Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 26

Thread: Lenses for Waterfalls

  1. #1
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    4,367

    Lenses for Waterfalls

    Ok...talking about lenses in the lens thread......

    So, my annual waterfall trip with a friend is coming up. I am planning on mostly using the 24-70II but could also take my Rokinon 14 mm f/2.8. The Rokinon is somewhat limited in that it does not accept front or rear filters, at least not the filters I have or will be buying (i.e. no Wonderpana). But, I am strongly leaning toward renting a lens or two and wanted to solicit your thoughts. Which lenses, other than a 24-70 mm, would you want use to take pictures of waterfalls? Is there anything creative that you have done with waterfalls that requires something other than a general purpose lens?

    Some thoughts going through my head:

    • TSE (17 mm or 24 mm)
    • Wide angle prime (test prime vs zoom)
    • UWA zoom (16-35 f/4 IS or 11-24)


    I am willing to buy a ND gel for the EF 11-24 so that I can blur water and already have 6 stop ND and CPL filters at both 77 mm and 82 mm threads and a 10 stop ND filter for the 77 mm thread. It doesn't look like the TSE 17 mm takes any kind of filter that I would have.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Ottawa, ON
    Posts
    1,329
    Perhaps a lens that goes to f/32? One of the goals of waterfall shots is often to maximize your exposure length. When shooting recently I got surprised by the Sigma 35mm Art only going to f/16, instead of the more common f/22. I think there are some lenses that do go to f/32, but I'm not sure how much the diffraction affects the sharpness and how you judge that vs. the extra long exposure blur. Since you're stopping down so much, you don't need to start with the best lens... except of course if you're going for the TS-Es.

    So yeah, a lens that can stop down extra far that takes one of the filters you have.
    On Flickr - Namethatnobodyelsetook on Flickr | On the web - http://www.GrassStainedPhoto.com
    1DsII | 7D | 7DII | 10-18mm STM | 18-135mm STM | 24-70mm f/4L | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 | 50mm f/1.8 | 85mm f/1.8 | 70-300mm f/4-5.6L

  3. #3
    Senior Member Jonathan Huyer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Canmore, Alberta
    Posts
    940
    An annual waterfall trip sounds like good fun! It sounds like you're already well equipped with gear. I'm not sure of what benefit a tilt-shift lens would give you, unless you perhaps wanted to use it for panoramas (by shifting between shots), or just wanted to play with it on other subjects (which is always fun). Otherwise I'd just go with a wider prime, which would likely be cheaper to rent. If it turns out the lighting isn't ideal for your particular waterfall (for example, too much bright light), I'd suggest using HDR. I'm sure you already know that but I was impressed at how much it helps. I'd also suggest trying some night shots. I have yet to do that myself but I've always been impressed by photos of waterfalls with starry skies.
    Happy shooting!

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    New Hampshire, USA
    Posts
    4,367
    Quote Originally Posted by DavidEccleston View Post
    Perhaps a lens that goes to f/32?
    It is a good thought. While I do try to stay in the wider than f/10-11 range I am not one to totally ignore smaller apertures and often shoot f/16 to f/22 if I want an uber wide depth of field. But, I looked at every lens I am considering taking. Smallest aperture was f/22. That surprised me quite a bit because as recently as my EFS 15-85, f/38 was an option on the long end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathan Huyer View Post
    An annual waterfall trip sounds like good fun! It sounds like you're already well equipped with gear. I'm not sure of what benefit a tilt-shift lens would give you, unless you perhaps wanted to use it for panoramas (by shifting between shots), or just wanted to play with it on other subjects (which is always fun). Otherwise I'd just go with a wider prime, which would likely be cheaper to rent. If it turns out the lighting isn't ideal for your particular waterfall (for example, too much bright light), I'd suggest using HDR. I'm sure you already know that but I was impressed at how much it helps. I'd also suggest trying some night shots. I have yet to do that myself but I've always been impressed by photos of waterfalls with starry skies.
    Happy shooting!
    Thanks for the tips Jonathan. I like the night shot and HDR ideas. The concept behind the TSE was to adjust for perspective if not looking at the waterfall straight on. I have sometimes wondered if you couldn't generate an interesting perspective, almost as if you are looking at the waterfall from the trees. Plus, I've wanted to spend some time playing with TSE lens to see if it is something I would want to add to my kit.

