Kootenai Falls, near Libby, Montana, is one of the largest free-flowing waterfalls in the northwest. It’s a beautiful sight to photograph but water can be tricky to capture on camera.
Photo tip: One way to accomplish a picture-perfect shot of flowing water is to use a Neutral Density (ND) filter, which creates a dreamy, silky effect. In this shot, I used an 8-stop ND filter, which, in layman’s terms, turns day into night (as far as the camera’s eye is concerned). By darkening the scene through this filter I was able to slow my shutter speed down to one half of a second, which turned the water into a beautiful, silky cascade. In order to keep the rest of the image sharp, be sure to use a tripod and either a remote shutter release or your camera’s two-second delay.
Jonathan Irish is a professional photographer and Director of Programs for National Geographic Adventures.