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Photography Question 
Wayne Turk
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/5/2005
 

Water in Motion ?


I have read somewhere, to take photo's of water in motion, like a stream or waterfall one should use a slow shutter speed setting. Can anyone tell me how slow as a starting point. 1/60, 1/30, etc. or much slower then that. I want to photograph some small waterfalls in our area.

Thank You
Wayne


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3/26/2006 5:13:14 AM

 
Michelle Ross
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/1/2004
 
 
 
My son was just at a 4-H event and took this image trying to capture the motion . . . he used ISO 200 f4.5 and 1/4 sec. He of course also used a tripod.


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3/26/2006 5:59:35 AM

 
Ken Raymond
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/31/2006
  If you want the water to have a soft blurred effect then yes you will want to use a slow shutter speed. Depending on how fast the water is moving I like to use between one and two seconds or sometines even longer, make sure you use a tripod, a cable release or timer and possibly a neutral density filter to block some light so you can achieve the slower shutter speeds.


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3/26/2006 6:00:05 AM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Michelle:

Ken is right. It all really depens on how fast the water is moving and how much of a blurred effect you are looking for.
Here are some pointers.
Select the lowest ISO setting on the camera, assuming you are shooting digital.
Use a sturdy tripod and a cable or remote shutter release. If you don't have one then alternately you can use the cameras self-timer. It's for more than just self portraits. Typically, the ten second delay is enough time for any camera movement to subside before the shutter opens. Remember, you only want the water to blur not the entire scene.
As Ken suggested also, particularly on bright days, you may not achieve a slow enough shutter speed. Using a neutral density filter will block the light entering the camera, allowing you to stop down and use a longer exposure to get the effect you want. ND filters come in varying degrees of density. Typically a three or four stop filter should do the trick for you. In lieu of that, you could use a Polarizing filter which is good for 1 1/2 maybe 2 stops.
Set your camera to shutter prioity mode and then begin taking shoots starting at 1/8 sec. and then selecting the next slowest speed for each successive shot until you've reached the minimum aperature of your lens and can no longer shoot without overexposing.
Process those images and select the ones that give you the results you seek so in the future you will have a starting point for what shutter speed to use.
Best of luck.
Bob


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3/26/2006 7:21:11 AM

 
Nobu Nagase
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2003
 
 
 
Wayne,
It usually has to be slower than 1/60 and 1/30 you mentioned.
Just last week, I shot this image at a not so pretty local creek in Central Texas. (Creeks and streams in this area just do not have the lush green foliage and moss covered creek bed.)
It was in the mid morning and the sun was already out... but fortunately clouds were floating here and there.
I waited until the sun went behind the cloud so that the shooting condition became more desirable.

For this shot, ISO 100, F32, 1/3sec, and a tripod mount: to get this result. Since I did not have an ND filter, I used a polarizer.


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3/26/2006 8:27:09 AM

 
Wayne Turk
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/5/2005
  Thanks so much for the feed back. I shot with a Nikon F5, and have been using Fuji Provia 100F film. I use my Gitzo 1348 tripod but have been shoting in aperture mode instead of shutter mode, and I just been closing the aperture down each time. Thanks so much for all your feed back, time to get outside and take some pictures.

Wayne


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3/26/2006 9:58:21 AM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Wayne,
I shoot Provia 100F almost exclusively and can offer the following advice:

*1/15 second or longer will veil vertical falls nicely. On a cloudy day...and at close range, you can even get to 1 second or more at ASA 100 without any filters to create cotton-like effects.

*When metering, do it manually.
Meter the brightest (frothiest) part of the rapids and set your exposure to over-expose that portion of the scene by 1/2 stop.
On an overcast day the exposure will be right on.

*When composing, try to include a darker element in the foreground or background to contrast the rapids. Lighter elements within the scene will become blended with the water and hard to discern when the water veils.

