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General photography questions and answers: Discuss Waterfalls...Can somebody tell me what the best shutter speeds are for taking waterfalls in both dim light and bright light. ...
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Old 03-10-2007, 09:20   #1 (permalink)
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Waterfalls

Can somebody tell me what the best shutter speeds are for taking waterfalls in both dim light and bright light. Ive tried taking a few but they always seem to come out either over exposed of the not the right effect i was after.

Im looking to create that water moving feel, but just cant seem to get it right. My camera will let me go from 15 seconds to 1000/second shutter and f/2.8 - 8
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:11   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Waterfalls

Not so much the dim/bright light that affects things, it's the differential - hence better to take pics on an overcast day as camera can handle the range of light better. I always expose to the brightest area (well, actually, I use exposure compensation - but the same thing!)

Give me a few minutes and I'll upload some examples of different shutter speeds
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:26   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Waterfalls

here are a couple of my pics with their exif data -



Exposure: 1.6 sec (8/5)
Aperture: f/5.6
Focal Length: 38.3 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0/100 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire



Exposure: 0.2 sec (1/5)
Aperture: f/8
Focal Length: 24.6 mm
ISO Speed: 100
Exposure Bias: 0/100 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

I used a rock as a tripod too...!
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:33   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Waterfalls

Examples at a range of shutter speeds/apertures. And yes, the sensor needed a clean!
All taken with Sigma SD10 and Sigma 105mm macro

1/200, f2.8
Anything faster will tend to freeze the motion. Shallow DOF and focus on middle of stream, so combination movement and OOF




1/25, f8
More movement and more DOF




1/6, f16
Movement beginning to go to a blur, water in focus




1.1sec, f32
Silky, milky effect. I'd argue that there's poor seperation/detail in the water, so this is too slow a shutter for this comp - water just becomes an indistinct blurry mess




1 sec, f45
This comp has better seperation of the stream into distinct 'streams' or 'fingers' and I'd argue that lends itself better to the silky look
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Old 03-10-2007, 10:57   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Waterfalls

As Mark has said and demonstrated the most important thing is to decide how much 'movement' you want to portray in the scene and that is decided by both the speed of the water itself and the shutter speed used. The aperture has no effect at all on slowing/speeding up the results but does effect the depth of field and whether the final shot is under or over exposed. This is the main problem with moving water shots as you need to control the shutter speed and aperture to get the movement and the depth of field you want but since both the aperture and shutter speed need to be set to specific things (for water movement pictures) the light levels are virtually being ignored and can lead to over or under exposed shots.

That's why most photographers prefer to shoot this type of shots in dim/low light to allow longer shutter speeds and wider apertures, or alternatively they will use ND (Neutral density) filters to block some of the light getting to the sensor and thus allow for longer exposures in bright light at suitable apertures.

As an example..the below shot was shot at iso100, f16, 20secs on a bright day using a 2 stop neutral density filter to hold back the light.

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Old 03-10-2007, 11:13   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Waterfalls

As Marks shots demonstrate, to get the kind of blurred creamy effect then you need to limit the amount of light getting to the sensor, there are a number of ways to do this:

1. Use a smaller aperture, on bright days your minimum aperture of f8 could be a limitation

2. Go when it's not so bright, earlier or later, cloudy days, under trees etc.

3. Put something in front of the lens to reduce the light getting through, on an SLR there are various Neutral Density filters to achieve this. Don't if there's anything available for your camera or how hard it would be to fashion something. Don't need to worry too much about the colour being completely neutral as you can always adjust the white balance.

4. Make the sensor less sensitive to light by lowering the ISO setting, not all cameras allow this.

cheers

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Old 03-10-2007, 11:24   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Waterfalls

Quote:
Originally Posted by danpen View Post
3. Put something in front of the lens to reduce the light getting through, on an SLR there are various Neutral Density filters to achieve this.
I often use a polariser to cut down on light (does so by 2 stops) - the only filter I have! I didn't use anything in the above shots
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Old 03-10-2007, 13:01   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Waterfalls

mr cat great info thanks
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Old 03-10-2007, 13:19   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Waterfalls

You can never have enough help when you lack experience. I really only have some night time bay shots where the water will flatten out or have a lower ripple with reflection from timed exposures. I have alot of water shots with fast water, none with an effect added, just didn't know how. 3 Day's and I'm on a plane and will take my time this trip and enjoy the water no matter where it is. This is a good thread with very good tips to help anybody get started, thank you to everyone for what is a good send off..
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Old 03-10-2007, 13:28   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Waterfalls

Thanks for the info guys, and going to the trouble of posting examples. I will hopefully post some shots when i get back from Scotland week after next. Hopefully they will come out good. The reason i wanted the advice is because a few months ago i went to a waterfall called Janets foss in North Yorkshire and there was some sort of Jewish blessing in the water. Unfortunately all the pictures came out rubbish which was an opportunity missed! :o(
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Old 03-10-2007, 14:20   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Waterfalls

yeah, you could possible do some testing before hand..? - are you not close to any water..?

you could evben try a running tap or something!!
at least when you get there you'll have some ideas to think about...
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Old 03-10-2007, 14:57   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Waterfalls

Quote:
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... a few months ago i went to a waterfall called Janets foss in North Yorkshire and there was some sort of Jewish blessing in the water.
It's OT, but you've just reminded me of a classic Curb Your Enthusiasm episode where Larry ends up ruining a baptism.
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