As in any landscape photography scenario, light is critical, and it is constantly changing. To really get an appealing outcome, one has to plan ahead for it. Bright contrasting light is generally unsatisfactory for most of the settings unless it is entirely out in the open, at least for the way I like to capture them. If at all possible I purposely choose an overcast day where the light is more even. Cloudy bright is probably ideal, just to get a bit of shadow for effect.
For most waterfalls, I like a sense of water movement, giving a silky smooth look. That means low light, a slow shutter speed, no wind, a camera body with mirror lock-up, a cable release and a sturdy tripod. Sometimes a neutral density filter helps out, which cuts out the light by several stops, enabling some photos to be as long as 30 seconds. Most of the time one can get away with shutter speeds of as fast as 0.8 seconds, but usually one or two seconds works well.Obviously under these conditions, hand-holding a camera will not work, so a good solid tripod is necessary.
Some people use a very small f/stop, even as small as f/22, to result in a slower shutter speed. I prefer an f/stop in the f/8 to f/11 range, since that is typically the sharpest f/stop of most lenses......going too small, will invariably compromise the sharpness of the image.
A word of caution: One has to remember that slopes near waterfalls are sometimes unstable, wet, often muddy and slippery. There is definitely a risk to life and limb in getting too close, as well as a risk to expensive camera gear!
There is one great little waterfall not too far from home. It is at Rock Glen Conservation Area, at the edge of Arkona, east of Sarnia and only a little more than an hour away from home. It is a treat at any time of the year, although in mid summer the water may just be a gentle trickle.
|Rock Glen in November--view from downstream|
|Rock Glen in February--view from the stairs|
Of course one of the best known waterfalls in the whole world is this next one, a combination of Niagara Falls on the right and the American Falls on the left. It is a panoramic photo stitch, and is at the southern end of the Niagara Escarpment in Ontario.
Hamilton is often referred to as the 'city of waterfalls' since there are sooooo many to choose from in the greater Hamilton area. Some are small and delicate, some are large and powerful. The ones along the escarpment are often known as 'plunge' falls, since the erosive action of the falling water undermines the weaker rock material below so that the water seldom touches any other rock material before it gets to the bottom. Sometimes the water may plunge in several stages.
Considerably smaller than Niagara -- and what falls in Ontario isn't -- is Felker's Falls. It is adjacent to a municipal park next to a subdivision.
Sherman Falls is very much a favourite of mine, and very accessible. A good trail leads to an excellent viewing point about 200-300 metres from the small parking area.
|Washboard Falls close-up|
A bit farther north along the escarpment north of Hwy 401 in the Milton area are a few others. This first one is Hilton Falls. It is a pleasant 25 minute walk from the parking lot along a forest trail in the conservation area by that name.
Farther north yet along the escarpment there are some impressive falls. Right at the edge of the town of Durham is McGowan Falls. One has to choose certain angles to keep man-made objects out of the view, however.
|Hoggs Falls lower vantage point|
|Along the trail to Indian Falls|