*If the weather is bright and sunny, find some shade.
Keep in mind though that shaded sunlight is "cold" and needs to be warmed up a bit.
An 81-A or 81-B warming filter will help to balance your slide film to shaded sunlight. (The brighter the sun is, the bluer your shaded falls will appear without filtration.)

*Also when shooting in shaded bright sunlight, try to avoid including any parts of the falls or rapids in the frame which are exposed to the harsh sun...especially if you are using long shutter speeds to show motion.
Crop these bright areas out at the scene or they will over-expose and wash out.

Bob


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3/26/2006 1:45:36 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
 
 
 
I just thought I'd throw in my two cent's worth (which leaves me with a penny).

This one was shot on ISO 50 Konica at one second.


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3/26/2006 2:29:40 PM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
 
 
 
Hey Mark:

I through in my two cents worth and still owe one.
Here's a shot I took this afternoon. Didn't have ND or polarizer, so I was counting on the crappy overcast New York sky to help me out.
Shot at ISO 100, 1/4 sec @ f32.00.
Removed the color, or what little there was, in elements 2.0,

Bob


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3/26/2006 4:10:47 PM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
 
 
 
Okay! Let me try that again now that I am officially signed in. Oops!


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3/26/2006 4:11:53 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  I can only offer a penny's worth so I'll say, COOL SHOT.


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3/26/2006 6:07:05 PM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Thanks Mark:

Not exactly what I was hoping for. There are much grander falls in the park, unfortunately the trails to them were still closed off due to hazardous conditions from the winter. Perhaps in another month or so they should have things cleared out and the trails open again.
I'm putting in for a premium gallery and once I get that set up I'll upload some shots I took at Letchworth State park. They have some interesting falls there and faily big too!


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3/27/2006 2:33:06 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Okay, you did a great job, Bob. Now, about the waterfall in my shot.

I shot that waterfall by mounting the camera on a monopod and holding it about two inches above the water.The lense was a 28-70mm zoom set to 28mm. The entire cascade was about 18 inches high and about three feet wide. I used perspective distortion to make it look bigger. Let me log in and I'll download the first pic I took and you can tell just how big it is from the cars about 100 feet away.


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3/27/2006 3:32:06 PM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Thanks for the compliment Mark.
Didn't really think of it as being anything special. Just sort of set the camera up, adjusted for as long a shutter speed as light and lens would allow and made the shot.
We were surprised at how low the water level was though. Normally much higher than that, especially this time of year. But then again, we really didn't get the snow fall that we normally do. It snowed a lot, just never really accumilated.
So, were you standing in the water when you made your shot? I'm trying to picture in my mind how you had the camera mounted on a monopod, and yet were able to be only two inches above the water? Must be one of those table top monopods! Tee! Hee!

Bob


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3/27/2006 4:05:50 PM

 
Craig m. Zacarelli
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/3/2005
  also, using a lens with Anti Shake is usefull but the ND filter (and polorizer) will make any colors pop too, as well as stop down any sunlight. I have shot some water at 1/8 and some at 1-2 seconds. Just use a tripod.. you will need it! I need to find some real waterfalls to shoot!
Craig-


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3/27/2006 4:12:54 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
 
 
 
The creek ran across the end of our driveway. The water hardly came over the tops ov my boots. I taped (duct tape, best tool ever made) the monopod to an old focal tripod that I found at a garage sale that you can change the angle of the center post on. No, I didn't have to stand in the water, but it wasn't deep enough to go over the tops of my boots, anyway. Here's the shot I was talking about.

Have fun and keep shooting,
Mark H.


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3/27/2006 4:24:28 PM

 
Bob Chance
BetterPhoto Member Since: 2/19/2006
  Wow! That is quite a difference.
So I take it that this is just a stream, possibly only exhibiting the torrent of water caused by heavy rainfall or snow melt?
When I lived in Pa, we had a stream running through our property and I got some nice shots of that. It did have some rocks that the water cascaded over, but I wouldn't call it a waterfall.
Bob


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3/27/2006 4:41:36 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  You got it.


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3/27/2006 5:00:13 PM

 
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