Waterfall Photography Workshop #1


As we welcome spring I’d like to announce the first of several waterfall photography workshops I’ll be leading throughout this spring and into early summer.

From the afternoon of Friday May 19th thru Sunday evening May 21st I’ll be taking a limited number of participants to some of my favorite waterfalls located throughout the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Each day we’ll start off bright and early photographing at least 2 waterfalls each morning. Following the mornings outing we’ll take a mid day break for lunch and some image review.

If time allows during the mid day break we will also go over some post processing tips to ensure your finished images are works of photographic art you’ll be proud to show off.

Then in the afternoon we’ll head back out for some more flowing water action.

What’s Included. 

Guiding to some of the most spectacular waterfalls New Hampshire has to offer.

Instruction and tips on composing your waterfall images as well as camera settings to help achieve the silky ethereal look of the flowing water sought after by most waterfalls enthusiasts.

Image review and post processing tips using Lightroom and the Nik Collection of creative plugins(available for free HERE).

What’s Not. 

Meals and lodging.

Transportation to and from the North Conway, NH area.

What To Expect, What To Bring. 

The workshop will take place rain or shine, with overcast drizzling weather my preferred weather for photographing waterfalls due to the nice even lighting that will make achieving good exposures a breeze. With that in mind, keep your fingers crossed for cloudy days!

All the waterfalls we’ll visit will require some walking and light to moderate hiking, so comfortable and supportive shoes with good traction are recommended.

Bring several layers, including a rain jacket, as the weather conditions can vary greatly in the mountains.

Recommended Gear List. 

Camera and wide-angle zoom lens.

Circular polarizer.

Tripod.

Lens cloth.

Spare batteries and memory cards.

Investment – $750 (payable via check or PayPal invoice) 

A $150 deposit is required to reserve your spot with the balance due at least 30 days prior to the first day of the workshop.

Space on this workshop is limited. By limiting attendance to a small number of participants I’m able to provide the maximum amount of individual attention. 

CONTACT me should you have further questions or to reserve your spot. 

DISCLAIMER:  Workshops are held rain or shine with no refunds given due to inclement weather. However should the weather be severe enough to warrant cancellation full credit will be given towards a future workshop. Credit based on amount of time lost due to weather. Loss of at least one full shooting day required to receive credit. 

CANCELATION POLICY: Cancellations made more than 30 days prior to the scheduled start date receive a full refund less a $50 cancellation fee. Cancellations made less than 30 days prior to the start date will receive no refund unless the space can be filled. 

I do realize that sometimes life gets in the way, so should a last minute cancellation be necessary on your part you’re not out of luck. Your workshop fee(less the $50 cancellation fee) may be applied to a future workshop. 

Water Wet

H2O

For this week the Weekly Photo Challenge theme is good old H2O. As a landscape photographer water is the prevailing theme in many of my photographs. When looking through my photos trying to decide which photos to include in this post it appears that roughly three quarters of my photos contain water in one form or another.

Here are a few wet examples, followed by a few tips for making your own watery photos.

 

Tips for photographing the wet stuff.

1 ~ First and foremost, use a good quality circular polarizing filter, or CPL. If you only ever buy one filter make sure the CPL is it. It’s the one filter that cannot be duplicated digitally. They’re great for reducing or eliminating unwanted glare and reflections from wet rocks, leaves, and the surface of the water, thus allowing you to see through the surface of the water to what’s on the bottom.

2 ~ Don’t be afraid of a little rain. Most camera, whether they are listed as “weather sealed” or not are quite capable of withstanding a sprinkle or two. I always carry a small pack towel in my camera bag on the days I venture out when theres wain in the forecast.

Speaking of towels, dab don’t wipe the water off of your camera. Wiping could force the water into places that won’t make the camera happy.

3 ~ If it’s raining out use a lens hood to help keep raindrops from landing on the front element of your lens. Even when using a lens hood you should check the front element often and carry a clean microfiber lens cloth to wipe away any raindrops.

4 ~ When photographing water in its frozen form be sure to acclimate your camera slowly when you bring it inside after being out in the cold. The condensation that can form on, even worse in your camera again won’t make your camera very happy. I use two methods to deal with this. One is to put your camera in a large ziplock bag. Force as much air as possible out of the bag before sealing it. This way condensation will form on the outside of the bag, not your camera. The second is to simply put your camera in your camera bag and close it up, this is the method I use most. The padding on the camera bags act as insulation allowing the camera to slowly acclimate. Of course take your memory card out before hand so you do’t have to wait to upload your masterpieces.

Note: Tip #4 also applies to taking your camera from an air conditioned space out into hot humid weather.

Waterfall Wednesday

Time With Garwin Falls

It Depends. 

One of the questions I’m most often asked when it comes to photographing waterfalls is what camera settings I use, particularly what shutter speed.

And my answer is always the same, “It depends.”

It depends ~ On the look I’m going for. If I’m trying to capture the shapes and swirls created by bubble caught in an eddy, I know I’ll need a longer exposure time. The image above required 8 seconds to achieve the look I was after.

