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Silky water question

Discussion in 'Landscapes, Architecture, and Cityscapes' started by Lar, Apr 10, 2007.

  1. Lar


    Jun 12, 2005
    Washington State
    What settings would you suggest for the water to look silky? How does the light effect the exposure then?

    Thank you!!
  2. This scene was taken witha 6 second exposure and I used a polarizer to help prevent the water from blowing out. I did not have an ND filter at the time.
    I find that altering long exposures to make the degree of silkiness is something to be determined with every scene. Is the wind blowing vegitation that will be blurred? Is the light conducive to the length of exposure? It all depends. A lot of time 1./2 to 1 second does a great job.

  3. As Dave mentions, each scene will require different settings. You need to watch how the water falls onto rocks - this can get quite messy in a long exposure. For most water fall shots, people use Neutral Density (ND) filters to lessen the amount of light coming in to allow the aperture to stay open longer.
    Shooting waterfalls is fun!
  4. As the other's have said, ND filters normally are needed, unless the scene is in somewhat of shade and you want to use a very small aperture.

    I shot this one at 1/3 sec at f/29. I didn't use a ND filter. It also depends on how fast the water is moving. Obviously the slower the water is moving, the slower the shutter required. Since the water here was moving pretty fast, 1/3 sec did a good enough job :

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  5. PAReams


    Apr 4, 2007
    San Diego, CA

    It's nice that the bird in your image was still enough that the slower shutter speed didn't make it blur. I really like your image
  6. Doug


    Jan 17, 2006
    East TN
    In addition to the amount of light present, and what light you have to avoid blowing highlights on, two other variables with water are how fast the water is moving, and how much water is moving. The more water moving, and the faster, the less increase in shutter necessary to achieve desired effect. Other points of reflection come into play as well.

    There is no magical 1 setting or right thing to do. Like Dave said, it's what's right for the moment. Sometimes, there's more than 1 approach too. Neither is wrong, just the end result counts.

    Water is an important part of my gallery if you care to look.

    I've used primarily 2 ND filters, a Heliopan 77mm 2 step, and a Singh Ray Vari-Neutral Density filter.

    This one was 3 seconds with an aperture of F10.

    ND filter used was Singh Ray Vari-ND filter. So, there's no way to tell you exactly what stop filter I used.


    Lastly, just remember you can also have fun and generate cool effects by stopping the action FAST. 280mm, 1/500th sec, F3.5aperture-

  7. Thanks, the only reason I decided to use such a long shutter was because I noticed that the bird was standing virtually completely still. It's actually quite an old image :tongue:
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