Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Happy Halloween!

Wishing you a very Happy Halloween!

This autumn image was created in Iceland. The fall color was spectacular, and the moving water traced a lacy design over the rocks. I'm often asked how to show the movement of water, and the answer is "it depends."

It depends on how fast the water is moving, and whether it is moving toward you or across your field of view. The best way to get the look you want is to use a variety of shutter speeds. Then after you have downloaded the images, choose the ones that look the best to you.

Fast moving water can look very silky at a shutter speed as fast as 1/8 sec., while slower moving water might require a shutter speed of several seconds. So experiment with different slow shutter speeds every time you are photographing moving water.

To give yourself the best chance of getting a slow shutter speed, set your camera to 100 ISO, and close your lens down as far as it will go (f/32 or f/22). 

If it is a bright day and you cannot get a slow enough shutter speed, you can use a polarizing filter which will reduce exposure by about two-and-a-half stops. Or you can use a neutral density filter (also called a black filter) which comes in various strengths, generally from 3 to 10 stops. I prefer a 10-stop to get the most effect. There are also variable neutral density filters which include all the various options, but can be costly.

A word of caution on neutral density filters:  do not be tempted to get an inexpensive one. They are quite poor optically, and often result in unacceptable images. Also, some neutral density filters cause a noticeable color shift, again resulting in unacceptable images. Even highly respected manufacturers who claim that their filters have no color shift, do indeed have a negative effect on the colors. I have tested several brands, and have found that the Breakthrough brand  is the best available. There is no color shift, and the optics are excellent. And they offer an excellent guarantee and free shipping, so order directly from the manufacturer.

Photographing moving water in all its forms - waterfalls, flowing streams, the ocean - is a creative and pleasant experience. So go play, and see what you can create.

2.5 seconds at f/32, ISO 100. Canon 70-200mm f/4L IS lens set to 200mm, on Canon 5D Mark III body. Gitzo tripod with Really Right Stuff ballhead.

TODAY'S QUOTE: "I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it."  --  Vincent van Gogh

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