PDA

View Full Version : photographing waterfalls


Kittykat23uk
20th September 2010, 07:39 AM
Hi all,

what do I need in order to photograph waterfalls so that the water is nice and blurry? I know I'll need a tripod and a long shutter speed, but I presume I will need a filter to darken the light? Which one would you folks recommend? We'll be touring through Blyde river canyon so there will be opportunities for these shots and it might not be possible to choose the time of day. Also which lens would you recommend? I have the two kit lenses and the 70-300.:)

Thanks again,

Jo

theMusicMan
20th September 2010, 08:02 AM
Hi Jo

Yep, you're absolutely right - all you need to do is to reduce the light such that the water moves during the duration that the shutter is open, and then you'll end up with those nice smooth milky water shots you're after.

You can do this naturally, by finding a dimly lit section of the waterfall, or by getting there when the light is naturally dim such as dawn or dusk, or you can do this with the use of a filter.

You will need to get yourself what are called ND filters (Neutral Density). These simply reduce the amount of light getting to the sensor, in amounts depending on the type of filter you have. You can get ND2, ND4, ND8 which reduce the light by 1stop, 2 stops and 3 stops respectively, or you can get yourself the more expensive 10 stop whopper... the ND110. This is usually a screw in lens rather than one as part of a kit (to avoid light leakage around the outsides) and actually reduces the amount of light getting to the sensor by a huge 10 stops.

If you want to be able to use your filters with each lens, then you should consider a set such as the Cokin ND set. You then only purchase one set of filters that fit all your lenses. You need to ensure you have bought an adapter for each lens diameter so that the filter holder can then fit onto each lens.

You should also be aware that ND filters come in full or graduated forms. You would use the graduated filter for example when ensuring the sky and foreground are both correctly exposed. For waterfalls I'd use the full filters.

Hope this helps.

Zuiko
20th September 2010, 08:57 AM
Hi Jo,

John has already nailed the reply for you bur the only thing I would add is that luckily your kit lenses and the 70-300 all share the same 58mm filter size, so a screw-on filter will do just fine. If there is a possibility that you might buy another lens in future you could buy a bigger diameter filter and attach it to your kit lenses via a (cheap to buy) stepping ring.

For example, my standard lens is the 14-54 with a 67mm filter thread. I also have the 70-300 (58mm) and 9-18 (72mm). I only need one filter because I bought it in 77mm size. Why 77mm when my biggest lens is only 72mm? Well, the 9-18 is an ultra wide angle lens that is prone to vignetting with a filter attached and using an over-sized filter prevents that. I use a 72-77mm step-up ring for this.

To fit the filter on my 14-54 lens I use a 67-72mm step-up ring and for the 70-300 I use two stepping rings: 58-67mm and 67-77mm. This system works a treat and the stepping rings are very cheap to buy. The only drawback is that a 77mm filter is more expensive than a 58mm, but I do only need one filter to cover my entire range of lenses and, as John said, in the case of ND filters the screw type are more effective than the ones that slot into a filter holder.

For this type of filter I've found that Kood offers a good balance between quality and value for money and this shop stocks a good range of several different brands, including Kood, plus all the stepping rings you may need at reasonable prices http://www.surreyphotographyshop.co.uk/index.php

benvendetta
20th September 2010, 12:36 PM
Waterfalls are best photographed under flat lighting conditions, which will mean that there won't be loads of contrast. Also this will help in achieving longer shutter speeds.
I would agree with just about everything else that has already been said on the subject.

BTW John, where did you get your 10 stopper and what did it cost? I am thinking of getting one for a forthcoming holiday.

theMusicMan
20th September 2010, 12:42 PM
BTW John, where did you get your 10 stopper and what did it cost? I am thinking of getting one for a forthcoming holiday.

Dya know Dave, I can't remember to be honest. Online somewhere?? I remember ringing around a lot to see where they were in stock.

