Smooth as silk

NPhoto - - Special Feature -

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.

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