On Saturday and Sunday I took a waterfall photography course from Randal Hodges. Go ahead. Take a second and click on that link to his website. It’s well worth your time. His photography is spectacular. Just come on back when you’re done drooling and dreaming of beautiful wall calendars.
He knows all the right spots, and all the right camera settings, to get all the right photos. Not to mention, he’s an excellent teacher. Be you novice or professional, I certainly recommend his courses to anyone who wants to learn more about photography!
Randal teaches, I think, a fairly unconventional way to use DSLRs. He does practically no post-processing color adjustments, favoring, instead, to set up “rolls of film” in the color profiles of the actual cameras. Analogous to using Fuji versus Kodak film in the old SLRs. So, the pictures below are SOOC (straight out of the camera). There’s been no editing except to shrink the giant files size to something more manageable.
If you took the time to look at his work, you’ll understand why all my waterfalls are very soft. That’s his style. We didn’t try to ramp up our shutter speed and catch individual water droplets. We were very deliberate about setting up tripods, attaching our cable release (kind of a remote shutter button), and waiting through very long exposures. While taking photos off of bridges, we weren’t allowed to move during exposures, for fear of jostling everyone’s sensors. There’s photography etiquette. Who knew?
The first day was spent hiking to several waterfalls along the Historic Columbia River Highway: Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Horsetail Falls and Ponytail Falls. At each stop he educated us a little more about our cameras, gave us individual feedback and helped us set up a stellar shot.
The second day was a hike into Wachella Falls, where we spent the whole day shooting the falls and the surrounding area. We also perfected the use of a polarizer. See, I can take pictures through the water now!
I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but it was too sunny. What?! I know. I know. That sounds crazy coming from me. I’m surely a sun-worshiping pagan deep down (or not that deep down if you know me well). However, for this ONE weekend, cloud cover would have been best. We raced the retreating fog and waited at each location, praying for an errant cloud to meander by. But, the Sun god was smiling on me that day. So we worked with the conditions available, and tucked valuable bits of knowledge away for the next cloudy day.
However, the warm sun really came in handy for the hike Andy and I did Saturday evening, but that’s for Part 2 of this post. What do parents of small children do when they have a whole 36 hours away? Stay tuned for next time!