Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
ButchA61
ButchA61 Forum Member • Posts: 74
Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

This is soooo cool! I did it! 

I finally figured out how to properly blur a water fountain, etc... I quickly went over to Deep Run Park (public park, not even 10 minutes away) before it starts raining again with the gloomy looking skies overhead.  I brought along my tripod too...

I set my Nikon D3500 to Shutter Priority and went all the way down to 1/8 shutter. I didn't DARE touch the camera, so I used SnapBridge by Nikon, and used the remote control function, and took these two photos by remote.

First photo: 18-55mm small zoom, zoomed to 55mm, f/16, 1/8 shutter, and ISO 100.

Second photo: 35mm prime lens, f/11, 1/10 shutter (I must have bumped it accidently off 1/8 to 1/10), and ISO 100.

 ButchA61's gear list:ButchA61's gear list
Nikon D3500 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-P 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G
tirediron Regular Member • Posts: 124
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

Nicely done.  It's always cool to learn a new technique.  Now you can start exploring this with even longer exposure times.  One of the drawbacks to new techniques however is that they often demand new gear... in this case if you want to get into really long exposures (>2 seconds) than you will need a neutral density filter (but hey, an excuse to buy more gear is always good, right?).

Another option for hands-free release is just to use the self-timer.  Not sure if your camera allows you to change the delay interval, but regardless, while not as convenient as a remote release, it will work in a pinch.

ButchA61
OP ButchA61 Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!

Thank you, my D3500 has a 2 sec or 10 sec timer.  I just didn't enable it, and opted to use SnapBridge with the remote control function.

I've heard about ND filters and I don't have one (...yet).  These two photos were 100% natural with the D3500, no post-processing, no anything, just the pure photo as it was with a slow 1/8 shutter, a very ominous cloudy sky, and the D3500 on a tripod.

 ButchA61's gear list:ButchA61's gear list
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Mark Scott Abeln
Mark Scott Abeln Forum Pro • Posts: 15,698
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
2

Congratulations! You can also try doing this at dusk or dawn for longer shutter speeds.

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Mark_A
Mark_A Forum Pro • Posts: 16,064
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

Good Stuff Butch, it is great when we master a new technique. The photos look good, you could even try for slower shutter speeds perhaps when there is less light, or if you had a filter you could reduce the light with.

And that is a reason to use S mode, I often use S mode to control panning for motorsports, I often want to set the Shutter speed to about 1/125 or slower to give a reasonable background blur when panning the camera.

Mark_A

Tourlou Contributing Member • Posts: 955
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
2

You should have tried a little longer.  The thinner the flow of water, the longer you want the exposure to be.  Here's on with a lot of water!!!

Exposure time is 1 second on this one.

Here's another one shot a 1 second:

Little longer exposure makes a big difference.

Regards.

Rene

ButchA61
OP ButchA61 Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!

Thank you all. I am going to try this again (if it doesn't rain today) later this afternoon/dusk at that nearby park. As you can guess I am still learning my ways around all the DSLR functions. It's rather funny... I experiment with it and learn by trial & error, and eventually I'll figure it out. My wife on the other hand, has no desire and keeps the D3500 on "Auto" all the time whenever she uses it. ...whatever...

I look at so many amazing photos on this site, and thankfully they have the EXIF details, so I can see the focal length, aperture, shutter, and ISO. So then I can remember the settings and try something similar as a guideline. I guess it's safe to say that it's good to learn from others!

 ButchA61's gear list:ButchA61's gear list
Nikon D3500 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon AF-P 18-55mm F3.5-5.6G VR Nikon AF-P 70-300mm F4.5-6.3G
JustUs7 Contributing Member • Posts: 886
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

Nice job!

With good image stabilization at the right focal length, you can pull off hand held at those shutter speeds. Good for if you’re just out for a walk and see something you want to capture, but don’t have a tripod.
I remember practicing this at the kitchen sink just running the faucet when we got our first DSLR.

I finally got an ND filter this year and got to use it on some hikes. I also picked up a remote trigger to plug into the camera. Saves my phone battery from the app! Was able to do some really long (one was over four minutes) exposure with the filter on. A fun toy to have!

EXIF says "30 seconds".  It was in "Bulb" mode and open for over 4 minutes.  Don't know why the full shutter speed never shows longer than 30 seconds in here.

