Olympic National Park with PolarPro
Olympic National Park with PolarPro
The short hike to the falls is less than a mile after the long drive out to the National park from Seattle. I recommend stopping near the Lake Crescent Ranger station on the way, it is beautiful.
After arriving at the falls, I spent 4 hours photographing multiple angles as the light changed throughout the late afternoon. The Olympic National park rains near 300 days a year, so to get a sunny day is rare.
Typically I prefer to photograph golden light or cloudy days. I believe the light is just as, if not more important than the subject, so I will always try to pick the best light of the day. This was a rare occasion where the late afternoon light was the best light of the day. Using the 10 stop filter for a longer exposure, enabled me to pull of the dynamic results.
My goal was capturing smooth water with light rays and a sun flare. I hoped as the sun got lower in the sky that the mist from the falls would create some dynamic light rays. This is why I waited at one location for as long as I did. For me the best shot was around 6pm, as the sun was lower in the sky, and the mist of the falls was starting to glow.
To capture a sun flare I needed to have my camera at f11. My camera settings for most of the day ranged from 1-30 second shutter speeds, f4-f11 and iso 64. My Nikon d810 has a native ISO of 64 which is extremely handy for shooting in harsh light. It let’s me shoot slower shutter speeds with very little noise in the images.
Landscape photography is so much more than getting the shot. It’s about the story, experience and inspiration behind it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m always dreaming about epic photography experiences and weather phenomenons. But without love and passion for nature, it would just be another bland tourist photo. I spend time in the mountains to be refreshed, and I am very intentional about soaking in as much beauty as possible. I find much of my inspiration and passion for life by spending time in beautiful places. John Muir said it best, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” In addition, I find myself being the most creative in these moments. I have some rules I ask myself with every photo. “Is this a tourist snapshot? Is this basic? Is this predictable? Is this unique? What would make this better?” Because of that I always explore around the scene for a composition that truly inspires me. Until that perfect moment, when light, composition, and inspiration align, I don’t even bother shooting. Before that moment, I might as well just take a snapshot on my phone, that will be forgotten.
After getting the shot I was hoping for, with rays of light and a sun flare, I headed back to the car, eager to see what I had captured. I photographed multiple angles of the falls and found that the reverse angle with the bridge crossing the river, was my favorite of the day. I still think there is room for this photo to be improved. Maybe a winter adventure, with frozen waterfalls, surrounded by snow...
The filters were perfect for the situation and with deeper pixel peeping found that the images are tack sharp and have great color consistency. I didn’t have to remove any blue color cast in post which is nice compared to other filters I have used. These filters are a great addition to my bag and I’m excited to use them for many projects to come.
Check out PolarPro to see their amazing filters.
I would highly recommend the QuartzLine 1000NDPL for waterfalls and clouds and the 3 stop for ocean and faster moving water.