There are many beautiful little spots along the Wairere Stream when trekking up towards Wairere Falls in New Zealand. One of them looked particularly enchanting when I saw it first on our way to the falls. The scene stuck in my mind so when we were retuning I stopped there for a bit longer to photograph the stream and cascades.
To take this shot I had to take into account changing light - one moment it was overcast, the next sun would shine through and there would be many overblown areas that I wanted to avoid. Another factor was that I was taking the photo from a wooden bridge and any time someone would walk over the bridge it would shake.
As I mentioned in previous posts, I like to create a surreal feeling of silky soft water flow for my waterfall images and this requires at least 10-15 second exposure and often ones closer to 30 seconds to get the effect I envision. Indeed, it took a 30 second exposure for this scene and a couple of times I politely asked fellow trekkers to wait before entering the bridge so that I could complete the exposure. More often than not, if you are polite, people are understanding and helpful in such situations.
I used a polarising filter and a three stop ND filter to achieve the 30 second exposure and the polarising filter also worked to enhance the foliage and cut through reflections on wet rocks and leaves. In addition, I was pointing the camera down at a steep angle and that allowed for the perspective distortion to exaggerate the cascade in the foreground, making it appear larger than it seemed on the spot. I love the final result and I hope you find the scene equally as enchanting as we did in real life.
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