 JustUs7's gear list:JustUs7's gear list
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JustUs7 Contributing Member • Posts: 886
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

ButchA61 wrote:

Thank you all. I am going to try this again (if it doesn't rain today) later this afternoon/dusk at that nearby park. As you can guess I am still learning my ways around all the DSLR functions. It's rather funny... I experiment with it and learn by trial & error, and eventually I'll figure it out. My wife on the other hand, has no desire and keeps the D3500 on "Auto" all the time whenever she uses it. ...whatever...

I look at so many amazing photos on this site, and thankfully they have the EXIF details, so I can see the focal length, aperture, shutter, and ISO. So then I can remember the settings and try something similar as a guideline. I guess it's safe to say that it's good to learn from others!

Same.  My wife really has an eye for the moment, but she wants the camera to just get it right.  Doesn't want to have to, "fiddle with the settings all the time."  Fortunately, in most circumstances the camera is pretty good at getting it right.

 JustUs7's gear list:JustUs7's gear list
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Merlin5 Regular Member • Posts: 308
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

Nice one Butch. I've been meaning to try this too, just need to find a waterfall.

JustUs7 wrote:

I remember practicing this at the kitchen sink just running the faucet when we got our first DSLR.

I finally got an ND filter this year and got to use it on some hikes. I also picked up a remote trigger to plug into the camera. Saves my phone battery from the app! Was able to do some really long (one was over four minutes) exposure with the filter on. A fun toy to have!

EXIF says "30 seconds". It was in "Bulb" mode and open for over 4 minutes. Don't know why the full shutter speed never shows longer than 30 seconds in here.

How come Tourlou got creamy white water with only 1 second shutter speed and yours is 4 minutes shutter speed?

I've got a polarising filter for my 50mm lens, will that work the same as an ND filter? I like your idea about practising with the kitchen tap, I'll try that.

 Merlin5's gear list:Merlin5's gear list
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JustUs7 Contributing Member • Posts: 886
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

Merlin5 wrote:

Nice one Butch. I've been meaning to try this too, just need to find a waterfall.

JustUs7 wrote:

I remember practicing this at the kitchen sink just running the faucet when we got our first DSLR.

I finally got an ND filter this year and got to use it on some hikes. I also picked up a remote trigger to plug into the camera. Saves my phone battery from the app! Was able to do some really long (one was over four minutes) exposure with the filter on. A fun toy to have!

EXIF says "30 seconds". It was in "Bulb" mode and open for over 4 minutes. Don't know why the full shutter speed never shows longer than 30 seconds in here.

How come Tourlou got creamy white water with only 1 second shutter speed and yours is 4 minutes shutter speed?

I've got a polarising filter for my 50mm lens, will that work the same as an ND filter? I like your idea about practising with the kitchen tap, I'll try that.

The only filter I have is a 10 stop ND filter. That means I need 10 stops more light than I would unfiltered for the same exposure.

In this circumstance, I was in the woods down an embankment and rain showers were moving in - so very cloudy. Unfiltered at ISO 100 at f/9 was already calling for 15 seconds in Aperture Priority. More than enough for the effect, but I wanted to play with my toys. I have a long exposure calculator app on my phone. 10 stops slower than 15 seconds is 4:16.

It's really meant for bright light where you want to blur water or clouds but light is forcing 1/1000 shutter speed.  A 10 stop will allow you to shoot at 1 second without blowing highlights.

I took another one with more light that “only” needed 52 seconds filtered (3 seconds unfiltered).

With your polarizing filter, you’ll want to know how many stops of light the filter blocks. Or, rather than shoot in Shutter Priority, shoot in Aperture Priority. Set a very small f-stop like f/9 or smaller. Set the ISO at 100. Let the camera pick the appropriate shutter speed. For a longer shutter speed, pick a smaller f-stop (try 11, then 16, or whatever). Throw the filter on and see if it calculates a longer shutter speed at the same f-stop and ISO.

 JustUs7's gear list:JustUs7's gear list
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Merlin5 Regular Member • Posts: 308
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

JustUs7 wrote:

Merlin5 wrote:

Nice one Butch. I've been meaning to try this too, just need to find a waterfall.

JustUs7 wrote:

I remember practicing this at the kitchen sink just running the faucet when we got our first DSLR.

I finally got an ND filter this year and got to use it on some hikes. I also picked up a remote trigger to plug into the camera. Saves my phone battery from the app! Was able to do some really long (one was over four minutes) exposure with the filter on. A fun toy to have!

EXIF says "30 seconds". It was in "Bulb" mode and open for over 4 minutes. Don't know why the full shutter speed never shows longer than 30 seconds in here.

How come Tourlou got creamy white water with only 1 second shutter speed and yours is 4 minutes shutter speed?

