BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Mary J. Coker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/31/2003
 

Water in Motion - Veiling Effect


When shooting a stream or flowing water, how do you get that veiling effect?


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7/7/2005 7:08:33 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   You need to use a longer shutter speed.


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7/7/2005 8:24:37 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   I would start shooting at 1/30 and go shower from there, down to maybe 1/4. The slower you go, the greater the effect.


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7/7/2005 8:35:17 AM

 
Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
  Just recently, someone here sent me email asking how to shoot falls and streams. I learned a lot from my friend Darren and a couple of others who shoot most beautiful water falls and streams ... Anyhow, my answer to her was this:
I used a special kind of film called Fuji Velvia. ISO ratings of this film are 50 and 100. I used ISO 50; the film was a gift from a good friend of mine who also posts at BP. Fuji colors are superb in obtaining rich green forest colors, blue sky and water, etc. ... We normally like to have less lighting (overcast days, or very early morning hours, or 30 minutes before or after sunset hours) when shooting streams and waterfalls ... so that slow shutter speeds can be used. The reason for this is to capture the water in a continuous flow, instead of freezing (stop-action) them. The type of images that you saw on my gallery and Darren's gallery are taken using the technique I just explained.


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7/7/2005 10:30:41 AM

 
Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
  ... btw, a tripod is a must, and a polarizer is desired.


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7/7/2005 12:26:08 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  All of the advice given was good. A long shutter speed, tripod, slow film, diffused light or shade. When metering, do it manually. Meter the frothiest rapids (is that really a word?), and over-expose them by no more than 1/2 stop. I've found that rapids cannot withstand anything over +1/2 stop without blowing out. Also, try not to include any sky in your composition for the same reason.


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7/7/2005 3:52:55 PM

 
Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
  Use a cable release or remote release by all means if your camera is equipped with one.


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7/8/2005 10:07:41 AM

 
Maria Melnyk   By the way, I don't think anyone mentioned that Velvia is a slide film, and it's great, but if you want print film use Kodak Ultra 100. Using a polarizer does cut down the light and give darker skies and more saturated colors, but it also eliminates reflections, and unless you want to see through the water it's not always desirable to use that polarizer. You might just kill the effect you're trying to photograph, like the reflection of trees in the water. If you need to cut down the light to use that long shutter speed, please use a neutral density filter.


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7/12/2005 11:28:58 AM

 
Tamara  . Lynn   hey Nobi, I don't remeber where, but I was reading that they have a Velvia action for ps, have you seen examples of it


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7/12/2005 12:50:16 PM

 
Dan Fogelberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/24/2005
 
 
 
I agree that a polarizer isn't always desireable, and that a neutral density filter will force slower shutter speeds without changing the reflectivity or color. If you have manual or aperture-priority metering, simply stopping down until you force a slow enough shutter speed works best. If that's still not slow enough (I prefer 1/8 or slower for that silky effect), then it's time for the filter. I was just doing this on a mountain hike yesterday, and found that even with the .6 ND filter and an ISO setting of 100 I was waiting for a stray cloud to darken the scene enough to allow 1/4 second exposures. Remember that other objects like flowers or foliage will also blur during a long exposure, so be aware of the wind. One more thing: the closer you are to the subject, the greater its apparent movement relative to film or sensor. Thus, moving water that is very close to the camera will blur at faster shutter speeds than something moving at a distance.


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7/13/2005 2:39:54 PM

 
Dan Fogelberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/24/2005
 
 
  Ice Flow
Ice Flow
f 7.4 at 1/90th, 280mm (35mm equivalent), Boulder, Colorado, 12:30pm, February 16, 2005. Note blurring of closer waterfall despite faster shutter speed, which stopped the gentler motion of the more distant bubbles. Nikon Coolpix 5700, Velbon tripod. Modified from original color image in Photoshop.
© Dan Fogelberg
Nikon Coolpix 5700...
 
  Flowers at Mitchell Creek
Flowers at Mitchell Creek
f 7.4 at 1/6.7 sec., 280mm (35mm equivalent), Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado, 1:45pm, July 12, 2005. Luckily, there was almost no breeze to move the flowers. Nikon Coolpix 5700, tripod, .6 neutral density filter.
© Dan Fogelberg
Nikon Coolpix 5700...
 
