Spring Photography Tips: Waterfalls and Going with the Flow

When it comes to photographing waterfalls, one needs to go with the flow. Water flow that is. And spring is often when that flow is just right.
 
While too little flow can be detrimental to waterfall photography for obvious reasons, too much flow can also be a problem. When the water rises, features that can add to a composition (such as rocks) are often covered. Too much water flow can also result in mud-colored water. While I sometimes like tannin creating streaks and paths in the water, a photo with muddy water is not usually going to hit my favorites folder.
 
Start monitoring the weather (both recent and forecasted) at your favorite waterfall location and proactively plan to be there at the right time. My forecast preference often includes some rain and plenty of clouds, allowing a saturated landscape with even lighting.
 
After a heavy rain, B. Reynolds Falls in Ricketts Glen State Park was flowing very strongly on this mid-May day (though the needed rocks details remained exposed). The water was so loud that by the end of the day, I was ready for some quiet time in the car. My ears would have been happier during a drought, but ... my images would not have been nearly as good.
 
To get this particular image, I climbed down the rocks beside a small walking bridge and precariously positioned myself and the tripod legs on the strongly-sloped wet rocks just above the water. I often place the tripod in the water for such shots, but ... that only works if the water flow is not strong enough to cause vibrations in the tripod. The final composition emphasizes a balance of the features contained with most lines moving toward the center of the frame.
 
A larger version of this image is available on Flickr, Google+, 500px and Facebook. Also, if reading from a news feed reader, click through to see the framed image.
Posted: 6/3/2015 8:47:00 AM CT   Posted By: Bryan
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