Water blur

A question I'm often asked is, "how did you get the water to do that?" They are, of course, referring to the soft blur of the water as illustrated in the photo above. This is a beautiful effect that shows off the movement of the water.

The simple answer to this question is to slow down the speed of the shutter, but this can lead to blurry photos and images that are way too bright if done incorrectly.

Here are some tips to help you use this technique in your own photos:

1. Use a slow shutter speed.

In order to blur the movement of the water, you'll want to use a much slower shutter speed. You'll want to experiment with different speeds to get the effect you want, but I would recommend a speed of 1/2 second or slower. The picture above was shot with an aperture of f16, and shutter speed of one second.

2. Use a tripod! 

Tripods are very useful in landscape photography. I would suggest a sturdy tripod to prevent camera shake. In order to keep the rest of the photo sharp a tripod is essential when using slow shutter speeds. 

3. Shoot on an overcast day or in a shady spot.

By shooting water that is shaded or at a time when the sun is behind the clouds it makes it easier to get a slow shutter speed. If the sun hits the water, it may wash out or create glare in the photo. See tip #4 for another option to get slower shutter speeds.

4. Use a neutral density filter.

I won't get into the types of filters here, but another option to reduce the amount of light coming into the camera is to use a neutral density filter on your lens. A neutral density filters are like sunglasses for your camera, and some are darker than others. By reducing the amount of light going into the camera you can leave the shutter open longer to get the effect you want. Another nice feature is that they do not affect the color of the image, which is why they are considered "neutral".


If you follow these simple tips, you'll be shooting waterfalls like a pro in no time! Let me know what you think in the comments below. Also let me know of any topics you would like to see discussed in future blog posts.

-Brian 

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