Recently, while being out of work, and upon my return to the US from South Africa, I had a lot of time on my hands. On more than a few occasions I headed up to North Georgia and hit a few waterfalls. Probably one of my more favorite visits was when I visited Dicks Creek Falls, just north of Dahlonega, Ga.
What made this visit nice was I had the place to myself. It helped of course it was an overcast day as well as being a weekday. The place sets itself up nicely for some wonderful shots and I took full advantage. One key difference I made in my approach to shooting on this day was to shoot a lot of real long exposures. Lots of time doing this on landscapes doesn’t always work out. The long exposure obviously blurs any movement of the subjects in your shot. This works great on water for instance, but not so much on trees and leaves. But, God was smiling on me that day as I had zero wind and zero movement, except of course from the water.
An unexpected thing did happen while shooting with the settings on these shots… I captured a huge swirl in the creek. In real time you didn’t see the swirl at all. Many times you can get a sense of it as you view a scene, but on this one I just didn’t see it until I shot my first 15-20 second exposure. Once I noticed this I took full advantage and it became apart of my approaches for each shot.
I stacked my B+W polarizer onto a ND 8 Hoya filter (I believe that it reduces 3-stops of exposure – meaning that you have to click your exposure wheel about 9 times of slower shutter speed in order to meter your shot vs. without that filter) This allowed me to slow my exposures, in the cloudy conditions I was shooting into longer 15 to 30 seconds. Also, using my polarizer, which I do for any water shooting, I gain some transparency in the water as the effect from the filter reduces reflection.
The more I’ve been shooting landscapes like this the more I want that longer exposure. There is just something about the shot, leaving the shutter open longer, that captures more light, which means I capture more interesting color. I don’t attempt this every time I shoot landscapes, but when I can I think there are some wonderful advantages, that help me create some wonderful shots. See several of the better shots from this day below…