Excessive Use of ND Filters for Smooth Water or Waterfalls Effect?

Started Apr 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
John Paul
Contributing MemberPosts: 825
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Prefer 2 to 4 stops slower
In reply to fireplace33, Apr 29, 2013

I also have muttered about the milky effect seeming to be the default for moving water. It certainly can be done well. But my preference is for an image which is more like what my eye sees. But that is also not an image of frozen drops of water. Unfortunately, the old 1/focal length rule for what shutter speed one can safely handhold usually freezes the moving water. I've been shooting with image stabilized cameras for a decade or so now, and I've found that using the slowest shutter speed that is reliably stabilized tends to give just about the right blur to the water. In other words, shooting from 2 to 4 stops slower than 1/focal length gives me the results I like for the feel of the water. (And it also doesn't need a tripod.) That gives me a place to start from which is consistent regardless of my lens. The usual result is a little more blurred than the pic fireplace33 posted, but I like that pic.

(Lurking behind this post is the grumble that "1/80 or 1/100 seems to work well" is totally dependent on the field of view of the lens being used. Specifying shutter speed relative to focal length is needed in order to get consistent results. I find that the old "1/focal length" gives a reference point to start from. Of course, that was "35mm equivalent focal length", so additional adjustment may be necessary for those of us shooting MFT or APS-C cameras.)

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John Paul
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