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Water Photography Tips


MARK ROSENGARTEN OFFERS BEAUTIFUL IMAGES ACCOMPANIED BY EXCELLENT PHOTO TIPS AND TECHNICAL INSIGHTS As the sun set, a long exposure from the dock while standing in the water: From the Gomez Mill, a 1/2 second exposure to show more detail in the spray: We did get about ten minutes of insane color on the horizon about 20 minutes after sunset: The Gomez Mill: A 2-minute exposure to smooth out the water and sky, done in Bulb mode: Using snow as the leading line into the sunset: Funneled along the inlet: It was wonderful meeting you all and I hope you all got a lot out of it!  Hope to see you again and looking forward to seeing your work here!! Mark Rosengarten

Even In Poor Lighting Conditions, Always Try. Pixels Are Free As They Say!

Even in poor lighting conditions, always try. Pixels are free as they say! With Landscape photographer, Greg Miller, Nana Greller was wandering beneath a thick canopy of trees amidst the soft light behind West Point Foundry, Preserve in Cold Springs, NY. It was a rainy Sunday, kind of low light that seemed to show no real promise, wondering of the possibilities for any photo worth keeping. Greg disagreed in regard to the potential and Nana came away with this lovely image, which is actually a fairly anemic waterfall, at least on that day, maybe not so piddly every day. The leaves frame the main subject nicely and the slow shutter speed priority renders a haunting version of the cascading water. Good job Nana.

The Morning Light

Rick Gerrity, DPA Instructor in NYC and NJ, adding a splash of drama of this man on a horse. The morning light brought it home. 1. Time-Morning Light 2. Place of photo – Costa Rica 3. Name of Photographer and which Digital Photo Academy teacher is in-Rick Gerrity Digital Photo Academy instructor in NYC/NJ 4. f/stop-f 5.6 5. Shutter Speed-1/1600th sec 6.Back story- This image was made while leading a workshop with my business partner DPA Instructor, in Atlanta, Rob Knight in Costa Rica concentrating on freezing motion. 7. Lens- 35-100mm on a Panasonic Lumix GH4 8. How one might succeed with a version of the image if all they had was a cell phone- With a cell phone one may follow subject while pressing the shutter button creating a blurred background. A cell phone may or may not freeze the motion. Panning will ensure a sharp subject. 9. Photographer’s Strategy- Teaching the importance of lighting, being patient and getting the shot.. Composition regarding the rule of thirds..

Tip on Photographing the Hudson River

That photo was taken during the Sunday workshop and Long Dock Park. It was just a grab shot since I rarely shoot during a workshop. 24mm on full frame Nikon D810 camera, 0.6 second exposure at F18. Shutter speed was important to render the water texture just right, so shutter speed of 0.6 seconds was chosen, then F18 was chosen to render a good exposure. Exposure was intentionally 1 stop less than the meter reading. The camera meter wants to render the scene a middle gray, but at this time of day, the scene is darker than middle gray. Using the exposure meter’s setting would have caused the photo to be too bright. Story 1: The chap who sails this boat swims to and from it from shore. Note that the water temperature on April is still quite chilly. Story 2: Most photographers go to Long Dock Park at low tide to shoot the pilings in the river that are visible at low tide. This beautiful view south towards the Hudson Highlands near high tide is rarely photographed.  

Early Morning Light

© John Bentham Early morning light is amazing. If you force yourself to get up and photograph in the early hours (5 to 7am) the light is very different than any other time of day. It is softer, offering more subdued and gentle colors yet still with good contrast. Shooting in early morning is a great time to photograph water before the wind has picked up and disturbed the surface. When the surface is very still it becomes a beautiful mirror, a great tool for a photographer.

Think Outside the Box

© John Bentham This photo was intentionally overexposed to give the fish tank a surreal otherworldly look. A very easy technique where you simply increase your exposure to add one or two stops (f-stops, exposure values). You can achieve this by using the +/- exposure compensation feature on your camera. You can also cover your bases by using the auto bracket feature which will shoot multiple frames at different exposures.

Freezing the Moment

© John Bentham Use a polarizing filter when shooting outside in daylight. Your colors will pop and the filter will reduce or eliminate reflections on water allowing you to see into the water itself, adding depth and rich deep colors. The beautiful green water and dark blue sky with the bright contrasting white clouds are a result of using a polarizing filter in this shot. I have used a fast shutter speed (1/500th second) to freeze the birds in flight, making them sharp against the sky. The slower the shutter speed the more blur you would see. This often requires a little experimentation to find the right speed for the effect you want.

Intentionally Underexpose

© John Bentham By intentionally underexposing this photograph I have let the water go very dark, even black in some places. This can be very compelling and mysterious in a photo, especially in dramatic B&W shots. Water as a subject is so beautiful and interesting you often don’t need much else in the frame to make a nice photo. Just the water and a few other elements, in this case the lilies stretching out towards the camera are enough.

Keep Your Horizon Straight

© John Bentham Part of the success of this photo was being in the right place at the correct time. When shooting landscapes and seascapes there is often a optimal time of day to photograph any scene. Unfortunately it is difficult to find that time of day, and depending on the weather. and season that optimal time changes daily. I was riding on a ferry just as we passed this lighthouse, I had my camera in my hand ran out on deck and shot 3 frames then we cruised past. The sky cooperated by giving me a few steaks of cloud to break up an otherwise gray plain sky. One frame was good, but that’s all you need. When shooting seascapes keep your horizon straight, this gives viewers a visual reference point and adds a layer of depth to your photo. The general rule with horizons is they should be straight or tilted at a somewhat extreme angle otherwise it looks like a mistake.

Power up with a Polarizing Filter

 © John Bentham When shooting outside in daylight a Polarizing filter is very helpful. This is especially so whenever shooting in and around bodies of water. A polarizing filter reduces or eliminates reflections on the surface of the water allowing you to see into the water itself, adding depth and rich deep colors. The contrasting elements of this photo, the bright aqua water and the dark skinned girl are what make this a striking image. These same elements make this a tricky shot.The exposure meter in your camera will be fooled by the contrast and bright areas. To get the correct exposure you should take a test shot or two and adjust your exposure using the +/- compensation feature to get the balance right between the water and the swimmer.

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