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October 17, 2008

How it’s made! (Swirling leaves below Second Falls of Shay’s Run, West Virginia)

by josephrossbachphoto

It was a clear blue sky day in West Virginia without a cloud in sight. I wanted to pass some time before heading out to shoot my sunset location, so I decided to head over to Shay’s Run. Knowing that the waterfalls would be in shade in the autumn after 3:00pm, I thought I might have a chance to make a few nice images with swirling leaves and reflections of the brightly lit trees above. I carefully made my way down the steep and trail-less slope to the bottom of second falls. Upon arriving I was very happy to see leaves floating in the plunge pool below the waterfall. Although they were barely moving, I knew if I could produce an exposure long enough they would swirl in the composition. 

I choose a location to set up my tripod were the waterfall and leaves were perfectly places with he reflection of the glowing trees above the gorge ( lower left hand bottom of the image). I spot metered the gray rock and found that I could get an exposure of 2 seconds at f16. Not bad, but I wanted something in the range of 30 seconds to 3 minutes in order to allow the leaves to really swirl about in the image. I fitted on my Singh Ray Vari-ND Duo which is great for shooting water as it has a circular polarizer built into the filter and really helps with eliminating glare on wet surfaces. I turned the Vari-ND until I was able to reduce my shutter speed to 120 seconds at f16. This long of an exposure did the trick and I was able to come home with the image I had pre-visualized. Stay tuned as I will be posting more stories and tips from my latest trip in West Virginia over the next few days.


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