Steve Konya II Photography: Blog en-us Steve Konya II (Steve Konya II Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:13:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:13:00 GMT Steve Konya II Photography: Blog 120 120 Taking Photographs at Familiar and Unfamiliar Locations What I want to discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages of photographing familiar places vs. unfamiliar places
and introduce the reader to some wonderful places to photograph.



Valley Falls State Park, West Virginia

Valley Falls State Park is the second closes park to our home, 14 miles one way, the only park closer is Pricketts Fort State Park.  Valley Falls is a 1,145 acre day use only park on the Tygart Valley River.  The park’s main feature is a half-mile long set of waterfalls. The park is usually open from April to October but they don’t tell you that on their web site. During my travels, there have been inconsistencies when open. On a few nice falls occasions when the leaves looked great I went out and it was closed.

There are advantages to being that close to a State Park.

I know the park well and I been visiting there since I was young. On a weekend I can run over there between errands and shoot away. I know what the weather is; I usually have a good idea of what the water level will be when I get there. I know what it looks like when the water is low and when it is high. I can tell you where the sun is located, what it looks like in Spring, Summer and Fall.  I don’t have to research the area.

With all that, there are some disadvantages.

Sometimes visiting a place over and over causes you to take the same photos and get stuck in a rut that might be had to overcome. Also the park is popular, especially during nice sunny weekends.  So much so that at times you need to wait till someone moves out of the frame to take the photo. These dilemmas offer you some opportunities to break the monotony and intrusions.


  • Take at contrasting water levels.

          Taken at Fall during low water levels.

         Taken during high water level.

Tygart River Winter 2012 2Tygart River Winter 2012 2Valley Falls State Park, WV


  • Take the shots that most don’t and avoid people in the frame. For example, get close.

Falls at Valley FallsFalls at Valley FallsBlack and White image of the Falls at Valley Falls State Park West Virginia Valley Falls Winter 2012 6Valley Falls Winter 2012 6Valley Falls State Park, WV


  • Try something different like Infrared.

Valley Fall B&W InfraredValley Fall B&W InfraredBlack and White Infrared image taken at Valley Falls State Park West Virginia Valley Falls IRValley Falls IRValley Falls State Park, WV

  • Tying different times of the day and different weather.

          I took this right at Noon's hard light which created a harsh view of the rapids wish really accented the turbulence.

Valley Falls Summer 2012 4Valley Falls Summer 2012 4Valley Falls State Park, WV

            Taken on a wet foggy day as you can tell.

Valley Falls State Park PanValley Falls State Park PanMarion County, West Virginia


     I got a sunset photo their once, and right after it I was told to leave, the park was closing.



Big Run Bog, Tucker County WV

Big Run Bog is located in Tucker County West Virginia at an altitude of around 3,200 feet. I have lived in WV all my life and never heard of this bog. I came across it one day while look at a web site listing blogs in WV. It is located near the Blackwater Canyon and drains into the Blackwater River so while in the area I had to paid it is visit.

The big advantage of this new location was, well a new location to take photos at. I was surprised to find when I arrived there were pitcher plants and they were in bloom for the fall.

Pitcher PlantsPitcher PlantsPitcher Plants at Big Run Bog West Virginia

This bog is not frequented and I had it all to myself the time I was there. I could explore and take photos at my whim.

Being a not so known and photographed location, there was limited information available for people to use. Some of my photos were on the cover and in a write-up of Big Run Bog in a newsletter for the ‘Friend of Blackwater’ conservation organization.

Friends of Blackwater

Friends of Blackwater NewsletterFriends of Blackwater Newsletter

The biggest disadvantage here is that there is not a lot of information on it. I knew the basic location but while driving there I was not sure exact where it was. When I saw what I believe was a blog, I knew that must be the place.  I have not seen many photos of this blog, so I was not sure what to expect. I really did not know where or what I could photograph. I could have arrived and not been able to reach the blog area. I also did not know what condition the road was in. This is WV, it might go from gravel to 4x4  high clearance only but will be referred to as a dirt road locally.

