Finally, my own creamy water shots!

julianliu

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After looking at long exposure creamy water shots from others for years, I finally made some long exposure shots with 10 stops ND filters after I camped in a mountain couple of weeks ago. They are just some shots of small creeks, not epic as lots of others out there. But these are mine :band: Anyway, comments on improvement?

Plus two more pictures of the mountains.


Ignore the signatures, they are for posting somewhere else.

1
Sylvan Lake -1.jpg


2
Sylvan Lake -2.jpg


3
Sylvan Lake -4.jpg


4
Sylvan Lake -7.jpg


5
Sylvan Lake -6.jpg


6
Sylvan Lake -8.jpg


7
Sylvan Lake -3.jpg
 
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WesternGuy

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If these are your first attempts at the "silky/creamy" water look, then this is a very good start. I find however that a 10-stop ND filter (Big Stopper?), or a combination of ND filters, is a bit too much because I just end up with a mess of white stuff that isn't what I really want. I look to maintain some of the "structure" in the water flow so that I can still see individual channels of flow, such as you can see in the small falls in #1.

You didn't tell us how long your exposures were, but in reality I find I only need to slow down the exposure to 1 to 2 seconds for most of the waterfalls that I photograph. Sometimes I have to experiment with the ND filters to get the look I am after as it often depends how tall the falls are and how much water is going over them. My "go to" ND filter to start with is usually an ND8 (3 stop) and if that is too much, I will go to an ND4 (2 stop) filter. A lot of course depends on the sunlight falling on the seen.

This URL gives a fairly good comparison of what waterfalls look like at some different shutter speeds - http://digital-photography-school.com/picking-a-waterfall-shutter-speed-for-the-best-look/ . I hope this helps.

WesternGuy
 
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julianliu

julianliu

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If these are your first attempts at the "silky/creamy" water look, then this is a very good start. I find however that a 10-stop ND filter (Big Stopper?), or a combination of ND filters, is a bit too much because I just end up with a mess of white stuff that isn't what I really want. I look to maintain some of the "structure" in the water flow so that I can still see individual channels of flow, such as you can see in the small falls in #1.

You didn't tell us how long your exposures were, but in reality I find I only need to slow down the exposure to 1 to 2 seconds for most of the waterfalls that I photograph. Sometimes I have to experiment with the ND filters to get the look I am after as it often depends how tall the falls are and how much water is going over them. My "go to" ND filter to start with is usually an ND8 (3 stop) and if that is too much, I will go to an ND4 (2 stop) filter. A lot of course depends on the sunlight falling on the seen.

This URL gives a fairly good comparison of what waterfalls look like at some different shutter speeds - Picking A Waterfall Shutter Speed For The Best Look - Digital Photography School . I hope this helps.

WesternGuy
Thanks! Western Guy.

All these water photos takes 30 seconds. I tried to extend the shutter speed as long as possible and 30 seconds is the one easily can be achieved. I did not want to go to bulb mode and time it.
I wanted to achieve the silky look. But now you mentioned, shorter shutter speed may get different, more structure look, which I think may look better comparing to white mess. Now I know what to try next time. So thanks!

Julian
 

jaomul

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Very good first attempts. Trial and error will improve them

I really want to make fun of the thread title, though maybe i shouldn't ;)
 

WesternGuy

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If these are your first attempts at the "silky/creamy" water look, then this is a very good start. I find however that a 10-stop ND filter (Big Stopper?), or a combination of ND filters, is a bit too much because I just end up with a mess of white stuff that isn't what I really want. I look to maintain some of the "structure" in the water flow so that I can still see individual channels of flow, such as you can see in the small falls in #1.

You didn't tell us how long your exposures were, but in reality I find I only need to slow down the exposure to 1 to 2 seconds for most of the waterfalls that I photograph. Sometimes I have to experiment with the ND filters to get the look I am after as it often depends how tall the falls are and how much water is going over them. My "go to" ND filter to start with is usually an ND8 (3 stop) and if that is too much, I will go to an ND4 (2 stop) filter. A lot of course depends on the sunlight falling on the seen.

