On Oahu the tropical Koolau Mountains offer many opportunities for photographing waterfalls. On our Oahu Sunset Photo Tour we stop at one of the smaller ones that’s close to the road – no hiking – to practice.
TIP 1 HAVE A TRIPOD
Whether you are shooting a DSLR, pocket camera or mobile phone you’ll need a tripod..sometimes a rock will do. This is how you’ll get the camera to capture that beautiful silky effect with the water while everything else around the waterfall is sharp.
TIP 2 CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME OF DAY
Unless you’re a pro with expensive Neutral Density filters you need to be at the waterfall at the right time of day. That’s when there is no light hitting the waterfall. Yep…it has to be in total shadow, or on an overcast day without the sun. Sunlight prevents your camera for getting a slow shutter and besides it causes that ugly blotchy light. The darker it is the better.
TIP 3 SLOW SHUTTER SPEED
Even if you don’t understand F stops and shutter speeds you can still trick your camera into giving you the desirable slow shutter speed. Here’s how you do it with the various cameras.
- For new DSLR users. Set your camera’s ISO to 100. Then go to Shutter Speed Priority. Set your shutter speed to 1 sec. It’ll look like this 1”. Manual users you got this.
- Point & Shoot Cameras. Set your camera’s ISO to 100 off of Auto.Then go to Shutter Speed Priority. Set your shutter speed to 1 sec. It’ll look like this 1”. But you might find that your camera finds this too slow and will blow out ( photo is way too bright ) so then set your shutter to 1/4 or 1/8. If your menu shows a Neutral Density NR filter. Turn that on.
- Mobile Phone Cameras. For Samsung go to the PRO mode and set your shutter to 1/15, 1/8 or 1/4. For iPhone users download the app Slow Shutter Cam. This app will allow you to choose your shutter speeds.
TIP 4 STEADY SHOT WITH THE TIMER
The Drive Mode allows you to shoot a single frame or continuous frames when you press the shutter. This Mode also allows you to set up a timer. Find it on your camera.
- For DSLR Users. Turn your Drive Mode to Timer 2 secs. Some cameras are set to 10 secs. That’s ok you’ll just have a longer wait time. But most cameras will allow you to change the length of time.
- Point & Shoot Cameras. Some cameras are set to 10 secs. That’s ok you’ll just have a longer wait time. But most cameras will allow you to change the length of time.
- Mobile Phone Cameras. Most all cameras will have a timer. Turn it on.
TIP 5 READY TO GO
As you take the photo be careful not to bump the tripod. Take a photo and review to see where you might need any adjustments. Does the shutter speed need to be slower or faster? Adjust. Experiment and have fun.