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Force of nature

By AM74
The magical Iguazo Falls- at the border of Argentina and Brazil. These falls are made up of 270+ falls, with Devil's Throat the biggest of all, which can be seen in the pic to the left ( the low one)
Photographing waterfalls is a fairly new experiment for me. The shots that I really like of waterfalls i.e. a silky sheet of water were not possible to do as I was not carrying a tripod. Took a lot of holiday style shots but none that can go on the living room wall just yet!

Tags: Landscape and travel Waterfalls landscapes

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banehawi Plus
16 2.3k 4163 Canada
19 Jan 2019 12:46AM
This is a wish I was there image.

Difficult conditions with that haze, but youve done quite well. Its likely too bright anyway for a milky water effect.

Post processing can correct for the -2/3, which was a good idea for the mist, but darkened the tress and foliage.

Ive tried to do this in the mod, and cropped a little off the top so that tiny patch of sky is not visible.

Ive added vibrancy as the colour looks a little dull.

If you have a circular polarizer filter it might have helped with cutting through haze, and given denser colours, but without it or the tripod you've done well.


19 Jan 2019 12:51AM
Hi Annie. Wow... that is one serious waterfall, and well photographed. You've really caught the power of it, and I can think of nothing that could significantly improve it. Technically everything looks fine to me as well, and your shutter speed was fast enough to handhold 105mm.
But there is one thing that concerns me a little...
You say in your description you would have liked to have been able to take a long exposure shot. But would rendering those falls as "a silky sheet of water" actually have communicated the awesome thunderous power that's so obvious in your picture? Would it have been true to the nature of the subject? I very much doubt it. Personally I think it would have killed the whole thing. I'm biased though... I prefer water that looks like water, rather than ectoplasm. But that's just a personal opinion.
Anyway I think you should be well pleased with the result you got, I sure would have been happy with it.
Thanks for posting it.

Tooma Plus
4 2.1k 3 Scotland
19 Jan 2019 1:11AM
Great looking image, Annie; what a place to visit.
Since you had shot at a 400th, and it looked like there was a lot of detail in there, I was curious to try using a Haze Removal filter, not over the all of the image, but most of it, then give it an HDR treatment to get to the details, and control the contrast. I then added some black back in, a little vibrancy, warmed it up with an orange filter, de-noised, and sharpened a little. I think the water looks more powerful and dynamic now. What you reckon?
dudler Plus
17 1.3k 1698 England
19 Jan 2019 8:13AM

What a sight...

I believe in taking the shot that you can, rather than worrying about the one you can't: and I suspect that a tripod wasn't something you could afford, weightwise, to add to your camera bag. so while a 'liquid water' shot would be interesting, it wasn't feasible. Ideally, you'd have shot both, and decided which conveyed what you saw better.

Having said that, I suspect that Alan's right, and that a slow shutter speed wouldn't have captured the sheer power of this scene: I might have been tempted to experiment with an even higher shutter speed - depth of field isn't an issue with a distant scene, and you could afford to open up the diaphragm to f/8 (or even f/4, to be honest). There might be a minor trade-off in the lens not being at the optimum aperture, but catching sparkling water in mid-fall may make up for it...
paulbroad 13 131 1289 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2019 9:05AM
Generally a decent image. It is a touch under and, as Willie says, that was possibly a good idea at the time. This is one to work with the dodge tool, brightening areas as necessary to give that bit of lift. I would sharpen a bit too.

Both the mods show what it should look like.

19 Jan 2019 2:25PM
...And although you may not like my particular take on it, because it's very subjective and more the kind of thing I might have ended up with myself, you could always take the b&w route. That could give you the freedom of a more direct emotional response, and rather than be concerned with technical accuracy, with the way some might tell you it should look, you could ignore all that and go for the primordial 'Dawn of Creation' look. I'm assuming that, after all, it was quite an emotional experience for you at the time, so that would seem to me to be an appropriate way to approach it.
( b&w conversion with some help from Nik Silver Efex Pro ) OK, not for everyone I'll admit, but it's just an alternative way of looking at it.

mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.3k 2266 United Kingdom
19 Jan 2019 2:51PM
'Silky water' is really about creating an ethereal, lighter-than-air effect. A bit like a floating bridal veil of mist. It can work with relatively simple cascades, when you have a complex series of falls it becomes problematic for me. I see this as being about shock and awe, the terrifying volume, weight, power of the water, and that needs a sense of substance.

Plus one problem of slow shutter speed used near to midday is that with the sun overhead you risk massive overexposure on upward-facing surfaces.

So I'm quite happy to stick with your approach, and I would like to get a bit more substance, texture into the water. My instinctive approach would be to darken highlights, use the burn tool very gently, low exposure, large brush, set to midtones, to protect highlights, then a bit more brightness and a Levels adjustment.

I like the inclusion of the headland and tree foreground left, they connect the distant view to where we are standing. It does need that tiny crop at the top, the tiny intruding bits of sky are annoying once you spot them. Also on the right there's a cut-off bit of a cascade, better without that.

Alan's b&w conveys the sense of mystery to me. And by using a dark vignette he simplifies the content without losing breadth. That's worth considering. Once I have made my adjustments I might just look at a different b&w treatment.

OK that's my task for this afternoon, I shall give it a whirl...
19 Jan 2019 10:59PM
Thanks to all you pros for your technical input and the fantastic mods! There is so much critique here to learn from. I am glad I posted the shot and got examples and guidance rather than butchering it myself.
Alan and Moira, you have convinced me that this was not the place for a long exposure shot!
I love the warmth and vibrancy in Willie's and Tom's mods as the original was a bit cold, the glamour in Michael's and the mystery in the B&W of Alan's and Moira's even though they are different. Moira's coloured mod is the closest to the original image but a much better version with the burning plus cropping Smile
My favourite is Tom's, and I love what you have done with haze removal filter, orange filter and HDR! There is so much detail in your mod!
I think I did try a few different settings including a lower F stop John and I will have a look through all my shots and compare and reflect.
Many thanks again.

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