Water: long or short exposure?

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Quarkcharmed
OP Quarkcharmed Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: Water: long or short exposure?

Bobthearch wrote:

Quarkcharmed wrote:

Bobthearch wrote:

The water in both of them is great. But I do prefer the first shot.

In the first photo, the shutter speed is such that it provides detail and a sense of action and motion. And I prefer the color.

In the second photo the water is great, a more peaceful and mysterious aura. But the color isn't as inspiring, and I think the shadows are lifted too much on some of the rocks.

Thanks for sharing that scene, wish I was there right now!

Thank you!

Yeah the second one is more gloomy and also less contrasty, the relative brightness between #1 and #2 isn't how it was in reality.

If it were me I'd revisit the second photo, darken it, and see what it looked like in black and white. Maybe emphasize the shapes and misty water over the color.

Interestingly, I try b&w on many of my shots, this one didn't work to me in b&w - the blueish palette isn't very colourful on its own. Also the layers of rocks aren't well separated in colour and there's even less separation in b&w.

If you like it's fine to edit and repost it in b&w, I should've mentioned it was fine to edit the images.

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Gary from Seattle Veteran Member • Posts: 5,283
Re: Water: long or short exposure?

Graham Meale wrote:

My preference with moving water is to use either a very slow or very fast shutter, not something in between. The latter provides an "arty" effect if that's what one desires (and by the way I seldom do), whereas the other "freezes" the motion.

I think it depends on the volume of flow - but I am thinking here more of waterfalls. Still, when I shot with big waves whose tops were being blown back seaward by a strong offshore wind at Shi Shi Beach a couple of years ago, freezing the action was very interesting. A blended shot would not have been. You definitely get more color in shots with faster shutter speeds as the OP's images demonstrated.

With waterfalls, I would shoot something like Nevada Falls in Yosemite in spring in full sun with a high shutter speed to emphasize the power of the falls. With Burney Falls near Mt. Shasta, which had less volume, lot's of moss and cool rocks, my best images were not of the falls, but of smaller subsidiary falls of water. By keeping an intermediate SS of about 1/15 to 1/5 second, there was sufficient flow to be able to trace each flow (or trickle) of water as it dropped and splashed from rock to rock. Had I shot a faster SS none of this flow would have been evident; had I shot much slower the individual sprays would have been lost, making the blended mage far less interesting. I this all depends on the volume and consistency of the pattern of flow. Some of the shots I took near Mooney Falls in the mid-90's were similar, though my best image from there is of blended flow mimicking travertine limestone and hanging on my wall - Phillip Hyde apparently took the same image.

Shooting fast moving small streams (and most often waterfalls), the key is not to have too much white water as it detracts. Then, shooting an area of good flow, but not sufficient to produce a lot of white water, and flowing through boulders, I might prefer to shoot at a longer SS, but it all depends on the rate of flow. South Creek near Bishop is a good example if you find the right place to shoot. Perhaps my best stream image was taken there in the mid-90's.

With rivers, it all depends; perhaps some blending is what I might do on average, but if I want the color of rocks to show through the river flow, or if I want a nice warm reflected tone in a detail shot, I would probably freeze the action to show the best reflections and the detail of the flow.

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Quarkcharmed
OP Quarkcharmed Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: short exposure, with some WB adjustment

Thank you!

Just a note the second shot was taken after sunset and it was relatively dark already, I don't think i used any filters. I increased the f-number from f10 to f13 to get a bit longer exposure though.

akustykmagmanetpl wrote:

personally, I'm quite bored with the mindless abuse of ND1000 filters that got so common in the last 5 years.

both are good photos, but normal exposure has higher impact because it retains the natural drama of the scene (water and clouds) which ND1000 steamrolls by smoothing out those harsh edges that this scenery requires.

sidenote: I think it could be a little colder WB with (at least on my screen) some push to magenta (water but especially clouds could use a little more pinkish cast).

other than that: beautiful scene, lovely conditions and neatly composed. well done!

Which one do you like the most (if any)?

0.6s and 30s exposures respectively. The second one is taken closer to the blue hour and it would be difficult to actually make it shorter.

This thread is more to discuss your preferable approach to capturing the water movement, but CC is welcome and will be appreciated.

Cathedral Rocks

Cathedral Rocks

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Quarkcharmed
OP Quarkcharmed Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: Water: long or short exposure?

