Ever see those fall landscape photos of waterfalls, ones where the water is smooth like a sheet of glass? I’ve dreamed of taking those kinds of shots.
However, there’s an issue. You take those photos at a slower shutter speed. That setting allows a lot of light into your camera. If you’re trying to capture a scene at a slower shutter speed when the sun’s high, your photo will be so bright it comes out white. You can’t fix it in Lightroom.
Since I hike alone, I’m rarely in a position to capture my dream photo at the beginning or end of the day, when the sun’s not high. If I do, I’ll be hiking alone in the dark.
They block some of the light so you, ideally, can take photos at slow shutter speed on a bright day. I said ideally.
ND Filters come in a variety of strengths. The ones I got, apparently, weren’t strong enough. I’ve been carrying them in my hiking bag for weeks, hoping to use them on water.
Finally, I did.
Just reaching it was an adventure.
Several months ago, I shared the video below on Instagram. This waterfalls located at Madam Brett Park in Beacon, NY. You can walk to it from the train station. At least that’s what the directions said. When I first tried, Google took me down a street with no sidewalk. The second route took me here.
Creepy, isn’t it? I turned back, giving up on my dream to see that waterfall, at least until I could drive to it. But, I tried again recently. Turns out, the waterfall wasn’t that far from the creepy tunnel.
And, I had just enough cloud cover to break out the ND Filers and capture my dream shot.
If you’re interested in photography, I’d recommend adding ND Filters to your camera bag. They’re fairly affordable. I got the Rangers 8pcs ND Filter Kit. It hangs off my hiking bag for easy access.
I’m a little annoyed with myself for not continuing the path all those months ago. This waterfall would’ve looked magical on that foggy day. But, I didn’t feel safe.
When you’re hiking, especially when you’re alone, listen to your instinct. If you don’t think it’s a good idea to go forward, turn back. Hiking is fun until you’re injured in the middle of the woods with no way to get help.
Fortunately, I had the scene to myself. I climbed across rocks to capture the waterfall from different angles.
On the way there, I had the trail to myself to photograph as I pleased.
2020 hasn’t been fun and each day we’re getting bad news. But when you’re on the trail, taking beautiful fall landscape photos, those problems, at least for the moment, don’t matter.