I was due a trip out with the camera so I discussed some locations with some of the guys at work. Originally we thought a trip to Mt Rainier for a sunset picture and maybe some star night shots would be cool.  I did some investigation and it sounded like the flowers on the mountain were in bloom and the night skies were clear and you could even shoot the Milky Way over the top of Rainier – all was looking great.  Then we heard that the mosquitos were out in force, someone said you need to go in long pants with shirt sleeves as they are vicious early evening.  We were also told to take mosquito spray as sleeves wouldn’t stop them!  Once I told people about this, numbers of interested parties started to drop.

Taking this into consideration along with the time it takes to get home off the mountain in the dark (probably around 4 hours) we figured we wouldn’t get home until very early morning.  Numbers went down again.

In the end it was just Adam and I – and to be completely truthful, neither of us fancied facing the mosquitos or the scary long drive home.  But we still wanted to go!  In the end we opted for a waterfall trip to the same location.  We could leave mid morning, get there early afternoon, shoot some waterfalls and be home before the sunset.  I tried to get others engaged but nobody wanted to come.

So Saturday morning at 11am I picked up Adam and off we went.  The journey there was very long – took about 3:30 hours which is way too long, coming home we did it in 2:30 hours which was much better.  Why so long getting there? Well you can blame my satellite navigation for that – it got us totally lost, but coming home I remembered a faster route and that saved us an hour.

When we got there it was around 72 degrees and packed with people, so parking was a pain, but we found some GREAT waterfalls and got LOTS of shots.  For most of the afternoon the sun was pretty strong and exposures were tough, so we shot lots of bracketed pictures, always with our neutral density filters fitted to the camera.  These gave us nice long exposures and gave the images that ribbony look as the water went over the fall.   This meant that all pictures had to be taken on tripods as the typical exposure was well over a second.

It was quite funny to see all these other people there with expensive cameras and lenses taking pictures.  None of them had tripods and you could see the frustration in their faces, and sometimes their jealousy when we set up next to them.

I think I used the same lens the whole time, I had my ultra wide 10-24mm lens with a 6 stop neutral density filter on the camera all day.  We shot at f/16 or smaller and had our cameras on the tripod being triggered by a cable release or timer.

When I got home I manually blended bracketed pictures together to get the image I wanted, that way I removed heavily shadowed areas and brought back blown out highlights.  I could of used HDR software for this but I usually find the produced images look really “HDRy” (if that’s a word), and I wanted very natural, realistic pics.  You can view the shots below and tell me if you think I achieved that goal.

Anyway I took LOTs of pictures, and ended up with a nice dozen or so I really liked.  Here are my favorites.


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