Massive water

Massive water

I have seen some big water over the years.  I have sailed across and around the Pacific Ocean.  I have driven across the Yukon River.  I have hiked the shores of Lake Superior.  But I have never seen such a massive convergence of water and gravity such as Victoria Falls on the Zambezi River in Zambia.

Known locally as Mosi-o-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders), Victoria Falls lies on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It can be rather challenging to photograph, as the spray coming off the falls is pretty immense.  Best times are when there is absolutely no breeze; I noticed a sharp difference in photo opportunities from my first breezy evening and my second attempt, a calm morning.  There are several vantage points from which to photograph the falls, the Zambezi River as it flows toward the falls, and the nearby Victoria Falls Bridge, or Livingstone Bridge.  In fact, the bridge is the direction you want to be pointing your lens when the first light washes across the land.

Tips for photographing the falls are the same for any waterfall.  Protect your gear, as the spray can be pretty intense; I had to frequently check the face of my lens for water droplets.  Use a graduated neutral density filter before sunrise or at sunset to balance the exposure between the shaded area of the falls and the sky.  When the sun comes up and the light strikes the top of the falls, simply slide your GND filter down on your brackets to cover the entire face of your lens.  Then, you will still be able to use a slower shutter speed in the brighter lighting conditions.

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