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How to get an effect when taking pictures of fast running water

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mikesmith e2 Member 1045 forum postsmikesmith vcard United Kingdom35 Constructive Critique Points
25 Aug 2004 - 4:34 PM

Please help...I am fairly inexperienced but keen. i have been enamoured by some of the shots lately on the gallery of streams/fast running rivers where the water appears almost like a cloud. how do i achieve that effect? I have two camers to use...FinepixF402 or canon 300D. Ireally would appreciate your comments and guidance so i can go out there and try for myself. i'll then post and await eagerly, all your comments.



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25 Aug 2004 - 4:34 PM

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Carabosse e2 Member 1139544 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
25 Aug 2004 - 4:45 PM

Slow shutter speed normally gives the flowing effect. Can you point to any examples in the gallery that have caught your eye?

geoffash26  102506 forum posts United Kingdom
25 Aug 2004 - 4:46 PM

The cloud as you call it is achieved with a slow shutter speed, maybe 15 or 30 dependind on lighting conditions and speed of water. You obviously need a tripod But the best is to go and test with different shutter speeds the slower the shutter the more blur you'll get on moving objects.
Hope this helps

Miles Herbert
25 Aug 2004 - 4:51 PM

As low an ASA as possible, a small aperture, and as long a shutterspeed as possible. Basically the idea is make the shutterspeed as long as possible, several seconds is good! Using Nd Filters and polarisers also help to cut down on light entering the lens and lengthens the exposure time.

You will need a good tripod or support for the camera, and recommend using a remote release, or timer to trip the shutter.

mikesmith e2 Member 1045 forum postsmikesmith vcard United Kingdom35 Constructive Critique Points
25 Aug 2004 - 5:10 PM

Carabosse, The River Tamar on page 4 of todays gallery is a typical example of what i want ot experiment with.

mikesmith e2 Member 1045 forum postsmikesmith vcard United Kingdom35 Constructive Critique Points
25 Aug 2004 - 5:13 PM

thanks for your replies, what a cracking site this is, only been a member for a couple of weeks and have already learnt more than in the last year. i will use the techniques you've mentioned so please look out for mine over the coming weeks and give me your opinions.


keith selmes
25 Aug 2004 - 5:55 PM

Or several minutes by monlight.
Should've exposed longer though.

nigelf22  10583 forum posts
25 Aug 2004 - 8:02 PM

........another way (don't know if this works with digital)is to use the "b" setting equivalent with a cable release (so the shutter is locked open) and expose for a couple of minutes, but every 10 secs or so place a lens cap over the lens (or a gloved hand) for a moment (or for however long you deem necessary - 10 secs+) if the water is moving (tidal) or a sea swell you can get a "misty" effect, but it's a case of experiment!

pj.morley  11947 forum posts
25 Aug 2004 - 8:41 PM

This pic was taken at 1/2 second with an aperture of around f/27 on a DSLR.

However, the water was very fast flowing so slower water would need a faster shutter speed. It wasn't a particularly bright day but even this needed to have an ISO of 100 and a polariser to reduce the shutter speed...

If you have a digital camera, it's worth experimenting with a running tap and a sink or bowl. Vary shutter speeds and the speed of the tap to get used to the effects you can achieve..

All the best in getting your pics

26 Aug 2004 - 4:51 AM

I call it turning water into milk Smile
Before I got my Neutral Density filters and just had a polariser [ about 1.5 stops ] I managed to get of a stream in the shade down to 1/12 second and had milk.

Don't see much point in going longer as once the water is milk it stays milk.

But the technique has been done so often it is getting rather hacknied long before now. What is interesting are sharp frozen images of water.

andytvcams  1210396 forum posts United Kingdom
26 Aug 2004 - 5:54 AM

And you can see some of the examples at

steve5452  10 United Kingdom
1 Sep 2004 - 12:33 PM

I have been trying to get this effect too, I have an Olympus C-765 UZ digital camera. I have managed to make the shutter speed longer upto 15 sec but I cant seem to change the aperture and I just get a white screen [:o( is it poss on this camera, can anybody help?



22 Apr 2009 - 11:56 AM

I have been having no end of problem with trying to achieve this affect, all I get is an overexposed white screen and much frustration. What am I doing wrong?

jeni  6 United Kingdom
22 Apr 2009 - 12:42 PM

there is too much light getting to the sensor, thus overexposing the image. use the smallest aperture you can (highest f/number) if you still cant get the effect you want, get some nd filters, these will block more light from getting in, so you can use a slower shutter speed.

Last Modified By jeni at 22 Apr 2009 - 12:42 PM
22 Apr 2009 - 1:46 PM

Thanks. I have the camera on manual , f4.5 and have been trying to vary the shutter speed, I manage to get a fairly decent image inside but as soon as I set up outside it all goes wrong. So basically it's too much light and I need som nd filters. Are there any other tips?

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