Discussion in 'Landscape & Cityscape' started by oldmacman, Aug 6, 2010.
Post removed by oldmacman.
how do you do this with the water?i have some falls near me but i cant seem to get the water to blur and still see the background well.
The shots are really cool. I don't mean to nit-pick really, but the colors strike me as being a bit off.
This is accomplished by leaving the shutter open longer enough to blur the rushing water. Just before sunrise and as dusk sets in, this effect will usually happen all by itself if the ISO is kept low and the aperture small. I'm usually using f/22 for this effect, but the aperture could be larger depending on actual light levels on the actual shutter speeds you are getting.
Shots like this can be more difficult to get in broad daylight because the water may be reflecting so much light that you get fast exposures even at f/22 and ISO 100. In that case, you could call on one of two helpers: a polarizer or a neutral density filter.
Neutral density filters are made for achieving shots such as blurred water in high light conditions (of course, their use doesn't stop there). By darkening the frame uniformly, it will serve to lenghten shutter speed enough to blur water in even the sunniest conditions (provided you have a filter dark enough).
The polarizer isn't expressly made for slowing down exposures... polarizing film does incidentally produce a filter that robs something like 1-3 stops of exposure speed, though. In some cases, this will be all you need to blur the water and will provide the added benefit of reducing surface glare.
As far as the background underexposing, the polarizer may help to remove consider bright glare from the water and help to balance the exposure in general. You could even use a soft graduated ND filter to balance the shot out... but the usefulness of a Grad ND will depend largely on the orientation of shapes and dark spots in the composition.
Polarizers only limit the amount of sun reflection on the water. In most cases, it will not provide enough 'stopping down' to achieve the desired effect.
GND filters are great, but real ones are into the $250+ range.... most hobbyist / amateur shooters just can't afford that for ONE filter.
Your best bet is simply shoot on cloudy or foggy days. The problem with shooting early morning or evening is the scene itself is too dark. You have to wait for the sun to actually be up so you have enough light to capture the whole scene.... before sunrise = you're shooting in the dark. GND filters only add more dark to your image so, no... don't use a GND early in the morning.
I will have to correct JG Coleman : GND Filters are not made for water shots, they are made for sunsets / sunrises. GND's are for scenes with great bright areas and darker areas in the same scene. Use them on water shots and your whole scene becomes really dark, thus meaning you have to expose longer. You can't expose for water shots if the sun is hitting the water... period. Unless...
You can get a piece of welders glass - equal to about 14 stops. I've tried this and it works very well but make sure you shoot RAW because the welders glass throws a green cast across your image... remove it after.
If you shoot on cloudy or foggy days, all you need is a polarizer to minimzie the glare on the water. Don't go ISO 100 either, it'll noise out your dark areas big time; 100 ISO doesn't handle long exposures well. Shoot 200 ISO @ F 22 for about 10 seconds on a foggy day = you'll get the shot you want.
These shots were done right around sunset, but even then it was a challenge to get the light I wanted. I was in a deep gorge as you can see from the first image. To give an idea of scale, I am about 50' down from the top of the gorge. Using a GND wasn't possible because of the shape of the tree lines, but I was using a polarizer. In the first pic I didn't have it rotated quite right because I get multiple shades of blue.
To establish the longer exposure I set the aperture to F18 and the ISO to 50. I am aware of the potential for noise at 50, as VJS points out, but on the 5D mk II I don't get much noise. I even have NR turned off on the camera and did not do any NR in PP. Here's a screen grab from a 100% crop of one of the images. Even in the dark areas, where you would expect to see the most noise, it looks pretty good. I won't really know until I get some prints made, though.
Indeed, GNDs aren't made for water shots... like you say. But, in certain conditions, I creatively use GNDs all the time in unconventional ways. The reason I mentioned it, in particular, was that the OP mentioned that they have trouble exposing the trees. I encountered this problem myself when I first began shooting rivers... mostly because, depending on the lighting, a river surrounded by trees may be much darker than the sky. A grad ND has certainly proven useful in balancing the exposure in some of these situations, depending upon the nature of the composition.
NDs most certainly can be used to blur water in a daylight scenario... I did just that at DeSoto Falls in Alabama earlier this year. Though I rarely shoot rivers/waterfalls in broad daylight, in that particular scenario I had arrived around 2PM and didn't have any other opportunity... I had to make do. It did work... and at that, it worked with a $40 Tiffen ND. I'll agree that the result may not be perfectly neutral, but its real close... nothing that can't be sufficiently remedied in PP given that "true" NDs are way out of the price range of most shooters.
At any rate, I would indeed recommend lower light conditions for river/waterfall photography... but sometimes you just don't have those conditions. True, a broad daylight shot of a river using an ND filter may not create a portfolio-quality shot, but it can make a bit of lemonade out of a "lemon" day.
Also, provided that one is at f/22, sometimes a polarizer is the perfect solution for extending shutter speed that extra little bit. And the benefit of reducing glare is oftentimes welcome in water shots. They are, like you say, made for reducing glare... but they do reduce exposure by a couple stops in the process.... partly because the polarizing film is just plain darker, and also because the polarizer will remove many pure white spots of glare that might cause an underexposure.
pretty much what I stated, just in different words...
I'd be interested to see these middle of the day sun shining water shots. I have 3 Singh Ray GND's a 2 stop, a 6 stop and a 9 stop. None of them do anything with the sun hitting the water. I've stacked them, and you get a totally darkened out scene.
A cloudy or foggy day beats any filter 100% of the time. Follow that rule and you'll get amazing water shots everytime. Have a look on my Flickr... quite a few water shots, none shot with the GND's and none shot on a sunny day. I used a single polarizer to knock out the glare on the water.
great suggestions on how to take the photos just one thing though. the welder lens idea. if you look in a good welding shop the have the gold mirror ones. when you look through them it does not give you the green tint. i have a few from when i was welding and one day i will get to making my own pop on filter or something. they work great getting a photo of the sun.
Yeah... they weren't really keepers... they got the one-way trip to the recycle bin. You gotta understand, VJS, I'm not championing the use of NDs in broad daylight... I was merely mentoning that they can work to blur water in a clutch. For all the other reasons that broad daylight landscapes usually aren't advisable, the shots just weren't very good at all... but they did blur the water sufficiently. I really gain nothing by lying about it, you know?
I wasn't trying to call you out at all, my man . Just wanted to clarify to the original poster some stuff about water shots and GND filters. I always try to be helpful in my posts and never mean to be, well, mean lol.
I was at the Pelee National Park yesterday and remembered what you guys had been talking about. I thought I'd give it a try to see if it is possible. I used a 3 stop ND filter, stacked with a polarizer and .9 GND. I purposely adjusted the compensation to overexpose +2/3 to extend the the exposure time. The shot ended up being 13 seconds. I think the polarizer did something weird to the sky because the sun is to camera right.
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