by Jeff Goulden
Photographs of streams and waterfalls appear often on postcards, calendars and note cards. Their special effects seem to express a feeling of motion. You have probably wondered how the photographer captured that feathery texture in the water.
This technique is not difficult to accomplish. It can be mastered by anyone who has an adaptable camera (one in which you can adjust the shutter speed and aperture) and a tripod. A shutter release cable is helpful but optional.
The trick is to shoot at a slow shutter speed such as 1/4 second, 1/2 second, or even one full second. This will have a slight blurring effect on the fast moving water, which will suggest motion in the finished picture. Use of a tripod or other camera support is mandatory. It is extremely difficult to hand-hold the camera at such a slow shutter speed without blurring the entire picture. If a cable release is not available, the camera's built-in self timer may be used to release the shutter. Either method will insure the camera remains immobile during the long exposure.
Adjust the camera's ISO number to the least sensitive setting for this type of photography. A larger ISO may not result in a slow enough shutter speed.
I prefer to shoot waterfalls on an overcast day or in the shade on a sunny day. Water reflects much more sunlight than rocks and trees. In direct sunlight, the reflection on the water may cause undesirable bright spots in the picture.
There are many places to go for stream and waterfall pictures. National parks, wilderness areas and even city parks are a few possibilities. I try to concentrate on small meandering streams with trees and green moss growing on the rocks. The greenery and rocks add perspective and help frame the composition.
Try stream shooting next time you venture out into the woods or stroll through the park. You may return with some calendar or postcard scenes of your own.
Jeff's Photo Blog
In this Photo Blog I have combined my 50 year passion for photography and my love of the natural world, creating a portfolio that reveals nature in its pure and simple beauty. I am pleased to share my passion with you through this blog.