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Tag: waterfall

Can You Hear the Song of the Sirens in this Waterfall Video?

If you should come upon a waterfall during a hike and feel drawn to it, you’re not alone. Here’s what happened to me.

My wife, son and I regularly go on hikes in Connecticut with two other families. I’ve found this group weekend activity to be particularly stabilizing during the pandemic. Plus, we really enjoy hiking.

I always take a camera if just to capture a group selfie in the forest. I originally relied on my GoPro with its wide angle lens, but more recently I’ve simply been using my iPhone along with my Apple Watch’s ‘Camera Remote’ app.

This pairing allows me to walk away from my iPhone that I’ve mounted on my little Joby tripod. I can then join the group shot and look at the frame from my wrist. Finally, I remotely snap the photo by simply tapping my Apple Watch (with a 3 second countdown).

Of course, there are any number of other forest photos to capture, ranging from the macro to the panoramic. Nature is always there for you. So if you miss a shot, you’ll get another chance the next time.

The Lure of a Waterfall
That said, there are not that many waterfalls. So if you pass one, you probably should spend some time with it. And yes, that includes framing a few shots or video clips. Not that you’ll need to force yourself to do this. Waterfalls have a magical quality. I find it hard to look away.

  • The movement of the water
  • The power of its flow
  • That mesmerizing sound
    (There must be invisible creatures singing within the water streams.)

Usually, I see people taking shots of the complete vista. But for me, that’s not enough. Waterfalls are sirens. They call to me…

“Come closer… closer. Step on that slippery, wet rock. Stretch your camera next to my mist. Forget the danger.”

And so I do. It’s intoxicating. I want to touch that magic and somehow capture it all with my camera.

But I can’t. Not really.

To do the job right, you need to really take your time. (That can extend beyond the patience of your hiking mates.) And if you’re going to put your gear in harm’s way, you should have some waterproofing to protect against the spray.

My Encounter with the Prydden Brook Falls
Recently, our little hiking pod was back on the Zoar Trail in the Paugussett State Forest in Newtown, Connecticut.

And into the back half of our 7.8 mile hike, we came upon the Prydden Brook Falls.

This waterfall is stunning, especially in the afternoon as the sun highlights all of the droplets dancing in the air. I’ve taken pictures of this enchanted space before, and explored slower shutter speeds to create a silkier water effect.

Editing Together the Songs of the Falls
This time, I needed to get even closer. Everyone else snapped away from afar, and I waited until they got their shots. Then I almost blindly stepped in. I had my little DJI Osmo Pocket camera with me, and I began shooting video clips from different angles.

It was an entirely imperfect exercise. I didn’t have the right ND filter to prevent the brights from blowing out. I could barely see what I was shooting as I stretched in as far as I dared. (I hadn’t entirely lost my mind.)

When I returned home and reviewed the footage, I saw that my twenty-minute shoot (or was it longer?) had yielded some interesting clips, but they were far from perfect. That said, my Osmo Pocket had successfully captured the amazing sounds of that waterfall.

And based on that variable, I decided to edit together the video clips into this short sequence:

It’s hard to properly record the majesty of any waterfall, but happily, I did successfully capture the different songs from this little water beast. And that carried the day for me.

It’s just another example of how audio is often the unsung hero behind any successful video.

The Sirens Still Sing
In hindsight, I should have brought my waterproof GoPro. But happily, I didn’t destroy my DJI Osmo Pocket. Nor did I fall to my doom on the slippery rocks. My family and friends indulged my waterfall encounter, and we eventually continued on our glorious hike.

I’d call that a good day.

Yes, both my camera and I escaped the lure intact. But this waterfall still calls to me. I can still hear its music.

I’ll be back…

How Motion Blur can Improve your Photography

Softness in your photos can be a desirable effect if that’s your goal. Adding in a touch of blur around your main object can create a bit of a mystical look. Here’s what happened when I slowed down my camera’s shutter above The Rink at Rockefeller Center.

When snapping a photo, any motion in your frame has the potential to look blurry and ruin the shot. As the father of an active eleven-year-old boy who’s been moving about pretty quickly over the past decade, I’ve often been preoccupied with being able to freeze the moment in my photos and capturing any movement without blur.

Sometimes though, the blurred motion in a shot is the most important part to capture. The key is to isolate it without affecting the rest of the photo. Of course, to accomplish that, you just need to slow down your shutter speed and make sure your camera doesn’t move. (A tripod is especially handy in these moments.)

Here are a couple photographic opportunities I’ve run across with my Panasonic Lumix LX-10 that benefited from this approach.

Moving Water
The silky flow of rushing water in nature can be a prime candidate for this type of visual exercise.

Waterfall with motion blur (Zoar hiking trail in Connecticut)

The waterfall without motion blur

People Walking
The blur of a crowd of moving people can offer your camera a great opportunity to ‘see’ motion.

Grand Central Terminal with motion blur of all the rushing commuters

The same space without motion blur

The Art of Chasing Blur
Again, the key to success when allowing targeted blur in your shots is making sure that everything else is in focus. Otherwise, that dreamy feel you’re going for will instead look like you’ve fallen asleep behind your camera!

Enjoy finding the right blur to enhance your photos!

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