In 2008, an artist by the name Olafur Eliasson created one of the most expensive art public art projects of all time. He built four waterfalls in New York City. With the support of the Public Art Fund, he brought in engineers, environmentalists, scientists, and other professional to help bring his dream to life. The falls were in operation for almost four months, and they cost more than 15 billion dollars.
My favorite line about the now-famous project is from a June 2008 conversation between Eliasson and writer Carol Vogel of The New York Times. When asked about his work, the artist said, “Viewers will be seeing something they know from a picture, but now they will be experiencing them as a physical thing.”
He was onto something. Most of us, especially those of us who live near big cities, don’t often get the chance to interact with waterfalls. Most of us will see the Earth’s most extraordinary waterfalls not in person but in photographs.
That’s why we asked six outstanding photographers from around the globe to tell us their best and most epic waterfall stories. Through their eyes, we get up close with some of the planet’s greatest wonders. They also shared some tricks and tips for shooting the perfect waterfall, whether it’s in your backyard or halfway around the world.
1. “To capture the magic of this place, I’ve worked a lot with my Big Stopper to create silky smooth water with long exposures.”
Dennis van de Water
What’s the story behind this photograph?
This is a long-exposure with a B+W 10-stop filter. My girlfriend and I had just come from Plitvice, and we had never heard of Krka before. A local recommended it, and we just drove there, not knowing what to expect. When we came to this beautiful place, full of waterfalls and empty of tourists, we were surprised by the tranquility. It’s not just the beauty of the place but also the experience of your travel adventure that contributes to an image.
What is your favorite waterfall you’ve ever photographed?
We don’t have any waterfalls in the Netherlands since it is as flat as a dime, so I actually like every single waterfall, but I have to say that my favorites are the waterfalls of Krka National Park in Croatia. This area is not far from the world-famous waterfalls of Plitvice, but it is less touristic. The place has a nice and relaxing atmosphere, especially early in the morning with beautiful, soft light.
You can take a boat up the river towards the lower falls and take a short but beautiful hike through the park over well-built wooden footpaths leading to various cascades and historic buildings, including one of the oldest hydroelectric power-generating facilities in the world.