Liffey Falls - Liffey Falls State Reserve
Post from the archives (republish)
It's no secret that I love shooting water, especially water than I can get in. Most mornings I find myself shooting along the coast with the incoming waves rushing past my legs. If there's something that I could compare that too, inland, it would be standing in a river; shooting waterfalls. Though, Liffey Falls was quite a bit colder than the sea water I'm used to in Sydney!
ABOUT THIS LOCATION
Liffey Falls is located in the Liffey Falls State Reserve, just an hours drive South-West of Launceston. There are total of 4 main falls at Liffey Falls, each as photographic as the last. They do flow all year round, so you'd be pretty unlucky to arrive during a low flow period. My first visit last year seemed pretty steady and full, but it wasn't until a recent visit that I realised it can get a much stronger flow after a decent downpour of rain.
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
As always you'll need your essential landscape items, ie. tripod, camera, lenses etc. Some other handy items, are:
Spare shoes: If, like me, you feel the need to get into the river to shoot the falls from a more unique angle, then I would strongly suggest taking a spare pair of shoes. If you have shoes that are made for water, then I'd definitely be taking them! If all else fails, barefoot is an option. Just be aware that the rocks are constantly submerged in fast moving water, so not only are they slippery, they're also very smooth.
Camera protection: During the 'higher rainfall months' the falls can get pretty heavy, which in turn can lead to a lot of spray and mist bellow some of the falls. I'd definitely recommend bringing some sort of rain cover for your camera, whether it's as simple as a plastic bag or as elaborate as a photographic whether jacket.
Cloths: With all the spray and mist in the air (as mentioned in my previous point), wiping down your lens is something that is going to be near impossible to do efficiently without a micro-fibre cloth and/or chamois. They are invaluable, especially at these sorts of locations where you are constantly wiping droplets off your lens.
Filters: Last but not least, filters. If for whatever reason the conditions you're shooting in aren't dark enough, then an ND filter can be super useful to smooth out the movement of the water. I'd still suggest shooting at times of the day where you don't need an ND filter. One other filter that can be extremely handy in a rainforest setting, is a CPL filter - for several reasons. Firstly, it too can cut out anywhere from 1-2 stops of light. Secondly, it reduces glare/reflections off of wet rocks/leaves and still water. They also do a pretty decent job of increasing saturation, especially to any foliage that may be in your shot!
BEST TIMES TO SHOOT
Like any photographic shoot, specifically landscape, the early morning or late afternoon is always best. However, if those times are not suitable, I highly recommend shooting on an overcast/rainy day. That way the harsh light of the sun gets much more diffused and less, well... ugly! Not to mention, rainforests photograph much nicer after some heavy rain!
I'd also highly recommend shooting at Liffey Falls after a few days of steady rain, just to get that extra bit of flow. Tasmania does receive quite a bit of rainfall in their winter months and obviously less in summer. Do your best to avoid shooting after any drought the state might be suffering.
For more tips on shooting waterfalls, check out my How to Photograph Moving Water post.
Liffey Falls is an easy 1 hour drive from the closest and second largest city in Tasmania, Launceston. There are two cark parks and two separate walking tracks to the falls. The first and most popular entrance is from the upper car park, but is only accessible by smaller vehicles. So, if you're in a camper/bus then the lower car park is the one for you!
Heading West from Launceston on the Bass Highway to Deloraine, turn left on Highland Lakes Road and continue until you reach the final turn off to Riversdale Road. From here it's a short 5km drive to the upper car park of Liffey Falls.