Went back a second time in Fall when I was more familiar. Leaf color was really muted so I took photos of the tawny cotton grass and Ferns.

Ferns at Big Run BogFerns at Big Run BogFerns at Big Run Bog, Tucker County, West Virginia

Log at big Run BogLog at big Run BogBig Run Bog, Tucker County, West Virginia


Valley Falls and  Big Run Bog are both great places to photograph and deserve return visit.

(Steve Konya II Photography) big blog bog cotton falls grass park photography pitcher places plant run state tawny tips valley virginia west wetland Fri, 27 Oct 2017 15:47:49 GMT
Essential Gear: Part 4 In this episode of essential gear… Zipper Bags!

Zipper bags for the Landscape / Nature Photographer. They come in a verity of different sizes, Gallon, quart, snack, sandwich, etc… I consider these essential photography gear.



Learn from your mistakes is what they say and well I learned a lesson. You car keys are no longer a simple piece of equipment made of metal that opens your door, trunk, starts you vehicle. No it is a piece of technology with batteries. My lesson, when these keys get in water they might still unlock your car door pending your door has a key hole, but will not long start the car. They call this a security feature, I call it a pain in the a**. When you enjoy taking waterfall photos, chances are you in water and you might have you keys with you. So whenever I am around water, my keys are in a zip bag in my camera bag. Well you might say since you bag is on the side of the steam out of what water, why do this: because of Murphy’s Law. I might pick my bag up and trip head first into a stream. With my keys in a bag, I can at least enjoy a wet drive home.

Same goes for my wallet. I don’t need a water soaked wallet.

If you are a nature / landscape photographer your are in the weather, snow, rain, fog, misty mornings… zipper bags are a good way of protection you gear. I have been caught in weather before, camera on a tripod and for some reason my emergence OP/TECH USA Rainsleeve was no were to be found (in another bag I spotted it later). I did not bring my Manfrotto rain cover since I was not expecting rain. So my gallon size zipper bag became a rain cover.

Weather might change when you least expect it and accident happened, that is why I keep zipper bags on hand for protection.



My camera bag doesn’t have a lot of pockets, and the pockets it does have are already full of equipment, notes, emergency toilet paper (damn right an essential gear) or ND reference cards. I keep my batteries in one of the lens dividers bag has. I don’t want my batteries falling out or trying to dig around for one when I need it, so I keep them stored in a zipper bag. Easy to get to, easy to store.

If there is mist, dirt, or dust on my camera and or equipment that I need to remove, I grab a paper towel to wipe down. These paper towels are stored in a zipper bag. Keeps them dry and easy to get to.

I also store my 120 film in a zipper bag. A few reasons: keeps them safe and dry both before and after exposure and to keep the trash in. 120 Film has the wrapper and the paper tape you have to remove, this garbage goes home with my for proper disposal.

I like to keep a verity of zipper bags on hand for different storage needs.


That is why I believe zipper bags are an Essential Gear.

Note to self: future essential gear post, toilet paper and paper towels the TPPTs of photography

(Steve Konya II Photography) bag blog essential gear glad photography plastic protection storage tips water ziploc zipper Wed, 25 Oct 2017 17:40:14 GMT
Essential Gear: Part 3 Probably the most essential of all the essential gears, If I have my camera with me or not I always have a:

First Aid Kit

When I am out taking photos or driving around in my car, there is always a first aid kit close at hand.

Camera Bag or Backpack Kit:

On a photo shot I always carry around a small first aid kit with me. It’s in my camera bag for the walking around urban trip or one that encompasses hiking with a camera backpack.

I like starting with a good kit and adding to it if I need to.

Take for example this Lifeline Kit that I carry with me.


You can look at the link and see what items come with the kit, a variety in such a small package. I like a small pouch kit, It’s flexible which helps with expanding the kit but flexes enough to put into a camera bag pocket or stuffed next to a lens.

I added Band-Aid Blister Cushions to the kit.  

I like these blister cushions because they are waterproof (good when taking photos in water) and are padded to protect the area. Plus they stay on, I used them one time on an eight mile day hike and they never came off.