This URL gives a fairly good comparison of what waterfalls look like at some different shutter speeds - Picking A Waterfall Shutter Speed For The Best Look - Digital Photography School . I hope this helps.

WesternGuy
Thanks! Western Guy.

All these water photos takes 30 seconds. I tried to extend the shutter speed as long as possible and 30 seconds is the one easily can be achieved. I did not want to go to bulb mode and time it.
I wanted to achieve the silky look. But now you mentioned, shorter shutter speed may get different, more structure look, which I think may look better comparing to white mess. Now I know what to try next time. So thanks!

Julian
Thanks for sharing the exposure information. I think you will find that 30 seconds is a long time for "flowing" water shots. I find that something in the order of 1 to 2 seconds or less (sometimes) is usually all I need. I find that anything over 5 seconds just produces a rather silky mess with no structure at all. You might want to think about experimenting a bit. I would recommend something, but I don't know what you have for ND filters. If you would care to share that information, then I might be able to make some suggestions. If you check this URL out - http://www.photomentoris.com/download/file.php?id=2235&mode=view , it is one of mine and will show you what I mean - it was shot at 1/4 second at f/22. It may not be the best example, but you get the idea. Hope this helps.

WesternGuy
 
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julianliu

julianliu

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If these are your first attempts at the "silky/creamy" water look, then this is a very good start. I find however that a 10-stop ND filter (Big Stopper?), or a combination of ND filters, is a bit too much because I just end up with a mess of white stuff that isn't what I really want. I look to maintain some of the "structure" in the water flow so that I can still see individual channels of flow, such as you can see in the small falls in #1.

You didn't tell us how long your exposures were, but in reality I find I only need to slow down the exposure to 1 to 2 seconds for most of the waterfalls that I photograph. Sometimes I have to experiment with the ND filters to get the look I am after as it often depends how tall the falls are and how much water is going over them. My "go to" ND filter to start with is usually an ND8 (3 stop) and if that is too much, I will go to an ND4 (2 stop) filter. A lot of course depends on the sunlight falling on the seen.

This URL gives a fairly good comparison of what waterfalls look like at some different shutter speeds - Picking A Waterfall Shutter Speed For The Best Look - Digital Photography School . I hope this helps.

WesternGuy
Thanks! Western Guy.

All these water photos takes 30 seconds. I tried to extend the shutter speed as long as possible and 30 seconds is the one easily can be achieved. I did not want to go to bulb mode and time it.
I wanted to achieve the silky look. But now you mentioned, shorter shutter speed may get different, more structure look, which I think may look better comparing to white mess. Now I know what to try next time. So thanks!

Julian
Thanks for sharing the exposure information. I think you will find that 30 seconds is a long time for "flowing" water shots. I find that something in the order of 1 to 2 seconds or less (sometimes) is usually all I need. I find that anything over 5 seconds just produces a rather silky mess with no structure at all. You might want to think about experimenting a bit. I would recommend something, but I don't know what you have for ND filters. If you would care to share that information, then I might be able to make some suggestions. If you check this URL out - http://www.photomentoris.com/download/file.php?id=2235&mode=view , it is one of mine and will show you what I mean - it was shot at 1/4 second at f/22. It may not be the best example, but you get the idea. Hope this helps.

WesternGuy

Thanks for the advice and the link.
I got your point. I only have a 10 stops ND filter. I need to experiment it to find my own favorite setting for sure.
 

JustJazzie

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Beautiful shots! I'm sure it will only get better from here. I saw those mountains and thought, that's got to be somewhere around here! Sure enough, I see you're in Denver! Where were you hiking for these?
 

WesternGuy

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My advice based on many years of photographing lots of things - :biggrin-93:

If you can afford it, I would get a 1 stop, 2 stop and a 3 stop ND filter to start. I find that I make most use of the 2 stop and the 3 stop, but the 1 stop is handy to have to give you a 4 (3+1) stop if you need it and, of course as a 1 stop filter. Again, don't just buy the cheapest ones you can find as they are usually not good glass and some of them will give your images a color cast.

