By Jim Zuckerman
Among the many places my group photographed during the photo workshop I conducted in Switzerland last month was Trummbelbach Falls near Lauterbrunnen. The water gushes out of the mountain at about 5000 gallons a second, and the Swiss have built a walkway right into the mountain that parallels the cascade. From several vantage points you can shoot the falls, but it’s challenging for several reasons. First, there is a tremendous amount of spray. A lens hood helps a lot, but I also used a microfiber cloth to continuously wipe my wide angle lens clean. Second, the exposure is a challenge. There is no middle gray at all. The entire scene consists of bright highlights and deep shadows. Light comes in through a few natural openings in the rock, and the only way to handle this is to take a shot, study the LCD monitor, and use the exposure compensation feature on the camera to adjust the exposure as needed.
Another challenge can be the other tourists. When a bus of 40 people arrive, the very narrow walkway gets crowded and it’s impossible to shoot until everyone gets their picture taken in front of the falls and moves on. You just need patience to wait until you have room for the tripod legs. All my exposures required a tripod because they were in 1.3 seconds long at 400 ISO. The lens aperture I used was f/2.8.