I discovered a “Lake Leak” today, turns out a mere 90 minutes away from me is a great waterfall. The fall color was still in bloom, and it was a wet day so there was a lot of flow. It still needs a lot of Photoshop help to make it worth looking at…



(Straight Out Of Camera)



Nikon D810
Nikon 24-70 F/2.8
64 ISO






  • Added a “Fall Color” preset adjustment

Preset: Highlight Fall Color


  • Exposure, contrast and shadows raised
  • Highlights, whites and blacks lowered



  • Clarity raised
  • Vibrance and saturation zeroed out



  • Lens corrections added






I then brought the photo into Photoshop to do some major surgery on it.

Although it was a cloudy day that enabled a slower shutter speed, it didn’t allow for more then a .4 second exposure even at 64 ISO… I suppose changing to f22 would have helped some what.
It was raining so I didn’t have the patience to mess with an ND filter, so I used a different technique to make the water more silky.



I took 7 photos with the tripod locked down. The technique is to layer all the photos on top and vary the opacity of each to blend the differences into each other.



I synced the Lightroom settings then loaded the 6 different photos on top of the original.
Then I change the opacity’s of the above photos to make a “Means” calculation.

The Layer 7 14% Opacity
The Layer 6 16% Opacity
The Layer 5 20% Opacity
The Layer 4 25% Opacity
The Layer 3 33% Opacity
The Layer 2 50% Opacity
The Original Layer 1 100% Opacity

Then I put the 6 copies into a layer folder and added a mask to that folder to mask out all the foliage.
This keeps all the leaves still.

This makes the water look more substantial and the base ripples look cooler…



Here I removed that weird water spot. Luckily there was only one drop on this one…



Added a Vignette



Added a levels adjustment layer




I then thought the sky sucked, so I stole this photo from a few years ago…



and put it into this one by masking out the sky in the original, and plopping the good sky underneath.


Final Thoughts

Today was a great day for this photo. It was a rainy day, and “fall color” leaves look best when they are wet.
Plus the rain made this waterfall flow from a trickle last week to a nice cascade today.

But… There wasn’t that many trees around this waterfall to take advantage of the seasonal color, and it was raining enough to ruin almost half of the photos I took with water spots.


As always though, I am just happy I didn’t fall to my death in the gorge or more importantly break any equipment.