I've got a polarising filter for my 50mm lens, will that work the same as an ND filter? I like your idea about practising with the kitchen tap, I'll try that.

The only filter I have is a 10 stop ND filter. That means I need 10 stops more light than I would unfiltered for the same exposure.

In this circumstance, I was in the woods down an embankment and rain showers were moving in - so very cloudy. Unfiltered at ISO 100 at f/9 was already calling for 15 seconds in Aperture Priority. More than enough for the effect, but I wanted to play with my toys. I have a long exposure calculator app on my phone. 10 stops slower than 15 seconds is 4:16.

It's really meant for bright light where you want to blur water or clouds but light is forcing 1/1000 shutter speed. A 10 stop will allow you to shoot at 1 second without blowing highlights.

I took another one with more light that “only” needed 52 seconds filtered (3 seconds unfiltered).

With your polarizing filter, you’ll want to know how many stops of light the filter blocks. Or, rather than shoot in Shutter Priority, shoot in Aperture Priority. Set a very small f-stop like f/9 or smaller. Set the ISO at 100. Let the camera pick the appropriate shutter speed. For a longer shutter speed, pick a smaller f-stop (try 11, then 16, or whatever). Throw the filter on and see if it calculates a longer shutter speed at the same f-stop and ISO.

Thanks, and beautiful photos! I don't know how many stops my filter blocks, it's a Hoya Pro 1 52mm and I use a step up ring with it. But I'll experiment as you suggested starting at f9 in aperture priority and work from there.

I still don't get how Tourlou got those images with only 1 second shutter speed. You've demonstrated at least 15 seconds is needed for that type of effect.

 Merlin5's gear list:Merlin5's gear list
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JustUs7 Contributing Member • Posts: 886
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

Merlin5 wrote:

Thanks, and beautiful photos! I don't know how many stops my filter blocks, it's a Hoya Pro 1 52mm and I use a step up ring with it. But I'll experiment as you suggested starting at f9 in aperture priority and work from there.

I still don't get how Tourlou got those images with only 1 second shutter speed. You've demonstrated at least 15 seconds is needed for that type of effect.

15 seconds isn't 'needed'. It can be fun to play with and considering the relatively low volume of the falls I was at - longer certainly enhances the effect.

If you look at Tourlou's photo's - that's a very high volume of water moving very fast. How far does the water move in 1 second? The water is blurred over that distance. Consider how Niagara Falls looks at any shutter speed. A lot of water moving fast is going to blur. When you're dealing with a trickle of water or a lower volume, generally a slower shutter speed will be needed. In the OP's fountain - you have droplets spraying from a fountain. If you opened up a fire hydrant, it would look very different. Notice, also, that Tourlou stepped down to f/16 in the sunny first image to get that 1 second exposure without blowing highlights.

Unfiltered with slower shutter speeds, you run up against exposure limitations. Too much light will blow out highlights with white water.

Edit:  Thinking about it - a polarizing filter might add 1 stop?  I really don't know.  ND's come in various 'strengths'.  just consider each darker sunglasses for the camera.  Common ones are 3-stop, 6-stop, and 10-stop.  you can stack them too.

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Merlin5 Regular Member • Posts: 308
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

JustUs7 wrote:

15 seconds isn't 'needed'. It can be fun to play with and considering the relatively low volume of the falls I was at - longer certainly enhances the effect.

If you look at Tourlou's photo's - that's a very high volume of water moving very fast. How far does the water move in 1 second? The water is blurred over that distance. Consider how Niagara Falls looks at any shutter speed. A lot of water moving fast is going to blur. When you're dealing with a trickle of water or a lower volume, generally a slower shutter speed will be needed. In the OP's fountain - you have droplets spraying from a fountain. If you opened up a fire hydrant, it would look very different. Notice, also, that Tourlou stepped down to f/16 in the sunny first image to get that 1 second exposure without blowing highlights.

Unfiltered with slower shutter speeds, you run up against exposure limitations. Too much light will blow out highlights with white water.

Edit: Thinking about it - a polarizing filter might add 1 stop? I really don't know. ND's come in various 'strengths'. just consider each darker sunglasses for the camera. Common ones are 3-stop, 6-stop, and 10-stop. you can stack them too.

Thanks, that's a great explanation.

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ButchA61
OP ButchA61 Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!

Beautiful photos!!!  My God, I love those waterfall photos!  THAT is what I want to try to do (if I can find a suitable waterfall somewhere)!

I have learned so much already from everyone on this forum, and also from a little "trial and error".

