Living in Florida has its advantages. It’s nice in the winter and we can get radio and cell signal for miles on end. However, as a photographing the flat plains can get a bit stagnate after awhile. I’m originally from upstate New York where we had mountains and amazing waterfalls. Something about seeing a waterfall is so relaxing. How does one get enough elevation in Florida for a waterfall? It’s not easy, but possible.
I was helping someone recently at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida with some photos. Having been there before, I knew this was one of the few places in Florida that had a waterfall. It’s man made, but when your options are limited, one has to go with what ever they can get!
I set up the 8×10 film camera after I came up with the composition. One of the challenging things with getting silky water in the middle of the day, is achieving a slow enough shutter speed to blur the water. In the past I have used polarizer and natural density filters to help slow down the light. With the field camera, I have f/64 on my side. This is a much smaller f-stop than what I’m able to achieve on my digital camera. Also, the film speed I use is ISO 125. Between these two factors, this allowed me to get a shutter speed of 51 seconds. As you will see in the photo below, this combination was perfect to get the look I was going for.
One of the biggest tools that will ensure a successful shoot such as this is a very stable platform, a.k.a. a sturdy tripod. As humans, we could never hold the camera absolutely still for seconds. Once your camera is locked down on a tripod, this will keep the details around the moving water crystal clear. Is carrying a tripod a pain? You bet. However, this is one of the keys to success with a scene like this.
I hope where ever you may go, you can find a waterfall. They are quite something and when photographed with long shutter speeds, they take on a serenity look. Not only will you find the finished photo below, there is a YouTube video I shot as well.
Until next time…
Keep Your Glass Clean