Smooth as silk
What’s the effect? In the last time segment, we were concentrating on creating a sense of action in a seascape, but as we slow time down, the feeling becomes more artistic, like brush strokes on a canvas. Rushing waves still retain their texture, but have a softness about them reminiscent of paintings by the artist Claude Monet.
Before we look at how we create this effect, there are a few factors to consider. The amount of water and direction in which it’s flowing are especially important. It’s best if the wave is at the end of its approach so there is less surface water and more highlights showing, which will record as textured waves. The effect is completely different if the wave is approaching or receding so it’s down to personal choice. Personally, I feel if there is a large piece of rock in the foreground, then it looks better with waves rushing in around the subject.
What’s the time?
Small variances in time with this technique will produce a completely different effect, so experiment to see what you prefer. I have found the best shutter speed is around 1 sec. If you use an exposure of 1/2 sec, the water retains more texture, but lacks fluidity and silkiness. A second is long enough for the highlights in the waves to smooth out and reveal the rocks under the approaching water, as in this image.