Welcome to Incredible Photographs, a series of short interviews on South Africa’s very best nature photography. We ask the photographers a set list of questions to gain insight into the previsualization, planning, capture, editing and reflection of their best photographs.
Where was this image taken?
It was taken in the Drakensberg at the base of Fangs Pass in the Mnweni area.
Did you plan this image or would you consider it a stroke of luck?
I did plan to shoot this waterfall, but it was lucky too. I had been to this waterfall previously, and went back in the height of summer hoping to catch the waterfall flowing nicely. It was, and the landscape was so green. The clouds completed this image nicely for me, and the sunset colours in the sky reflecting off the water was what really made me get down low to the water to capture.
Was this image inspired by another photographer’s work or a specific image?
John Hone inspired me to visit the Drakensberg, so I guess this could have been inspired by him.
If planned, how many times did you visit this location?
Did you use an ephemeris or AR planning app like Photopills or TPE?
Do you have any images of failed shoots to provide some background on what goes into an image like this?
Is the location physically challenging to access or is it a brief walk from a parking lot? Also, would you consider the location safe to go shooting on your own or should one be cautious?
Did you go out on a whim or was this shoot carefully planned in consideration of weather forecasts?
I planned to visit this location during the height of summer, to give myself the best chance of capturing the waterfall flowing nicely.
How did you feel when you saw the screen light up with that result?
I initially overlooked this image in my Lightroom catalog, and only a couple years later did I see the potential in it and processed it. When I captured it I was happy but didn’t think much of the image to start.
Let’s discuss the technicalities – shutterspeed, ISO, aperture, anything else?
1/8 sec exposure, ISO 31, f11.
Body and Lens used?
Did you edit it the moment you got home or did you leave it in the photo cellar to mature?
I only edited this image a few years after taking it.
Let’s talk about enhancements made in editing
This was quite a complex image to put together because of the huge dynamic range. I used 3 different exposures to piece together this one.
Do you think this image is one of your all-time top 10 photos?
Yes I would consider this in my top 10 images.
Do you feel you’ve done the location justice and you can move on now?
Not at all, there is so much I feel I would like to capture here.
Any advice for someone wanting to capture an image like this?
Be patient, learn to embrace hiking in bad weather and keep getting out there! One day the conditions will line up!
Is this image for sale as a print?
Yes, find out more about my prints here
A big thank you to Mark Dumbleton for taking the time to answer our questions and his willingness to share the journey of creation behind the image. Below are the details to all his social media – please give them a like and a follow to show your appreciation. If you’d like to learn from him, check out their workshops and most of all, if you absolutely love this photograph, consider buying a print to support the artists.