I'll have a trawl through my emails and see if I can find the details for you.

ndl0071
20th September 2010, 12:51 PM
Waterfalls are best photographed under flat lighting conditions, which will mean that there won't be loads of contrast. Also this will help in achieving longer shutter speeds.
I would agree with just about everything else that has already been said on the subject.

BTW John, where did you get your 10 stopper and what did it cost? I am thinking of getting one for a forthcoming holiday.

Not sure what size you need but I got mine from here, they seem to have most sizes.

http://www.fotosense.co.uk/catalogsearch/result/?q=nd+110&x=19&y=7

benvendetta
20th September 2010, 12:57 PM
Thanks for the info. Pricey but it is a B+W!

theMusicMan
20th September 2010, 01:00 PM
What lens you wanting to use it on Dave...?

ndl0071
20th September 2010, 01:01 PM
Pricey yes...but I've had mine for a couple of years now I can't fault the quality of B&W..:)

theMusicMan
20th September 2010, 01:07 PM
Though I have only had mine for a few months, the quality of the B&W ND110 is awesome.

jonesy
20th September 2010, 01:13 PM
...

For example, my standard lens is the 14-54 with a 67mm filter thread. I also have the 70-300 (58mm) and 9-18 (72mm). I only need one filter because I bought it in 77mm size. Why 77mm when my biggest lens is only 72mm? Well, the 9-18 is an ultra wide angle lens that is prone to vignetting with a filter attached and using an over-sized filter prevents that. I use a 72-77mm step-up ring for this.

To fit the filter on my 14-54 lens I use a 67-72mm step-up ring and for the 70-300 I use two stepping rings: 58-67mm and 67-77mm. This system works a treat and the stepping rings are very cheap to buy. The only drawback is that a 77mm filter is more expensive than a 58mm, but I do only need one filter to cover my entire range of lenses and, as John said, in the case of ND filters the screw type are more effective than the ones that slot into a filter holder...
Sorry to but in on this, but...
I have a 9-18, a 14-54, 40-150 and 70-300, and quite fancy the one filter fits all scenario you have described :)
Just to clarify, I will "need" a 77mm filter, and then STEP-UP rings for the lenses? Have I understood that correctly?

Many thanks

theMusicMan
20th September 2010, 01:17 PM
Sorry to but in on this, but...
I have a 9-18, a 14-54, 40-150 and 70-300, and quite fancy the one filter fits all scenario you have described :)
Just to clarify, I will "need" a 77mm filter, and then STEP-UP rings for the lenses? Have I understood that correctly?

Many thanks
Yep, that's right.

Always go for the largest filter size, otherwise smaller filters would block the edges of the front of the lens.

Make sure you buy the XXmm to 77mm step up adapter for each of your lens sizes.

Zuiko
20th September 2010, 06:53 PM
Sorry to but in on this, but...
I have a 9-18, a 14-54, 40-150 and 70-300, and quite fancy the one filter fits all scenario you have described :)
Just to clarify, I will "need" a 77mm filter, and then STEP-UP rings for the lenses? Have I understood that correctly?

Many thanks

Yes Tracey, that is exactly my set-up. In theory you could make do with a slightly cheaper 72mm filter as that is the diameter of the 9-18mm lens, but a 77mm negates the risk of vignetting. Of course, you can always zoom the lens a tad until the problem disappears. :)

benvendetta
20th September 2010, 09:16 PM
I wish my 7-14 would take filters but alas it doesn't :( It will be the 11-22 - my ex-favourite lens ;)

What lens you wanting to use it on Dave...?

theMusicMan
21st September 2010, 06:57 AM
I wish my 7-14 would take filters but alas it doesn't :( It will be the 11-22 - my ex-favourite lens ;)
I'm happy to let you have mine to use Dave, if you don't manage to get one by the time you go away.

