Silky smooth water dreamscape

April 29, 2015

Shooting silky smooth water can create a dreamscape, particularly if you have a skilled model who can hold a pose for a few seconds. The technique is not very difficult, but you will need an adjustable camera, tripod, and possibly neutral density filters.

Neutral density filters are like sunglasses for your camera. In order to get a long exposure during daylight ( 1/4 second up to several seconds) these filters can be valuable. They come in a variety of strengths and can be purchased as a set from many camera stores. Like most filters, they can be stacked over top of each other to increasingly block out light.

So, the technique is to find a moving body of water and a model (optional). Mount your camera on the tripod and take a few test shot starting at 1/40 sec with a wide aperture and move to slower shutter speeds and see if you get the silky water effects. Chances are good that you will need to use at least one of the filters to get a proper exposure. You may have to focus on your subject FIRST before you place the filter in place, since some filters are so dark that it may be difficult to see your subject once the filter is in place. You may also need to FOCUS and SWITCH your lens to MANUAL so that your focus point is not lost once you place your filter in place. 

Gavin gives some nice tips in the link below, but your shot could easily be taken on a beach with a model posing in the water.