It depends ~ On how fast the water is flowing. The stronger the flow the shorter the shutter speed required to capture the silky smooth look on the water.

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A few weeks ago Mossy Glen was flowing very quickly due to recent spring rains, therefor I only needed a half second exposure time when making the above photo.

It depends ~  On the amount of ambient light you’re working with. This next photo, of Middle Ammonoosuc Falls in New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest, was made well after the sun had gone down. It was getting quite dark in the deep gorge the falls flows through so I knew I was going to need a very long exposure. The exposure time on this photo is 180 seconds.

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So as you can see there is no one set rule I follow when deciding on what shutter speed. Generally speaking I do try for at least half a second, but if the light is right or I really want to capture bubbles or leaves swirling on the currents I’ll experiment until I’ve captured the look I want.

Waterfall Wednesday

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I love waterfalls!

Give me water cascading over rock ledges and I’m in photographer’s paradise. Over the last few weeks I’ve been spending as much time as I can scouting out and photographing waterfalls. All in preparation for my upcoming White Mountains Waterfalls Photography Workshop.

Do you like waterfalls?

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If so, join me June 17th thru the 19th for 2+ days of waterfall photography adventure and instruction.

Over the course of the weekend we’ll head out bright and early each morning to capture a few of New Hampshire’s most spectacular waterfalls, followed by a mid day break for image review, some post processing tips, lunch and some much needed rest.

Then, it’s back out to do it all over again for the afternoon and into the evening.

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Be prepared to get wet and make some great photos!

I’ll be going over how I decide on composition.

Using long exposure to give en ethereal look to the flowing cascade.

Camera settings that I guarantee will make your life easier.

During the post processing sessions I’ll be going over my workflow from import to final image using Adobe Lightroom and the full suit of Nik Collection by Google creative plugins.

Your investment for 2+ days of waterfall magic in some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable is $725*

Space is very limited so I may provide the utmost in personalized attention to each attendee. Please use the Contact form for any questions or to reserve your spot today!

*Meals and lodging not included. Transportation during the workshop is included.

 

And One Filter To Rule Them All

The One Filter You Can’t Live Without.

The Weekly Photo Challenge topic is Landscape, so rather than simply share a few landscape photos I’m going to talk about the one filter that should be in every nature and landscape photographers camera bag.

The one filter that cannot be duplicated in the computer, and the one filter I never leave home without.

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Straight out of camera, without polarizer.

 

That filter is the Circular Polarizer.

You can duplicate graduated neutral density filters all day long in Lightroom.

You can even simulate the effect of a straight neutral density filter simply by photographing in lower light, using smaller apertures, or lower ISO settings, thus allowing you to get longer exposure times.

However when it comes to removing the glare on shiny reflective surfaces like wet rocks and leaves, or the reflections on the surface of a flowing stream to reveal the stream bed below, there is only one way to do it. And that is with a good quality Circular Polarizer filter, or CPL for short.

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Same scene and camera settings, this time using a polarizer.

What does a Circular Polarizer do?

A circular polarizer is a filter that attaches to the front of your lens, usually by screwing onto the front filter threads. (Now you know why those threads are there 😉 )

What does a CPL do?

Notice how in the first image the colors are much less saturated and the details below the waters surface are much less visible. The is cause by glare. Notice how in the second image, shot using the same exposure settings,* the colors are richer, more saturated, and there is more visible detail under the water.

While a CPL can also help increase contrast and saturation in a photo,  both of these can be duplicated in the computer, glare and reflection removal can’t.

*Note: The second image is darker due to the ability of the Circular Polarizer to reduce the amount of light by as much as 2-stops. This is an added benefit when trying to use longer exposure times to capture flowing water with that silky smooth look.

The Benefits Continue Into The Final Image.

The better the image you get straight out of the camera the better the final image will be after post processing. The following are the above two images, processed as identically as I could. While this is totally subjective on my part the second image, the one where the circular polarizer was used, is the better final image.

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Final enhanced image using the RAW file captured without the use of a CPL

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Final enhanced image using the RAW file captured using a CPL

Tips On Buying And Using A Circular Polarizer.

1 – Buy the best you can afford. 

Cheap CPL filters can cause image softness as well as impart a color cast on your photo. I’ve used CPLs from B+W, Lee, and Singh Ray with excellent results. Be forewarned, good filters are not inexpensive, though in my opinion you get what you pay for. For more budget friendly CPL filters, check out Tiffen, or Hoya. I have no experience with the latter two, but I have read good things about their line of filters.

2 – Avoid using a CPL when photographing wide scenes.

One thing polarizers do very well is darken blue sky. Too well if you over adjust the filter. BUT, and it’s a big but, the effect of a CPL is greatest at 90° to the light source, for a landscape photographer this is likely the sun. The effect is reduced more and more as the angle to the sun changes. This is a big problem when photographing wide scenic landscapes with a lot of sky. The result will be part of the sky will be noticeably darker when gradually fading across the frame. This is a royal pain in the backside – by that I mean darn near impossible –  to correct in the computer.

