Could we find and photograph a waterfall in central Cheltenham?
YOUR PHOTO CHALLENGE: GO SHOOT… Moving water
Our second challenge required some quick roadside research using our mobile phones. The Cotswolds isn’t renowned for its epic white water scenes or waterfalls, but a quick Google Images search revealed a small ’fall in Cheltenham’s Pittville Park that appeared to offer some potential.
The waterfall was perfectly placed under a canopy of trees. This both reduced the amount of light available and enabled us to use slower shutter speeds to blur the pint-sized rapids.
Even then, we only got shutter speeds in the region of 1/60 sec at f/22, which left the curtain of water looking too sharp. Fitting strong 10-stop Neutral Density filters to the front of our lenses reduced the amount of light entering the camera and
Fitting 10-stop Neutral Density filters enabled us to use shutter speeds closer to 10 seconds, for a much smoother result
enabled us to use shutter speeds closer to 10 seconds, for a much smoother result.
We took a stream of test shots to make sure we weren’t blowing the detail in the white water and set the camera to shoot RAW so that we could tweak the highlights, shadows and colour balance later.
To keep the rest of the scene tack-sharp, we tripped the shutters with our tripodmounted cameras’ self-timers. Fortunately, we also remembered to shield the eyepieces to prevent stray light entering through them during the long exposures and ruining the shot – which is easily overlooked when you’re caught up in the process of cleaning filters, checking depth of field and timing shots. The Nikon D-SLRs we used have convenient built-in eyepiece blinds, but shielding the viewfinder with your hand or a lens cleaning cloth is just as effective.
EXPOSURE 20 secs, f/22, ISO100 LENS Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
It always pays to double-check the locks on the tripod legs and head to make sure that the only part of the scene that’s blurred is the one that you want to look soft Keeping it sharp