Swirling Waters

Elakala Falls, Blackwater State Park, WV
I know water swirls are kinda cliche but I still like doing them because every one is unique in it’s own way.
This is a favorite spot at the falls and when Ed saw the phalanx of 7 photographers either crowded around this 3’ section or waiting in line, he decided F this and went to the next falls down and got a shot he posted not too long ago.
After waiting for my turn for an hour, I set up and decided that to get any kind of swirl, I would have to use a ND filter. Unfortunately I only have a 10 stop and my initial settings would have given me a couple hour exposure. I kept pumping up the ISO and lowering the aperture and even at ISO 1000, f/6.7, I still had a sixty second exposure.
And to top it off, I had to hand hold the grad in front of the lens. I didn’t have the polarizer with me that fits my 1500mm holder so had to use my regular polarizer without the holder.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

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I just noticed after posting, this has a slight clockwise tilt.

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When I first saw this I thought you posted 2 images. A vertical with a strong horizontal going across fragments the image for a weak composition. In this case the two halves are entirely different. I would opt for the lower swirl and crop the falls off. I find that swirl well done and would like to emphasize it.

I would agree with Igor on both counts, the tilt and that the image has the look of two distinct images. However, I would be inclined to cut off the bottom and leave the falls. The swirl is not really engaging me, but I quite like the falls.

@Igor_Doncov and @Harley_Goldman. Well it looks like you guys are telling me I wasted an hour of my time taking this image. Just kidding. :wink:
I probably agree with your critiques and opinions 99% of the time but on this one I respectfully disagree. I feel the little cascades across the rocks and into the pool breakup the horizontal area and provide continuity between FG and BG. Different strokes I guess.

Not at all. Most would agree that this is an excellent image. I would be proud to have it. I actually like the greenish tint that this has.


@Igor_Doncov. Yeah that works too. But with your enlargement now I can see what a crappy job i did with the clone tool about halfway up on the left edge.

Igor’s crop resonates with me a lot, Mike. I think the swirl is simply magical while the waterfall is sorta “the usual” if you know what I mean.

I am going to go against the grain of the general direction of the comments here. I actually think the waterfall is as interesting, or even a bit more interesting than the swirl. I know you take what you get in the field, but since the swirl is more foam than swirling leaves, it’s the swirl that is more “as usual” for me. To me this was not a waste of an hour, with some tweaks I think this image can be enhanced.

Mike I would fix the tilt, try reducing the green tint (not appealing for my taste), warm up the warm tones a bit, and bump mid-tone contrast. I think getting some color separation between green and yellow would help. Here is the direction I would take it.


You had more patience than I did, Mike. :smiley: That small area of real estate seems to be a popular spot for photographers. While I like @Igor_Doncov’s crop my preference is for the whole scene with Elakala and the swirl as that seems to tell a better story to me. I also like the direction @Ed_McGuirk was taking this with his tweaks. And no you definitely did not waste your time on this.

Definitely did not waste your time. I love the image as you presented it (except for the tilt). Like the full story of the falls and the swirl. Have family in WV. Guess I should visit at some point.

I typically lean towards the grander views, and that holds true here. While I definitely see where the comments are coming from about two images in the one, I don’t think crops would be better, just different. I really like what @Ed_McGuirk did with it too.