Pentax K20D, Pentax SMC-DA* 50-135mm f/2.8 ED [IF] SDM, 1/2 s, f/22, ISO100, no  flash, tripod Vanguard ALTA 235 AP, filter BW F-PRO 67 MRC Circular Polarizer



About  Epupa Falls I knew from the book Rough Guide. It followed the searching for informations, pictures and pohotographs on the Internet. From these more or less successful photographs beauty of this place charmed me. Therefore, we planned in the itinerary of our travel across South Africa ample time for Epupa Falls, ample time for one morning and one evening shooting. Their atmosphere is raised by the fact that for Himba tribe inhabiting northern Namibia Epupa Falls are sacred, so there are really "Sacred Waterfalls".



To get up early in the morning was difficult for us, but the idea of walking along the bank of the Kunene River provided us with enough will. We had plans to make survey before the photographic evening, to find suitable places, perfect composition, but I took with me photographic equipment  even now. Our Africa trip was planned for the weeks just after the rainy season. We got to Epupa Falls April 14th, 2012. During a morning walk we discovered several logical places with beautiful views, some have been identified  and named, so they lacked originality. I found "my own place" and  I climbed to the edge of a large rock formation with clear view directly into one of throats of the roaring waterfall. I prepared tripod, I took out lenses and case with filters and I put them on a piece of horizontal area on the rock. Step by step I tried compositions with Pentax 15mm f/ 4, then with the Pentax 31mm f/1.8, but with the result I was not satisfied. I wanted to capture the dramatic scenery the most impressively, to get as close as possible. I solved this problem with Pentax 50-135mm f/2.8 at its shortest focal length. I mounted polarizing filter for maximum exposure time, because I don't have gray and transition filter for this lens. I joined on the camera cable release to minimize the risk of blurring , I turned off the Shake Reduction and  in manual mode I entered the above settings. At the sight of final picture is for each landscape photographer evident, that the biggest problem of this moment was strong backlight coming from the left side from the rising sun, enlightened upper part of the photo, especially water. And in the lower two thirds of the picture was deep shadow. Despite this technically challenging situation, I was decided  to take photos  in this composition with amazing baobab trees, with the water rolling down by gorge between steep rocks, with palm grove illuminated from early African sun. I wished that the water in the resulting picture was blurred as attractive as possible, thus not little or too much. Water was flowing at high speed, so for ideal effect was 1/2 s enough. That morning I took  65 different images, specifically on this place it was 16 images and the resulting photograph was fourth in the order. After I focused on the trees or water more detailed. However, my satisfaction with the result came up a few months later, after careful looking over most of 65 images candidate for the right "Sacred Waterfalls".



Shooting in RAW (DNG) is, in terms of subsequent possibilities for editing, matter of course. In Camera Raw 7.0 in Basic, I underexposed the original image to -0.75, I reduced contrast to -25, lights to -55, shadows to +55, I also reduced from black to the value +25. I wanted  to eliminate too strong lights and deep shadows. I increased the local contrast for better details to +55. I slightly sharpened the picture to 55 in the Detail/ Sharpening/ Amount.

After that I opened the photo in Photoshop CS6. For achieving the overall tonality first I converted the image to black-and-white and then  I added sepia effect by using filter Silver Efex Pro 2.


I entered in Photoshop Layers/ Luminosity and the opacity to 75%. I cropped the picture to format 4:3, saved as a TIFF file and finally converted to JPG.



This photo will always remind me  one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen on my travels. I believe that it will help to refer to uniqueness and vulnerable fragility of African nature. After all,  without project Ohangwena II of the hydrologist Martin Quinger who found huge reserves of groundwater in northern Namibia, construction of dam on the Kunene river would be unavoidable. Chance to conservation the "Sacred Waterfalls" of Himba tribe are still alive.



- ambition to discover the original location, interesting composition is often worthwhile especially during shooting known locations,

- at shooting landscape is decisive to plan enough time for the location,

- sometimes is good to take with you all the photographic equipment, although you dont expect a successful shooting,