Thursday, October 1, 2009

"Paul, how do I get that silky water look?"

Exposure: 4 sec, f/22, ISO 100

Slower Shutter Speeds result in "that silky water look."

1) Tripod - without one, don't read further.
First, go get a tripod. (Shoot me an email if you need advice on ones worth buying).
2) Set your digital SLR camera to Aperture priority (A-for Nikons... Av-for Canons). Don't confuse this with "auto."
3) Rotate the camera's dial to show a high f-stop number such as 22. In the upper right corner of the camera's LCD you should see the following... f/22, or f/29... not smaller f-stop values such as f/3.5 or f/5.6.
4)What does this mean? In short, this indicates that there is a small AMOUNT of light entering the camera. At f/3.5 there is a large AMOUNT of light entering the camera.
Thus, to balance a correct exposure your camera will automatically select longer shutter speeds.
So, when you're down in a creek bed in the Smokies or cuddled up with a Katmai Brown bear, with the camera set to f/22, expect to see shutter speeds ranging from 2-15 seconds. NOTE: Be sure your ISO is set to its least sensitive level (100 or 200, not 1600).

At such shutter speeds, your camera's "canvas" is being "painted" with each water droplet as it travels downstream. The result is "that silky water look."


To stop the action as shown below, set your Aperture to allow larger AMOUNTs of light to enter by rotating the dial to show f/2.8 or f/3.5 in the LCD. If larger AMOUNTs of light are entering, to render a balanced exposure, the light will not need to enter for near as long. Thus, faster shutter speeds. NOTE: You may want to select a more sensitive ISO if the light is dim (800-1600, not 100)

Exposure: 1/2000 sec, f/2.8, ISO 320

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