Iguazu Set 1, Dreams

In the year of 2014, it’s tough to get good original and rare shots, there are a lot of people out there who have access to good photography equipment to take good photos and share them across the internet.   As much as Iguazu is photographed however, most of them are the same.

We visited both sides of Iguazu Falls, Argentina and Brazil side, based upon a recommendation.  (In fact our itinerary for our months long trip was largely based on it)  While it would have been easier and much cheaper to stay in Argentina, the photography of the falls the Brazil side would be much better my friend said.  There was one hotel called the Hotel Cataratas which was located inside the park which would allow you to be in the park at any hour of the day.  This combined with the broad view of the falls would all me to hopefully shoot great photos at my leisure without crowding and during the best light.

Location: Iguacu Falls, Brazil
Sensor: Sony A7R

I decided that to take the next step, that most of my photos would be long exposures here.  After all long exposures are great for water and falls since they smooth everything out.  For those of you new to photography, long exposures requires a manual camera that allows the shutter to be open for a long time.  That however introduces all kinds of new challenges.   Carrying more expensive equipment, avoiding crowds, stable footing, and calm air.  Doesn’t sound that bad, yet for those that have been to Iguazu, you know the conditions aren’t that conducive.

The falls are immense and spray water all over, which gets water all over the lens.  This poses a problem as the shutter can be open for 60 seconds and greatly increases the chance of water spray ruining the shot.  It can get very crowded and much of the walkways are on steel bridges which vibrate up and down, making it tricky to find the ideal time to take an exposure.  Any shot risks being ruined by a nearby tourist.   The heat and humidity had me almost passing out lugging and hiking with all the equipment.  I felt like I couldn’t get enough oxygen in my lungs.  These challenges are probably why I don’t see many of these types of photos.  In fact I could probably count on two fingers during my stay four day stay here how many tripods I saw.  One was mine, and the other was another serious photog who I met during our Antarctica trip.

Location: Iguacu Falls, Brazil
Sensor: Sony A7R

But these challenges are what makes it intriguing, fun, and having a higher probability of original photographs.  Few people are willing to put the time and effort into it.  Each shot here probably averages 2 hours of my time.  Scouting the location, finding the right time, setting up, and waiting for the ideal time to take shots.  Not to mention the challenge of not annoying my wife who wants me to enjoy the vacation with her!  The things I sacrifice for the sake of photography!

Location: Iguacu Falls, Brazil
Sensor: Sony A7R

I think it was worth it.   I’ve already gotten several requests for prints on the first photo.  When I posted this photo on 500px.com, one of the leading high quality photo sharing sites, it made the 1st page of popular recording something like 15K views in one day.  I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make me a little proud of it 🙂  Of course I now find myself seeing if I can repeat that success.

Location: Iguacu Falls, Brazil
Sensor: Sony A7R

All these photos are long exposure photos using the best possible full frame equipment at the time.  A 36 Megapixel full frame sensor with 14.1 stops of dynamic range, a 21mm prime Zeiss Distagon Lens, a 10ND Glass Lee Stopper which allowed a bigger aperture to be used, and a .6 GND B+W Glass to get a better exposure in the sky.  While the long exposure could have taken place at dusk without the 10ND filter, the contrast of the light hitting the falls would not have been there.

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