By Kerry Drager
Some beautiful things happen when light and composition come together, especially when it involves water in motion!
Jane, a family friend, has a beautiful waterfall fountain in her back yard. It's an eye-grabbing scene at any time of day, but for photography, the sunny midday is rarely a satisfactory time for shooting moving water ... often too harsh and contrasty, with washed-out colors. (See the vertical "Before" image below.)
For more pleasing light with better color, you need the soft conditions of overcast or shade. Then, with the "right" camera settings - small aperture (high f/number) and low ISO number - it's possible to capture a smooth and flowing look to the water. See my "After" horizontal close-up image, which also shows another fine evening feature: nice colors. The colors were further enhanced by a polarizing filter that reduced the amount of glare.
Technical data for the main close-up image: evening shade, f16 @ 30 seconds, ISO 200, 80-200 zoom @ 200mm. I also used a polarizing filter, which reduced the amount of glare in the scene. In fact, a polarizer can really make the colors come alive in wet rocks, as it did here. This deep-tinted filter also had another benefit: It further extended the exposure time (by about 2 stops). Of course, a tripod and cable shutter release kept the camera steady.
Thanks, Kerry Drager