Had to stay at work late tonight so today’s post will be rather short, and more photography tips than long funny story. I get a lot of questions about this shot so I figured it would be a good one to discuss. This shot was at Tom Creek Falls within the Hoh Rain Forest, which is part of Olympic National Park. To get there? That’s right, another 3 mile walk in from the campground/ranger station. It was an amazing walk, and so well worth it. Giant Sitka Spruce trees that are hundreds of years old. On the way out, I was rewarded with an encounter with a small herd of grazing Roosevelt Elk moving across the trail. I counted about 12 to 15. They were aware of me for sure, but not overly frightened. Great experience.
Anyways, the shot was created in full manual mode (which if you don’t shoot in then you should start experimenting with it, you will be rewarded). Drop the ISO as low as it will go (100 in the case of my Canon 40d) and raised the aperture to f22 (small opening) while using a Circular Polarizing filter. This has the affect of limiting the amount of light that will reach the sensor (or film if you are shooting old school). This means you’ll need to expose for longer, or in other words, a slower shutter speed. You would definitely want to have your camera locked down in a good, sturdy tripod and head. Shooting with the cable release or using the camera’s built-in timer settings to activate the shutter will increase your chance for sharper photos. Finally, if you can shoot in “live view” mode, that will lock up the mirror in most DSLR’s (I don’t know them all so there might some model out there that this doesn’t work on) you’ve just about done all you can to eliminate camera shake, which is important when doing long exposures.
What you’re after is to have the non-moving portions of the picture in crisp focus while capturing the blur motion of the water. Its good to experiment with different shutter speeds as well, as it can be a fine line of getting just the right amount of blur or blowing out the water by over-exposing. If you do overexpose, the water will be too bright and any detail of the motion will be lost. It’s free to take as many digital pictures as you can so you might as well take lots of them while you are there. Anyways, here is the shot. Hope you enjoy.