Capture this Great Summer with a Splash of Water
When we talk about summer, images like sunny sky, bright sunshine and outdoor activities come to our mind. All these have one thing in common – they are all “water” related. Think about the beach under the sun, moment of water splash when a wakeboard player jump and those “mirror of the sky” images with nice sunset reflection. Water adds charm and visual excitement to your photos. Let’s learn more about the shooting techniques!
Make Use of Reflection to Enrich the Photo Content
One of the main characteristics of water is that it can reflect the things around it. If you find it a bit boring when shooting landscape, you can always look out for lake, slow-flowing river or puddles of water nearby. Shoot from a low angle to include both the vivid sunset, starry sky and their reflections in the composition to enrich your photo content. For more shooting tips, you can refer to the article “Guide to Mirror of the Sky Photography”.
A calm water surface can create mirror effect, while the ripples of moving water twist light to create abstract blocks of color that resemble an oil painting. The latter is particularly useful in reflecting the sky or neon light colors to create images with an artistic look and feel. Take the photo below as an example. The vivid sunset colors reflected on the water turned this shot into an art piece.
Freeze the Motion of Water and Excitement
It is often said that photography is an art of freezing time. We can use a high-speed shutter to freeze the water movement and use this to complement the split-second expression or action of the subject, as if we stopped the time and the excitement of that second. In general, a shutter speed of 1/1000s or faster is needed to freeze the motion of water or splashes, and we may need to adjust a bit according to the actual scene and the speed of water movement. Also pay attention to the aperture value and ISO setting used. A large aperture can enable the use of a faster shutter speed and prevent under-exposure. Besides, if we want to emphasize the roundness form of a water droplet, we need to see if the lighting brings highlight and shade to the droplet.
Slow-Speed Shutter to Create a Sense of Eternity
Flowing water can add both dynamic and static motion to a landscape photo. With a slow-speed shutter, the flowing water can be turned to silky-like texture that flows softly over the rocks or a mist that covers the sea. This is a good way to show the passing of time or a sense of eternity. A tripod is an essential tool to this kind of long exposure shots. If the water is relatively calm, we can set the shutter speed to 10s or slower; or start from 3s if the water flows quickly. Also, set the ISO to the lowest setting (such as ISO 50 / ISO 100) and use a small aperture such as f/11. If the shutter speed is still too fast for a nice capture (e.g. only 1s or 2s) even after reducing the aperture and adjusting to low ISO setting, we can consider applying Neutral Density (ND) filter to achieve better result. For more tips, you can refer to the article “The Beauty of Illusion Capturing Images of an Unrealistic World with Lenses”.