Earlier this week someone contacted me on Instagram to purchase this photo I took at Bear Creek Falls in White Haven, Pennsylvania in 2018. While the Instagram image was fine, I did need to adjust it for printing. To be honest, it wasn’t one of my favorite shots from this location, but after reworking it and cleaning things up a bit, I quickly changed my mind.
This image was taken using a Sony 24-240 f/3.5-6.3 lens with a 1 second exposure to really bring out the silky water effects, which I am loving in the stream towards the bottom of the photo. Long-exposure photography is something I continue getting better at. There are so many considerations when shooting like this, each decision interplays and impacts the others in good (or bad) ways, especially with waterfalls.
Firstly, you really need a good tripod as the shutter will be open and any vibration or even a wind gust will just screw the shot completely. I use a Manfroto 290x tripod and a Sirui K-20x ball head to give me a good balance between stability and portability. With the shutter open for a full second, the light coming into the sensor also needs to be handled. For this I have a Hoya 72mm variable ND filter. Getting the right balance of light filtering takes a bit of jiggering around until you get used to it, but it works great to really slow down the shutter speed. I try not to go lower than ISO 200 for these, and it worked well with the f/8 aperture.
In post, I find that these long exposure shots with the Sony really exaggerate the greens in the image, so I used On1 Photo to desaturate and slightly darken the green channel. I also had to tweak the highlights in the waterfall, fixing some of the blown out areas.
Overall, I am extremely happy with the way that this came out. If you are interested in a print of Bear Creek Falls, or any of my other images, head on over to the store and grab one 🙂
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