During my stay in Germany, I really wanted to shoot a waterfall with moss-covered rocks in the water. Seeing photos of the Gertelbacher waterfalls back in Finland, my heart jumped. A free afternoon came up and I was on my way.
I approached the falls from below as I wanted to walk upwards seeing all the cascades – the smaller ones first, the steep ones at the end. I never saw those steep ones… the first 25 metres took me over four hours to photograph 🙂
Sounds maybe nuts to some but that place enchanted me. The sound of the water, the cascades, the shades of green, those huge leaf trees. Like entering a fairytale with my camera.
The more time I spent in that small area, the more I discovered photo opportunities. In this post I’ll share only a few ones. More will come later. Greetings from the Alps 🙂
View to Bühlertal and the Rhine valley in the background
It’s the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and today I’ll be out with my gear. For a change not in Finland but in Germany. Visiting family is not often possible but when it’s happening, there isn’t much time to push the limits of the camera.
I’m missing a bit the sea in Oulu, so I decided to head to a waterfall in the black forest. It’s been raining a lot and I hope the leaves and plants will have wonderful tones of green.
Here is a photo from Oulunsalo taken earlier. It’s a very late sunset with the crescent moon peaking through the clouds. Have a lovely day!
Waking up early to see the sunrise isn’t everybody’s favourite way to start the day. Luckily the winter and summer season here in Finland have their own advantages. In winter the sun rises late in the Oulu area (or not at all up North), in summer very early. In fact so early, it’s wise to stay up after sunset and go to bed after sunrise.
One summer ‘morning’ I went to Lake Papinjärvi in Oulunsalo to see a golden sunrise. A gentle breeze made the waves reflecting the colours of the sky, a lovely end of the day.
A corona outburst usually doesn’t last long and there are several ways to capture it. I won’t go into details of using a whole-sky fisheye lens or filming the aurora. Most of you coming to the North (or South) to see the lights have a dslr camera with a wide-angle lens. So, what more is needed?
know your aperture, exposure time and ISO
When being out at night, seeing the aurora gaining in strength, you might be so excited that the camera basics are forgotten and replaced by adrenaline. Be familiar with your camera settings and what the change will do. For example let’s say you are using these settings: aperture 2.8 | ISO 800 | Exposure time 4 sec. If you want to capture more details you need to shorten the exposure time. But what do you need to do with the aperture and ISO? Anything? Indeed you do, otherwise your image might be too dark. In my aurora guide I cover this in more detail.
know your camera buttons in the dark
It is exciting to see the dancing lights in the sky and you might press the wrong camera button which messes up the photo. Taking out the flashlight, checking and correcting might take just long enough for the corona to pass. Knowing which buttons/wheels change the ISO, aperture and exposure time helps a lot.
follow the aurora develop
As you’ll see in the photos below, aurora will change quickly and – while positioning the camera, etc – it’s good to keep at least one eye on the sky. Which leads to the next point
be ready to ‘shoot from the (tripod) hip’
when the corona opens up it is not a fixed point in the sky, it moves around. If you are superfast, you can use the camera’s viewfinder to point at the corona. For me, the best way was to turn the camera approximately right. And often that works. It’s perhaps tricky to explain in writing, easiest is to show you during one of my tours.
check the photo for highlights
just before the corona the intensity of the lights is often rising, resulting in blown out highlights of the next image. Check the photo from the screen and if there are some white areas, you want to adjust either the aperture, exposure time or ISO.
That’s about it, if you want to share your experiences or have more ideas, points to remember, I’d be happy to read your comment and let’s discuss!
The corona photo series below is taken within ~70 seconds.
A strong aurora outburst with a starting corona at the top
9 seconds later – One more photo into the same direction, notice the purple-green rays on the top right corner. Time to point the camera upwards.
14 seconds later – the corona is about to unfold, rays in all directions, what a rush!
12 seconds later – Boom, we have lift off. It’s like looking into the soul of Lady Aurora
15 seconds later – The end is nearing, the structured rays get washed out and the puple is almost gone
18 seconds later – the show moved on, see the rays on the far right