Showing Motion in the Water

When I photograph water I love the effect of blurring the motion.  Okay, so how do you do that?  Believe it or not it is pretty easy.  All you really need to know is to use a slow shutter speed.  I would suggest starting at about 1/6th of a second or slower.  The longer the shutter is open the more blur you will get.  If it is windy the long shutter will also cause any foliage to blur.  In this case it might be necessary to take a couple of images to blend later in Photoshop.  You would ensure one of the images had a fast enough shutter to freeze the motion of the vegetation.  The second would be to blur the water. 

Your aperture will likely need to be fairly small (f16 or so depending on the amount of light) because you need the longer shutter speed.  If you are doing this in the middle of a sunny day you might need a neutral density filter to limit the amount of light coming through the lens.  This along with a small aperture would help give you the needed shutter speed.  Do not forget to lower that ISO to the lowest native ISO as well.  Waterscapes can be a fun way to spend your time once the sunrise shots are over.  It is also a great place to go just before you hit your sunset locations. 

I would also recommend a circular polarizing filter.  The one effect of this filter cannot be replaced in post processing.  It works just like polarized sunglasses and removes the glare from the top of the water, the rocks, and the foliage.  This gives you a look under the surface and gives you more color saturation.   Finally, you will need a good sturdy tripod and a remote release due to the long shutter speeds.  However, release can be substituted with your camera's built in timer.

Below are two examples.  The one on the left had a shutter speed of 1/320th of a second where the one on the right was 1/6th of a second.  You can see the dramatic difference it makes on the flowing water.

1/320th @ f2.8

1/6th @ f22

Get out there and give it a shot.  If you have any questions just email or call and thanks again for reading.