Canon PowerShot G12, Making Water Fluid

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There’s nothing quite as satisfying for the landscape shooter as capturing a silky waterfall shot. Creating the smooth-flowing effect is as simple as adjusting your shutter speed to allow the water to be in motion while the shutter is open. The key is to have your camera on a stable platform (such as a tripod) and use a shutter speed that’s long enough to work—at least 1/15 of a second or longer (Figure 7.11).

Waterfalls at long exposures take on a completely different appearance than when shot at typical shutter speeds.
Figure 7.11 Waterfalls at long exposures take on a completely different appearance than when shot at typical shutter speeds.

Setting up for a waterfall shot

  1. Attach the camera to your tripod, then compose and focus your shot.
  2. Make sure the ISO is set to 80.
  3. Using Av mode, set your aperture to f/8, the smallest opening.
  4. Press the shutter button halfway so the camera takes a meter reading.
  5. Check to see if the shutter speed is 1/15 or slower.
  6. Take a photo and then check the image on the LCD.

If the water is blinking on the LCD, indicating a loss of detail in the highlights, then use the Exposure Compensation dial  to bring details back into the waterfall.

There is a possibility that you will not be able to have a shutter speed that is long enough to capture a smooth, silky effect, especially if you are shooting in bright daylight conditions. To overcome this obstacle, try enabling the Neutral Density filter. This feature darkens the scene by three stops (1/8 the light intensity), which allows you to use slower shutter speeds during bright conditions. Think of it as sunglasses for your camera lens (Figure 7.12).

The Neutral Density filter prevents overexposed areas by darkening the entire exposure.
Figure 7.12 The Neutral Density filter prevents overexposed areas by darkening the entire exposure.

Enabling the Neutral Density Filter

  1. Press the Function/Set button to bring up the Function menu.
  2. Press the Down button and highlight the ND Filter icon.
  3. Turn the Control dial or press the Right or Left button to select ND Filter On.
  4. Press Function/Set again to exit the menu.