Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Creating images of moving water is exciting, easy, and fun. This stream in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park was the perfect subject. A nicely flowing stream flanked by ancient boulders has form, shape, texture and color.
A sturdy tripod is your best friend when photographing moving water. You need a stable platform for your camera so that you can use a long exposure to accentuate the feeling of flowing water.
Soft, even light is best for this type of shot. You want to avoid splotchy sunlight that can create extreme contrast of highlights and shadows. So early morning or late afternoon, or a cloudy day work well.
With your camera on Aperture Priority, use a low ISO of 100, and set the aperture to about f/22. That will provide a relatively show shutter speed, which is the secret to creating soft flowing water shots. I am often asked what shutter speed is best, and the answer is "that depends." If the water is flowing slowly, a longer shutter speed of a few seconds might be needed to show the flow. If it is a fast-moving stream, a shorter shutter speed of 1/4 to 1/2 second will work well. It is best to try several different shutter speeds to see what works best. If you cannot get a slow enough shutter speed to achieve the look you want, use a polarizing filter or a neutral density filter to reduce the amount of light coming through the lens. A polarizer will cut light transmission by about 2.5 stops. Neutral density filters come in a variety of strengths from about 3 stops to 10 stops and reduce the amount of light being transmitted even more.
How soft you want the water to look is a matter of personal taste. Experiment each time you are out photographing water, and take many shots at different shutter speeds to guarantee that you will get the look you want.
When leading groups, I teach a variety of techniques, depending on the situation and the speed of the water. We will be working with these techniques at the upcoming Smokies trip, and the Iceland trip coming up August 4 - 14. Still a couple of spaces left on the Iceland trip, and the Early Bird discount has been extended through April 30. Details here http://awakethelight.com/iceland-summer/
2 seconds at f/32, ISO 100. Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens set to 70mm on Canon 5D Mark III body. Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff ballhead and Wimberley Sidekick.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins. Not by strength but by perseverance." --H. Jackson Brown