Rensselaerville Falls

Rensselaerville Falls

Just a quick one from the Hyuck Preserve in Rensselearville yesterday.

We went for a quick hike, but the clear skies on the drive out turned into some solid, ominous cloud cover once we parked, so we decided to just stick to the falls. This was actually a little lucky; the shade from the clouds let me play with some longer shutter speeds, to get that silky motion effect from the water. To do that I chose the lowest ISO setting, 100, and closed the aperture way down to f/11. For this photo, that gave a 1.3 second exposure time. f/16 would have doubled my exposure again, but stopping down much further than that actually causes some diffraction, losing detail.

With such a slow shutter, any motion of the camera will blur the photo. I didn’t have my tripod with me, but thankfully rocks are plentiful and pretty stable — this was actually taken from a big one right in the middle of the falls, with the timer (I’d prefer a cable release). Yes, I waded out with sensitive electronic equipment, whatever it takes to get the shot. Okay, the water was only an inch deep or so.

I would have liked a little sunlight to add a bit of dynamism to the scene, but there was another bonus to the cloud cover there. Water is very reflective, and sunlight glinting off of it is too bright and makes it difficult to meter. With no direct sunlight, it’s much easier to catch those highlights without blowing them out.

The sky opened up and pummeled us about five minutes after this, so it really was the right place, right time. I’ll be going back on a drier day.


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