Long exposures, particularly of water, are something that almost all of us either have tried at some point or will try and some point in the future. Sometimes we might get lucky and nail it on our very first attempt but often we’ll find ourselves struggling to get the image we see in our head. The image we’d like to create. This is because it’s not usually as simple as just sticking an ND over your lens and increasing your shutter speed. There’s a little more to it than that.
In this video, photographer Andy Mumford walks us through the elements of creating long exposure waterscapes to add dynamism to our scene. He gives us the reasoning behind the decisions made when shooting one so that when you face potential problems in your shots or aren’t happy with what you’re getting, you’ve got some idea of what you can change and how they’ll affect your photography.
Andy covers a number of aspects of long exposure water photography in the video, starting with the obvious one. Shutter speed. But he also talks about composition and how the flow of the water (depending on your settings) can even help with that. He covers the kind of equipment you might need (like ND filters), how to take care of your tripod (nobody wants a rusty tripod!) and safety concerns that you might face when shooting near particularly rough water.
One thing he mentions that a lot of people don’t when talking about long exposure water photography is timing – particularly when it comes to coastal images where you’re reliant on the waves to determine the placement and motion of the water. You could park your camera on a tripod, hit the shutter button 20 times and get 20 very different images that may or may not work. Whether the tide’s coming in or going out is also makes a big difference to how the final images may look due to the difference in the waves of incoming vs outgoing tides.
If you’ve fancied giving long exposure water photography a go, or you’ve already tried but aren’t happy with your results, this is a good one to watch!
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