View Full Version : Havasu under the stars

James Fuller
07-21-2013, 01:01 PM

Later this evening flood waters came down and turned the falls brown. I've got some images of them after the flood, but they are not as pleasing with the brown water. :w3

Nikon D800, 14-24 @ 24mm; 30sec exposure; F2.8, ISO 800.

Comments appreciated!

07-23-2013, 06:59 PM
Very Attractive and well lit up for a night photo.
Not knowing much about taking these star shots, I wonder if a bit less SS would have still lit up the
sky and not blown out the water as much?
Can you explain your settings? You shot at high iso for landscape to shorten the exposure time but shot at f2.8?
Is there a reason for that? Why not a smaller aperture and a lower Iso?
A nice effect but a bit more Water definition would look nice for me.

James Fuller
07-23-2013, 07:57 PM
Great questions Dan. This is a continuing learning experience for me so I can tell you why I chose the particular settings, however, I am by no means sure if they are correct or not, just played around to see what looked best.

ISO 400 and lower. I didn't feel like I could get enough light to expose the stars. And was not willing to shoot over 30sec exposure as I didn't want to get any more trails/movement in the stars.

The reason for high ISO and a large aperture is to get as much of the night sky exposed in the image as I thought possible.

As for more texture in the falls, I don't know how much lighting power would be needed. It was incredibly dark out there.

07-23-2013, 08:20 PM
Sorry, I actually was not thinking or just showing my lack of photo knowledge.
You are right, both the aperture and the Iso would have sped up the SS, so in fact, to get more detail in the whites
in this scene, you would have to shoot at iso1600!
That might be too much noise even for the D800 for a Landscape photo.

James Fuller
07-23-2013, 08:33 PM
So if I had shot ISO 1600, then I could have cut the SS down to 15sec...still a long exposure for fast moving water, so not sure if I would have gotten more detail with those settings?

Roman Kurywczak
07-23-2013, 09:28 PM
Hey James,
Love the thought process here and will offer you a few tips. It looks like this was light painted.....so doing a bit less on the RH side was the was to go....if not a split ND on the RH side would help tone it down. You could also use your hand to cover the lens for part of the exposure.....moving the hand....to accomplish the same. Remember for light falloff....the further away the subject......the more you need to paint.....so normally for the closer FG.....I don't paint at all!....just let the light falloff do the job. You could also try another option....one exposure for falls....faster SS....or combine that with the high iso for the stars and manually blend the two. Hope this makes sense. All in all a very nice effort!

James Fuller
07-23-2013, 10:25 PM
Thanks for the tips Roman!

Andrew McLachlan
07-25-2013, 04:40 PM
Hi James, very nice scene with some great tips mentioned by Roman. What I have done with some of my waterfall images where the water has a rather unpleasant tone to it such as brown or yellowy water is to load the image into Nik's Viveza and place a control point on the water and de-saturate it...sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't, but always worth a shot. You could also convert those images to B&W versions. No need to hesitate on cranking up the D800's ISO. I have shot plenty of landscapes at ISO 1600 and bullfrogs at ISO 4500 with great results.

Morkel Erasmus
08-19-2013, 01:53 PM
Some good advice given above, James. It sure is a nice scene and if you ever get a chance to revisit this shot, you'll know what to do. When I do light-painting I try to be more subtle so the light could have come from natural sources - the way you've done it makes it look like there's a fixed floodlight shining on the cliffs...:e3
It's still a good attempt in my books!