How can I capture the movement and energy of a waterfall?
Eva Hughes, Germany
There are many different waterfalls, of all shapes and sizes. Photographers will often use a slightly longer exposure time to achieve an ethereal look with the impression of movement. In contrast, with a short exposure the photographer can capture the water as if it were frozen in time. Both techniques can be beautiful and interesting to recreate on the digital canvas.
As with any painting, I make sure that I’ve got as much reference images as I need to paint my waterfall. I soon notice that the water reaches the edge of the waterfall and then falls in an arc, during which it will start to break apart. It will depend on the height of the fall, but most of the time it will turn to white water as it descends. When it hits the bottom of the waterfall it will splash, causing mist and water to be thrown upwards.
I also need to make sure that the waterfall fits in with its environment, make sure that it falls where it should, and create a pleasing arrangement of rocks and cliffs. I gather a reference for these areas as well.
I’m using Corel Painter X3, and I use textured brushes to give a good indication of the water breaking apart.
I chose to paint a smaller waterfall with a short drop. Of course, this is just one kind of waterfall, so look at lots of reference for others.