I also add in some Safetec Sting Relief Wipes. Insect stings don’t agree with me, I keep these handy.


Car Kit:

This kit is a bit larger because I carry more equipment in it. I look at this kit as for emergencies that might happen while taking photos then get back to the vehicle for more first aid, vehicle accidents, or helping someone that is having an emergency. The car kit is for the minor cuts and scraps we all get, to sever trauma, like heavy bleeding or gunshot wounds, to keep you alive till help comes from the professionals.


I know this kit would be big and I would be adding more to it. So I started with a kit I really like, Adventure Medical  ‘ADVENTURE FIRST AID, 2.0’ kit (see link for supply list). To this kit I added the sting wipes and blister cushions as mentioned above.


This kit bag alone would not hold all I wanted to add to it so I bought an empty first aid bag that was large enough for my needs, such as this one:



I put the Adventure kit in the bag and began adding.


Next up was an Adventure Medical Trauma Pak with Quikclot. This kit “is designed to stop bleeding and control serious trauma at the scene so more advanced care can be sought later.” In the empty bag it went.



For Hemorrhage control compression an Israel Bandage went it in the bag. You can find these at various venders online.



For sever extremity bleeding I added a Tourniquet. I have two types but there are many out there with different ways to use and price points, so research and find the one the best meets your needs.

SWAT  T  and the TK4




Bonus Kit:

A few other items I keep in my backpack for emergencies.

Small survival Kit:


Emergency Blanket:

Fire Kit made myself and stored in an Altoid case with a fantastic drawing of a fire on front.

Those are the two kits I have for my photography outings.

I also have another Trauma kit set up for home use and a Pet First Aid Kit.

Remember be prepared and know how to use your kit!

(Steve Konya II Photography) aid essential first gear kits photography tips Mon, 01 Jun 2015 14:27:36 GMT
Breaking out the film Yes you read that right, Film in this digital age.

I order some Kodak Tri-X and breaking out the old 35 mm camera. Thinking of using my Canon AE-1 (the photos on this blog post are not mine by the way).


Why you might ask the use of film, for fun and for a refresher.

I believe if you want to teach a person how to use a Camera an older 35mm is the best teaching tool.  You can’t have a point and shoot mentality here. We live in a society of instant gratification and the older 35mm cameras are the complete opposite of that. Unlike a digital you can’t take a photo, review the histogram, review your composition, re-adjust your composition, try a different f/stop and shutter speed combo, check you histogram again, preview your photos and see if you got the shot the way you intended. Then if you want, switch that ISO for the next photo.

The film camera makes you think about the scene you taking a little more. You don’t want to waste film do you?  You think about your shutter speed a little more, think about that f/stop, and actually use that depth of field scale on your lens.  You realize how much the shutter speed and aperture setting work together (no aperture / shutter priority modes here). Think about your ISO and how it will affect you photos because once that film is in, it is in to the end of the roll.  You take the photos, process or have it processed, then wait to see the results, days maybe weeks later. No instant gratification here. Remember the excitement of the image appearing on the paper as you develop it or that excitement as you opened the package from the mail?

I think with film you look at things a little differently, you think if it is worth photographing.

Example: This weekend we took some interior photos for a client of a newly constructed building.  As I walked around and thought what the client might want, I took a photo of this, of that. Some rooms looked similar but I took a photo of it in case I liked the lighting better.  Then come home and whittle down the best captures that day in Lightroom. Pixels are free. In the film days it was a little different process, I would think if I really needed a photo of that space of not. Film is not free.

Why I am I going to shot some film? For fun, shooting film is fun and you get that excitement when the photos arrive from the developer. For a refresher, a reboot for my brain if you will, hoping it will refresh my brain about seeing things differently and really getting back to thinking more about the shot itself.

So if you want to have some fun and need a refresher, get out the film camera.

