Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Labský vodopád, Czech Republic

I have a thing for water - there is something in it, that draws me and keeps engaged with the subject for a long time. Maybe it's because no two photographs of running water can look the same. Maybe it's because it's somewhat like a fire - constantly moving in ways only our intuition can follow.

I took this shot this summer and it's one of my favourites. Waterfall has at least few different spots from where you can take beautiful photos of it. Nevertheles, this one I like the most. Tell me what do you think about it?

Canon 5D Mark III
31 mm · f/11 · 1.3 s · ISO 100
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Nathan Klich's picture

I wish I could take photos half as good as that. How do you do it? LOL

Andrzej Muzaj's picture

Thanks for the kind words, Nathan. As for tips on how to take such a photograph (any photograph, to be honest) and to become better at photography I follow these guidelines:

Plan ahead (if you can) - know what you want to shoot and in what way. What’s the condition gonna look like? What gear you have to take with you? How you gonna shoot it - wide or tele? Etc. In this particular case - I didn’t know much about scene. I knew I wanted to shoot this waterfall but I didn’t know how did it look like, what’s the conditions gonna be or from which direction light will fall. But I did bring my tripod, polarizer and cable remote apart of my camera and lenses.

Find an interesting subject - subject is one of the things that can make or break the photo. So take time to find something that interests you, know it, observe it, find an interesting way to show it.

Composition - most important thing to me. Still struggle to harness it. ;) Take your time to look for it and don’t rush it. You’ll know it, when you see it. It’s the „AHA” moment when you look through a viewfinder or at the back of your screen (if you you a LiveView mode).

Tech Specs - what aperture do I need, how much depth of field, what shutter speed and ISO? What program should I use? Do I need a tripod or a filter? Do I need to bracket or focus stack? Use the right tools in the field to help you out later with the post-processing.

Post-processing - it brings your RAW file to the point where it matches your vision, that forms around point 2 and 3. Usually RAW files look nothing like what you saw, and in many situations you need more than one of them to make a photo you’ve wanted (like blending exposures, focus stacking, time blending, etc.)

So, to sum it up - for this photo I knew I would shoot some waterfall, so I took my tripod, filters, lenses and cable release. I spent around 1,5 hrs around this waterfall shooting it from different points and perspectives. I was happy enough with this frame to post-process it further, enhancing colors, contrast, etc. - everything I needed to match it the things I’ve envisioned looking at the scene.

I've updated the EXIF data, so maybe it will be easier for you to understand my settings. :)

Hope it was helpful for you. Give me a shout if you have any questions! :)