Silky Smooth Water

In Landscapes by Patrick


I have shared on my blog previously about combining images in camera to achieve a smooth silky water effect, and it can be done without adding and ND filter. I absolutely love that technique, but admittedly have not had a chance to use it very often. Well I resurrected this technique on a recent short trip where there were waterfalls. Not grand sweeping, take your breath away waterfalls, but falls none the less. One thing that I wanted to do with this technique was to compare it to a longer exposure. The top exposure is reflective of 10 frames combined in camera rendering the smooth water. Considering this was shot around mid-day with no filter in harsh light, the picture turned out great. You can even see the rainbow on the left side of the frame generated from the mist. This technique has a very distinct look and is different every time. Given that it is so easy to do, I usually will take two or three sets and choose the one I like best in post.


The above image is a 3 second long exposure using a ND filter. Looking back, what I probably should have done is take the two images from the same spot, but that did not occur to me until writing this post. That would have been interesting to see the subtle differences between the two techniques. None the less, the combing images in camera is something that you can have in your toolbox at all times if the filters option is no go. Here are the instructions for the in camera technique again as I was getting email on how to do it.

There are a couple sub-settings as you drill down that will be helpful to set to obtain a good result. First, set the number of frames to combine to the highest number. I use 10 for my final image. In the Nikon models you also have the option of single or series. I like this technique so much that I created a shortcut to it in my menu.So here is the technique.

Take a test shot to set your exposure
Frame up the composition that you want
Set your focus and turn the AF off
Set the desired aperture
Set your camera to continuous high
Press the shutter

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