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This blog is an amateur photographer's attempt to show how beautiful the world really is. He is drawn to the colors of nature like a moth to a candle light. What are showcased here are nature's grand display of colors at sunrise and sunset, beautiful beaches and off-the-beaten track locations in his beloved Philippines, waterfalls and some of nature's great sculptures, architectural gems, and other views from around SE Asia that he was fortunate to see at one point.

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June 30, 2009

mt. romelo: buruwisan, batya-batya, and lanzones falls

I've always been fascinated with Mt. Romelo (also mistakenly known as Mt. Famy). Folks call it the "land of the falls" because of the countless waterfalls you can find there: all within short hiking distance from the camp site. Its a favorite weekend getaway for mountaineers who seek a Shangrila-like respite without the need for an arduous climb.

Early Morning at Buruwisan Falls
Buruwisan Falls after sunrise

I was able to make my yearly pilgrimage there a couple of weeks ago. It was still (officially) summer but we had this crazy and weird weather: it was raining most of the time. So I figured it was the best time to hike up to Mt. Romelo and revisit the falls.

We had to postpone our trip several times and forego with the night trek because of the rain. But we decided on the last minute, one (very) early Saturday morning, to push through. The trails were muddy. Good thing some of the steep muddy trails already have guide ropes that you can use to haul yourself up.

I was pretty happy we went through with the trip, and I was able to get a couple of nice images. I will be sharing some of them together with some tips on shooting waterfalls.

some tips on shooting waterfalls
weather: It is always best to shoot waterfalls during the rainy season for the following reasons:
a) watefalls are "fuller" during this time
b) lighting is even during overcast days. You won't get bright spots on the water

necessary gears:
a) tripod (although you can hand hold it if you are using an ultra wide lens such as a 10-20mm lens. At 10mm you will only need a shutter speed of 1/15s to be sure there is no camera shake. I usually use 1/20 or 1/30s).

b) ND8 filter for slowing the shutter

c) CPL (circular polarizer) for removing glare as well as reducing the f/stop. Sometimes a CPL will be enough to "cut" the light for a slower shutter speed.

d) a dry bag to keep your equipment, well..., dry.

Always make sure there are NO OVEREXPOSED parts of the water, specially on the splash on the catch basin

Lansones Falls
Lanzones Falls on an overcast day

Sometimes there are POVs where you won't need to get the whole waterfalls in the frame. Just move further down stream and you'd we surprised with that you can see. I used the arching trunk of a large fig tree to frame Buruwisan falls from a POV just a few meters downstream.

Buruwisan Falls
view of Buruwisan Falls downstream

If the weather does not cooperate when shooting waterfalls (i.e. too sunny), you can find a wealth of POVs usually downstream from the falls. I went looking for small cascades near Lansones Falls and found this wide one with the "whites" spreading evenly at the bottom.

Milky Stream
downstream from Lansones Falls

Most of these small cascades are usually shaded or under a canopy of trees, thus you can shoot them most any time of the day. With shaded areas, a CPL is often enough to do the job in reducing the light, thus allowing you to shoot with a longer shutter speed.

near the precipice of Old Buruwisan Falls (Binaytuan Falls)

If the weather is too sunny, you may photograph the falls early in the morning or late in the afternoon. It best to scout the area and know the location of the falls (i.e. whether its facing the east or west).

I went to Batya-batya falls right after sunrise. I know that the sun will be rising behind the falls. Since most of the area is shaded, I had a window of an hour or two to capture the falls without the sunlight (through the canopy) hitting the falls directly.

Batya-Batya Falls (Mt. Romelo) aka Guiling-Guiling Falls
Batya-Batya Falls (Guiling-guiling Falls)

One of the biggest challenge in shooting waterfalls is the water spray. It'll always get on your gears and will show on your shots. You may remove these water droplets on your shots using a photo editing software. Or you can just make sure your filters are always clean. Wipe them before and after each shot.

Unless your camera and lens are weather-sealed, moisture will spell disaster. Keep your gears in your dry bag if you are not using them. Use a garbage bag or some clear plastic bag to protect your gears from the spray if you are near the falls.

gettting to mt. romelo
Ride the Raymond buses bound for Real, Quezon (they have a terminal in Legarda St. in Manila). Fare is Php 100.00++.

Get off in the town of Famy (the bus usually stops near the public market). Hire a tricycle to Kilometer 3 mark. Fare is 20.00 per person, 4 persons per tricycle.

The trail head is about 800m
from the highway. You'll see a sign pointing the direction to the registration area (Php 20.00 per person). Its just a 3-4 hour hike, depending on the trail conditions and how fit you are.
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Gaelyn said...

The waterfalls are spectacular, as are the captures.

Sylvia K said...

That has to be heaven! I've never seen such incredible beauty and your photos are stunning and breathtaking! How marvelous to be able to hike there! Have to admit, I'm envious. Thanks for sharing, as always.

Lantaw said...

Thanks Gaelyn and Sylvia!

Island Rambles Blog, my pleasure! if you need more details on the shots, feel free to email me at aebarredo[at]gmail.com. You may also visit my flickr gallery for more photos: www.flickr.com/photos/allanbarredo

Mark Kreider said...

Astonishingly beautiful blog. Great photos great composition. I hope to get half as good as you one day!

Oman said...

Thanks for the tip bro. Gotta use these tips next time i shoot falls.

Dami talaga magaganda lugar sa quezon.