 ButchA61's gear list:ButchA61's gear list
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JustUs7 Contributing Member • Posts: 886
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

Appreciate the feedback.  Have to admit - I'm really proud of the above and probably show them off too much.  I made a great leap forward just this year in understanding some of this and in having the toys to do it, so I think i shot out of my league on those.

Correction from my prior comments.

The 4:16 photo would have been 1/4th of a second unfiltered.

The 52 second photo would have been 1/20th of a second unfiltered.

The app I use is LE Calculator. You can select the ND filter you're using. Select the shutter time the camera is giving you for a target exposure in Aperture priority. The app will show you how long to keep the shutter open with the filter on. I had it aligned wrong when I quoted the above.

Some "how to" info (from my limited and decidedly amateur experience):

SET UP:

- Set up my tripod, attach my corded shutter release, and compose my shot.

- Set the camera in Aperture Priority and select an aperture that provides the depth of field I want. Usually somewhere between 9 - 16.

- Set ISO to 100. If you leave ISO on 'auto', when you attach your filter - the camera will choose a much higher ISO to adjust image brightness.

- Pick my auto focus point and take a picture.

- I review to see what shutter speed the camera chose and check the histogram for blown highlights.

- If I'm happy with the above....

FINAL:

- Switch focus to manual so it won't change with the filter on.

- Turn off image stabilization in my lens.  People argue about whether this matters. I find IS on a tripod is looking to correct for movement that isn't there and can introduce camera shake. Other opinions differ and say that's an old problem that newer lenses don't have. I go by my own results.

- Switch from Aperture Priority to Manual settings (or Bulb* if I need longer than 30 seconds)

* Some consumer DSLR's don't have a Bulb mode

- Set my ISO at 100 and my Aperture where I had it for my set up shot.

- Attach my filter.

- Go to my LE Calculator app and plug in my filter strength (10-stop in my case) and shutter speed that the camera chose in my first shot.

- Set the shutter speed in manual for whatever the calculator said (or open the shutter and watch the clock count up until I reach the target time if over 30 seconds).

- Waive people off that are about to walk in front of my camera because they don't realize I'm standing there with the shutter open.

- Do it all again because those people ignored me.

- Light does change - so I'll adjust my shutter speed up or down with the filter on until I'm happy with the final result.  The calculator just gives me a good starting point.

One thing I learned about ND filters is some can introduce a bit of a color cast. Mine tends toward blue. You do have to edit this in post, which is another thing I use my test shot for. It's a target for correct color in my final image.

 JustUs7's gear list:JustUs7's gear list
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Krusty79 Senior Member • Posts: 2,121
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

Congrats on learning a new technique that you can apply to moving water shots. The first filter I would recommend is a circular polarizer. It acts as a weak ND filter that blocks a stop or two of light. It also reduces glare off non-metallic surfaces and greatly reduces glare on the surface of the water.

I bought a 6 stop ND filter and have not felt the need to use it. If you shoot in the golden hours or on a cloudy day, you will avoid any harsh shadows. Using a small aperture will normally give you a slow enough of a shutter speed to blur the water without any strong ND filters.

Like another poster said, you have to chimp to see if the shutter speed is giving you the correct effect. Too fast of a shutter and the water does not get blurred much. But if you use too long of a shutter speed, the water loses definition and can look like a mess. Faster moving water requires faster shutter speeds.

Since you like waterfalls, here are a couple more from Yosemite....

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/gkphotos79/
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Merlin5 Regular Member • Posts: 308
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

Awesome images Krusty. Where would you have placed your focal point?

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ButchA61
OP ButchA61 Forum Member • Posts: 74
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!

Wow.... Incredible images of the waterfalls around Yosemite! I have NO filters at all, just the standard "kit" lenses that came with my Nikon D3500, and also a recently bought AF-S DX 35mm f/1.8G prime lens.

I constantly look at other photos, study them, look at the data (EXIF info) and remember how it was done so I can learn from it.

Thank you all!

 ButchA61's gear list:ButchA61's gear list
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Krusty79 Senior Member • Posts: 2,121
Re: Blurring water (slow shutter) -- I did it!!
1

Thank you Merlin and Butch. I usually focus on a point about 1/3 of the way into the scene, or on the foreground interest if I am using any. I normally shoot these at a small aperture like f/11, so my DOF should be pretty good.

Although the shutter speeds are important, I think the most important factor is working on your photographic vision - learning to compose shots through the viewfinder where there is a natural flow the eye should follow. I try to eliminate/reduce anything that interrupts that flow and keep distractions out of the frame.

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