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by Andy McInroy
Print Of The Month - January 2007
Landscape Photograph

Waterfall and Burn
Glenelvin Waterfall, Inishowen, County Donegal

Technical Details
Date/Time: 2nd December 2006, 2.04pm
Exposure time: 1 second
Aperture: f22
Focal Length: 14mm (APS sensor)
Lens: Pentax 14mm DA
Filtration: None

Glenelvin Waterfall can be found near the village of Clonmany on the Inishowen peninsula of Donegal. This is a beautiful little waterfall at the top of a small enclosed glen. It is well worth a visit, although make sure to get there early as a sign indicates that the waterfall is "closed at 9pm". Perhaps that's when they turn the water off !

On this occasion, the route up to the fall made a pleasant sheltered walk to escape the recent wild weather and I was confident that there would be plenty of water racing over the fall. I had previously visited this location in summer and had captured a close view of the waterfall. This time I hoped to capture more of the flowing burn while using the fall as a backdrop.

Clichéd or not, I've always loved photographing waterfalls. There is something captivating about long exposures of moving water, be that waves at the beach or the gentle flow of the river. Perhaps they catch the eye because they record nature in a way that the human brain cannot perceive. This is perhaps a similar explanation as to why we find time-lapse photography fascinating. The long exposure is effectively recording a complete "history" rather than just recording a snapshot moment in time.

Correct exposure for waterfalls can be quite difficult to achieve due to the fact that the brightest whites tend to easily "burn" out on the film or sensor. For this image I was able to use the camera histogram to ensure that I had achieved the best exposure possible without "burning" the brightest areas of the white water. I was helped by the fact that the day was heavily overcast and hence the contrast was quite low. This particular exposure was 1 second which is long enough for the continuous flow to be recorded.

To me, my favourite part of this image is the bottom where the five large boulders almost form a petal shape in the burn. The soft flowing waters around them seems to help define them sharply. The burn in the middle distance helps draw the viewer back from the foreground to the larger fall behind. To me, the main weakness in this image is the upper left section where some chaotic branches and the footpath detract a little from the scene.

But on the whole, a shot worthy of wet feet.

Text and photos © Andy McInroy