I have Hoya HMC filters and have never had a problem with the results that any of them give me. Shop around as you will find prices will vary and check out websites like B&H and 2Filters. If you have a strict budget, then buy a 3 stop first, then a 2 stop, then a 1 stop. The other decision you have to make is whether you go for "screw -on" or some form of square filters. I have both (I bought the square ones to get graduated ND filters), but I find I use the screw-ons a lot more as the square ones require a holder and an adapter for each lens size and are more expensive. For the circular screw-ons, I bought filters to fit my largest lens, an 82mm wide angle and then bought a step-down ring (or step-up as some folks call them) for my 77mm lenses. This ring screws onto the 77mm lenses and then the 82 mm filter screws into the ring, allowing the 82 mm filter to be used on the smaller "lens". This way, I have most of my lenses covered with 3 ND filters and I do not have to buy a filter for each lens whose objective diameter is different.

Hope this helps, but ultimately what you decide to do should be whatever is best for you.

WesternGuy
 

spiralout462

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Nice shots! #6 strikes me for sure!
 

Jim Walczak

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I feel these were a good attempt...particularly for a first try, however personally I find that to be WAAAAAAAY to much silk there! As apposed to coming off "soft and creamy", I think it ends up looking like blotchy globs that no longer convey a sense of "water"...not trying to be rude at all, that's just how it looks to me.

I have to agree with Westernguy in that I'd play around with 1 - 2 seconds, depending on the lighting and work from there....I doubt I'd go more than 4 seconds TOPS. I recently shot some images out at Brandywine falls here in Ohio and using just a polarizer, a 2 stop gradiated ND filter and a small aperture, I was able to get the exposure down to 1/20 of a second, which gave the images some silk, without looking over-done.

I think the angles and framing and such look fine, I'd just back WAY off on the slow shutter...you still want it to look like water.

Just my $.02 worth.
 
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julianliu

julianliu

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Beautiful shots! I'm sure it will only get better from here. I saw those mountains and thought, that's got to be somewhere around here! Sure enough, I see you're in Denver! Where were you hiking for these?

Thanks!

Yes, it's in Colorado. The mountains are near Sylvan Lake Park, and the water shots are from the small creek near Sylvan Lake and Hanging Lake. Have you been these places?
 
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julianliu

julianliu

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My advice based on many years of photographing lots of things - :biggrin-93:

If you can afford it, I would get a 1 stop, 2 stop and a 3 stop ND filter to start. I find that I make most use of the 2 stop and the 3 stop, but the 1 stop is handy to have to give you a 4 (3+1) stop if you need it and, of course as a 1 stop filter. Again, don't just buy the cheapest ones you can find as they are usually not good glass and some of them will give your images a color cast.

I have Hoya HMC filters and have never had a problem with the results that any of them give me. Shop around as you will find prices will vary and check out websites like B&H and 2Filters. If you have a strict budget, then buy a 3 stop first, then a 2 stop, then a 1 stop. The other decision you have to make is whether you go for "screw -on" or some form of square filters. I have both (I bought the square ones to get graduated ND filters), but I find I use the screw-ons a lot more as the square ones require a holder and an adapter for each lens size and are more expensive. For the circular screw-ons, I bought filters to fit my largest lens, an 82mm wide angle and then bought a step-down ring (or step-up as some folks call them) for my 77mm lenses. This ring screws onto the 77mm lenses and then the 82 mm filter screws into the ring, allowing the 82 mm filter to be used on the smaller "lens". This way, I have most of my lenses covered with 3 ND filters and I do not have to buy a filter for each lens whose objective diameter is different.

Hope this helps, but ultimately what you decide to do should be whatever is best for you.

WesternGuy

Thanks, WesternGuy. I do appreciate your advice! My first reaction to these too creamy water shots was also disliking them. But still thought it looks cool. After you guys pointed out, I realize my first reaction was right and I should have tried shorter shutter speed. I am more like a portrait guy and landscape is something I enjoy when I get a chance. So I will invest just one ND filter and add more if needed :) But again, thanks for the advice.

Julian
 

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