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IN THE FIELD: Water In Motion

October 14, 2011 27 comments

Earlier this week I was back out in the field and stopped at an area I hadn’t visited in awhile. It is one of the many places where I love to spend some time and to photograph the surroundings. The area is heavily wooded and the Autumn colors were starting to appear. The skies were clear and the temperature was around 75 degrees. Perfect for being in the woods with camera backpack and tripod.

My intent was to photograph the water in the creek swirling and tumbling over the granite boulders. Numerous rocks were left behind from ancient glacier activity and were huge. Some of them were the size of a small car

I clambered over the exposed tree roots and rocks and made my way to the creeks edge. A giant boulder made for easy climbing and an ideal place to rest. I sat there and immersed myself in the surroundings. It was stimulating to just sit and watch and listen to the water roar past me.

I was mesmerized by the sights and sounds, then finally remembered why I was there. Now I had to find the right light, the right scene and a safe place to set up the tripod. This would be a good test of my balance and nerves. Wet rocks, fallen leaves and camera gear in hand can be treacherous.

I found a few settings that would lend themselves to interesting compositions. I set up the tripod, mounted the camera and the zoom lens and then attached the cable release. Because it was a bright day and the water was mostly in sunlight, I used a polarizing filter to cut down the amount of light entering the lens and to eliminate glare. The camera settings used were an ISO of 100, shutter speeds of 1/20th of a second and slower, and small apertures. This combination of settings tends to make the water appear silky. I also shot a number of frames with faster shutter speeds and wider apertures to freeze the movement of the water.

Showing the motion of water as super silky is a popular style of photography these days. I tend not to make the water look too etherial, but rather let the viewer realize that they are looking at water. That is what is special about photography. You can make the water look any way you want. Whatever way you decide, that is the right way for you.

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