Thursday, May 11, 2017

Silky water Photography

The dreamy look of silky water in a landscape photo
has always mystified me...how did they do that?
While on vacation, earlier this year, I decided to
give it a try.
 We had a hard and strenuous climb one day
trying to find the perfect place to setup.
This wasn't it, nor did we find it, but I did get the effect I was after
and with the notes below, I can try again sometime!


*****   Photography Notes   *****

Choosing a strong composition can be challenging when shooting waterfalls. Here are a few of the key guidelines:
  • Find a leading line or an 'S' to work with in your composition
  • Let the water flow guide you to the focal point
  • Shoot downstream of the waterfall to add depth
  • Utilize rocks and other elements in the scene to guide your eye to the focal point
  • Don't be afraid to try out several variations – always shoot at least 3 or 4 compositions at any given location
Find the waterfall or stream that you want to photograph and setup your tripod with your camera. Next, switch to shutter priority mode (the “S” or "Tv" on the dial) and set the shutter speed to a really slow number like 1/15s or 1/5s. The slower your shutter speed, the more silky smooth your waterfall will appear. Take the photo and see how it turns out.

If the blur isn't to your liking, decrease your shutter speed even more closer to 1/2 second. Don't go much longer than that if in bright light because your camera will end up having too much light to deal with and your photo will be overexposed. When choosing longer shutter speeds, take note of other elements of your image that might also be moving like the wind moving the trees. You'll want to avoid these otherwise the blurry effect will be all over your photo and not just in the waterfall.

On Manual: 

You can use the lowest ISO that your camera will allow and a small aperture (like f/16 – f/22) to slow down the shutter speed enough to blur the water.

A four (4) second shutter speed will usually be enough for silky water shots and you can achieve that easily with just a polarizer and a narrow aperture like f/16, unless your scene is in harsh, direct sunlight.

Collected notes ~
  • Use a shutter speed of 1/15 of a second or slower. A slow shutter speed renders moving water as a silky white blur.
  • Use a low ISO setting. A low ISO setting gives you a relatively small aperture, which ensures a large depth of field.
  • Use a tripod. When you use a slow shutter speed, stabilize the camera to get a sharp picture.
  • Use a neutral density filter in bright light. In bright light, you won’t be able to use a slow shutter speed and get a properly exposed image. A neutral density filter cuts down on the amount of light reaching the sensor, which means you can get a properly exposed image using a slow shutter speed.
  • Use a fast shutter speed when you want to freeze the motion of a raging river. You can also use a fast shutter speed when you want to show the details of a waterfall. You may have to increase the ISO setting when using a fast shutter speed to achieve a large depth of field, which requires a small aperture. Don’t increase the ISO too high or you’ll end up with a noisy image; use a tripod instead.
  • When you compose the image, position the horizon line in the lower third of the image. It’s also a good idea to place the waterfall to one side of the image.
  • Rotate the camera 90 degrees when photographing a waterfall. This is known as portrait format. Rotate the camera 90 degrees any time you photograph a subject that is taller than it is wide. The only exception to this rule would be a waterfall like Niagara Falls that is actually wider than it is tall.
  • Take a picture downstream from a waterfall. You’ll often find wonderful details when you venture a couple of hundred feet downriver from a waterfall, such as this image that was photographed a few hundred feet from Bridal Veil Falls.

*****  *****  *****  
“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.
What you have caught on film is captured forever…
It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”
Aaron Siskind

Happy Click'n!









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