moving bubbles forming a swirl and I changed my frame in order to give them more prominence. Exposure: 3sec at f/11. Photograph/Rajesh Bhattacharjee

My Equipment
I use a Nikon D50 and D7000 with two lenses—a 12–24mm for wide shots and an 18–135mm lens. However, any camera that allows manual controls and offers either the Bulb mode or slow shutterspeeds of up to 30sec, can work just as well.

  While Attempting to Capture Waterfalls

  • Go Close: Try to go up close to convey the force and dynamic flow of the water. You can even use a wide angle lens for more impactful photos.  
  • Use Different Shutterspeeds: Shutterspeeds of about 1/8sec render the dynamic and fast flow of water beautifully and a 2sec–30sec shutterspeed will make the water look like cotton candy.
  • Shoot RAW: To extract maximum shadow and highlight details during postprocessing, shoot in RAW. Also, make sure that you capture multiple shots of the same frame with different exposures. Later, you can decide which one gives you the best detail after RAW processing.

 

Tags: better photography, july 2012, long exposures, Nature, On Assignment, Rajesh Bhattacharjee, Slow shutterspeed technique, Waterfalls