The best tripod head for waterfall photography is….

…not a fluid video head.  I found that out the hard way.  They work great for static HORIZONTAL shots, but they lack the slot on ballheads that rotates the camera to a vertical orientation.  My Manfrotto 055x ProB does provide a workaround, because the extending center column can tilt the mounted camera by 90 degrees.  Next time I’m going to just bring the correct ballhead with me.

NJ waterfalls picture

Waterfall photo taken in Morris County New Jersey. The equipment utilized was the Tamron 14-150mm Di II all-in-one lens and the Olympus PEN E-PL3 Micro Four Thirds Camera.

Above photo taken with the Tamron 14-150mm Di III Lens, the Olympus PEN E-PL3 M4/3 Camera, and a Manfrotto tripod.  A 52mm circular polarized was mounted onto the lens to lower reflections and increase exposure time.  Camera settings: 14mm (28mm full frame equivalent), 0.6s F/10 ISO 200 in Manual Exposure Mode.  Auto White Balance, Stabilization off, 2-second Delay, and Single Point focus near the Maple leaf.

Solutions…

I know this is a ridiculous looking photo, but this is actually my own image, and a setup that I do use from time to time. A great amount of my nature photography is wildlife based, and wielding a super telephoto lens around through the woods and wetlands means having a dedicated tripod with a heavy duty head. That is fine and good, but I hate being limited while I’m exploring, and feel a bit naked not having an easily tripod mountable macro or all-in-one lens to fall back on too.

Stacked DSLRs

Super Telephoto and Macro Lens Solution

Pictured here are two of my Canon DSLRs, the top camera with my Tamron 90mm VC macro lens is bound to my Canon 500mm f/4 setup via a Gorillapod Focus (portable tripod). Granted there are plenty of opportunities for the whole combination to swing and sway, yet I am still able to get some macro shots from the top camera using low ISO speeds for maximum image quality.

Note that I don’t walk around with them bound together like this, as it isn’t entirely stable. Generally I sling the big tripod + big lens over my shoulder, while wearing the smaller camera with Gorillapod connected to it around my neck. I connect the 2 setups only when I am going to shoot with the top camera.  It ain’t foolproof and it ain’t pretty, but sometimes it does what I need it to do.

If you have a better solution, please let me know!