Just shout.

benvendetta
21st September 2010, 06:47 PM
That is very kind of you John *chr. I will take you up on that.
At least using yours will give me a better idea if I want to 'splash the cash' at a later date. PM me your phone number and we can arrange a time that I can pop down to pick it up.

I REALLY wish that the 7-14 took filters as that is an awesome lens for dramatic land/sea/skyscapes.

Kittykat23uk
22nd September 2010, 07:41 AM
A friend has offered me his filters but he only has a 48 mm holder. Would these work and if so, can anyone recommend a holder? Would that be a better option then buying a filter that would fit directly?:confused:

Thanks,

Jo

Nick Temple-Fry
22nd September 2010, 08:06 AM
If these are P series Cokin filters and holder (the square ones that fit into a frame) then you can get adapter rings for the holder in whatever size you want for a bit over 10 - most photo shops stock the adapters (never in the size you want) - they are a lot better arrangement for graduated filters (those that dark at top/light at bottom).

Otherwise if they are just 48mm round filters - well they are only of use in lenses upto 48mm - but I dont think you meant this

Nick

Kittykat23uk
22nd September 2010, 08:14 AM
Thanks! He said they are Cokin filters. I'll be seeing him tonight so should be able to find out exactly what else I need. But I've really only got this weekend now to get any final bits sorted out. :eek:

Nick Temple-Fry
22nd September 2010, 08:21 AM
You might find this useful

http://www.cokin.co.uk/pages/main.htm


Nick

Zuiko
22nd September 2010, 08:27 AM
A friend has offered me his filters but he only has a 48 mm holder. Would these work and if so, can anyone recommend a holder? Would that be a better option then buying a filter that would fit directly?:confused:

Thanks,

Jo

48mm sounds too small for a filter holder. Do you mean 84mm? If so that is the Cokin P size and will be OK most of the time but the edge of the holder will probably intrude at the widest setting of your 9-18mm.

Zuiko
22nd September 2010, 08:32 AM
Just a thought, if your friend has got Cokin NDs (and not just ND grads) then you can get over the problem of the filter holder on your wide lens by dispensing with it and carefully holding the filter against the lens by hand, taking care that your fingers don't encroach. With a little practice this should work fine, after all at the shutter speeds you propose you will be using a tripod anyway. :)

Nick Temple-Fry
22nd September 2010, 08:33 AM
48mm sounds too small for a filter holder. Do you mean 84mm? If so that is the Cokin P size and will be OK most of the time but the edge of the holder will probably intrude at the widest setting of your 9-18mm.

Cokin dont do a 48mm holder

A series is upto 62mm

P Series is upto 82mm (so maybe the holder is about 84mm square?)

But both series have a ring for the holder in the 48mm size which I think is what was meant.

Nick

Zuiko
22nd September 2010, 09:06 AM
But both series have a ring for the holder in the 48mm size which I think is what was meant.

Nick

Even that seems a bit small, unless it's being used on a compact. Even the old Zuikos didn't go smaller than 49mm.

Kittykat23uk
22nd September 2010, 09:52 AM
Hiya, his email said, "I have a variety of Cokin filters but my holder is for a 49mm lens, old Pentax". Sorry.

Zuiko
22nd September 2010, 08:06 PM
Hiya, his email said, "I have a variety of Cokin filters but my holder is for a 49mm lens, old Pentax". Sorry.

If his Cokin filters and holder are 'P' series and not 'A' series they should still be OK. All you would need to do is get adapter rings for your lens sizes (or one 72mm adapter and step-up ring(s) to match the other lens(es).

jonesy
22nd September 2010, 09:14 PM
I've just been looking on eBay for ND filters.... are these any good, and is there any benefit to having one variable ND filter over having a set of 3

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/V2-Fader-Neutral-Density-ND-Filter-ND2-ND400-77mm-/200521741834?pt=UK_CamerasPhoto_CameraAccessories_ CameraLensesFilters_JN&hash=item2eb006f60a

many thanks