Waterfalls are one of the wonders of Mother Nature. And when it comes to Iguazu Falls in Argentina, Mother Nature has outdone herself . . . judging from the photographs I've seen. That is why I am excited to photograph the falls in December 2016 – as a prelude to the Abercrombie & Kent Antarctica Expedition cruise. I'll be the photo pro/coach on the entire trip, helping guests make great pictures along the way.
This will be my first visit to Iguazu Falls. I have, however, photographed waterfalls all over the world – Iceland being one of my favorite waterfall photography locations.
In this post I'll share with you some tips, using my Iceland photographs as illustrations, for getting great waterfall images. Here goes.
Tote a tripod. Moving water looks most pleasing when it's blurred. To get the blurred, silky-water effect you need to shoot at a slow shutter speed – from 1/5th of a second to several seconds. To steady your camera during the long exposure, you'll need a tripod.
Keep it clean. The mist created by the flowing water can create a beautiful rainbow, but it can also ruin a photograph, as illustrated above. Clean the front element of your lens with a microfiber cloth before you take a picture – every picture.
Pack a polarizing filter. A polarizing filter can help reduce glare on water, so it's a good accessory for photographing waterfalls – as well as for photographing the ice we will see in Antarctica.
Expose for the highlights. White water against dark rocks creates a tricky exposure situation. To ensure that the water is not overexposed, activate your camera's highlight alert and check for "blinkies." If you do get "blinkies," reduce your exposure. HDR (high dynamic range) photography is also a good way to get a good exposure. The photograph above is an HDR image. Here, too, you'll need a tripod. If this all sounds a bit complicated, don't worry, I'll be there to help you get the best exposure.
Try a panorama. You'll need a very wide-angle lens to get a wide view of Iguazu Falls. Even so, you may not be able to get all of the falls in the scene. That's where a pano comes in. Again, I'll be there to help you get a pano, but to process your pano, you will need either Photoshop or Lightroom.
Camera suggestions. There is an old adage, "Cameras don't take pictures, people do." I used a professional Canon digital SLR and Canon L-series lenses for my Iceland photographs, but my wife Susan used an iPhone to take this photograph. Susan will be on the trip to help smartphone photographers get, that's right, smart photographs.
One more tip: Try not to place the horizon line in the center of the frame. Dead center can be deadly.
We hope to see you at the falls and at the bottom of the world, where our home base will be the M/V Le Boreal, pictured above.
Here is a directly link to the A&K site.
Feel free to shoot me an email if you have a photography question.
Explore the light,
Want to make better photographs of a wide variety of subjects? Check out my latest (and 36th) book: Creative Visualization for Photographers.