Thank you for the feedback!

I should've mentioned it's fine to reprocess these images and repost here.

Just a note these are not cropped at all, a rare case where I didn't even level the horizon as it looks ok as is. So there's nothing to uncrop, but otherwise they're heavily processed. The main issue I had was that the layers of rocks blend together and look like one big formation. This place is usually photographed from the other side and for a good reason. Converting to b&w makes them less separated again, at least I couldn't make it work.

jkjond wrote:

As displayed, the first is grabbing me more. I'm wanting to like the LE more than I do, but it isn't drawing me in. The biggest problem with the LE is timing - the sky shapes and surf of the foreground rocks being much more interesting in the first.

I think they both need a lot more processing.

Much as I like the sky shapes in the first it feels too tightly cropped at the top. There's a frustrating incompleteness to the gap in the clouds as it runs off into the frame. Processing isn't going to change that directly, though making more of the foreground will reduce the role of the sky so make it less apparent. There's so much scrummy rich detail that you've hidden in the rocks, and the patterns in the foam flowing over the outcrop is underplayed.

The LE, the sky isn't that interesting when compared to the first, which is a huge loss. But there is a lot of detail to be had in the foreground. As with the first shot, developing the foreground will play down the role of the sky and maximise the good part. It's the same with all shots, make the most of the good bits, play down the frustrations.

I don't know what your take is on reprocessing other people's work on here? I'm convinced both versions have a lot to gain, more so the long exposure, which goes some way to bridging the gap between the two. Oooh, and there's a good black and white lurking in there

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Lan Senior Member • Posts: 2,474
Re: Water: long or short exposure?

Thank you for giving us approval to post edits

I think the main change I'd make is to tweak the colour balance away from the cyan end by increasing the yellow and magenta somewhat:

Colour balanced away from cyan.

Quarkcharmed wrote:

Cathedral Rocks

1Dx4me Forum Pro • Posts: 10,441
Re: Water: long or short exposure?

i never liked the long exposure foggy water...so it has to be #1 it is a nicely composed shot!

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jkjond
jkjond Forum Pro • Posts: 10,045
Re: Water: long or short exposure?
1

Thanks for the nod to reprocess. When I refer to crops I realise there often isn't an option to 'uncrop' - I should really say 'framed'.

I'll repost your version then mine in each case to show the change in emphasis. My versions may well be backtracking over ground you dismissed on your processing, but hopefully worth a look

Cathedral Rocks

Cathedral Rocks

Plus a black and white of the long exposure. This version is looking a bit pale in the mid ground, I'd likely play some more if it were mine.

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Reilly Diefenbach
Reilly Diefenbach Forum Pro • Posts: 14,046
Short Exposure.

I can't tolerate fluffy water.

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Bobthearch
Bobthearch Veteran Member • Posts: 9,753
Re: Water: long or short exposure?
2

Quarkcharmed wrote:

If you like it's fine to edit and repost it in b&w, I should've mentioned it was fine to edit the images.

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Bobthearch
Bobthearch Veteran Member • Posts: 9,753
Re: Water: long or short exposure?

Quarkcharmed wrote:

If you like it's fine to edit and repost it in b&w, I should've mentioned it was fine to edit the images.

This one I cropped to emphasize the foreground water movement, which I think is the most interesting aspect of the image.  Converted to black and white, as I found the colors distracting.  Adjusted exposure settings to leave plenty of detail in the rocks.

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Quarkcharmed
OP Quarkcharmed Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: Water: long or short exposure?

Thanks - interesting interpretation, although it's definitely not how it looked and felt like - the sky actually did have cyan cast and it didn't have warm/pinkish tint. The foam in the middle of your version became too bright and a bit distracting but as I said it's an interesting and more optimistic interpretation - I tried to convey the drama. In fact if the conditions were a bit more dramatic I wouldn't have been shooting the scene at all - such places may have treacherous high waves/splashes.

Lan wrote:

Thank you for giving us approval to post edits

I think the main change I'd make is to tweak the colour balance away from the cyan end by increasing the yellow and magenta somewhat:

Colour balanced away from cyan.

Quarkcharmed wrote:

Cathedral Rocks

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Quarkcharmed
OP Quarkcharmed Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: Water: long or short exposure?
1

Thanks! That's very interesting - your version of the #1 looks almost exactly like one of my early edits, brighter with the shadows lifted. I then made it more dramatic and more contrasty. When posting to Instagram I usually lift the shadows in many of the images because phone screens usually add contrast and may make the shadows completely dark.

