Niagara Falls; Feel The Power, Capture The Wonder Page 2

Raw Rules
Here's a look at the Adobe Camera Raw window for the previous shot. The red areas show highlight clipping and the blue areas show shadow clipping (loss of detail). In Camera Raw, clipping warnings are displayed when you have the Preview, Shadows, and Highlights boxes checked. What's amazing about Camera Raw is its ability to recover both highlight and shadow detail. So, in high-contrast scenes like my nighttime shots of the Falls, remember that raw rules.

Pack A Polarizing Filter
Polarizing filters can help darken a blue sky and brighten white clouds when the sun is off to your left or right side. I never leave home without one. Some novice photographers make the mistake of dialing in the full polarizing effect, which can result in a dark spot in the center of the frame. So, my advice is to first dial in the full polarizing effect, and then dial back just a bit to avoid the darkened center. You can get a photograph like this from the Maid of the Mist, which runs just about every half hour during the day.

Slow It Down With A Neutral Density Filter
Another useful filter for waterfall photographs is a Neutral Density (ND) filter. This filter simply reduces the amount of light entering the lens, thereby allowing you to shoot at slower shutter speeds. ND filters are available in different densities. I used a three-stop ND filter for this 20-second exposure of the rapids at Niagara Falls.

Think Artistically
Most of us strive for the most colorful picture we can take. That's cool. But keep in mind that we are in total control of color in the digital darkroom: we can boost the saturation for more color, or completely desaturate an image for a black and white picture. To add to the drama of being very close to the Falls, I converted my color file to a black and white image.

If you'd like to plan a trip to Niagara Falls, you can find a wealth of information at: My guess is that you will not have to worry about getting good pictures of flowing water--there's lots of it!

Rick Sammon loves digital photography and Photoshop. He likes (needs) to keep busy! He has written 25 books, hosted 20 cable/satellite TV shows, and has produced five interactive CDs/DVDs for Photoshop CS and Elements users--and photographers. He teaches digital photography workshops and Photoshop courses around the world. See for more info.


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richard4's picture

Everyone should see the Niagara Falls at least once in a life time, because the view is absolutely amazing, I was fascinated when I took the first snapshot, last summer. I have a few hundreds of photos with the Fall, I wonder how many I'll have after visiting Bangkok in 48 hours next month!