Nature is packed with all kinds of natural wonders to find and explore. From Fjords to forests, from mountains to meadows, there are plenty of places for photographers to find their muse and inspiration for the craft.
Perhaps some of the most striking places of natural beauty are waterfalls. Something about them, whether it’s the tumbling torrents of the churned-up white water, the unique rock formations and plants around them, or how they carve through a landscape, just speaks to some type of beauty that we can’t help but want to capture.
However, while waterfalls are often sought after by artists of all kinds, from painters to photographers, they are also some of the most difficult to find.
They often don’t have a massive peak to search for, and can often be hidden by the terrain around them. This makes them quite a headache to seek out, especially if you’re new to photography.
Fear not, however. Because we have managed to help take some of that research weight off your shoulders, with a list of some of the best locations to find waterfalls and hone your creative photographic eye and lens in on!
1. Niagara Falls, New York & Ontario
Sure, we’re starting this list off with an obvious option when it comes to waterfall locales. But it wouldn’t exactly be a list of the best waterfall photography places in the world without Niagara Falls, would it?
Running through New York up to Ontario, Canada, Niagara Falls is by no means the tallest waterfall in the world, at only 177 feet tall (though still imposing), it is a waterfall with an incredible amount of power to it, with 1,800 cubic meters of water tumbling down it per second.
This leads to the churning white waters that everyone who has visited it will be well familiar with, as well as the fine mist that soaks tourists and photographers alike as they view it up close.
On that note, you have a ton of options when it comes to photographing this natural wonder. With three sites to easily access the waterfall from (American and Bridal Veil in New York state, and Horseshoe Falls on the Ontario side), you’ll have plenty of different locations and positions to choose from.
Plus, with the number of tours that go right up to the fall,s you’ll be able to get some truly incredible views and pictures from many different angles. Plus, the Niagara Observation Tower allows for great panoramic views of the falls too, including further upstream.
2. Cloud Forest, Costa Rica
Everyone knows that Costa Rica is a place of incredible natural beauty. However, many people often target that it is also a place where plenty of gorgeous tropical falls also flow, making it a prime spot for snapping pictures of often overlooked waterfalls.
There are quite a few locations in Costa Rica that hosts amazing waterfalls, from the Llanos de Cortez in the northwest of the country to the Nauyaca Waterfall Nature Park.
For this list, we’ve chosen to go with the Cloud Forest, a place where not only does verdant greenery grow, but also incredible waterfalls hideaway.
With locales such as the La Paz waterfall garden (one of the most visited private land waterfalls in the country, to the stunningly tall Bajos del Toro, there is a truly incredible amount of variety on offer here, with plenty of opportunities to snap pictures of waterfalls that no one else in the world may have even heard of, much less seen.
With viewing platforms from several different heights and positions, you have plenty of options in terms of elevation.
We suggest taking your time and finding the right angle for your photo, rather than trying to cram in a dozen different waterfalls and only getting mediocre pics.
3. Angel Falls, Venezuela
Of course, how could we have a list of waterfalls to photograph without a mention of perhaps one of the most famous waterfalls in the world?
Located on the edge of the Auyán-tepui mountain, and with a height of 3,211 feet tall at its maximum, it’s kind of insane to think that Angel Falls was pretty much unheard of by the wider world until the 1950s!
This waterfall is incredible to look at from pretty much any angle, though capturing the entire fall can be difficult from ground level or near the waterfall’s base, especially with the fine mist that it kicks up.
A picture from a low-flying personal aircraft would be able to capture the beauty of the falls, from both the plateau and the forest canopy as it hits the ground, creating a misty cloud effect that lends itself to the almost mythical feeling of the locale.
It’s not hard to see why this waterfall ends up on so many people’s bucket lists!
4. Victoria Falls, Southern Africa
One of the most famous waterfalls in all of Africa, Victoria Falls is also known as Mosi-Oa-Tunya, which roughly translates to ‘the smoke that thunders’.
It’s not hard to see how it earned that name. The great wall of mist that this mighty waterfall kicks up, combined with the roaring sound of potentially over 3,000 cubic feet of water per second, truly is a wondrous sight to behold!
So, how exactly should you try and capture the beauty of this mighty fall?
Well, with the waterfall benign overlooked by a massive cliff face opposite it, there are plenty of angles to get a great picture from.
Pretty much any level of light and time of day will produce a stunning picture of this waterfall, as you would imagine.
However, if you’re looking for a truly stunning effect to capture, the light hitting the waterfall at midday produces a beautiful rainbow effect that arches between the waterfall and the opposing cliff, making for an amazing picture!
5. Hocking Hills State Park, Ohio
Ohio is home to a huge variety of different hotspots when it comes to waterfalls. Here, we’re showering a little light on the amazing location of Hocking Hills State Park.
The state park is a hotspot of natural beauty when it comes to waterfalls, from the Old Man’s Creek that runs between the Upper and Lower Falls in a truly wondrous nature pass, to the rocky and craggy sectioned falls that run down cedar falls in the park.
Like we’ve said in many of the entries before, there isn’t a bad time of day to try and capture a good picture of the waterfalls in this park.
However, we would recommend having your exposure settings prepared for when the sun falls and starts to hit the sides of these waterfalls.
The way they glint is very different to get on-camera, but they also cast a picture in an otherworldly glow, especially with two or more picture frames taken to get that wispy effect that so many others have.
6. Hvítá, Iceland
Iceland is a land that is one of the most geologically active in the world and has become renowned for its many beauty spots that demonstrate this vibrant activity. And, unsurprisingly, waterfalls also fall under that extensive list of natural features!
With so many points of interest to talk about here, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. However, for our money, the Hvítá region is one of the best places to check out, especially once you catch a glimpse of the Hraunfossar (also known as ‘lava waterfalls).
Don’t worry, they’re not falls of lava! But they do run across and down a layer of active volcanic rock.
Capturing a picture of these falls, with the wisps of white churned water, against the dark, the almost black rock underneath, as the sound of the falls, carried on the wind, is something else.
Navigating around these falls for a unique picture can be a little tricky, but then again, who said hiking and getting around Iceland would be easy?
Not that far away from these falls are the Barnafossar (children’s falls), another gorgeous site, that is also surprisingly close to Reykjavík, just 90 minute drive out. Both are worth your and your camera’s time!
7. Havasu Falls, Arizona
It probably shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that the state that produces the Grand Canyon would also have geological features that would make some truly remarkable waterfalls. A fact that is on full display at Havasu Falls.
We love how this waterfall and whole stand in stark contrast to the common view that Arizona is nothing but desert. Plus, the waterfall amazingly catches the light at sunset and sunrise.
8. Yosemite Falls, California
Yosemite National Park is one of the greatest hotspots for natural beauty in California. And, like every good national park, it seems, there are also a great number of waterfalls found here too!
And, standing as the crowning and flowing jewel of them all, there is Yosemite Falls, a truly huge example of a tiered waterfall, and one of the biggest in the world.
S, as you can see, whether you’re traveling to the farthest reaches of Africa or South America, or even in the national park that is just a 30-minute drive from your home, there are a truly amazing variety of waterfall locales to check out, wherever you are.