After the Rain

I love McKinney Falls State Park. Anytime there’s a serious rain, the upper and lower falls become wonderful photographic subjects and they’re never the same two days in a row. That’s why McKinney Falls is always a stop during the Texas Landscape Safari.

After the Rain

After the Rain – Austin, Texas
Copyright © 2010 Jeff Lynch Photography
Shot taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II set on manual (M) using an EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM lens tripod-mounted. The exposure was taken at 75mm, f/29 for 1/5th of a second at ISO 50. All post capture processing was done in Adobe’s Lightroom 3 Beta. Click on the image above for a larger version.

How to Get this Type of Shot (without a neutral density filter):

  • Cloudy, overcast days are your best choice for this type of shot. Set your ISO to the absolute lowest number. On the Canon 5D2 this means enabling ISO Expansion using C.Fn 1-3 and setting it to “L” (ISO 50).
  • Set your camera to manual (M) and adjust your aperture to somewhere around f/22 or smaller until you achieve a shutter speed of greater than 1/8th of a second. The longer the better! And don’t worry about diffraction softening your image unless you plan to print it larger than 24 x 36.
  • Manually focus your lens about 1/3rd of the way into the image (hyper-focal distance) for best results. You want everything in perfect focus so check your depth of field often.
  • A good sturdy tripod is a must in a situation like this. I recommend a carbon-fiber tripod for shooting waterfalls since any camera shake will ruin your long exposure shots.
  • Be Careful. Wet rocks are about the most dangerous surface to walk on. I recommend buying a good pair of hiking boot or shoes with Vibram soles. I shop at REI and the folks there will help you pick the right pair for your feet.

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