To many people Turkey is a summer holiday destination with guaranteed summer sun, temperatures and long beaches with warm seas, it’s an understandably popular. The English, Dutch, Germans, Russians and many more flock to Turkey in spring, summer and autumn. But there’s so much more here than just beaches. The history is incredibly rich, as is the culture...and the food...ah, the food!
To a photographer, there are so many photographic opportunities if you can travel freely. From historic ruins, wonderful seascapes, mountains, lakes, forests...the list goes on. The famous sights of Istanbul, Capadoccia, Pamukkale and Epheseus are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There’s so much more to photograph!
My example for this blog post is Antalya.
Like much of the Turkish coastline, there are a few too many hotels...not exactly natural, but better than factories I guess! A typical result of mass tourism. But it’s still a very beautiful region. Antalya itself has a stunning old town and the beaches of this region, some sandy, some with pebbles, meet a stunning turquoise sea. But if you visit, make sure you also explore!
Ancient ruins and Turkey go hand in hand. But what about waterfalls?
The Tidefall of Düden Coast Waterfall, f/16, 90secs, 15mm, ISO100 (on an unusually cloudy spring day)
To some the fact that Turkey has some stunning waterfalls may be surprising. Certainly before moving out here I hadn’t heard of them. In websites listing the most popular waterfalls of the world, they were never mentioned. Why? Certainly they’re not Turkey’s most famous attraction, but some are particularly stunning. Here in the hot sun of Antalya, a few beauties thrive.
It probably isn’t surprising, given my love for photographing water and long exposures, that I love to photograph waterfalls. So when I get the opportunity here in Turkey, I take it. Waterfalls are not common around the area where I live, an unhappy coincidence that this fact is also true of my home town in England, in the rolling Chiltern Hills, but as always I take what I can, when I can.
Antalya then. Perhaps the most famous waterfall in the region is Manavgat. Many hotels will run day trips out to this area, personally, I’ve never been. Düden was my target. In addition there are also at least two or three other major waterfalls in the Antalya region, some harder to get to than others.
The Düden waterfalls sit on the Düden river, one, a tidefall, crashing over the cliff fairly close to the centre of the city and the other is inland and just outside the city surrounded by what is now a paid entry park of the same name. I visited Duden Park first, but that blog post will follow later. Let’s start with the tidefall: Düden Kıyı Şelalesı to give it its Turkish name, literally Düden Coast Waterfall.
It’s situated in the Lara district of Antalya, about 30 minutes by bus from the old harbour in the middle of Antalya city. Walking along the coast path along the cliff tops of Falez Parkı you get wonderful views looking out to the Mediterranean. You can, if you wish, get boat trips that visit the coastal waterfall, they’re part of the tourist trade. The coastal boat trip will pull up near to and give you a good look at the crashing water face on. But of course, a rocking boat full of tourists isn’t the best place to line up photos, and long exposures would be out of the question. I took the cliff top view! It’s hard to get a good angle and the choice of shots is fairly restricted, but nonetheless, it gives the opportunity of framing and uninterrupted view of the river crashing into the sea. An amazing sight! The water roars! The shot above was taken in May, I guess late summer the water flow wouldn’t be quite so magnificent but, as far as I am aware, the river flows well all year round.
As you see, between these two shots, there's only a slight different in angle, such is the limitation of the viewing pressed right up to the fence that is on the edge of the cliff. There actually were a couple of fishermen, in full waterproofs naturally, fishing on the rocks near the foot of the fall. I’ve no idea how they got there!
As Close as you Dare
I stuck rigidly to my vantage point without letting passing tourists steal my spot for their quick snapshots. A quick snap shot of such a tremendous sight, how? I took many photographs because I found the view so impressive; I couldn’t take my eyes (or lens) off it. For these shots, two tripod legs were inserted between the horizontal wooden bars of the fence, one leg being the same side as me...this allowed me to get as far over as possible. I did nearly drop my circular polarizer filter while trying to screw it on...but it landed on the grass, cliffside of the fence, and didn’t roll. Phew! Muppet Moment avoided!
I took shots with a variety of shutter speeds, even at 1/6 sec the water was blurred. This fall was falling very fast. The river narrows between the rocks at the top and pushes it through with some incredibly force. I wish I had a way to measure it...just purely out of interest. I tried the big stopper too, not my favourite shot, the water was blurred far too much, I didn’t have the little stopper back then. This shot of with the boat is a composite, to mix a little blur of the waterfall, but still have the boat captured sharp.
Eventually I had to leave. Had to! Meeting my wife for dinner back closer to the hotel, over the other side of the city. I had at least a 20 minute walk to the planned rendezvous again through the parks up on the cliffs.
About 10 minutes from the Düden river I saw it. An unnamed fall, that is, I haven’t been able to find the name of it. I hadn’t seen it earlier in the day, hidden behind me and after one of many turns in the coast path - it was hidden. Going back the other way, there it was! It looked stunning. Very different from the roaring force over at Düden, but now, with an evening fog coming down, the scene looked stark. Those cliffs, looking over the Med, the distant West Taurus mountains almost hidden, this was the edge of the world!
Three old Turkish guys were sat on a bench sipping the local beer and smoking, chewing the fat of the day and putting the world to rights. Despite my usual nerves about doing photo stuff in public, I had to do this. I didn’t make eye contact at first. I set up my tripod a few feet from their picnic table, framed up the shot and took a test shot. Placed the big stopper on and timed the shot for a full minute.
They spoke to me, I didn’t really understand, I gestured to the fall, mentioned how beautiful it was and added the ‘Afıyet Olsun’ (close to enjoy your meal/bon appétit ) and looked back at the camera. The shot finished and perhaps the best long exposure I have ever managed to catch in camera without edits. It looked gorgeous, I knew it would look even better in mono, thanks to the fog suppressing most of the colour in the scene. A couple more shots fired off, also using some grass as focus in the foreground, but the shot below was the stand out. I had to get on, I packed up the tripod and showed one of the guys the shot. A nod of approval. I was off!
At the Edge of the World, f/16, 60sec, 29mm, ISO100
I Definitely have to go back. A week or so later, I'll post the story from Düden park, same river, but a very different fall!
Got any fall photos? What are the best you’ve scene and captured? Share your ideas and comments and I’ll be sure to reply!
The Frustrated Photog.