From the very start I fell in love with my little Nikon (1AW1). It did indeed seem like the perfect camera for me. It was summer at the time so it wasn’t long before I had it down the beach, testing the water so to speak.
While I don’t exactly spend a lot of time underwater, the next time I go snorkelling on a tropical reef you can bet I’ll have this little baby with me – the hardest decision will be which of the 2 lenses I use – zoom or no zoom. Down to 20m though? Maybe not….. Meantime it is great to take in the surf for action shots. The ability to shoot at up to 60 frames per second also means that you can really freeze the moment.
As with most things I do, I leaped into photography head first, cramming every bit of information into my head that I could, then setting myself little mini assignments to practice. I looked at the things I’d always wanted to achieve with a “good” camera and focused (pardon the pun) on them.
Top of the list was long exposures. These are the images that I’ve fallen in love with over countless wall calendars – beautiful, fluffy waterfalls with that silky smooth effect. I know it looks fake and it may not be something that appeals to everyone, but to me it’s perfection. Waterfalls have always held a special attraction for me – they’re so often surrounded by dense rainforest and even as I sit here typing I can almost smell that damp, earthy smell. Ahhhhh…… breathe……
I planned a solo camping trip to the Otways region in South West Victoria – an area renowned for its abundance of breathtaking waterfalls. Time poor as usual, I opted to visit only one waterfall – Hopetoun Falls. The well constructed track was easy to follow, however there was an alarming number of very steep steps. With every step down my heart sank a little more – I knew it was going to be a tough climb back up to my car. Once I saw the falls though, all that was forgotten and I became lost in the moment.
I’d read a little about the technique behind long exposure shots of waterfalls and knew that I needed to have a small aperture and low ISO, then use my light meter to see how long I could expose for before the image became over exposed. I knew that a tripod was recommended, as well as a neutral density filter to extend how much I could slow my shutter down. As a newbie, I had yet to invest in an ND filter – luckily the rainforest was dank and gloomy enough to get away with a 1/3 of a second exposure. I was also too lazy to use my tripod, instead opting to brace myself against the viewing platform – big mistake.
At the time I have to say I was absolutely ecstatic with the results. This is where the “evolution” part of this post comes in. Now I look at this image and I think “what rubbish!”. There are so many flaws I don’t know where to begin. Suffice to say – I will be returning one day and will apply the knowledge that I’ve acquired in the meantime to produce a MUCH better result. Having said that, I’m not beating myself up – I did the best I could as an absolute novice and that moment of elation at the result is what matters. We all have to start somewhere.
It’s not the destination that’s important – it’s the journey.
Here is waterfall I captured nearly a year later (Keppel Falls near Marysville) – greatly improved but still a lot to learn. Waterfalls have become somewhat of an obsession of mine and I expect I’ll have to dedicate an entire post to this subject to do it proper justice.
**Footnote – yes, the climb back up to the car was a KILLER. I’m glad I was completely alone so no one else had to witness the puffing and panting, the beetroot red face, the crying and swearing. Lol