Today I received a question on one of my flickr photos about how to take photos of blurred water. Here is the shot in question, click on the photo to enlarge:
The enquiry was from one of my contacts named kierobau and this was their question:
i like how you blured down the water a little,
so how do you do that?
a bit out of my league i guess . . .as i only have a p&s
My answer was as follows:
As it was around noon that I took this shot, it was really sunny and normally it’s impossible to get a time-lapse shot at that time of day without over-exposing the photo. In this instance, I used a neutral density ND8 filter. This has the effect of blocking out three f/ stops of sunlight coming into the lens. Thus allowing me to take a longer exposure. There are a couple of important things that need to be considered when attempting a shot like this.
1. Amount of light (dawn or dusk or overcast days are best, otherwise use an ND filter).
2. A tripod (or somewhere to rest the camera without touching it) is essential as the slightest movement will wreck the sharpness of the features surrounding the water (which is of course the only thing that you DO want blurred).
3. A remote control or shutter release cable so that you don’t have to touch the camera at all after setting up the shot (framed and focused). If you don’t have one, set the camera for a delayed shutter release (5 or 10 seconds maybe). Most cameras have this feature.
4. Shoot in manual mode. Set your desired aperture and shutter speed. If you are unsure as to how long to set the shutter speed on your camera, use Aperture Priority mode. As you said you only have a point and shoot camera, it shouldn’t be a problem. Most modern point and shoots come with this mode these days. In this mode, all you need to do is to set the aperture. The lower the f/ stop, the smaller the aperture – so try setting your camera to 2 stops above the lowest f/ stop on your camera eg: if the lowest is say f/ 3.5, the next stop might be f/ 4 and then f/ 4.5 – so set the f/ stop to 4.5. An added benefit to this is that two stops above the lowest aperture setting is often the “sweet spot” that will give you the sharpest photo.
I hope all of that made sense. If anyone else has any more tips, that would be great.