(Steve Konya II Photography) 35mm film photography Mon, 30 Mar 2015 15:05:08 GMT
Essential Gear: Part 2 In the next action packed blog entry on my Essential Gear…

Micro Crampons (aka trail crampons, aka, micro spikes)

Let me be blunt, I Iove my Micro Crampons, and the ones I use are Kahtoola Micro Spikes. There are other brands and if you are interested in a pair, do a little research and find the one that best meet your needs.

I keep my Micros Spikes in a small dry sack and they are with me when I am taking photos. I carry them in my bag, or have them in the car. What is nice about these, they are small enough to keep on hand and easy to pull out and slip over your shoes or boots when you need them.

When and where:

Where micro spikes really shine and the most obvious, is winter. If you like taking winter photos they are a must. While I am out in winter looking for a frozen waterfall or a snow scene to photograph, these keep me on my feet walking over the slick ground. Not only for ice but walking up and down snow covered slopes.

  • Sometimes ice is right where you need to be. When I was shooting Alum Cave at Audra State, I was on a small winter hike and came across the following scene. The ice was a foot of more thick on the boardwalk that I had to cross.

Alumn Cave Trail 2Alumn Cave Trail 2Audra State Park, WV

  • To get this shot of Elakala Falls at Blackwater Falls State Park in winter I had to walk down a snow covered steep bank then stand on snow and ice covered rocks. With micros spike on I had the sure footing I needed.


Not so obvious is other season. I wear them in summer, yes summer. If I have a steep slope I need to walk on, being a very dry day with loose soil or a raining day with slick mud, they give me the extra traction I need.

I take a lot of waterfall photos as you can tell.  I Trout fish also and many a time I went down in the water because of slick rocks, trust me a winter dunk in a WV mountain stream is cold. Felt bottom wading boots are great for this but some states have outlawed them because they might spread invasive species. That is when micros spikes can help, slip them on and you get a good grip on wet rocks. Any wet or slick surface is a great place to use micros spikes. I hit my head hard one time while walking on a wet surface while taking photos,  that was no fun.

  • To get this shot of Falls at Falls Gap I had to wade in the water up to my waste over  some slick rocks.

  Falls at Falls Gap 1Falls at Falls Gap 1Falls Gap, WV

My micro spikes make me the Billy Goat of the photography world.

Tune in next time, same blog time, same blog channel….

(Steve Konya II Photography) West Virginia crampons essential gear ice potography slick tips winter Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:24:11 GMT
Essential Gear: Part 1 So I thought I would do a few blog posts about gear I deem essential when I am taking photographs. Items I don’t leave without.

 These are not the everyday items you might usually think of such as filter, lens, memory cards, etc.. but the little things that have always came in handy for me.



I do no leave the house without at least one with my camera equipment. I usually have multiple ones with me, in my camera bag, maybe in the car, or in another gear bag. They are called Multi-tools for a reason and I have found multiple uses for mine.

  • For loosening or tightening t sets screws on your tripod center post to the tripod head. Mine has a screwdriver that fits my Manfrotto screws perfectly. Good for tightening the leg releases.

  • Any item that has a screw will always come loose when you don’t need it, be a Philips or straight. If it has a small enough one as mine has, it can be used on those tiny screws on my glasses that seem to come loose at the worst time.

  • Got a twig, leaf or small limb right in the way of a shot, knife, saw, or scissors quickly take care of that.

  • Now a repair story, so gather around children:

     Once on a photo trip to the New River Gorge to photograph Fern Creek Falls (good link for directions).  My significant other and I were trying to get in position for a shot and the only way to get where we need to be was to jump across a gap in a rock along a cliff face. I had my camera strapped across my arm and neck, made the jump, and the camera swings and the lens hits the cliff side.  After inspection I noticed the only damage was the plastic around the lens end where the threads are. The plastic at the threads was cracked and pushed in. This would not allow any attachments of filters, so a day of photos gone down the drain because I need my ND filters attached. So out came the multi-tool, broke of the cracked plastic area with the pliers and straighten the damage and then I used the file to smooth out the rough area. Filter went back on with no problem and I continue to use that lens today.

      P.S, the photos, did not come out great, stream was running really low that day.

This is just a small sampling of the uses for a multi-tool, I know there are many more ways I used them and this manifest itself with time.