 
I agree that a polarizer isn't always desireable, and that a neutral density filter will force slower shutter speeds without changing the reflectivity or color. If you have manual or aperture-priority metering, simply stopping down until you force a slow enough shutter speed works best. If that's still not slow enough (I prefer 1/8 or slower for that silky effect), then it's time for the filter. I was just doing this on a mountain hike yesterday, and found that even with the .6 ND filter and an ISO setting of 100 I was waiting for a stray cloud to darken the scene enough to allow 1/4 second exposures. Remember that other objects like flowers or foliage will also blur during a long exposure, so be aware of the wind. One more thing: the closer you are to the subject, the greater its apparent movement relative to film or sensor. Thus, moving water that is very close to the camera will blur at faster shutter speeds than something moving at a distance.


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7/13/2005 2:44:33 PM

 
Carolyn  M. Fletcher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/6/2001
Contact Carolyn
Carolyn 's Gallery
PickYourShots.com
  Somebody might want to ask her what kind of a camera she has..some of them just don't go slow enough to veil water.


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7/14/2005 6:49:32 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   We have a musician in our midst.


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7/14/2005 6:49:34 AM

 
Mary J. Coker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/31/2003
  I have both digital and film. I have a FujiS5000 and am not sure I can use it. I have a nice Cannon Rebel that I will probably try it with. Thanks for all your wonderful comments!
Mar


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7/14/2005 6:57:05 AM

 
Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
  I'm happy to see other well versed photographers finally showed up to answer your question, Mary... I am no expert by any means... but I thought I would start with what I know...

Kerry, we also have a comedian in our midst... :D


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7/14/2005 7:32:03 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Well, for once, I am not sure if I was trying to be funny. I don't know if it is the same person, but Dan Fogelberg, the musician, is also a photographer.


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7/14/2005 7:36:43 AM

 
Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
  Pierce,
Only time I saw something similar to what you mention is a friend of mine has done it before. I do not know whether he had instructions to follow.
Perhaps, someone here may know...,
...how about starting a new Q&A on that?


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7/14/2005 8:09:33 AM

 
Dan Fogelberg
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/24/2005
  To answer the implicit question: no, I'm not the musician. We're second cousins, and share some interests, including photography. And no, I have no way of contacting him, and wouldn't wish to disturb his privacy if I did. We both started out in Illinois, both were painting majors, but both of us didn't quit school to become rock stars. One of us stayed in school and became a photo teacher. The last time I talked to him was 1979. So it goes. Let's talk about photography…


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7/14/2005 9:35:02 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
 
 
  Hot Rocks
Hot Rocks
Nikkor 180 mm, Provia 100, 1/2 second. (Highlight created by shining a flashlight on a portion of the rocks.)
© Bob Cammarata
Nikon FM2 Manual E...
 
  Mystique
Mystique
Nikkor 180 mm, Provia 100, 1/15 second, natural light
© Bob Cammarata
Nikon FM2 Manual E...
 
 
Dan brought up an excellent point. This is the first mention I've seen in this Forum about the relationship between distance and shutter speed. The farther away the subject is, the the harder it will be to get a speed slow enough to veil.

Shooting small falls on tiny mountain creeks is a fun way to spend a summer day. (Be prepared to get wet though to get the best possible angle.)
The two attached examples are of waterfalls only a few feet high.


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7/14/2005 11:41:23 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Beautiful photos Bob.

Dan, glad to hear you are a teacher. My mom was too - journalism. It's nice to have a photography teacher on the site. BTW, even if you were the musician I would still want to talk photography. My daughter is the singer in the family, not me. I sound like a broken foghorn. I do like to listen to good music though, especially my daughter.


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7/15/2005 10:06:13 AM

 
Mary J. Coker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/31/2003
  With all the information everyone has sent I am excited to go into the White Mountains of Arizona and get some great shots next week! Thanks again for all your advice and help
Mar


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7/15/2005 8:44:23 PM

 
Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
  Hi Mary,

It's great that you have received loads of excellent pro level info.

I think your FujiFinePix S5000's iso level is 200 and up. With the lowest setting of 200, unless the lighting condition is right, it may be hard to obtain the effect you desire although it is not impossible. Many photographers, especially pro level, they will wait and wait (some time many hours) for the shooting condition, lighting level and other conditions (people/distractions, etc), to become just right.
You did not say your Canon Rebel is a film or a digital, but if it is a Rebel 2000 film camera, do take a slow film. I mentioned Velvia, a fuji slide film, but it is not a type of film you can normally find at retail stores, and cost is a little more than normal films. (the one I used was a gift from a friend who really wanted me to become more serious about shooting landscape images..., that was the first and the last time I used one of these.) But if you can obtain one at a local specialty camera store or on internet stores, do take some of these and experiment.

