I had never been to Turtleback Falls before and found it to be worth the heartache of additional steps and hiking. Some of the steps getting to Turtleback are a bit steep. If you’re determined to see Turtleback, just know that it’s a bit of a vertical climb getting there, but well worth the photos you’ll take!
There’s no confusing Turtleback with any other waterfall, because this cascade truly looks like a turtle’s shell. Surrounded by rock, there are several places to make your way either directly in front of the falls, or off to one side, for a great picture. Because there were so many steps up to Turtleback, we opted to have a spot of lunch while we were there.
Now that I’ve been taking photos for a while, I shoot everything in manual mode unless it’s a sunset. That’s the only time I test out a few settings in Aperture mode. But the one setting that has helped me learn how to take better pictures is the highlights setting. Basically what this setting does is make the “blown out” (overexposed) areas blink. How else are you going to know the photo has issues? Find this setting on your camera and SET IT! I find it more helpful than anyone providing camera settings for me. So walk up to your photo opportunity, greet it if you like, but look over the environment and make an educated guess at what settings you’ll need to use. Take one test shot. Any blinking? If so, adjust your settings. If not, the shot may be a keeper.
When I shoot waterfalls, I tend to use an ISO setting of 100, unless it’s an overcast day or the falls are in the shade. Then my ISO numbers are in the 200 – 400 range. To get the “feathery” look for a waterfall, I like to an shutter speed of 1/10 if the light will allow it. Because this was a very sunny day, I had to increase the shutter speed to about 1/25. Here again, the weather (sun, rain, mist, clouds, wind, etc) plays a huge part in getting the settings correct. And my aperture setting was F22.
My best advice for learning how to take a decent waterfall photo? Practice, practice, practice!