Oh one more quick one, after taking photos for a day and you realize you have no way of opening that bottle of wine you just bought, well you do if that muti-tool has a cork screw on it and one of mine does.


My multi-tool, I don’t take photos without it.

(Steve Konya II Photography) essential gear leatherman mutli-tool photography repair Wed, 11 Feb 2015 16:39:24 GMT
Falls Run, Blackwater Falls State Park’s hidden Gem If you asked me what is my favorite place to go for photographs, I would say Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia.

In my opinion, one of the best cascades for waterfall photography in Blackwater is one of the littlest know in Blackwater, Falls Run.

Falls Run Location:

Falls Run is around 100 yard from the Gentle Trail parking area. To get there, park at the trail head and walk south on the road for around 100 yards. The first stream you come to that also passes under the road is Falls Run. On the left side facing downstream you will see a faint path leading down the hillside, stay to the left of the stream. Use caution, like most trails into the gorge, it is steep, slippery, and covered with rhododendron thickets. Since Fall Run is near the main falls, the decent into the gorge is a shorter one, a lot shorter than a descent at Pendleton or Shay Run.


Most of the falls will have to be viewed from the one side only because of the step rocky slope / cliffs of the other side. Photography from the bottom of the falls will entail scrambling over slick rocks and fallen trees. If you’re at the bottom, you will be fairly close to the falls so prepare for some spray. I never have shot the falls in the evening so I am not sure if the evening sun will cast into the canyon or not at this location.

The Falls:

This is the first falls you come too, call it Falls Run, Fall #1. I would say around 18’.This falls you can photograph from the side or below.

Falls Run Falls #1Falls Run Falls #1Falls #1 on Falls Run, Blackwater Falls State Park, West Virginia

This photo was shot early morning with the sun rising above the falls through the trees taken from the side.

Waterfall on Falls Run 3Waterfall on Falls Run 3Falls Run, Blackwater Falls State Park, WV

This is the second falls you come too, call it Falls Run, Fall #2, it is big, I would say around 30’. This falls too can be photographed from the side or below.  On my most recent trip the wind was blowing spray right towards me making it a challenge to get a photo without spray all over the lens. It was a futile attempt to clean the lens and get a photo.

I never have continued at this location down to the Blackwater River. There seem to be two smaller cascades but the first two mentioned is the ones to see. I will leave the trip further down the gorge for another occasion.

Gear needed:

The ‘of course’: Cable / Shutter release and tripod

Hiking boots: a lot of rocks and roots that will need to be treed on.

Lens cloth: for spray on lens or a rain cover to keep spray of camera

Filters: Polarizer and Neutral Density.

A note, I used neither on my last trip because of weather conditions but I did have them with me. It was an overcast day so I really felt I did not need a polarizer for glaring. The ND filters were not needed because the light in the canyon being overcast was enough for shooting slow shutter speeds. I even had to go up to a 200 ISO to get a ¼ sec speed. At the bottom of the falls there aren’t any really nice eddie pools so longer shutter speeds were not needed. Sometimes I think that waterfall shutter speeds go too long and the water looks more like a fog instead of a nice cascade then you lose that sense of movement.

A wide angle lens is a must: on my recent trip I shot with my Sigma 10-20mm but don’t count out a zoom for some close up detail shots.

Additional note: I used my camera backpack, that way I could have my hands free for getting out of the gorge.


Enjoy Falls Run and be safe.

(Steve Konya II Photography) Blackwater Falls State Park Falls Run blackwater photography state park waterfall west Virginia Sun, 02 Nov 2014 01:02:26 GMT
Carbon Fiber Vs. Aluminum, Tripods for outdoor Photography If you’re reading this you might have come here because you want a new tripod and trying to decide between Carbon or Aluminum. Well maybe this will help you decide, the big factor, which best fits your need as your photography style dictates.

Carbon Fiber:

Pros: Light weight (duh), Small collapsed size.

