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Photography Question 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
 

Hot Spots in Moving Water Shots


 
  Water scene hot spots...
Water scene hot spots...
Polarizer filter, slower shutter speed.
© Karma Wilson
Fuji FinePix S5000...
 
 
Hello. I'm a rank amateur and trying to figure things out as I go. My problem is that I want the "smooth" water look in my moving-water pictures. To accomplish this, I slowed the shutter speed (1.5 sec) and plopped on a polarizer filter. The image turned out good in regards to the smooth look of the water, but there are hot spots in the foliage. Any solutions for this? Do I require a different filter? Any help much appreciated! I've attached the images and would LOVE some advice (and I will be getting the book by Jim soon)!


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8/4/2004 7:55:56 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  The attachments didn't go through but it sounds like your hot spots are over-exposed areas of bright sunshine. To get the best effect from moving water, an overcast day will help achieve the long shutter speeds without blowing out any highlight areas.


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8/4/2004 8:03:52 PM

 
Pamela K
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2004
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  What time of day was this shot taken? It helps to take these shots when there's less light (morning or evening). Also, make sure the angle of the polarizing filter is adjusted to maximally block the reflective angle from the foliage. I've only done a few of these smooth water shots, so I look forward to hearing what others have to say.
Pam


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8/4/2004 8:04:14 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  I posted too soon! :) Your attachment appeared a few seconds ago, and it DOES look like peaks of sunlight created the hotspots. It is doubtful that a polarizer would have helped. It looks like the shot was metered for overall exposure of the "neutral" areas of the scene. At 1.5 seconds, any brighter lit areas will over-expose.


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8/4/2004 8:14:30 PM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  So I would assume that taking the shot in lower light would solve my problem, or do I need to adjust other features on my camera? I think lower light would be optimum--this was a "throwaway" shot taken only for experimental purposes so I took while I was by moving water. (We were getting firewood and I was wasting time while hubby chopped the tree).

When I set out to take these shots seriously I'll shoot for morning or early evening light--or shoot on an overcast day. With the tripod and self timer I should be able to get a clear image with good coloration. If I need to make further adjustments let me know! (And thanks for your patience--some day I hope to take the online classes).

Karma


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8/4/2004 8:53:51 PM

 
Pamela K
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2004
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  I use my polarizing filter mostly for shots of clouds or (non-soft) water. I don't know how much you've used a polarizing filter, but make sure you rotate it around before you take the shot to get the best angle for blocking the reflected light. The filter should be able to rotate on its base. If you just aim the camera at some clouds or light reflected off of a car or water body and play with rotating the filter, you'll see that some angles will bring the clouds out more or block more of the reflection. Always test this before your shots. Don't just "plop" a polarizing filter on and expect it to work the way that a warming filter or other color filter would work.
Pam


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8/4/2004 9:22:43 PM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Excellent advice, Pam! I didn't know that about my polorizer (is that why it was so danged much money????). I'll try experimenting ASAP. Thanks for setting me straight. This probably saved me many missed shots.

Karma


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8/4/2004 9:49:54 PM

 
Pamela K
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2004
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  No problem. Here's a website that talks about how polarized sunglasses work:

http://polarization.com/water/water.html

The difference between polarized sunglasses and your filter is that your filter can be rotated to any angle whereas the sunglasses are only good for direct reflections (as off of the water or a road) because they are stuck in the vertical orientation. The ability of your filter to rotate is especially useful if the subject your photographing (e.g. clouds) are side-lit.

Anyway, maybe that site will help a little.

Here's a site where you can play with a virtual polarizing filter:

http://www.colorado.edu/physics/2000/applets/polarized.html

Have fun!

Pam


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8/4/2004 10:12:56 PM

 
Diane Dupuis
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/27/2003
  Hey Pam - I like that! It's cool. Just ordered my polarizer yesterday, can't wait to try it out!


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8/5/2004 4:33:56 AM

 
Andy 
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/28/2002
 
 
 
All the above suggestions are the best, only if you can wait and hope for the best lighting. If not, here is one suggestion: Meter for the highlight. I am always in the situation that I only have a very short time to take the picture or go home without it. The accompanying photo was taken in Haleakala N.P., Hawaii. I want to include the swimmers as a scale and show that people actually can swim there. I already have a polarizer on, and I cannot stack a split neutral density filter because of a vignetting problem. But I know the water will come out nice in slower shutter speed even though the rocks go totally dark. I used a 100 speed slide film and a very small shutter (I think it's f32 with a 300mm lens). It shouldn't matter if you use digital or film. In your case, you can meter at the highlight, take the shot, and take another one with +1 exposure compensation dial in. See which one with the water effect you like. What do you think?


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8/5/2004 8:46:21 AM

 
Karma Wilson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  Excellent information! I really need to figure out metering-as I have no idea about it. Up to this point (had my camera about a month and before used point-n-shoot film) I hadn't messed much with my manual controls and have been working on composition and understanding the basic controls and limitations of digital. Now I shall move on to the harder tasks. This shall be a good beginning lesson for me. I'll fiddle with both lower light situations and taking the shots with the proper metering.

For one thing I do like the water shots with sun rays pouring through from above. If I'm not metered correctly I imagine that those would be very difficult to achieve without washing out some foliage. I also enjoy the sunlight on leaves as long as it's not too bright. So I shall try both techniques. Thank you Andy for the valuable information (and the beautiful picture as well).

Thanks for those links Pam! They were a big help as well. I'm learning all sorts of new information from this one wonderful conversation and I'm sure other visitors are learning as well. Hurray for Betterphoto!

Karma


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8/5/2004 9:13:12 AM

 
Ron Boyd   Of course, by capturing in RAW format, you are able to "develop" the image with considerable "Exposure" latitude. Simply process the image twice. Once "As Shot" (assuming your camera is profiled properly) and secondly as underexposed by what ever amount needed to bring out the details in the "hot" spots. Of course, if the areas are, in fact, "blown out" this won't work but RAW has considerable tolerance in this area. Once you have both copies, simply layer them and "mask" out what you don't want or "Paint" in what you do (depending on which is the top layer).

Ron


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8/10/2004 6:34:37 AM

 
Shirley D. Cross-Taylor
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/7/2001
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  Definitely, the best time to shoot moving water is on overcast days. However, I've found I get some spectacular detail shots of streams, even on sunny days, if I shoot shaded areas of the water, which can have beautiful reflections of the sunlit areas on shore.


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8/10/2004 2:39:16 PM

 
Robert Bridges   Even better still - pay attention to everything in the image including and especially the highlights. If you don't see them to start with nothing you can do with a filter will get rid of them. Pay attention - move the camera - try a different composition
or better still ......wait.


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8/10/2004 9:22:17 PM

 
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