Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Making Silky Water Images

I'm asked how I get silky looking water. This treatment is done quite often and some might say it is overdone but I just love the effect. All it takes is a tripod and a means to make long exposures. I've got something for you to try. Before looking at the image below watch the video first.

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Click on the image above and take a look at the 30 second video of Hollow Rock Creek. Watch how the leaves move and rotate, how the bubbles move and rotate, the way the water falls and the reflections on the water how they dance around. The way we see this scene is quite different than how our camera sees when we have the camera expose the image for a long time.

Click on the image above and see how the camera sees the same scene after a 30 second exposure. Using a special filter I'm able to cut enough light from hitting the sensor so I can make this very long daytime exposure. Slowly the movements of the water and leaves and bubbles and reflections expose on the sensor. Nothing is sharp unless it has no movement, like the rocks, and what is moving smooths out into silky reflections, lines and movements. Makes for a neat image.

If you have a tripod and a camera that lets you make long exposures try this out yourself. You'll want an overcast day or late in the afternoon when the water you're shooting is in the shade. And play around with the length of the exposure. Often times just a few seconds will do the trick when a 10 second exposure would over do it.


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