Before he came to work for the Mail Tribune as the Creative Services Producer, Dustin Peters of Eagle Point won the People’s Choice vote in 2014 with his photo of National Creek Falls. We asked him for tips for taking great waterfall shots.
“It’s easier than ever to take great photos of waterfalls, even with your smartphone,” Peters says. “As with any photo, composition is everything. My first suggestion is to follow the rule of thirds. Many smartphones and digital cameras have a feature where you can turn on guides that overlay on your screen to help compose your image. When composing my images, I always try to line up points of interest along the guides, for a nice balanced image.”
When taking photos of waterfalls, it’s important to try to show scale, he says. “Having foreground objects to show depth in your image will quickly catch your viewer’s attention. Compose your shot so that there are smaller, closer objects in view, such as downed trees, rocks, foliage or even a person.”
National Creek Falls
To capture that magical misty appearance, you will need a long exposure and a tripod or base, like a rock, to keep the camera still. Once you find the your composition, Peters recommends setting a high ƒ stop (ƒ-22 or ƒ-12), low ISO (50-100) and long shutter speed (1 second or more). “But there isn’t a magic combination of any of these settings, as your lighting conditions may vary,” he notes. “Putting your camera on a two to five second timer would be good to eliminate any shake you might introduce to the camera while pressing the shutter button.”