Waterfalls, grand landscapes, sea views and intimate details really speak to me. So much beauty in large and small spaces.
There is a running joke in landscape photography that people travel to famous locations like Point Lobos or Yosemite in order to find the tripod holes used by Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, or David Meunch. Well of course they do; these are indeed special places! But in truth, location is perhaps the most trivial part of making a photograph; only after you get there does the real work of making an image occur.
Every photographer brings a new and different set of skills and interpretation to the task of image making, with the hope of creating something new and personal. Musicians, vocal and instrumental, have always built on the work of their predecessors and acknowledge that in their own work. So I thank Carl Heilman, Chris Tennant, Adam Baker, Hardie Truesdale and Nathan Farb for sharing such fine and prodigious work in the place I live, not so I can duplicate their work, but to find my own expression.
“You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”
Waterfalls are one of the hardest photographic subjects. Scene dynamic ranges can be far wider than any camera, digital or film, can capture. And in fact, no camera sees the same way the human eye ... so all photography has adopted ways to bring images into alignment with vision. In the darkroom, film photographers dodged and burned areas of the print to reflect the human eye's ability to see into dark and light areas equally well. With digital, we do this in an image editing programs like Photoshop and Lightroom. Special techniques are available for digital processing than can help tame this problem. So yes, Photoshop or an equivalent tool is absolutely necessary to obtain a final image that matches your vision.
One technique which opened up waterfall photography for me is HDR (High Dynamic Range) imaging. Most HDR photography you see today emphasizes the exotic looking image. However, HDR software is fully capable of producing highly detailed, natural looking images that capture the full dynamic range of water fall scenes. The newest versions of Camera Raw and Lightroom add impressive HDR possibilities while maintaining the DNG format for RAW processing.
I have made a number of friends through the Internet and Flickr all of whom love to photograph waterfalls. Many have helped me find new locations and provided image critiques that were valuable. In this same spirit, all of the downloadable material on this web site, but not images, is free. Much of it is available elsewhere but I think I have presented it in a more useful format.
If you find this material useful, you can help support the addition of new location information by using the Amazon links on the Books page. These links provide a small referral fee that will cover server fees but does not increase your cost for the books.
For each location there is a short PDF, containing what I believe will be useful information for first time visitors. There is a separate download containing a Google Earth KML file. Google Earth is a wonderful, and FREE, mapping utility that allows you to 'pin' locations that are important to you. If you have Google Earth installed, simply double-clicking a KML file will add these pins automatically. Google Earth can also give travel directions. Grab the Using Google Earth document (also on the Locations page) to see how to use the software and get directions. Did I say it was free? Free is good! I like free.
Find a bug? Want to ask a question? Add a new location? Send me an e-mail: wetbootphoto (at) gmail.com