IT HAD BEEN POURING WITH RAIN for most of the day. When it finally eased enough to think about making photographs I went out to this beautiful waterfall, the Gibraltar Falls, at the edge of the Namadgi National Park.
The falls are a very short walk from the carpark, so even though it was still drizzling steadily I managed to get down to the little viewing platform where I set up my camera and looked for a composition. The viewing platform is very deliberately designed to stop people jumping over the rails to get onto the rocks closer to the water. Normally I would be one of those people, but not today — way too dangerous in the rain and if I slipped … well, best not think about that.
So my composition options were a bit limited, but this one is probably my favourite from the images I made there. The top of the image is carefully cropped at the point where you can see the entire boulder at the top, around which the water flows, and the bottom edge is cropped just at the point where it’s clear that those rocks are grounded (you can see grass growing around them) and they offer a wonderful foreground and a ‘way into’ the image. The two edges of the image are framed so that the mass of moving water is entirely contained within the frame — nowhere does the water ‘leave’ the image, even when it falls down behind the rock in the lower left. So hopefully the viewer’s eye is not tempted to leave the image to follow the flow of water as it’s all contained with the boundary of the frame.
Yes, I like the composition a lot. It’s pleasingly balanced, it contains everything it needs and excludes everything that’s unnecessary.
This image was shot on a tripod with a 10-stop neutral-density filter, giving me a 30-second exposure at F/16 for good depth of field and to render the water a silky ribbon of white. All the while I held a hat over the camera to stop the rain drops settling on the front of the lens. And here’s a tip — if you shoot long exposures like this, cover up your viewfinder. Light can leak though your viewfinder during long exposures and can create unpleasant light/fogging effects on your image.
I don’t mind waiting all day for the rain to stop if I can come home with images like this one.