Admiring the Universe - a fine-art photographer based in Perthshire, Scotland, with interests in landscape, nature and astrophotography

Waterfall, Strath Fionan

Waterfall, Strath Fionan
I've been trying to find a way to photograph this waterfall for about a year; very tricky to find an angle, especially in daylight, in which the fragment of sky doesn't form an annoying distraction.

So after a bit of thought and several flashes of inspiration later, I returned and spent 1.5hr standing in the waterfall as dusk fell, watching blue-hour turn to twilight and seeing the relative contribution of my own lighting increase.

In the final selection of frames, the ambient light was low - at ISO 200, wide aperture and long 2s exposure, the water barely left any impression on the image.
To light-paint the scene, I chose:
two Manfrotto continuous LED lights - one supporting a glass ball on the rocks, one held up high+left angled to skim the rocks both near and far;
two Yongnuo 560IV flash units - one on camera, very low power with a Rogue Flashbender diffuser to gently illuminate the foreground rocks, one held by hand up high+right, full power, pointing at the bulk of the waterfall, biassed toward the top of the cascade.
One of the advantages of pixel-shift is that any exposure happens four times in quick succession: this allowed me to vary the angles of the two hand-held lights between frames before blending the favourite images together.

Lighting by area: sky: natural ambient; rocks top-left and distant right: LED light-painted; rocks bottom-left: flash; waterfall: flash, with the intentional consequence of freezing the fast-flowing water despite the low light levels. Makes a change from long-exposure brushed-cotton-wool water!


Camera: ISO:
Focal Length: mm (mm-e) Aperture: f/
Shutter Speed: s


GPS location: 56.682869, -4.083201