Waterfalls and Other Bright Ideas

I have recently hinted that Malcolm and I will be leaving for a fifteen day road trip in about a month. We are heading north, with Rhode Island being our furthermost destination. My goal is to visit and photograph as many waterfalls as possible along the route.

After a lot of research, I decided to upgrade my camera and have settled on a Panasonic DC g9. I also purchased a new ‘walkabout,’ or multipurpose lens (14-140) which will allow me to leave behind a few lenses that I don’t want to carry. Both items arrived last week, and as with any new equipment, there is a learning curve. I decided I should practice as much as possible before we get on the road. Most of my practice time has been spent shooting the manmade waterfall in my neighborhood at different times of day and in different camera modes.

Malcolm and I have different opinions about how to photograph a waterfall. He likes natural, falling water and I like the smooth effect created by slowing down the shutter speed.

For anyone still struggling with the new Block Editor, this was created by choosing IMAGE COMPARE from the Media Block

The photo on the left was taken in Aperture priority at a fast shutter speed, while the one on the right was taken in Shutter priority with a slow shutter speed. I mounted the camera on a tripod for both photographs. A tripod isn’t necessary when shooting at fast shutter speeds, as normal camera shake won’t disturb the image, but it is absolutely necessary when shooting at a slow shutter speed. Slide back and forth between the two and tell me if you have a preference.

Conditions were not ideal on the day I took the photos above, (direct sunlight) and these images are both awash with light and filled with shadows. I had to tone down the brightness in some areas and enhance it in others. Correcting light can be done in a variety of ways when shooting in Shutter Mode, including adjusting ISO, and using the exposure compensation button on the camera. Or, you can do as I have in these and adjust it during post processing. I used NIK to pinpoint where I wanted to brighten the shadows and where I wanted to darken over-exposed areas. In the photo on the right, I also added a little structure and color to the rocks at the bottom of the waterfalls for extra contrast.

Whether you shoot with a phone camera or a DSLR, there is a never-ending learning curve to photography. For me, that is the thing that makes this hobby so satisfying. The goal is always forward progress, not perfection.

Retirement is like that too. This is the time of life to make new discoveries, go at a comfortable pace and celebrate small accomplishments. What about you? Have you found a hobby that holds your interest and brightens your day? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

I went back to the waterfall on a cloudy day and got this shot. I think I’m getting closer to figuring things out.

The square photos and ‘bright theme’ were inspired by Becky’s Bright Squares challenge. There were lots of things going on in our lives this week, and if we were having coffee, I’d tell you everything. Maybe next week I’ll brew a pot and spill. Until then, have a beautiful week and enjoy my practice photographs.

Shared with Becky’s Bright Squares, Trent’s Weekly Smiles and

Natalie’s Weekend Coffee Chat

45 thoughts on “Waterfalls and Other Bright Ideas

  1. I haven’t found a hobby that holds my attention other than blogging, I guess. And blogging is more than a hobby, it’s a lifestyle! I’d like to know more about photography and will do so once we get back out into the world so that I have things to photograph. I look forward to your pics from you upcoming travels.


  2. All of these waterfalls look great to me! The last one is my favorite. When I take waterfall photos I usually take a few using each method and then decide later which one gives me the effect I want. Have a wonderful road trip!


  3. I so enjoyed chatting with you, and I love your experimental photographs. What fun you have been having, and so much more fun ahead with your trip. Fabulous 😀

    and welcome back to squares, it is great to have join joins us again 🙂


  4. I’m always torn between these two effects. Like you I lean towards the slow shutter speeds and I think your two largest photos have this spot on, although in the image compare block I slight prefer the fast shutter speed version for some reason!

    Have a great trip – I look forward to seeing lots more beautiful waterfalls 🙂


      1. I can keep pretty steady and my camera does have image stabilization built in, so that helps. I was just looking at some waterfall photos and I was getting a pretty good percentage of tack-clear shots at 1/5 sec. There were a few slower, but not many at 1/2 second. Slower than that, no, not even with image stabilization. (OK, I have hit 1 sec before, but that is rare!)


