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Getting Rid of Ghastly "Milky Water"


User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
13 Dec 2011 10:38AM
Just passing on a tip from a judge at a recent camera club competition.

He had, rightly, marked down several images of waterfalls, seashores, etc., because they suffered from the ghastly "milky water" syndrome caused by using too low a slow shutter speed.

He suggested that it was very difficult to get exactly the right shutter speed to give an impression of movement without turning the water to milk. Indeed, as many images might contain water moving at different speeds, finding a single shutter speed that gave the optimum result for the entire image might be impossible.

His suggestion for removing the scourge of milky water in such images was to do a simple clone in Photoshop. He recommended using the clone stamp at 30% opacity and taking some "sparkle" from one part of the waterfall or surf and applying it to any areas that had turned milky. He said that the same technique could be used to add detail to clouds that contained none - use a 30% clone of detail from other clouds in the image.

I Have tried both suggestions and they do seem to work rather nicely.

Passed on FWIW.

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conrad 10 10.9k 116
13 Dec 2011 10:42AM
Not everyone considers milky water something that should be avoided, or a problem that should be corrected. It's a matter of personal taste. I used to really like it, but recently I've tried to show more movement than milkiness. But I may not always have that preference.

I suppose the method you mention, could work.

But why not simply try different shutter speeds on location? That's bound to be less work than 'fixing' the image in Photoshop later on.
Jestertheclown 6 6.6k 242 England
13 Dec 2011 10:46AM
Sounds like agood idea LF.

Personally, I don't shoot or particularly like milky water but I do use clouds quite a bit.
macroman 11 15.3k England
13 Dec 2011 10:49AM
Depends how 'milky' it is.
I don't mind a slight bit of of milkyness, (low fat or skimmed), but full double cream is way over the top! Grin
maroondah 11 239 1 Australia
13 Dec 2011 10:53AM
The MILKY water No MILKY water debate is a bit redundant. Its very much personal taste. As for the judge marking down those images with milky water I don't think I would be asking him back again. He is there to judge. He can use his personal taste in making that judgement but judges do not dictate what type/style of images photographers take. We like what we like and I don't think that's going to change any time soon. I personally like water images of both types. If its a good image that's what matters.

Its good to learn new ways of doing things so what the judge suggested about Photoshop has more validity than simply "marking down".

Camera clubs, Happy Days !!!!!!!

Regards
Gerry
User_Removed 5 4.6k 1 Scotland
13 Dec 2011 10:55AM

Quote:

But why not simply try different shutter speeds on location? That's bound to be less work than 'fixing' the image in Photoshop later on.



Because, as the judge said, (and I agree), the same shutter speed may not be correct for all sections of a waterfall. Maybe "correct" is the wrong term as there are no absolutes in this game - "optimum" might be better. Very often the water flowing through a narrow section of the falls will be moving faster than the water passing over a wider section. So a single shutter speed might provide sparkle in one part but milk in another.
cameracat 11 8.6k 61 Norfolk Island
13 Dec 2011 12:22PM
Intention and personal taste where this illusion is concerned......Smile

If its the intention, Fine and good.....Grin

The taste part is just that, One man/womans meat can easily be anothers poison....Sad

That said, Any inclusion of this should really be done at the time the frame was actually shot, Messing your pixels about in post processing, Makes a mockery of the whole thing.....Sad

Hell! You could just take a straight shot, Rush home and play around in Photoshop ( or whatever ), Thus saving considerable amounts of time & cash or frozen assets....Smile

Suggesting that you should Photoshop the heck out of everything, Is the road to ruin in photography as a whole.....!!!!!!!!

Just My Take Though.....Wink
sut68 11 2.0k 76 England
13 Dec 2011 12:28PM

Quote:That said, Any inclusion of this should really be done at the time the frame was actually shot, Messing your pixels about in post processing, Makes a mockery of the whole thing.....

Absobloodylutely!!!
ade_mcfade e2
10 15.1k 216 England
13 Dec 2011 12:35PM
I have milk in my tea AND my coffee... and don't mind it in my photos either
KenTaylor e2
10 3.0k 2 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2011 12:45PM
Why do so many judges have Photoshop stamped on their forehead and wear blinkers Grin
Coleslaw e2
9 13.4k 28 Wales
13 Dec 2011 1:09PM

Quote:He had, rightly, marked down several images of waterfalls, seashores, etc., because they suffered from the ghastly "milky water" syndrome caused by using too low a slow shutter speed.


Was he right though?
As said, it is personal taste. Just because he doesn't like milky water does not mean others shouldn't do it.
MeanGreeny 9 3.7k England
13 Dec 2011 1:17PM
Sounds like he was blowing his own trumpet to show how 'good' his Photoshop skills were.

Keeping movement in water with a little added creaminess isn't hard. Starting points are:

1/4 second maxish for slow moving water

1/16-1/8 second maxish for fast moving water.

Vary up or down slightly according to taste. Wash, rinse, repeat as necessary
digicammad 11 22.0k 37 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2011 1:21PM
Given that the human eye sees things as continuous movement there really isn't any 'correct' shutter speed, though you could argue that the most correct is the equivalent of a frame rate at which we stop seeing flicker. I think I read somewhere that's about 50ffs, but I may be wrong.

Personally, I believe the correct shutter speed is the one which gives the effect the photographer was trying to capture.
lobsterboy e2
11 14.2k 13 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2011 1:38PM

Quote:Was he right though?


Not if he's a CC judge - the main qualification is to have an instinctive knack for being wrong about everything Wink

(or am I getting that confused with being married)
adrian_w e2
7 3.4k 4 Scotland
13 Dec 2011 2:11PM
It's both Chris, that's why most CC judges are married.

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