Cons: Cost compared to Aluminum

My take:

When I go for a hike the tripod I grab is carbon fiber. When you have a hike ahead of you and carrying other gear along (see my other post on Low Cost Alternative Camera Bags) the light weight and small size really make the carbon an advantage of owning. I also like them for architectural photographs since a lot of the time is spent walking around the site, looking for good shots and walking up and down stairs. But there is a drawback. We were taking photos for a client at a rehearsal hall. The floors were slick, I did not notice one of my tripod legs was no fully extended (pulled out at an angle from the base). The weight of the camera caused the leg to slide out, that with a long exposure caused small blur in the image that was not noticed till later when zoomed in. The culprit, the tripod leg moved on the slick floor. Another disadvantage I have come across is while standing in a stream while taking photos of a waterfall. If the water has some force to it I have notice my tripod quaking as the water hits it, forcing me to take a shot from another location. I know strong water will knock over a tripod no matter what it is made from.


Aluminum Tripod:

Pros: Cost, usually less compared to Carbon

Cons: Heavy (mine is really bulky but the weight can be an advantage), It really does not collapse much.

My take:

If I am not making a long trek for photos, I grab my Aluminum Tripod. I especially grab it for waterfall photos. Mine is rock stead and can take a pounding when water is hitting it and not move. Now if I have to make a good trek to the waterfall and it is to heavy to tote along, I end up going to my carbon and adjusting the location I shot from at the waterfall depending on the water strength. Lately I have been grabbing it more for Architectural photos (see above) its steadiness is and advantage. I pull those legs out, and they don’t move on just about any surface I shot on. On ice, pull out the spikes, push into the ice, rock steady.



It really depends on what and where I am photographing that day. Truth be told, there are both types in the car with me. If you are just starting out and need a decent tripod, I would go with Aluminum, lower cost and steady. If you’re into hiking or walking a distance to get to your shot, Carbon is the way to go.  

(Steve Konya II Photography) Aluminum Carbon Fiber Photography Tripods Vs. outdoor Wed, 26 Feb 2014 18:51:47 GMT
10 Tips for Waterfall Photography As you can tell from my web page, I do like to take a waterfall photo or two, so I created a list of a few tips that I use why taking waterfall photos that help me and hopefully can help you.
1) Essential Gear

a. Most waterfall photos are taking with a long exposure so a tripod is a must (a light carbon fiber vs. a heavier aluminum, I will leave that to another blog entry) along with a cable / shutter release.