Same with #2, initially it was lighter (proof: https://500px.com/photo/1009938191/flip-side-of-cathedral-rocks-by-michael-borisenko) but later on I darkened it to convey the gloomy dusk time.

The b&w isn't very exciting compared to the colour one tbh, might need a lot more dodging&burning but the biggest issue is still in the separation of the three layers in the rocks. In colour it's a bit easier to show how the distant cathedral rock/stack becomes more hazy and less saturated.

jkjond wrote:

Thanks for the nod to reprocess. When I refer to crops I realise there often isn't an option to 'uncrop' - I should really say 'framed'.

I'll repost your version then mine in each case to show the change in emphasis. My versions may well be backtracking over ground you dismissed on your processing, but hopefully worth a look

Cathedral Rocks

Cathedral Rocks

Plus a black and white of the long exposure. This version is looking a bit pale in the mid ground, I'd likely play some more if it were mine.

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Quarkcharmed
OP Quarkcharmed Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: Water: long or short exposure?
1

Nice one, and it's actually very close to one of my initial attempts to frame it on the location, here's an unprocessed one, with a cormorant posing:

As a side note, recently (e.g. last year or so) I stopped being a huge fan of shadow lifting and showing all the detail, and increasing microcontrast (e.g. clarity/texture in LR) creates this grungy look that some people like and some people don't.

Bobthearch wrote:

Quarkcharmed wrote:

If you like it's fine to edit and repost it in b&w, I should've mentioned it was fine to edit the images.

This one I cropped to emphasize the foreground water movement, which I think is the most interesting aspect of the image. Converted to black and white, as I found the colors distracting. Adjusted exposure settings to leave plenty of detail in the rocks.

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Quarkcharmed
OP Quarkcharmed Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: Short Exposure.
2

Reilly Diefenbach wrote:

I can't tolerate fluffy water.

I hated it too before ~5 years ago I tried the long exposure myself. If you shoot at base ISO at dawn/dusk, you inevitably get long exposures without any filters. Also the smoothed out water flow is how ancient (older than ~100-150 years) landscape photography looked like. The film those days was very low ISO and required long exposures at daytime.

So I convinced myself that fluffy water is actually perfectly natural in photography.

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richj20 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,309
Re: Water: long or short exposure?

Quarkcharmed wrote:

This scene suggests the power and fury of the water crashing against the rocks. For me, a faster shutter speed would better capture the feeling.

A couple of examples:

Of course, if your intention is to create a different mood, then your example works fine!

- Richard

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Quarkcharmed
OP Quarkcharmed Contributing Member • Posts: 729
Re: Water: long or short exposure?

Great examples. I agree with the short exposure on the waterfall with water spray and mist - in that case it does show the power. The second example, not so much in my opinion, the water looks frozen and not how we actually see it, I'd probably do a 0.2-1s exposure in that case.

With the seascapes and waves/splashes I prefer exposures around 0.5-1s as that timing shows the motion the best to me. In my case on that location, the surf wasn't very powerful, had it been more powerful my equipment wouldn't have survived on the rock were I was standing and I'm not sure about myself.

So yeah I rather tried to show the mood/atmosphere and not the power of the surf.

richj20 wrote:

Quarkcharmed wrote:

This scene suggests the power and fury of the water crashing against the rocks. For me, a faster shutter speed would better capture the feeling.

A couple of examples:

Of course, if your intention is to create a different mood, then your example works fine!

- Richard

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jkjond
jkjond Forum Pro • Posts: 10,045
Re: Water: long or short exposure?
1

The irony is that most of my landscape photography is dark and moody

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kaphinga
kaphinga Senior Member • Posts: 2,849
Re: Water: long or short exposure?
1

I like both versions.  They tell two different stories --- the first is about energy and anger, and the second is mysterious and moody.   The preferable one depends on the story you want to tell.

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nevada5
nevada5 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,973
Re: Water: long or short exposure?
2

Everything about #1 is better IMO. I have to say I don't care for the second image at all.

#1 has, and #2 lacks - contrast, drama, interest throughout the scene.

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KENTGA Veteran Member • Posts: 6,991
Re: Water: long or short exposure?

I live # 1 hands down--- both the sky and the water.

Kent

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