Monday, January 2, 2012

Exposing A Waterfall Using Gimp

This Gimp tutorial will show you how to use gimp to turn this image:
Into this:
What You Will Need:
A Raw Shooting Camera (see my list of Affordable Raw Shooting Cameras, or The Benefits of Shooting in Raw.)
Part 1.) Taking the photos This is the most important part of this tutorial, because you're going to need to have more than one version of the same image using various settings on your camera. This is a prime example of one of my free exclusive gimp lessons about "developing your photo-editor vision," that you get for subscribing to my email list. First off, I took my "base photo," focusing on getting the majority of the image to expose. Here is what I did.
  1. I set my tripod up, and framed in the shot with my camera
  2. I turned my ISO to the lowest possible setting, and set my camera to shutter priority
  3. I adjusted the shutter speed down until I got a reasonably good exposure, referring to my histogram for reference
  4. Once I found a good exposure, I set my camera to fire after 10 seconds, so that I wasn't touching the camera when it fired the shot
I ended up with this photo:
This shot exposed nice, but the waterfall's fast motion made the waterfall blur.
Next, I took an "auxilliary photo," which is focused primarily on getting the fast-moving waterfall to expose properly. I turned my ISO to a much higher setting (800 I believe.) and turned my shutter speed way up. The goal here is to get the waterfall to expose better. I adjusted my shutter speed as high as I possibly could before losing the detail in the photo. I ended up with this picture:
You can't quite tell in this version, but the higher ISO setting made this image very grainy, but we don't care - all we want is the waterfall.
Part 2 - Combining the Photos Using Gimp and UFRaw
 The remainder of this lesson is in a gimp video tutorial. Enjoy!
Related Posts:
The Nature Hiking Photography Checklist.
Aperture, ISO, and Shutter speed explained.
 Layer Masks Explained
The Benefits of Shooting in Raw


  1. RAW files ae digital right ?

  2. I have a question. I tried to shoot some pictures in RAW and when I opened them in GIMP via UFRaw, they turned out a lot darker than the original image. Do you know why it's doing that and how I can fix it? Thanks so much!

    1. When you make exposure edits to a photo in UFRaw, it remembers those settings when you open another file. You simply have to reset the settings in UFRaw when you open a file. I hope that makes sense.

  3. Thanks for the quick reply! I thought it was doing that... do you know if there is any way to set everything back to normal? lol. I've moved so much stuff around, I have no idea what the normal setting were and now I can't figure out for the life of me how to get my images to look right. I've tried messing around with every different color option and can't get the pictures to open up in UFRaw looking the same way as it does normally =(

    1. To reset the tool, you have to click on the button that has two blue arrows in it. There are several of these throughout all of the UFRaw tools. Simply click on all of them until your images look normal again. Hope that helps!

  4. I never even noticed that refresh button lol. I clicked on all of them and set them all back, but my picture is still super dark :( Do you have an email or anywhere where I can post the two pictures to show you the difference between them?

    1. Lol yeah they're a bit tricky. If you want to contact me directly via email all you have to do is subscribe here:

      That will get you my free ebook, 5 exclusive lessons, and will put you in direct email contact with me.

  5. thanks! I just subscribed... I'll send you some pics soon!

  6. Cascade, Love those cascade scene .

  7. I like to bath in shower .

  8. This blog is so interesting and impressive. Thanks for the awesome tutorial.


Wacom Tablet

In my Gimp Tutorials, I frequently use Wacom Tablets. Here is an awesome wacom tablet I recommend using.
A Wacom tablet will enhance your GIMP photo editing experience by offering a pressure-sensitive touch that translates to varying transparency when making brush strokes in GIMP.

Gimp Reference Manual

I highly recommend getting this Gimp book to use as a reference manual in conjunction with my tutorials. This book will explain how the tools I use work. My tutorials will give you practical applications for the tools shown in this book.