A couple of weekends ago, several Ballantyne Photography Club members and myself took a trip out to Brevard for a chilly 32F start to the day of photographing waterfalls. Starting at Looking Glass Falls, we were able to catch the early morning light. Using only a polarizing filter to reduce the amount of light hitting the sensor, we were able to get some pleasing results...even if our fingers couldn't feel the dials! The polarized filter also gave a boost to the colors we were seeing as a result of reducing spectral reflections.
Of course, the key to getting the water to look like clouds, or cotton wool, is a longer exposure time to blur the movement of water. So, what constitutes longer? Well, it's a case of trial and error...but usually in the realm of seconds!
You can read a more comprehensive explanation of my methods from my blog in May titled 'Photographing Cloud falls'. For the way I shoot, the ability to use your camera in Manual mode is a must, especially when using your Histogram to judge exposure, and then using equivalent exposures to vary the aperture and shutter speeds to maintain the correct exposure. Why use different shutters speeds? Well, the same scene photographed with different shutter speeds causes different amounts of blur in the water. So, I usually take 3 or 4 shots of the same scene at varying shutter speeds just to see which blur effect I like most. It also means I need to know how to calculate equivalent exposures using Manual mode...so if you don't know how to do that, come to my workshop on Saturday to learn!
Many thanks to Steve and Jenny Johnston for being co-leaders of the group. It was their planning and knowledge of photographing the falls that led to a successful outing for everyone, and you can see more of their work here.
Of course, since it is fall in the Blue Ridge Mountains...not only waterfalls were photographed!