Learn about Waterfalls

Havasu Falls near Supai, Arizona. The water is...

Havasu Falls near Supai, Arizona. The water is blue/green due to high concentrations of dissolved lime picked up as the water runs through the sedimentary rock of Havasu Canyon and the Grand Canyon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

waterfall is a place where water flows over a vertical drop in the course of a stream or river. Waterfalls also occur where meltwater drops over the edge of a tabular iceberg or ice shelf.

Block, Cascade, Cataract, Chute, Fan, Frozen, Horsetail, Plunge, Punchbowl, Segmented, Slide, Tiered, Multi-step. The Types or  categories of waterfalls.  Defined as the most identifiable, obvious or prevalent form a waterfall takes as it descends.

When out making images of waterfalls, my workflow includes spending some time watching the water flow.  In finished prints I like to see the place where the water “lands”.  I feel cut off if the waterfall photo doesn’t show me the landing zone.  It’s often the brightest of the tonalities in the photograph so I pay particular attention to exposing correctly for those highlights.

Speaking of highlights, In many really good examples of waterfall photography, you may notice that the photos are taken in the shade. I avoid distracting “speckled sun”, and rarely photograph waterfalls in full sun, although parts of the falls may be wonderfully exposed with a bit of sunlight.  Here are a few examples.

The lowest part of a multi-tier waterfall as it plunges to the base.

Colorado has many examples of waterfalls. © Kit Frost

A plunge fall shoots through a canyon wall in Colorado. ©Kit Frost

Waterfall in the Rosenlaui ravine (Switzerland...

Waterfall in the Rosenlaui ravine (Switzerland) Français : Une cascade dans le ravin de Rosenlaui, en Suisse. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Angel Falls in Venezuela is the worlds tallest waterfall at 929m (3,212 ft). A Plunge Waterfall

4 thoughts on “Learn about Waterfalls

  1. I remember seeing not too long ago a beautiful shot by you of (wedding falls ?) in Yosemite. The more the smoke the more it calls me, smoke on the water….

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