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Categorized | Articles, Don Komarechka

Beginner Basics — Waterfalls & Shutter Speed (preview)

Cameras are designed in many ways to mimic human vision. Accurate colours, details and depth are something photographers often strive for, but my favourite images showcase a different way of seeing the world. Controlling the length of an exposure allows for motion to become an important element in an image, revealing lines and shapes that would otherwise be invisible to us.

©Don Komarechka Settings: ƒ22@25 sec., ISO 50

©Don Komarechka
Settings: ƒ22@25 sec., ISO 50

Some subjects completely transform when photographed over very long exposures, and the easiest one to experiment with is a waterfall. Waterfall scenes are typically made of two ingredients: solid ground that doesn’t move and flowing water that’s constantly in motion. Without controlling the shutter speed, the resulting image would likely appear “busy,” with too much detail and chaos in the frame. Shooting the same image at a slower shutter speed will add motion blur to the water, create a smoother look and show the strongest lines as solid streaks.

This motion blur adds magic and removes clutter. The elements of the image around the water don’t move over time and stay solid and sharp. It’s a simple way to change a landscape from “ferocious” to “serene” by taking control of the exposure length.

The first thing you’ll need is a tripod. When working with longer exposures, it becomes very difficult to …

To read more of Don Komarechka’s column and other great how-to articles please pick up the Summer/Fall 2014 issue of OPC today, or subscribe!

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