Water takes on different forms all around us; liquid, vapour, condensation, rain and even ice. What are the best ways to photograph such variety?
Let’s take a look…
Apart from the different characteristics of water, a key feature is its ability to move. How you intend to capture these characteristics and/ or movement- or lack of- will determine to a large extent your shooting choices.
Perfect spherical droplets are an iconic way to represent the ‘beading’ characteristic of water on a smooth surface.
The image above features three different water forms simultaneously. Sea water in the foreground, dark grey cloud condensation in the middle-ground and falling rain in the background.
Another way to capture the fluid qualities of water is to be submerged in it. Obviously only possible with a waterproof camera or housing, this perspective gives us a clear view of how colours and shapes can be distorted underwater.
Further, this image illustrates how water can be used as a lens to view the world not submerged.
These examples feature images with fairly fast shutter speeds, freezing the movement, but what if you wanted to show more water movement? To capture more you would need a slower shutter speed and probably a tripod to reduce unwanted camera shake and image blur.
If you’ve seen an ocean or lake in varying weather conditions, you will know that the body of water reflects the colours of the sky and nearby environs. The surface of the water also indicates air movement in varying textures. It is a constantly changing display of light, colour and texture- one of my favourite things to watch.
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One final idea to capture water is to look at the effect it has on other things like people and surfaces. The man in the image above has to wait while the wet pavement glistens and shines.
These are just a few suggestions to photograph ‘the elixer of life’- the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. These tips will help you on your way;
Think about the form the water is in and capture according to movement.
Clouds move slowly and are visible in daylight so a slow shutter speed would over expose your image.
Water from a spout or fountain moves fast so you have the option to use a very fast shutter speed for frozen droplets in mid air, or a slower speed for blurred movement.
Consider the reflected colours and distortion of shapes visible.