  5. I love this post and those photos…I kind of go between waterfalls…I like the natural, but also the smooth. It just depends…haha. Enjoy your camera. It’s always fun getting something new.


  6. Suzanne, I like both kinds of waterfall pictures. Although my first inclination is the natural falling water, the smooth effect does create a beautiful dreamy look. I’m with you regarding progress and not perfection. I like to have variety in my day and to try new things so I’ve had different hobbies. I hope you have time to write a post about what’s been going on, before your big trip 🙂 Thank you for this coffee share.


    1. Natalie, I have a lot of interests also and enjoy devoting chunks of time to each. Sometimes the balance shifts, like with the new camera. I need to gain as much experience as possible before it really counts. P.S. I found several Disc Courses in our area and one that is just a few miles away.


  7. Your waterfall photos are beautiful! It’s fun to see both versions. I tend to photograph moving water as it appears (fast shutter speed) but I always enjoy the magical effects of slowing down the shutter speed. I agree with you, photography offers never-ending opportunities for learning. Right now I’m focusing on improving my sketching and painting skills. Talk about a learning curve, LOL.


    1. Hi Laurel, I think there is a place for both, and it really is a matter of preference. Sketching and painting are way outside my skill set and I have always admired people who have that talent. Maybe you’ll show some of your work on your blog?? Have a great week.


    1. Hi Liesbet, I have been looking for an opportunity to use the image compare feature and it worked well for this post. A few weeks ago, I experimented with the new features by incorporating a bunch of them into one post. It was pretty rough, and I didn’t publish it, but it was a great learning exercise.

      Liked by 1 person

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  9. If you are a waterfall fan, have you ever done the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon? It’s a whole series that you can hike between. We stumbled across it (unprepared for a 5 hour hike!) but it was wonderful. Good luck on your trip, weather-wise.

    I love the side by side pictures and went back and forth trying to decide which I liked better. It’s a really interesting contrast. I do like the slow effect on the last shot you shared.


    1. Hi Pat, funny you should mention Oregon. We have done the Columbia River Gorge, but many years ago. We have been talking a lot about a repeat visit. My waterfall pics back then were pretty disappointing. Hopefully, they will be better now. That last shot was my favorite. I felt like it was as I intended, and not just a happy accident.

      Liked by 1 person

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  11. I like the ‘texture’ of the natural water rather than the smooth effect. When I look at it I see and ‘hear’ falling water, but I’m not good at the technical side of photography so I wouldn’t be likely to try to create your smoothness. I do love photos of water though 🙂 🙂


  12. You have a creative, artistic eye and a gift with photography, Suzanne. You remind me how different lighting always makes a difference. I have been ‘almost’ off the grid these past two weeks with lots of personal stuff. I am enjoying catching up on some of my reading this afternoon. Thank you for the beautiful respite. 💕


  13. Thank you, Judy. We probably watched a lot of the same videos! Light makes all the difference and I want to be ready for anything since we will not always be arriving at the most optimal time. Finding the right combination of ISO and shutter speed seems to be the key to success.


  14. Suzanne,
    I looked up your new camera and was impressed with the features and the reviews. I’ve been thinking about mirrorless, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet. I prefer smooth for running water, and fast for waves hitting rocks—I want to see every drop. Your practice pictures are great. Looking forward eagerly to your trip and more “forward progress!” Joe


  15. Joe, the new camera is my second mirrorless. I bought the first, a Panasonic Lumix GX7 because I liked the idea of a lightweight camera. I loved it, but wanted something a little more substantial, while still under the usual weight. The g9 does that for me and I think she and I will get along very welI. I feel the same about splashing water. I want to see every drop! Otherwise, what’s the point? Have a great trip and keep in touch.


  16. Christie Hawkes

    What beautiful photos, Suzanne. I had fun with the compare feature. Thanks for sharing that tidbit. Enjoy your trip. I can’t wait to see the resulting waterfall photos. Travel safe! Have fun!


  17. Pingback: Looking Back – Moving Forward – Picture Retirement

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