3 – Don’t for get to readjust when you recompose.

You can adjust the amount of polarization on the image by rotating the filter. As mentioned above the greatest effect is at 90° to the sun. So once you adjust the amount of polarization you want in an image and then move the camera for another composition, don’t forget to readjust the filter. I find it to be much easier to see the effect in live view rather than looking thru the viewfinder, but that could just be my aging eyes.

4 – You only need one.  

Some of you may be thinking, “I have more than one lens that I use for landscape/waterfalls. Do I need a filter for each lens?” The answer is no.

Buy a filter that will fit the lens you own with the largest diameter filter threads. The buy inexpensive step-down rings to fit the filter to all of your other lenses.

 

Let Me Show You The Granite State.

Planning a visit to New Hampshire and don’t want to waste any of your precious vacation time trying to find the best spots to photograph?

Let me be your guide.

I now offer both personal and small group photo workshops and tours throughout New Hampshire.

From the rocky seacoast to the White Mountains, waterfalls to fall foliage, the Granite State is host to a wide variety of photographic opportunity.

My workshops are small, limited to 3 participants maximum, so I’m able to provide more personal attention to each individual. Plus, since most of my workshops are scheduled on an as requested basis, they are more often than not a private one-on-one experience tailored specifically to your photographic needs, wants, and physical abilities.

Here are a few of the scenic New Hampshire locations you could be photographing when you book a workshop with me.

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Whether it’s a spectacular sunrise on the rocky coast, or a winter sunset from the summit of one of New Hampshire’s tallest mountains, or anything in between, I will put together a custom photographic experience based on both your physical and photographic abilities.

The options are almost limitless.

Some examples of the workshop experiences I offer:

1 – The “Ride-along” 

On a ride-along though the focus will be on my own photos and scouting new locations, we’ll spend the day, usually in the White Mountains, taking pictures, scouting new locations, and discussing photography as we drive through some of New Hampshire’s most beautiful scenery. At only $125 the “Ride-along” is a very affordable investment in your photography where you’ll receive a good amount of the same personalized attention that you would on a half or full day workshop minus the ability to choose the locations visited.

2 – Half and Full day workshops custom made for you.

“Half-day” workshops ($250) usually run between 4-6 hours long, with a “Full day”($425) being from sunrise to sunset (with a break of an hour or so mid-day to rest up for the remainder to the day)

3 – Two Day Workshops and Tours. ($675)

On a two day workshop you’ll had better bring a lot of memory cards because we’ll be photographing a wide range of scenic locations and subjects throughout the state. Most of my two day workshops will be focused on a particular subject, such as waterfalls or autumn foliage, will often combine multiple types of landscape subjects. The vast majority of which are easily accessible from the road or via short and easy hike, making them perfect for people of all physical abilities.

4 – Multi-Day Backcountry Excursions. ($675 and up) 

If you’re an experienced hiker and backpacker looking to improve your photography, or you’re simply looking to capture landscapes that haven’t been photographed nearly as frequently as the more accessible locations, I offer 2, 3, or more days of photographing some of the most picturesque wilderness areas you’ll find in New Hampshire. Each day we’ll see and photograph majestic mountain vistas where we may be the only people for miles. Prior to all backcountry excursions a list of mandatory gear will be provided to each prospective participant with a full gear inspection made prior to hitting the trail. I reserve the right to refuse to lead someone I deem unprepared or who overstated their experience level. Safety is my primary concern while traveling in the wilderness. These trips are NOT for the inexperienced, or casual hiker.

And now the fine print.

To book a workshop contact me by clicking on the CONTACT page,

or call me at;  603-973-9886

A 50% deposit is required at least 60 days prior to your anticipated workshop to reserve your space on either a previously scheduled workshop or to book a private workshop, with the balance due within 30 days of the date. Cancelations made at least 30 days prior to the date of your workshop will receive a full refund. Cancelations made less than 30 days prior will be refunded less a $100 cancelation fee.

Meals, lodging, and transportation are not included in the workshop fee.

All workshops are rain or shine, within reason. In fact, in the case of a waterfall workshop you couldn’t ask for better weather than an overcast drizzley day. No refunds are given due to weather, though full or partial credit towards a future workshop will be given if the weather turns out to be truly terrible. Bad weather can result in great photos, but I’m not interested in venturing out if we’ll all be miserable.

Over the course of a multi day workshop, excluding backcountry, if time, location, and accommodations permitting, there may be some image review and post processing sessions during the mid-day.

Whether you’re an experienced photographer visiting the area and don’t want to spend your time searching out the best places to photograph, or a beginner who just bought their first camera, let me help you with your photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

Mid-Stream. Mad River, Farmington, NH

Surround yourself in nature’s silence.

Close your eyes, release your thoughts.

Let serenity wash through.

Enjoy the Serenity