advice on shooting moving water

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    Since it’s summer and we’re desperate for anything to keep cool, I find myself shooting around moving water quite a bit. I’ve fooled around with the camera quite a bit and seem to be getting slightly better pictures. Does anyone have tips, advice, etc.?

    I have a few shots that I consider to be decent:


    I really like the 2nd and third shot. Water shots depend on what you’re going for. If you want that ‘Arizona Highways’/’Sunset Magazine’ milky look, set the exposure to 1/15th second or greater and adjust the f-stop/ISO accordingly. For shots with moving people, you’re doing about what you need to. I’m hardly an expert; my water shots don’t include people, and usually go for the milky-look effect. You can do that with people, if they are pretty motionless.


    Yeah, it’s all about the shutter speed, basically.

    With a speed in the hundredths of seconds, you freeze most of the motion. This is 1/100:

    At about 1/30, it looks fairly natural:

    And as you get below 1/10 or so, it becomes much smoother (this is 1/6):

    And as you get into multi-second exposures, you can start to lose all sense of movement, and it can look almost like glass, or mist if there’s more white foam etc. (I think this was 8 sec):


    For really slow shutter speeds, use an ND filter or two. Say one ND4 and one ND8. Best to focus before putting on the filters (then switch camera to manual focus so it doesn’t refocus when you take meter/take the shot. Obviously, you will need a tripod.


    I shot this set a while back to demonstrate to a friend of mine the effect of using slow shutter speeds. EXIF data is available for each image.

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