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Old Jan 17, 2011, 9:41 AM   #1
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Default Smooth water effect

Hey guys !

Can I achieve that very smoth water effect I see on fountains and lakes with a P&S ?


Thanks...
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Old Jan 17, 2011, 9:46 AM   #2
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Yes, you can.

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Old Jan 17, 2011, 10:03 AM   #3
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I have a max. shutter speed of 2 secs, but I can only use it with the aperture set at f/18 !

Does the very small aperture have any influence on the smothy effect ?
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Old Jan 17, 2011, 10:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marawder View Post
I have a max. shutter speed of 2 secs, but I can only use it with the aperture set at f/18 !

Does the very small aperture have any influence on the smothy effect ?
It's the camera that is trying a higher aperture value to compensate for slow shutter speed. At 2 sec shutter speed, the amount of light that will enter the lens will be very much and hence it tries to set the aperture value high (meaning less light).

I'm not really an expert here, so I'd wait for the experts to chime in. If you can provide more details like your camera and mode you are trying to use, we can help better.

BTW, the shot above was captured @ f/8 and shutter speed of 1 sec.
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Old Jan 17, 2011, 10:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ronakg View Post
It's the camera that is trying a higher aperture value to compensate for slow shutter speed. At 2 sec shutter speed, the amount of light that will enter the lens will be very much and hence it tries to set the aperture value high (meaning less light).

I'm not really an expert here, so I'd wait for the experts to chime in. If you can provide more details like your camera and mode you are trying to use, we can help better.
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Old Jan 17, 2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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One approach would be to take several shots and combine them, effectively giving you a longer exposure. Quick example: 8 shots of the water going down my sink combined. I used flash so each one was only 1/13th of a second so it's still got some sharp detail but if you did it with a few 1s exposures then you'd get a much smoother effect. There might be other approaches but you can do this easily anywhere with only the camera itself.

1 frame:


8 combined:
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Old Jan 17, 2011, 3:45 PM   #7
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A two second exposure should do just fine: that is the time RonakG used. To get that long an exposure try shooting in the dim light near sunrise or sunset.
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Old Jan 19, 2011, 6:33 AM   #8
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All great advice - would also add - try on days of heavy overcast, use the lowest ISO possible, and try using a polarizing filter. Even if your camera has no way of attaching a filter, you can always hold one in front of the lens (being very careful not to push too hard and mess up the focus/zoom mechanism). Of course, with a 1-2 second exposure, you will need a tripod or other firm support.

For example, here are two views of Spruce Flats Falls, first one taken with my (old and long gone) Nikon P&S (E5400), other with a Pentax DSLR (the K-m):
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Old Jan 21, 2011, 10:48 AM   #9
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You will have two obstacles to overcome with a point and shoot. One that has been addressed a couple of times is too much light for a long exposure. Many people use a neutral density filter to cut down light but you could also shoot in a heavily shaded area or at dusk as has been mentioned. Another problem with a p&s that is probably short on manual settings is that the water will show up with a gray cast instead of more of a pure white cast. You can especially see that this happened in mole's shots (though ironically it appears that his point and shoot did a better job of metering for the water! You can see the other results in the differences of the exposures when you look at the brightness of the foliage). The camera decided that the water was too bright and rendered it instead as a neutral 18% gray. Bryan Peterson teaches in his book Understanding Exposure that you can avoid this by metering off the green plants and then stepping down 2/3 of a stop. mole could do that with his k-m but I doubt that you could do that with your point and shoot so you might just have to settle for gray foam if you're talking about running water of that sort.

Or if your p&s does RAW by chance you could help a bit in post processing. Martin had a very good suggestion with the sort of HDR type combining of images as well.

Oh and obviously you'll want to use a tripod or set it on a rock and take the shot with a delay on the shutter release.

brad

Last edited by DigMe; Jan 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM.
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Old Jan 22, 2011, 1:22 AM   #10
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Folks have said all good stuff. Just keep in mind the basic point for getting smooth water is a slow shutter speed.
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