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on Oct 12, 2012 in Landscape Photography

“What do you See?”

“What do you see?” This is a question I get a lot and there’s good reason for it. I’m simply not normal! This is a prime example, we go to beautiful Jackson Falls this morning and everyone heads to the falls, I go the opposite direction. Folks have on wider lenses and I have on tele. They are pointing them up, I’m pointing mine down. It’s just me, but shooting a waterfall with a slow shutter just because I can doesn’t produce most of the time a photograph I like. And while that is the essences of the waterfall for most, that noisy crash and spray, I like the calm waters. So that’s where I tend to gravitate to when I go to photograph flowing water.

The other thing that personally works against my going to those big, overall waterfall shots all the time is sense of scale. I recently included a shot of one of the tallest waterfalls in No Am in a slideshow. It’s little known so no one in the audience except me knew just how tall it was. Ya, I could have done something about it when I took the photo but in those few seconds of the image on the screen, doubt you would have seen the scale. So for these reason and more, when I tend to do what you see here. And that leads to the question again, “What do you see?”

So what you see here is what I “saw” and then what I saw in making these images. You still don’t know scale, have no idea if the water feature is the size of a quarter or as big as a log. But you do get a little sense that what stopped me is what normally doesn’t stop others. As I said, I’m just different.

The way I go about making these images is pretty simple. I walk along the creek looking at the bubbles. We’re photographing the bubbles the water creates as it turns over the rocks. I look for simple contrast, white against the dark. When I see something I think I like, I set up the shot (D4 w/70-200VR2) and take a quick click. If I see something I like, I proceed to the next step (often, I keep on going). Next step is to dial in the shutter speed. I simply change the aperture to lower or raise my shutter speed. When I find the speed I like the best, I will shot 20+ images of the one water feature. This is because each and everyone is different. I make my selection which I like the best in post. So, I hope this long winded post answers at least for this one example, what I saw.