  5. #5
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Savannah, GA
    Posts
    3,343
    Brant,

    I used the TS-E 24mm f/3.5L Tilt-Shift for the last waterfall I shot. I actually liked using the shift feature to make it appear I was closer to the falls than I was (I was further downhill/downstream from the falls). And the shift feature would allow you to capture a wider view if used for a panorama shot (as Jonathan said). The only problem - tilt-shift lenses aren't weather sealed. You'd have to be careful about spray.

    Otherwise, the EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM and the EF 11-24mm f/4L would be decent choices, but....I'd prefer the convenience of the screw on filters if you think 16mm will be wide enough for you. :-)

    Sean

  6. #6
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    1,461
    Jonathan already said it, but night shots with the Milky Wayin the back ground would be great. That means a fast prime in the 24mm range. Might be worth while doing a two shot composite at night.

    Otherwise a TSE. Given your current set up, the 17mm seems a good choice.

    I did not get a 70-200 for a long time, but since going ff I find myself using that for a lot of landscapes... including waterfalls. I use it way more than I thought I would (when I can get out to take pictures). You can zoom in and isolate some of the interseting areas of the falls. Keep that in mind... sometimes the "wide angle" card is overplayed on waterfalls and everyone's shots end up looking the same.
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
    flickr

  7. #7
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Savannah, GA
    Posts
    3,343
    Quote Originally Posted by conropl View Post
    I did not get a 70-200 for a long time, but since going ff I find myself using that for a lot of landscapes... including waterfalls. I use it way more than I thought I would (when I can get out to take pictures). You can zoom in and isolate some of the interseting areas of the falls. Keep that in mind... sometimes the "wide angle" card is overplayed on waterfalls and everyone's shots end up looking the same.
    It's true, a telephoto zoom can certainly be a good choice for waterfalls. However, the problem with them is that you need more distance between yourself and the falls in order to get the right framing. And once you move back, there's more of a chance that distracting objects (trees, limbs, etc) will obstruct your view of the falls. If you can find a clear view, though, a telephoto can definitely work.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kombi's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Alberta, Canada
    Posts
    309
    I took my first waterfall pictures just recently so technically can't add informed choice. Just a couple thoughts- I love using a tilt shift lens whenever I can- But my experience with the waterfalls was I got wet, camera got wet, lens got wet... and the Tilt shifts are the least environmentally sealed lenses available, I'd be worried about it. If you are looking into renting anyway... what about renting the required filter for your rokinon?

  9. #9
    Senior Member conropl's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    West Michigan
    Posts
    1,461
    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Setters View Post
    It's true, a telephoto zoom can certainly be a good choice for waterfalls. However, the problem with them is that you need more distance between yourself and the falls in order to get the right framing. And once you move back, there's more of a chance that distracting objects (trees, limbs, etc) will obstruct your view of the falls. If you can find a clear view, though, a telephoto can definitely work.
    Not necessarily. If you make the assumption that you have to get the whole waterfall in plus the surrounding area, that may be true. But that is not what I am suggesting. Zoom in tight on features. And yes, you do have to pay attention to moving details, but waterfalls are usually protected and in the morning or evening (when they should be shot) it is usually calm. Also, if you are going to include vegetation, you need that calmness no matter what focal length because of the long shutter speeds when shooting falls. But as far as what I am talking about, here is an example of one of the best waterfalls there is... but it is over shot and they all look the same, so I tried to isolate portions of it. It is only at 45mm, but could very well have been shot at 70-200mm as well. This turned out to be one of my favorites.


    Upper Bond Falls-7589 by Pat Conroy, on Flickr

    Or these at 70mm:


    Upper Bond Falls-0982 by Pat Conroy, on Flickr


    Upper Bond Falls-0901 by Pat Conroy, on Flickr
    Last edited by conropl; 06-02-2015 at 12:21 PM.
    5DS R, 1D X, 7D, Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6, 24mm f/1.4L II, 16-35mm f/4L IS, 24-105mm f/4L, 50mm f/1.8, 100mm Macro f/2.8L, 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II, 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L, 580EX-II
    flickr

  10. #10
    Administrator Sean Setters's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Savannah, GA
    Posts
    3,343
    I really like that top image – it's quite captivating. :-)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •