It doesn’t snow often in the lower elevations of the Pacific Northwest, but when it does opportunity abounds for beautiful photography. Silver Falls State Park, and the Trail of Ten Falls is a favorite. Ten major waterfalls are accessible in an 8 mile loop, four of them over 100 feet high.
If you’re going out in the winter to photograph waterfalls, here are a few tips for better pictures:
Bring a Tripod: To give water the smooth silky effect you see in most photographs of waterfalls, you’ll want to use a slow shutter speed when taking your pictures (a fifthteenth of a second or longer). Unless you don’t care about focus, you’ll need a tripod to keep the camera still.
Take multiple exposures: Snow will frequently fool the light meter in your camera causing you to under-expose your images and make the white snow look gray. If you have a small point and shoot there’s usually a “snow” option in the program mode. Other cameras allow you to adjust the exposure. In snow scenes you’ll want to overexpose your image about one f-stop.
Bring a Lens Cloth: Snow makes things wet and so does the spray from a waterfall if you get close or the wind is blowing your direction. Your lens is going to get wet and you’ll need something to keep it dry.
Be Creative: Photographing waterfalls from a variety of angles will yield more good shots, you’ll have fun getting them, and will impress your friends and family too. Take photographs from up high or down by the ground, include trees and other foreground elements, and vary your lens from wide angle to zoom. In the digital world, every additional photo you take is free.
- Have fun and be safe!
On location photography, Portland Oregon photographer Adam Bacher.