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  • Writer's pictureDave Pidgeon

Get close on waterfall photos

Updated: Jul 22, 2023

Long exposure of a waterfall in New York state.
Tightly cropped images of waterfalls can be stunning.

LOCATION: Middle Falls, Letchworth State Park, N.Y.

EQUIPMENT: Canon EOS 6D | EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM

THE STORY: I'd say 99 percent of the time, when you see waterfall images, they're taken from a wide angle perspective.

And why not?

Waterfalls done with long exposure techniques and a sense of where they're located bring the viewer into the scene.

But what if the photographer pulled the viewer closer?

That was my goal while visiting New York's stunning Letchworth State Park. It straddles the Genesee River in the western part of the state, offering hiking and vistas of the canyon that are just amaze'balls.

The river tumbles through the canyon down three waterfalls, appropriately named Upper, Middle, and Lower.

The Middle Falls is like a mini-Niagra. And I have one heckuva long exposure image taken with a wide angle.

But as I stood on the overlook, I thought, why not go closer with a different lens?

For reasons today that escape my memory, I threw a 100mm macro lens onto my Canon 6D camera body, and some how that was enough to get in tight on the Middle Falls.

I say "for reasons ... that escape my memory" is because I'm certain on the day I took this image, I owned a 70-200mm lens that would've done the job even better. Oh well.

The point, though, is to include tight shots of waterfalls with your wide angle images. They can be just if not more interesting, bringing the viewer intimately into the scene.

Dave Pidgeon is a seasoned writer and photographer from Lancaster, Pa. You can reach him at

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