Blurry Water



I’m often asked “how do you make the water blurry like that?” Well, many years ago I was reading a book by Les Blacklock ( a well known Minnesota photographer) and his answer really simple. When we look at a water fall what we see is equivalent to 1/60th of a second. So if you want a nice white waterfall that shows a lot of movement you’ll want to slow your shutter speed down. If you want clear sharp image with blurry water then a tripod and a cable release are essential piece of equipment.

With a bit of practice you will be able to figure out which shutter speed works best for the effect you are after.

Depending upon how much blur you want, neutral density filters (ND) should be considered. The standard ND filters come in 3 increments .3,  .6 &.9 (changing your exposure by 1, 2 &3 stops) in most case these will be all you need. I use the Lee filter system and I carry the three filters previously mentioned plus  Lee’s little stoppter, big stopper and super stopper (6, 10 & 15 Stop reduction). Also in my bag are the graduated 3,  .6 &.9 ND Filters.

This gives me a lot of creative options from having the water look like it is moving very fast to a smooth frozen look.

For example the image of Scripps Pier (DP561)was made early one summer morning when there was coastal fog. The exposure was 92 seconds at f/20 with an ISO of 100. During the exposure a couple stopped in the frame just long enough to record a ghostly image and that is how the image got the name Scripps Pier Encounters.