Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Waterfall 1

One of our most popular outdoor features is our waterfall located between the main building and our education center.  It's entirely man-made, based on the actual geology and rock formations found in the Blue Ridge mountains.  The waterfall looks great during all the spring and summer: the autumn:
....and on rare occasions it might get cold enough to freeze during the winter.  I took the next three photos on January 7, 2014.  (It was about 15 degrees--unusually cold for around here!)  Notice that parts of the waterfall are frozen, but water is still circulating and flowing because of the pump system:
This morning, I went back out into the cold (about 19 degrees....brrr!) and took a few more pictures--it was a bit more frozen, but with water still flowing in some places. 
By early afternoon with the temperature rising, the ice started to melt:
I took advantage of the bright day to try out my new neutral density filter (ND 0.6) to get a "smoothed out" look to the flowing water.  The filter allowed me to use a slower shutter speed (1/5th of a second) and a smaller aperture (f 22).  I used ISO 100:
I like to photograph the waterfall not only from the front, but also from behind the waterfall--there's a tunnel behind it.  Here's what it looks like partially frozen:
When the waterfall freezes, I like to look for interesting shapes of ice:
Most of the time, I have to settle for freezing the water by changing my camera settings (I shoot manually most of the time.)  Many thanks to Don Redmond, my photography mentor, for showing me the joys of high-speed photography!
On a bright sunny day looking from behind the waterfall, the water looks especially nice when framed against a blue sky:
Don also taught me how to use very slow shutter speeds for a more flowing, wispy look to the water.  Compare this photo shot at a faster shutter speed and larger aperture:
...with a slower shutter speed and smaller aperture:
Our waterfall provides an ever-changing photographic canvas.  I'll try to share more waterfall pictures in the future.  More off the beaten path in two weeks!

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