b. Varying degrees of neutral density filters. I use a Cokin holder, that way I can add additional filters to get my shutter speed where I need it. ND are a must have on a sunny day and on a cloudy day, you can get that shutter speed down really slow.
c. A wide angle lens, that way you can get close and get everything in you field of view.
d. Honorable mention – Polarizer, it is not really a must but it does come in handy
2) Get wet!
Getting into the water can get you a perspectives that you just can't on the side of the bank.
In this photo of Falls Gap Falls, WV I was up to my waist in cold autumn water.
Falls at Falls Gap 3Falls at Falls Gap 3Falls Gap, WV
Be safe though, if the water current looks strong, rocks slick, or you have difficulty getting into the location, then don’t get it.
In this photo of Douglas Falls in Thomas, WV I couldn't get into the water, it was moving strong and had no real way to get in, so I put my tripod right on the edge of the stream and hung the camera over to get that water coming towards me look.
Douglas Falls 6Douglas Falls 6Douglas Falls near Thomas, WV
Remember to bring appropriate clothing: Waders (I myself don’t use them much unless the water is really cold) Me, I usually have along an older pair of shoes or shoes made for water and a fresh pair for driving in. If it is summer and I am in shorts, I don’t really care much about being wet, in the spring and fall I carry a change of pants.
3) Experiment with you shutter speed
When I take a waterfall usually my ISO is set at 100 and since I love strong depth of field my aperture starts at f/16. Most of my exposure adjustment is from the shutter speed. I use ¼ sec. for my base and work from there.
This photos was taken at Dunloup Creek near Thurmond, WV, ¼ sec @ f/16
Dunloup Creek Cascades 1Dunloup Creek Cascades 1Thurmond, WV
This photo at Valley Falls State Park WV, 120 sec @f/16
Valley Falls SpringValley Falls SpringValley Falls State Park, WV
Notice the longer exposure creates an almost foggy look to the water and the shorter exposure keeps more detail in the water.
4) Framing:
Try framing  falls with adjacent rocks or foliage. Even cutting off some of the waterfall makes for an interesting composition.
Dunloup Falls near Thurmond, WV 
Dunloup Creek Falls 2Dunloup Creek Falls 2Thurmond, WV
5) Think Different
Walk around, look for different angles, try to take a photo that is not what you would think of for a typical waterfall.
This photo was taking standing on the edge of Pendleton Falls at Blackwater Falls State Park look down the waterfall itself.
6) Look for Eddy
He is hard to spot but a long exposure might make him show up. In a long exposure the eddy can make the bubbles in the water turn into a circular pattern in the image. If there are leaves in the water, they will create an interesting swirl of colors.
This photo was taken at Elakala Falls in Blackwater Falls State Park, WV
Autumn at Elakala Falls 4Autumn at Elakala Falls 4Blackwater Falls SP, WV
7) Don’t blow out the highlights.
So you are in a gully that is in shade taken a shot of a smaller fall, you expose for the scene and the highlights get blown out since the camera used Evaluative Metering. How to relive this, spot meter for the highlights on the water and since you camera now sees that as your middle grey tone you can now +1 or +2 EV  your exposure and now the highlights are not blow out. Take a few photos at different exposures and check the histogram for blown out highlight, that’s what it is there for.
8) Seasons and times of day:
Not so important to me. I do like a nice overcast days for taking waterfalls but most of the time Mother Nature does what she wants. There are times you just can’t be there when you want to, life and work gets in the way. Get to your location and adjust for the environment. Nice sunny day right at noon, use those ND and polarizer filters, don’t shot into the sun. If you getting harsh shadows try to get creative with them, work with what you got. Elliot Porter took some of his best photos at noon on a sunny day. 
Bring gear and be prepared if the weather changes, rain…snow… 
This photo was taken on a sunny winter day around 2:00pm at Arden, WV 
Moats Fall Winter 2013 3Moats Fall Winter 2013 3Moats Fall, Arden, WV
This photo was taken on a sunny fall day around 1:00pm along Otter Creek, WV
This photo was taken on a warm  sunny August day right at Noon at Valley Falls State Park, WV. I used the harsh lighting and shadows to create a dramatic scene. 
Valley Falls Summer 2012 4Valley Falls Summer 2012 4Valley Falls State Park, WV
In the rain at Valley Falls State Park. (yes that is water on the lens, I kind of like it)
9) Get Info:
Research an area for waterfalls, read books, look at maps, search the internet. If there is a waterfall I am interested in I try to find as much info as I can about it, how to get there, if there are any other waterfalls to take along the way. When I plan a trip I like to hit multiple waterfalls in the area. Look at a map to see where the sun will be when you visit. You can’t do enough research. 
A good book for Virginia and West Virginia Falls is ”Waterfalls of Virginia and West Virginia: A Hiking and Photography Guide” by Kevin Adams
10) White Balance:
In post production be sure to white balance you image. They don’t call it white water for nothing. I try to stay away from my water being a warm tone and use cool tones only if the falls are in shade or in winter when a little blue tint gives scene a even colder look.
Taken at Blackwater Falls State Park, WV
Autumn Blackwater Falls 1Autumn Blackwater Falls 1Blackwater Falls State Park, WV
(Steve Konya II Photography) 10 photography tips waterfall waterfalls Thu, 06 Feb 2014 21:51:52 GMT
Low Cost Alternative Camera Bags Specialty Camera bags are expensive, trust me I have two (Backpack and Should Bag) both over $150. The worst part, they don’t meet my needs. I found alternatives.


