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Shooting Water Tips Update — Pictures From Yosemite

Capturing Waterfalls in Yosemite

I was fortunate enough to visit Yosemite for a few days this week. I had an outstanding time walking around with another photographer, capturing the park over 3 beautiful days. During my time in the park I captured a number of very large and impressive waterfalls that Yosemite is so famous for. I followed all of the guidance I outlined in a previous post. In particular, I shot all of the falls a number of times with different shutter speeds, looking for different patterns in the falls as they shifted under their flow as well as with the changing wind.

I thought I’d show you a few fascinating examples of how much water shifts in just a few seconds as it pushes over the cliffs. These three images are all shot just seconds apart. Note how much they vary in form, size and even distance from the cliff behind them:

Bridalveil Fall  #1 Bridalveil Fall #2 Bridalveil Fall  #3
Bridalveil Fall #1

They’re taken only 10-15 seconds apart and are quite different! I actually have 32 similar images of this waterfall, all shot over the course of two hours at “Tunnel View” as we waited for the perfect light. Which final version I select as “my best” to work on will depend on the shape and form of the water, as well as the lighting from the setting sun and passing clouds. Isn’t it nice to have choices?! These examples are just a sneak preview of what will eventually be a final piece of art.

As an additional example, take a look at these three images of Upper Yosemite Falls, all shot only seconds apart. Note how much the wind changes and completely altered the look of the waterfall:

Upper Yosemite Falls #1 Upper Yosemite Falls #2 Upper Yosemite Falls #3
Upper Yosemite Falls #1

I knew the wind was going to add a lot of motion blur, so I captured them at an extremely high shutter speed (1/5000th of a second) to ensure I could freeze the wisps of mist being blown off the falls.

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