I love McKinney Falls State Park. Anytime there’s a serious rain, the upper and lower falls become wonderful photographic subjects and they’re never the same two days in a row. That’s why McKinney Falls is always a stop during the Texas Landscape Safari.
How to Get this Type of Shot (without a neutral density filter):
- Cloudy, overcast days are your best choice for this type of shot. Set your ISO to the absolute lowest number. On the Canon 5D2 this means enabling ISO Expansion using C.Fn 1-3 and setting it to “L” (ISO 50).
- Set your camera to manual (M) and adjust your aperture to somewhere around f/22 or smaller until you achieve a shutter speed of greater than 1/8th of a second. The longer the better! And don’t worry about diffraction softening your image unless you plan to print it larger than 24 x 36.
- Manually focus your lens about 1/3rd of the way into the image (hyper-focal distance) for best results. You want everything in perfect focus so check your depth of field often.
- A good sturdy tripod is a must in a situation like this. I recommend a carbon-fiber tripod for shooting waterfalls since any camera shake will ruin your long exposure shots.
- Be Careful. Wet rocks are about the most dangerous surface to walk on. I recommend buying a good pair of hiking boot or shoes with Vibram soles. I shop at REI and the folks there will help you pick the right pair for your feet.