Behind the Scenes of this Photo

Taken from a boat cruising down Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park, New Zealand on April 12th, 2016.

Stirling Falls is an impressive waterfall by most standards of the world: it’s a thunderous, 500-foot, single-drop falls. What makes it even more incredible is the fact that it plummets from the mountains directly into the ocean. And it does so in Milford Sound, one of the most scenic locations on the planet.

However, getting a photo of the falls is not easy. The only access to the Stirling Falls is by boat, and even the largest boats are subject to a rocking and swaying that makes shooting from a tripod essentially impossible. Not to mention that the falls itself puts off so much spray that your lens is often coated with water droplets within seconds.

In order to combat these issues for this photo I extended a single leg of my tripod, turning it into a monopod. This allowed for increased stability with some freedom of motion. I also used a telephoto lens; not only did this allow me to isolate just this fascinating interaction between the rocks on the water, but it also allowed me to focus past any droplets on my lens. Then I used a shutter speed of 1/15 sec, which was slow enough to show motion in the fast-falling water, but fast enough to capture the detail in the rocks.

In the end I loved the fantastical shape created by the rocks under the cascade, as it seems everyone sees something different in the photo.

See more beautiful Fiordland photos here.

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