How I shot it – Linn Jaw Waterfall

Welcome to my 2nd post is the “How I shot it” series. The next image I have chosen to look at is an autumnal shot of Linn Jaw Waterfall, a cracking waterfall that can be found just South of Livingston. I came across it during one of my online “scouting” sessions – I use OS maps, flickr and 500px to find new locations to shoot. Getting to this waterfall is no east task, once you have parked you car, it requires perhaps a 5 minute walk then a short, very steep descent down the cliffs towards the water.

Linn Jaw Waterfall in Autumn

One of the reasons I love shooting this waterfall is that it seems to be a rather neglected waterfall in terms of photography – unusual for such a stunning location in the central belt! I’ve shot the waterfall from many different angles, and with the water at varying levels of depth. When I visited in autumn this year, I was hoping there would be some good autumnal colouring, the leaves on the trees weren’t as autumnal as I hoped, but those on the ground were and it looks as stunning as ever!


In terms of composition, there were 2 main aspects that I was focused on ensuring were in the final image. The first was the leave covered rock in the foreground, especially the lovely, big, golden brown leave closest to the edge of the frame. Often, photographers will ‘arrange’ leaves such as this one to ensure they have it there for foreground interest, I was fortunate that this one was already in place for me when I arrived! The second aspect I wanted to ensure was in the final was a compositional rule known as the ‘Rule of Thirds’.


I wanted the main waterfall to be in the image, but not dominating it, so I used the top third of the image to include it, whilst using the lower 2 thirds of the image to draw attention to the leave covered rock in the foreground.

So, how did I actually take the shot and choose my exposure settings? At this point, I was standing in the middle of the water, maybe 7/8 inches deep, as was my tripod, so all my movements were very deliberate and slow so as not to know my camera over! I had to use a combination of filters to get the image looking as I wanted it to. First, I used a LEE 0.9 Neutral Density Filter to slow the shutter speed down enough to capture the movement of the water as smooth, blurred streaks of white. Second, I used a LEE 0.6 Hard Graduated Filter to darken the foliage at the top of the image to balance the light streaming through there with the rest of the image which was darker. You can see where I placed the filter on the image below.


Using these 2 filters allowed me to balance the overall exposure of the image and gave me a shutter speed of 10 seconds, ideal for blurring the water movement!

The equipment I used for this shot was: Canon 5D MKIII, Canon 17-40mm f/4 Lens, Hoya HD Circular Polariser, LEE 0.9 ND Filter, LEE 0.6 Hard Graduated Filter.

My settings were: 17mm, f/11, ISO 100, 10 Seconds.

Thanks for reading!


This entry was posted in How I Shot It, Landscape Photography.

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