Milky Water

July 19, 2014  •  3 Comments

There is some debate about how to correctly photograph moving water. For me, it's simple---I photograph what looks good to me, not necessarily what others think is correct. However, I do get feedback sometimes that my waterfall shots are not "realistic" or "not true to life". I guess the first thing that goes through my mind is what does "realistic" moving water look like in a still frame? How can anyone capture this without shooting a video?

I intentionally expose longer than the camera normally would in full auto mode. This does give the water a more "milky" look and feel, but it is more pleasing to my eyes. Regardless, it's a matter of choice, and there really isn't a right or wrong way to photograph things that are moving. It really depends on what you are trying to convey in a single frame.

Here are two photos taken recently on my hike to Romona Falls in the Mt. Hood Forest. You be the judge as to which one you like better, and leave me a comment below on your preference. Thanks!

This was shot at 1/8 of a second (i.e. slow shutter speed). My camera was in manual mode.

This was shot at 1/60 of a second (fast shutter speed). My camera was in full auto mode.


Comments

Sabrina McDonald(non-registered)
I guess I'll be the odd one out here .Although I agree that the second one looks more realistic I like the contrast in the first one of the water juxtaposed to the trees on the left which are in sharp focus. It provides something interesting for my eyes and mind to ponder. Both are lovely.
Gursel(non-registered)
I agree with Sandy. The second photo is definitely more realistic and it would be my preference. I don't like things that are too dreamy or in your own words 'milky' in a photograph. In the first picture the water looks like a continuous line from top to bottom while in the second one, it is 'choppy' as it is in real life.
Sandy Krawez(non-registered)
They're both gorgeous... I love waterfalls. The second photo, shot in full auto mode looks much more realistic to me. The first photo in manual mode is much too soft and looks more like a painting in my opinion.
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