Victor Liu: Palouse Falls State Park, Washington State

The Image

Victor Liu

Palouse falls state park, Washington state, USA

Time / Date:
Dec 1, 2012

The Technical

Camera Body: Nikon D700
Lens: Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8
Support: Gitzo 1542T tripod
Filter: LEE 0.6 Graduated Neutral Density filter

Camera Settings:

Shutter Speed: 1/25s
Aperture: f/18
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 14mm

The Story


Palouse falls is one of the most picturesque waterfalls in America. I especially love its size, location and the surrounding rock formations, which together add a magic to its unique beauty. The easily assessable vantage point provide a great panorama view, under the right lighting condition, its splendid appearance could make people feel like standing on top of a fantasy land. I have been to the Palouse falls many times over many years, but in my previous trips, the lighting conditions were disappointing. It was either overcast or super clear. On a December trip to the west coast, I stopped by Palouse falls again to try my luck, cause in my mind, this place is perfect to capture a fine art landscape shot.

The Scene: 

I got there half hour before sunrise, and the magic moment happened right after I arrived, when most campers in the state park were still in their sleep, I was standing on the cliff, watching the stunning waterfall and the remote gorge, there were endless of water, mist and greens, until they blended into the dramatic sky. I believe at that moment I was in the mood of “Lord of the rings” and singing “Far over the misty mountains cold”.


I only packed my Nikon D700 body and 14-24 lens, cause I only wanted to shoot a wide angle image with almost everything in.

Making the Shot:

I set the camera to a slow shutter speed and used a remote shutter release to achieve the milky effect of the water. With the help of a graduate neutral density filter, I could capture the right exposure in both the sky and the foreground.

Editing & Processing:

I didn’t really do much in post processing. I just adjusted the colours and contrast with a slight dodge and burn to bring out more details.

Looking Back:

This is one of the best landscape images I have ever captured, and it represents my style of photography so well. After making this shot, I started to chase the magic and other worldly characteristic in a image, so I should say it is a milestone of my works.


Be yourself! You can learn from others, but you can’t be the same as others. There are millions of great photographers in the world, either professional or amateur, and the way to set yourself apart from them is to create your own outstanding and unique style.


I love nature, and inspired by photographers around the world, especially the ones from National Geographic. I also gain inspirations from other forms of art, including paintings, music, architecture and literature.



About the Photographer

Victor Liu is a self-taught professional photographer, visual artist and poet, who is specialized in fine art landscape photography. He began his journey of photography with the love of nature and outdoor activities, including every hiking, mountain climbing and kayak trip he went on. Victor’s unique vision as a photographer is borne from his love of literature, painting and music, which makes for the artistic and poetic elements in many of his works. He is a recipient of numerous national and international photography awards, and has been constantly publishing with magazines such as Canadian Geographic, Outdoor Photography Canada, Photo Life, and Canadian Wildlife. Victor holds a master degree in Computer Science and works as a part time software programmer, which greatly contributes to his skills of photo editing and post processing.

Facebook: /victorliuphotography
500px: /Victor_Liu_Photography

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