Black & White Photo Challenge, No. 4

We live about 40 minutes east of Shenandoah National Park, and we forget it’s there.  Shame on us!  Last Saturday, we were having an unusually warm December day (yay!), so we decided to Carpe the Diem and hit the trails.

This is Dark Hollow Falls.  The trail is right off of Skyline Drive, and an easy-ish 1.7 miles round trip.  But it’s 440 feet down to the falls, which means it’s 440 feet back up and out of the falls. It’s a pretty quick hike . . . unless (like me) you have your camera with you and stop every 45 seconds to take pictures.  Refrain of the Day:  C’mon, Mom!!

The falls gave me a chance to fool around with shutter speed and try to pull off one of those “silky look” waterfall photos.  Here’s what I learned:

  1. A tripod is critical (I used a monopod — tripod would have been even better).  Without one, these kinds of shots are impossible.  Can’t be done.  No one can hold a camera that still.
  2. Don’t forget to change your ISO (how sensitive your camera is to the available light, which was pretty close to zippy).  I had my ISO completely wrong for like, 300 shots before it occurred to me to double-check the output on my viewfinder.  [Facepalm].
  3. Manual shutter speed has a pretty steep learning curve — at least for me.  But the best way to get better shots is to keep shooting.  At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Here’s the same photo in color, which I prefer.  The peeks of green look like they’re taunting winter.  Take that, winter!  You can’t make everything brown and gray!

fill light smooth



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