Shoulder Bag:

I use a LA Police Gear Bail Out Bag, around $30 when on sale and they are on sale a lot. They have multiple pockets, interior and exterior are very roomy. I can carry a water bottle on the side, some bags carry two. I can carry multitude of gear I need: microspikes for slick surfaces, mutli-tools for in field repairs, white balancing cards, head light and small flashlight, rain cover, business cards, and my typical photo gear; lenses, filters, cable release, cleaning kit and what else but the SLR Camera. Plus rooms for all the other items I like to carry just in case, plastics bags and paper towels. I usually just carry my tripod or strap it on the side of the bag.

The bags are not water proof, so little protection in a strong rain. I always have protection from the rain for my camera; I just need to keep the rest of my equipment dry. My equipment is kept dry with some hiking dry sacks that you can get for the cheap at places like Wal-Mart $10. So when the rain comes, the equipment goes into those. Plus I always carry around some zip lock bags to keep the water from any other equipment that might not be in a dry sack.


Along with photography, I like to hike and whenever I hike I have a camera. I especially like day hikes in the Monongahela National Forest. I have never found a ‘Photography Packpack’ that has met my needs. The major problem, they are made for carrying photography equipment and that is about it. Yes I know some on the market have more features but are expensive. When I hike and take photos I take a multitude of items along: jackets; maybe a wind breaker, fleece, and or a rain jacket, extra shirt, change of socks, sometimes extra shoes for water crossings, first aid kit, hiking maps, muti-tools, knife, fire making kit  just in case, and small survival kit just for an emergency. I might also have a few extras like another pair of pant’s depends on the weather, along with a hat and hiking poles. Also in that pack is all the gear I mentioned above that is in my shoulder bag. The best part of all that extra clothing is padding for my camera and lenses.  Last but most importantly, water, usually a camel pack and sometimes two water bottles on the outside. A Photography Pack just can’t hold all that.

What best fits my needs? It is a Hiking Backpack with a built-in rain cover. Since I do mostly day hikes I don’t have a very expensive pack, I got it at Dunham's, been a while but I think it was around $80. The cover keeps all my equipment dry when the rains comes and believe me I have been caught in some downpours with it. I transfer my equipment from my shoulder pack that is already in dry sacks so it adds extra water protection.

With the Photography Packs I am not a big fan of the vertical tripods holder, they tend to have a torque effect and pull back on the pack. So I found the best place for my tripod is at the sleeping pad location, usually on the bottom of the pack and stores my tripod horizontal which for me it  is much more comfortable that the vertical.


To meet my photography bags needs I had to think other than a “Photography Bag’ which meets my needs, has worked out well, and does not cost nearly the amount for a Photography Bag.

(Steve Konya II Photography) Alternative Bags Camera Cost Low Tue, 05 Nov 2013 16:47:18 GMT
Reversing Ring  

     Some years back I wanted to get into 120 film photography. I purchased a Holga but I wanted to go to a more sophisticated systems. A Hasselblad was way out of my price range. So I looked at the option of Kiev 88, the Russian knock-off. I purchased one through Ebay. It eventually had issues and if I remember right it was due to the shutter so that lead me to the Arax Cameras. They take the 88s and upgrade them. One thing lead to another and I eventually had the Kiev and three lens to go with it.  One Item I had to pick up was a reversing ring.

     For someone that might not know, a reversing ring attaches to your filter thread and then the lens is able to mount backwards to you camera. What this does is turn you lens into a Macro lens (Okay not a true macro lens but a cheap alternative). This also give you a very shallow depth of field. So a tripod and a cable release is a must.

     So with this setup I went into the flower garden and shot away. What happened is that I got some really interesting shots. I used Color Film and then it was scanned in and converted to black and white.  The black and white technique focused more on the forms and the depth of field of the shot than the colors. Let’s face it most flower photos do emphasizes the colors, flowers are colorful, but sometimes the form is what truly shines and what needs to be emphasized.

     I really don’t use the Arax that much anymore, but I should, why, it is fun and that is really what photography is about after all.


Garden Flower in Black and White #2 Garden Flower in Black and White #6

(Steve Konya II Photography) 120 film Arax Kiev photography reversing ring Tue, 18 Sep 2012 13:13:45 GMT