Wishing you a great and fun trip and outing!


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7/16/2005 8:34:03 AM

 
Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
  ps:
It's so great to get pro level advice and info... but do you have an ND filter or a set of ND filters???
If you don't, then which one do you get if you are willing to invest in one, .6 perhaps... I think one of those Tiffen filters would be about $30 (i haven't checked B&H but hope to be cheaper there...)

The fun part of the Betterphoto contest is that, they do not differentiate the level of photographic skills by the participants and some of us are trying to win the contest with the equipment and accessary I have, not all that great... there are many pro and semi-pro photographers here and it's awfully hard to beat them..., they have the best equipment and studio accessaries... their advice is good but they may not know what we have and what we do not have, equipment and accessary-wise.

If we do not have a set of ND filters, should we go ahead and get one??? How about Graduated ND?
If you are going to plan on doing lots of serious outdoor photography, especially landscappe photogrphy, then you should... because soon or later you will have to have them...


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7/16/2005 1:41:20 PM

 
Mary J. Coker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/31/2003
  Thanks Nobi! I do have a set of ND filters. I am not real experienced yet, but the only way to get that way is practice!
Again thanks to all for the kind help.
Mar


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7/16/2005 5:33:06 PM

 
Maria Melnyk   One does not need "the best equipment" and fancy accessories to produce superb photographs. You can do that even with those less-expensive cameras, like a Pentax K-1000, or the least-expensive manual one made by Vivitar - about $150 for camera and lens, without any additional accessories. The photographer is the one that makes the photo look terrific, not the equipment.
Depending on how bright the sun is and how much of a veiling effect you want, you might be able to get your photograph without using an ND filter. On a totally bright day using 50-speed film at f/22, your shutter speed will be 1/30 or 1/15, and that's enough to get a slight veiling effect (see Bob's nice shot above at 1/15.) If it's overcast, your shutter speed will slow down by 2-3 stops to 1/4 or even 1/2 second. All this without an ND filter. Now, of course, having that filter will make this easier, especially if you use 100-speed film and the day is sunny. I bought mine brand new at a camera show for $4.00, and they're not expensive at B&H either.
That graduated ND filter is used when the sky is several stops brighter than the landscape, not usually necessary when the sun is behind you and illuminates your entire landscape, but very helpful otherwise. (Such as when you have a valley in the shade under a bright sky.) Use a soft ND when photographing hills and mountains, and a hard ND when the land is flat. A 2-stop graduated ND filter is probably the most useful overall, but I use a 3-stop half the time as well. And the Cokin square ones are preferred to the round screw-ons because you can move it up or down in the holder as needed.
So, if you plan on photographing a lot of water, go ahead and get a ND filter. You don't need "a set"; I can't think of a good reason to get more than one. Get either the .6 which is a 2-stop, or the .9 which cuts your light by 3 stops. Also, a ND filter is useful if you do portraits outdoors and you need a large aperture to throw your background out of focus, especially if you use fill flash and your metered shutter speed is higher than your camera's max sync speed. That's what I use mine for.
If you shoot landscapes & mountains, get a grad ND filter also (or several at different strengths).


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7/16/2005 11:18:33 PM

 
Joseph Finn
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/31/2004
  Depending on the effect you want, the speed of the water is also something that needs to be taken into account. A raging river does not need as much exposure time as a trickling stream. If the water is moving fast, too long of an exposure will make it look more like smoke than water. But like I said its all in the effect you are looking for. As always a little practice goes a long way. Have fun


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7/17/2005 10:42:43 AM

 
Austin Brodfuhrer  
 
 
long shutter speed and keep the camera as stationary as possible. its hard to get to desired effect in really bright settings without some type of filter, so try and shoot your waterfalls when its not increadibly bright. Also - if you try a long shutter speed on falls with alot of water volume, youll just end up with a real washed out effect. sometimes the "milky" effect just isnt the way to go ;-).

either way, experiment and have fun.

-austin


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7/17/2005 11:56:00 AM

 
Austin Brodfuhrer  
 
  caress
caress
© Austin Brodfuhrer
Canon PowerShot A8...
 
 
© Austin Brodfuhrer
 
 
example-


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7/17/2005 11:57:36 AM

 
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