08 Jul

After the rains the day before, I got up early and headed to the falls above Hessie.

Looking down the cascade of water. As usual, click on the photos for a larger version


My friend Joel has been visiting Colorado this past week.  He asked how to get the photo effect of smoothing out the water.  It’s a time exposure.  All five of these photos use this technique.  The exposure time on the above photo was 1/2 second.

1/4 second time exposure

This only works with a camera that has some manual control.  The amount of time needed depends on fast the water is flowing and how smooth you want the effect.  The lens I was using for these photos has the ability to close down its aperture to f22.  With a polarizing filter on the front of blocking a little bit more light, I was able to do exposures of 1/13 to 1/2 second.

1/13 second exposure.

Sometimes I also use a neutral density filter on the end of the lens.  This filter blocks even more light (9 stops) and allows me to use longer exposures.  It makes the water appear even more wispy.


5 second exposure


I lugged a tripod up to the falls.  The camera has to remain perfectly still during the exposure, or everything gets blurred.


A closer view of the falls in the previous photo. 5 second exposure.




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Leave a Reply

  1. Terri

    July 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Stunning, beautiful photos!! I love the wispy, ethereal effect of the water.

    And, do you mind if I ask what kind of camera you’re using?

    • randyg

      July 9, 2012 at 9:05 am

      Thanks. I’m using the Canon 50D DSLR.

      • Terri

        July 9, 2012 at 9:20 am

        I have the Canon 40. I used to be a Nikon girl, then I got my first Canon several years ago, and never looked back. They’re great cameras.

        • randyg

          July 10, 2012 at 8:15 am

          I just wish they were lighter. It seems like my camera gear is always adding about 5 to 10 pounds to my pack when I’m hiking.

  2. Chris

    July 8, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Absolutely stunning!

    • randyg

      July 9, 2012 at 9:06 am

      Thanks, Chris!

  3. Rob

    July 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Fantastic shots, as always. Do you ever get tired of being so talented? 😉

    • randyg

      July 10, 2012 at 8:13 am

      Thanks. 😛

  4. Liz

    July 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    I always wondered how you got that “smoothed out” look!

    The photographs are gorgeous.:)

    • randyg

      July 10, 2012 at 8:17 am

      Thanks, Liz!

      Do you know Terri? She left a comment above. She is from Scottland, too. Her blog is at

      • Liz

        July 10, 2012 at 9:55 am

        I don’t know Terri, but thank you for the link Randy, will check it out…always lovely to meet another Scot.:)