Lantaw said...

mkreider, Thank you very much!

Oman, Sarap dun bro. Famy and Siniloan are still in Laguna (border ng Quezon provice) but the buses bound for Real passes by the Famy market

escape said...

crossing my fingers now and hoping to get as great as these photos. third one is my favorite in this set.

bertN said...

I don't think it is possible to achieve these captures with a compact digital camera. I just have to live with its limitations in exchange for convenience, I guess. Btw, that's a gem of a place you visited!

dodong flores said...

I can't believe it's easier to get into the place as per travel direction you included in this post. I'd love to bring my wife into this place someday.
I love the way you capture the flow of water in slow shutter speed. The photos are simply awesome. Great place and excellent photography!

Bhavesh Chhatbar said...

Ooooo! What a wonderful place!! Coordinates please :)

Damn Dam — Khadakwasla

Arija said...

Great shots and thank you for the workshop as well.

erin said...

your camera shooting tips are wonderful and so appreciate them...thank you for that. and the shots...WOW
beautiful captures always on your blog.
take care

Lantaw said...

Wow! May DSLR ka na Dom?

bertN, if your P&S supports manual settings for shutter speed and aperture, you may be able to get photos like these up to a certain extend. With the gears I'm hauling up the mountain I sometimes do wish I was carrying a P&S camera :)

Dodong, you wont believe how easy it is to commute there bro. Its also an easy hike if the weather is good, you can make it a day trip :)

Bhavesh, Sorry I don't have GPS coordinates. Thanks for the visit!

Arija and erin, You're very much welcome! thanks for dropping by!

Anonymous said...

Great job and i always love white foamy shots! Thanks for the tips, sure would be handy to us all who are all willing to learn from a pro like you, heheh...

Lantaw said...

haha, Im far from being a pro Pacey. Thanks for dropping by.

ms firefly said...

i'm just curious, how do you get to travel to so many places all the time? ^-^
wonderful pictures, i can't decide which one i like best! i love pictures of streams, reminds me of my parents' farm in Tupi.

Lantaw said...

Odette, I always have that weekend itch that needs scratching LOL! You have something like this in Tupi? Cool!

bw said...

beautiful falls pics and thanks for the tips :)

Lantaw said...

you are welcome bw. thanks for dropping by.

2sweetnsaxy said...

Wow! I suppose it pays to trek deep into certain areas in order to get undisturbed shots like this. These are all stunning!

Lantaw said...

2sweetnsaxy, Thanks! Yup it does pay :). Its worth the mud and the backbreaking hauling of equipment haha

J.C. said...

Thanks for those great tips on shooting waterfall. I have not done any waterfall shot before. Time to shoot some now?

Btw, what is a CPL. I am using a prosumer camera, Fuji Finepix SD6500. Can I use a CPL with it? Or CPL is only for DSLR?

Appreciate your reply.

Lantaw said...

J.C., CPL stands for circular polarizer. Some prosumer cameras have filter threads on their lenses, some do not. you can always but an adapter tube.
yup its nice time to shoot waterfalls now. in fact im trekking there this Aug 1 and 2.

Unknown said...

tol sana shot mo ung firefly tree sa taas ng buruwisan falls.

milady said...

ill been there last friday march 5,2010 we have a hiking together with my classmate. its a very amazing place. there's no word that can explain this place.

Anonymous said...

what a great shot a nature picture perfect.
created by HIM...

Anonymous said...

sana po napuntahan nyo ung sampalok falls at sapang labo po ang ganda rin po nun sa romelo din po un sir/mam

if you want to invte me ...

by kuya ian


efhraim said...

san po ba ung sapang lobo???? my pic po ba kau?? tenx po

umakyat po kami last july 4, 2010 anu po ung id na hinahanp sa mga kasama ko.. tenx po


Vylet Eclair said...

Nice BLOG! and love the pictures!
Thanks for the tips! I'll capture it someday when I already have a DSLR. and thanks for the directions! We can go there easier.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the beautiful photos..and for the tips!! you're awesome..some wont do this

charisse said...

damn those shots are amazing

charisse said...

hands down sir

Anonymous said...

the view and the place was so beautiful.. the experience to slide on the maroon mud.. and the place was so great!!!! i love it..!!!!!!1

jen.gumban said...

Thanks for sharing this blog. Love the shots!

halhalin mountaineers said...

hello, dada of halhalin mountaineers here. we're doing an IT for our Mt. Romelo trip next weekend. sorry but i took the liberty of copying your picture of buruwisan falls for the article. i will be citing the photo as yours and a link to this blogsite in acknowledgment. pasensiya na po at maraming salamat.

Anonymous said...

wow amazing scenery.:)

Andrea said...

ang gaganda, hindi pa rin ako makakuha ng ganito kagandang water shot. Parang meron pa rin shake ang shots ko maski may tripod, ewan ko ba! By the way, i smiled on that yellow leaf on the rock, serendipitous or doctored? haha.

Lantaw said...

@Andrea, the leaf was there, but I just adjusted its position :D

Anonymous said...

ahh, ask ko lang po kung paano makapunta jan sa mt.romelo kung galing pong sta.rosa laguna ? I need a reply Asap. tnx po !

Ann @ Philippines Weather said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing those pictures and your tips on shooting waterfalls. I hope I can also visit this place.

gelaikuting said...

WOW! I hope to climb this mountain this year... astig! great photos :)

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