Water Photography Tips And Advice
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5 Ways To Photograph Water - You don't have to venture very far to find some water to photograph.
Gear Suggestions:What gear you pack depends on which watery subject you're off to photograph. For water droplets you'll need a macro lens but head off to a long, flowing stream and your macro lens will soon be made redundant. A polarising and ND filter's handy for reducing the amount of light that reaches your camera's sensor and always pack your tripod, particularly if you're heading out into the landscape to turn a fast-flowing river into a soft flowing stream. Take a look at Manfrotto's best-selling professional 190 and 055 range of tripods. You could also win a 290 Series model by entering our exclusive competition.
Water DropletsIf you don't have the time to find a river or stream, wait for it to rain and use a macro lens to capture raindrops on a window at home. The upside down projection of the world outside always make interesting images or wait until the rain stops falling and head outside, into the garden, to photograph the drops of rain that can be found on plants. Focus on the end of a leaf, background blurred, so when the droplet falls you're ready to capture it, pin-sharp. Just remember to use a tripod as the slightest shift in camera position can drastically change the composition and it will reduce the risk of camera shake too.
Waterfalls And RiversIf you want to have a go at blurring waterfalls or the movement of a river head out on an overcast day it's easier to get the slower shutter speeds you need to make this technique work. Make sure you have your tripod with you when you leave the house and a remote cable release (if you have one) to stop shake ruining your shot and take care when you're metering as your camera can be fooled into thinking the scene's too bright so all your shots could come out underexposed. Bracket a stop over and under or fit an ND filter to stop as much light entering the camera.
There is no right or wrong shutter speed to use when photographing waterfalls as this depends on how far you are from your subject, how much blur you want, the amount of water you're photographing and the speed at which it's flowing. But if you want a starting point, a speed of 1/15sec is a good place to begin. If you're at the coast, this same technique can be used to photograph waves. Once you have your smooth, flowing water shots, set a faster shutter speed, 1/250sec or higher, and make your watery scene seem frozen in time.
For rivers, get down low with your wide angle lens to demonstrate how the river narrows to the vanishing point or look for higher ground and show it meandering through the scene.
ReflectionsLakes and reservoirs provide plenty of potential for photographing reflections. A sunny day by a calm lake will give you an almost mirror like image of your surrounding landscape but don't forget to try and shoot somewhere there's foreground detail to prevent the scene looking boring. If you're not near a lake, a puddle or wet pavement will work just as well.
PeopleDon't forget that water's a haven for people, particularly in summer, so it's a great place to shoot some candids. People playing in fountains, messing in the sea or just lazing by a lake are just some of the many shots worth a try. Just remember if you're not photographing your family and want to get up close ask their permission first – you don't want to end up pushed in the lake after all!
Other ideas to try:
- Rain - water drops on fur or hitting a pond look great.
- Frozen - Photograph ice melting with or without objects inside it.
- Taps - Turn your kitchen sink taps on and snap small drops of water or a gushing flow.
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