Monday, April 15, 2013

Reeds, Water & A Long Exposure

I took a recent excursion to a local fishing lake to get some watery shots and I liked it so much, that I had to go back again. This time though the weather wasn't in cahoots with my intentions, so my attempts at apprehending the setting sun and incarcerating it in my digital casket did not go to plan. That wily old sun. 

But as I was making my way out through the undergrowth I came across some reeds that caught my fancy. There was a bit of breeze about the place which didn't look too good on the water surface, so I set up my ever dependable tripod and prepared for some long exposures.

I wanted the surface of the water to be as smooth as possible so I did what I could to minimise the amount of light that was able to enter the lens, thereby extending the exposure as much as I could. This would dissipate the ripples, as they would all blur into each other, thus creating the illusion of a smooth finish, ideally.

I did this by closing the apperture to f/22 and bringing down the ISO to 50, or L as it's known on my camera. I would normally do neither of these things, as they each result in a loss of picture quality, but I decided the ends justified the means. Nothing was going to deter me from my plotted course.


f/22, ISO 50, 6 second exposure

This one wasn't taken at quite the right angle, as the remaining light in the sky is being reflected on the water and is slightly distracting. More importantly it also has the effect of highlighting the ripples on the surface, which is exactly the sort of thing I was trying to avoid.

I suitably punished myself for this obvious oversight and roared to the Sky Gods that they would not best me. 

f/22, ISO 50, 6 second exposure
So facing in another direction I managed to exclude any unwanted luminescence. I also found a slightly more isolated clump of reeds, something that had a bit more form to it. The surface of the lake is looking a lot better as well, although there are still some slight deviations there. 

f/22, ISO 50, 6 second exposure
Here the image has been simplified further by selecting an even more isolated stand and zooming in slightly further than before. Unfortunately cropping in did not reduce the available light enough to up the exposure time, so there is still a bit of variation on the surface, although it's looking a lot better than the first image. 

You can see the slight breeze has brought in some movement on the reeds as well, it's not ideal but can't be helped.

f/22, ISO 50, 8 second exposure
For the final image I simplified it as much as possible and zoomed right in to really isolate an element in the frame, this has had the advantage of bringing the exposure time up to 8 seconds, which was enough to completely eliminate the water movement, and has left a glass smooth finish surrounding this lonely twig..

And with that done, I directed a suitably smug grin towards those meddlesome Sky Gods and made on my way basked in the creamy glow of self satisfaction.

Who could want for more?

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