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Author Topic: Silky vs "real" water  (Read 3139 times)
walter.sk
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« on: May 02, 2010, 10:00:00 AM »
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I'm not a great advocate of the super-silky effect of slow shutter speeds on most moving water.  However, after playing with the effects myself I discovered that within a certain range you get not only the detail of the moving water, but en emphasis of the contours of the water over time.  Anyway, here is an image of the Great Falls on the Pasaic River in Paterson, NJ.  I've got other pictures of the whole falls, but this one seems to me to capture the essence of turbulence over a period of time.

[attachment=21781:KimmelW_...lkyFalls.jpg]
« Last Edit: May 02, 2010, 10:00:54 AM by walter.sk » Logged
PeterAit
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2010, 10:14:28 AM »
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Quote from: walter.sk
I'm not a great advocate of the super-silky effect of slow shutter speeds on most moving water.  However, after playing with the effects myself I discovered that within a certain range you get not only the detail of the moving water, but en emphasis of the contours of the water over time.  Anyway, here is an image of the Great Falls on the Pasaic River in Paterson, NJ.  I've got other pictures of the whole falls, but this one seems to me to capture the essence of turbulence over a period of time.

[attachment=21781:KimmelW_...lkyFalls.jpg]

This is very nice. I agree that the way a lot of people do running water, with very slow shutter speeds, is way overdone and not very interesting (think drug store calendars). Let's face it, rapids do not look like wads of cotton! You have caught both the motion and some detail, perfect.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2010, 11:16:30 AM »
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Quote from: PeterAit
This is very nice. I agree that the way a lot of people do running water, with very slow shutter speeds, is way overdone and not very interesting (think drug store calendars). Let's face it, rapids do not look like wads of cotton! You have caught both the motion and some detail, perfect.

I agree.
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ternst
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2010, 11:39:36 AM »
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I love long exposures of moving water, and in fact use ND filters even on dark days to get even longer exposures. Customers love it too!
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michael
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« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2010, 11:55:03 AM »
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Obviously this is an esthetic choice, but I've found that for "natural" looking flowing water an exposure of about 1/8th second works well.

Michael
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walter.sk
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« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2010, 01:21:32 PM »
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Quote from: michael
Obviously this is an esthetic choice, but I've found that for "natural" looking flowing water an exposure of about 1/8th second works well.

Michael
This was done at .4 seconds.  The idea was not for "natural" as much as to depict the continuous contour, or wave form of the moving water.  I generally like shorter shutter speeds, too.
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kikashi
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« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2010, 02:45:27 PM »
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Quote from: walter.sk
This was done at .4 seconds.  The idea was not for "natural" as much as to depict the continuous contour, or wave form of the moving water.  I generally like shorter shutter speeds, too.
It's excellent. The light glinting off the water is very appealing.

Jeremy
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #7 on: May 02, 2010, 02:50:02 PM »
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I just can't agree more... and like the image very much.
There is a sweet spot to capture just enough blur to suggest movement while still getting a texture close enough to what I actually see.


1/20s (le Borne dans le défilé des Etroits, Entremont, Haute Savoie, France)


1/8s  (la Dranse de Morzine, Haute Savoie, France)
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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2010, 03:57:50 PM »
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Quote from: ternst
I love long exposures of moving water, and in fact use ND filters even on dark days to get even longer exposures. Customers love it too!

If your customers love it then it's hard to argue against. But, what sells and what is good photography are, unfortunately, not always the same thing!
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Peter
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walter.sk
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« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2010, 04:28:40 PM »
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Quote from: NikoJorj
I just can't agree more... and like the image very much.
There is a sweet spot to capture just enough blur to suggest movement while still getting a texture close enough to what I actually see.
In this case I like the 1st image.  the varying degrees of smoothness add to the over all effect, I guess based on the different speed of water movement.  I can almost feel the foam coming up between my toes!
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2010, 04:52:05 PM »
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Well, I like the image, for several reasons.  As Michael said, it can be a matter of personal choice.  As someone who's invested more than a few minutes standing in chest waders measuring speed and flow of the water volume, it also depends on how fast the water's flowing (and sometimes wondering if you were to fall in if you'd ever get up again).  I remember reading an article on this a while back - took me a minute or two to find it:

Test Exposure Time Onsite

Mike.


