This summer I had the privilege of being one of the premier exhibitors at the Buckhorn Captured in the Camera photography exhibit and sale on August 23. As part of the daylong exhibit the organizers planned to have three “Lunch and Learn” sessions for attendees. These sessions were to present a particular facet of photography to those who would like to attend. When the curator found out that I had taught photography for twenty years at the University of Windsor I was asked to present all three sessions.
One of the sessions was titled: “Water: Capturing the Emotion.” If you have seen my art show exhibit you will know that many of my images include water in one way or another.
Why do I photograph water? There are many reasons. I like the fluid flow of water in motion. There is an ever-changing pattern of the water. As a photographer I plan the photograph, composing the frame, choose the shutter speed and aperture, applying whatever filters I deem necessary. That gives me the basic shape and composition. But then the forces of nature take over the process. I have to work with what God provides to extract the image as the scene moves me.
The motion, volume and speed of the water all interact with the time of exposure to give different results. Sure I have a good idea of what the image will look like, but the flow at the precise time of exposure is what is recorded.
With water you have a choice in the final look of the image. Using a faster shutter speed freezes the motion. (It doesn’t freeze the water.) That allows individual drops of water to show. Fast speeds in the neighbourhood of 1/500 of a second will stop most water motion. That gives you an image like “Making a Splash” with the water in midair.
To record the flow of the water in “Stubb’s Falls” I used a much slower exposure. This allows the water to flow into the silken patterns over the rocks. It also allows for individual drops to “streak” in arcs above the main water flow. This is always an added bonus of water photography.
The old adage, “Success doesn’t just happen. It’s planned for.” certainly holds true with photographing water. The process is trying to make the water look wet while you stay dry.
For those who would like to try their hand to create flowing water photography you need to have a camera that can slow the shutter to at least a quarter second or more. If your camera has a manual setting then you are half way home. The second tool you need is a sturdy tripod. Then experiment with different shutter exposures. I find that exposures in the half to one second range is a good starting point.
If you would like to purchase any of the images used in this blog then email me or call at 519.563.7118.