How to click water blur

Monsoon and Sahyadri are one of the best combinations we can dream for. If rain gods are happy the Sahyadri Mountains are blessed with numerous waterfalls and brooks all over the ranges. If you are wondering how to click the water blur or long exposure for waterfalls here are some of the tricks you might find useful

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#1: Time

Waterfalls or brooks are a favorite landscape subject and early morning or late afternoon on an overcast day is the perfect time to click them. Bright sunlight may irritate you using slow shutter speeds and the contrast can be bit tricky to handle.

#2: Camera

Some people like to use Shutter Priority (TV / S Mode) while clicking so that they can have control over the shutter speed. I use Manual mode so that i can have control on Shutter as well as Aperture. It helps most of the times to shoot first photo on shutter priority and use the settings in manual mode. It all depends on person to person.

#3: Tripod

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To blur the water you need to have tripod; so that your camera would not shake and remain steady. As we will be using slow shutter speeds we must use a tripod, self-timer or a remote cable release.

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#4: Filters

I often use Neutral Density filter to lower the light intensity with polarizer to cut the reflection on the stones. A polarizer as well as a neutral density filter is handy for cutting down the amount of light reaching the camera sensor, thus allowing even slower shutter speeds.

#5: Volume, Flow and Distance

You can choose your choice of shutter speed for this as it changes depending on how much blur you want, the volume of water (large amount need shorter shutter speed), the speed of flow (slow flows need slower shutter speeds) and the distance between the camera and water body (shorter the distance the faster the shutter speed needs to be).

#6: Procedure

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  • Choose a waterfall you want to blur. Be careful while choosing. Always be safe. Safety comes first.
  • Make sure you have enough space to keep your tripod steady
  • If you are keeping tripod in water make sure flow is not too much. Again be safe here.
  • Mount your camera on tripod. Check the frame and adjust it accordingly.
  • If you are using polarizer set is correctly so that all the reflections are minimized.
  • You should either use a shutter release cable or timer to click waterfall. This helps in avoiding she shake that can effect while we press the shutter release of camera.
  • Put your camera on Manual mode. Set aperture to maximum. (f/22 is my lucky number)
  • You should keep your camera on autofocus or manual depending upon your comfort. I prefer autofocus. I mostly focus on a stone nearby.
  • Click a photo. Check if you are getting enough exposure. Adjust your shutter speed or aperture if images are very dark.
  • To take care of your camera in rains use my blog: how-to-protect-your-camera-in-monsoon

#7: Layer Mask

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Sometimes you can take two images. One with the water flow and one with all surroundings steady and crisp. Later while editing you can combine the images. This technique is very useful if you are shooting in windy conditions. I prefer taking single shots and using them. I like the blur which trees and leaves generate. It adds flavor to your images.

#8: Extend the use

This same technique can be applied while shooting beautiful seascapes. You can create lava-style flows of water by choosing a slow shutter speed. Simply mount your camera on a tripod and choose an area where the water is crashing against rocks so the shape of it changes.