It was a good day for taking photos of waterfalls yesterday.
I’d read a bit about how to do it, and practised the technique with a bathroom tap, trying to get that smooth, soft water effect that seems to be compulsory for waterfall shots in magazines.
And where better to try it for real than on a hike with my fellow amateur snapper Duncan down the evocatively named Valley of the Waters, in the Blue Mountains just outside Sydney? Here’s what we learned…
1. Weather. I’d read that it’s easier to get a good waterfall shot on a cloudy day. Full sun reflecting off the water gives too much contrast and makes exposure hard to control. Perfect- yesterday the mountains were shrouded in mist, with accompanying drizzle.
2. Camera settings. I’m not an expert in using manual settings and I have a camera (Canon 500D) that knows more about getting it right than I do. So I used the ‘Tv’ (‘Time value’) setting, switched the timer to a one second exposure and let the camera make all the other decisions.
3. Tripod. I should have carried one. I didn’t. Your hand can shake quite a lot in one second. So I was reduced to improvising a tripod in every shot, perching the camera on a rock, feet sometimes on dry land, sometimes strategically placed in the water. To avoid the inevitable shake while pressing the shutter I set the camera to a two second delay…pressed and stepped back.
4. You can’t get it all in. Wentworth Falls are 187metres high, in three tiers. So from close up it’s impossible to fit the whole cascade into one shot, with my camera at least. This shouldn’t matter. From where we were the top of the falls was hidden in the mist, and I liked the effect.
5. Less can be more. Some of the shots I liked the most were not of the majestic, pounding, awe-inspiring waterfall kind. I aimed the camera at points where little rivulets were streaming between textured rocks.
Valley of the Waters is just off the Great Western Highway out of Sydney, by the village of Wentworth Falls.
To see the inzoomable details of our route, from the Conservation Hut along National Pass and back across the Undercliff Track, CLICK HERE.