« Last Edit: May 02, 2010, 04:58:28 PM by wolfnowl » Logged

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bill t.
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« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2010, 05:33:43 PM »
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The effect in NikoJorj's 1/20 and 1/8 second exposures correspond pretty well to what my brain sees in those situations.

I think exposure needs to be selected to balance the texture of the water against the texture of any static background showing.  In general supersmooth water will upstage any other part of a scene whereas textured water will play better when motionless parts of the scene are important.
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John R
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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2010, 10:00:36 AM »
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Yes, I agree, it is overdone, but in the end, a combination of aesthetic and practical choice. If one looks at the water in Walter's first image, the effect is appealing, and dependent on the light and speed of the water for that look. Not quite silky, but not muddy looking either. But now look at Jori's first image, the effect is, and though called more realistic, muddy looking and unappealing. Whether I choose one of the three looks, or something in between, depends on what I wish to convey, interpretive or natural. And let's not forget that low light levels do not allow for fast shutter speeds unless one uses high ISO's, which many are averse to using, preferring high quality images at low ISO's. Personally I just don't bother shooting if all I get is huge blobs or areas of white because the water is so clustered and fast. In that case, I just enjoy the scenery! And don't forget to experiment, its amazing what you sometimes get.

JMR
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Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2010, 01:55:59 PM »
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[attachment=21816:b_Sheley...gSeasons.jpg]

...and the flowing seasons bring the same joy of measuring how the paint will flow from the brush to canvas...I ended up in the usually avoided territory of 116.0 seconds in an attempt tp portray Spring flowing in over the old farm...
Pat
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walter.sk
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« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2010, 03:18:26 PM »
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Quote from: psheleyimages
[attachment=21816:b_Sheley...gSeasons.jpg]

...and the flowing seasons bring the same joy of measuring how the paint will flow from the brush to canvas...I ended up in the usually avoided territory of 116.0 seconds in an attempt tp portray Spring flowing in over the old farm...
Pat
I like the impressionistic effect.  In the fall, I'd like to take my variable ND filter with me on a windy day, and get sharp tree trunks with swatches of autumn color from the moving branches and leaves.
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Randy Carone
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« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2010, 03:48:23 PM »
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The Great Falls are a spectacular sight - just watch out for Tony Soprano on that foot bridge. Nice image.
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« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2010, 03:59:00 PM »
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I think it depens on many things.
Sometimes the real long exposures work wonderfully to create a "fog/mist" look for the water. This is usually good for large bodies of water without directional movement.
When you want to preserve the texture of moving water Michael was spot-on something around 1/8, 1/4, 1/15 usually works very well it blurs the water but keeps the texture.

And sometimes you can combine a longer and shorter exposure...



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Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #17 on: May 03, 2010, 05:28:39 PM »
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Quote from: Luis Argerich
I think it depens on many things.
Sometimes the real long exposures work wonderfully to create a "fog/mist" look for the water. This is usually good for large bodies of water without directional movement.
When you want to preserve the texture of moving water Michael was spot-on something around 1/8, 1/4, 1/15 usually works very well it blurs the water but keeps the texture.

And sometimes you can combine a longer and shorter exposure...
I really like that thought...I first tried to get comfortable with digital epressively toying with the "Orton Effect"  Found it allowed me to feel free to try to get back to "painting" w/light...hadn't thought of that...it's in my shooting notebook now...makes perfect sense [...combining longer and slower], because when my tripod is in a river there is no single velocity of the water depending on the sub surface structure...I really thank you for this thought... Pat
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Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #18 on: May 03, 2010, 05:32:52 PM »
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Quote from: walter.sk
I like the impressionistic effect.  In the fall, I'd like to take my variable ND filter with me on a windy day, and get sharp tree trunks with swatches of autumn color from the moving branches and leaves.

Don't wait for fall...get out there with some vari ND"s or ND's now....even an IR filter...to play with buildings against motion and study the effect of exposures (Keeping in mind the way noise can bite) so that you'll be armed and ready toplay when that fall color you seek arrives...Pat
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #19 on: May 05, 2010, 10:38:55 AM »
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One thing about white water is that it tends to be .... white, and thus does not often need fill light.

...but if you do want to slow down (but not freeze) fast water in shade in an otherwise well-lit landscape, the strobe feature of some battery flashes (e.g. Metz handle-grip) could be used to give the effect of a 1/8 to 1/125 exposure or whatever.

...but you may need a Pocket Wizard to get the signal to a remote flash.
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