Photographing the Spillway

Flooded Spillway, Benalla Vic.

I recently posted this shot on Facebook and had a couple of queries about the settings and techniques so have decided to set out the specifics of it here.  For more details about getting that flowing water effect in your photos of waterfalls and streams have a look at my earlier article –  Click here

We’re currently in Benalla, Victoria and the lake in town is created by a rock wall which becomes a rocky spillway when the water level is high enough.  It had been almost dry but recent rain in the highlands had sent enough water in this direction to have it racing down the rock face.  (In fact the water kept rising and by the next morning the spot I had taken this shot from was under 10-12 feet of fast flowing water.)

Technical Details for the image are:

Nikon D7200 with Nikkor 35mm f1.8G lens ; Polarising Filter

1/10 sec; f16; ISO 100   Exposure Mode – Manual (Spot Metering)

A few factors combined to make this image possible at these settings:

  1. As you can see from the glimpse of sky, the rain hadn’t cleared away so it was still cloudy enough to keep light levels low, so at f16 (which gave the depth of field I wanted) shutter speeds were already fairly slow.  By adding a Polarising Filter I could slow them down a bit more.
  2. The water was flowing quickly so I didn’t need extra-long  exposures to get the effect I wanted (and in any case, my personal preference is usually to keep a bit of detail in the water rather than a completely “milky” effect).
  3. I could get close to the water (although you wouldn’t want to see how my tripod was perched on the rock wall – needless to say, I never removed the camera strap from around my neck just in case!) By using the 35mm lens (rather than a wider angle) I could fill the frame with the water which again meant that the shutter speed didn’t need to be super-slow.

As far as technique goes – I used Manual Mode and, leaving the ISO at 100 and Aperture at f16, took shots at a range of shutter speeds to make sure I got the effect I wanted.  After each exposure I checked the histogram to make sure I hadn’t lost detail in the highlights.  To minimise camera shake (which can happen, even on a tripod) I used the 2 second exposure delay which flicks the mirror out of the way before the actual exposure is made.  Alternatively you could use the mirror lock-up function and a remote release.

I hope this helps next time you are photographing flowing water and, as always, keep experimenting because each situation is slightly different.


Svenimages Is Nomadic

For anyone who doesn’t already know, we are now full-time travelers.  Home is now wherever we park our caravan and ute.  We plan to follow the seasons, avoiding the coldest winters and hottest summers as much as possible.  Along the way we will be visiting and photographing as many places as we can, concentrating on some of the less “touristy” destinations.

I look forward to sharing these places through images and photography hints so keep an eye on the Gallery and Blog on this website for new additions.  You can also follow on Facebook and Instagram.  Feel free to share with any of your friends who might be interested.



Don’t Forget the Polarising Filter

These days it is easy to associate the term “filter” with post-processing rather than describing something you attach to the front of your lens.  But one “on camera” filter that really should be included in the kit of any photographer of landscapes or other outdoor subjects is the Polariser.

If your subject includes water, sky or foliage a polariser can, in the right situation, greatly enhance the saturation of your colours before you even get to post-processing.  In addition, just like polarised sunglasses, the filter can let the camera “see” through water more clearly by cutting down reflections.

 Polariser 01 web

A Polariser is great for emphasising clouds

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Take a Photographic Journey Without the Travel Time

Have you noticed that when you travel to somewhere new you have no trouble finding subjects and inspiration to make you get the camera out, try some new (or tried and true) techniques and hopefully create some of those special images?  For most of us, day to day life can tend to get in the way of a “photography fix” and we can’t all be travelling, all the time.

But there is a solution that can give you the chance to get out there, try a whole range of photographic types, get some great shots and even learn a bit about your local area.

Photo Journey 03web

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Eight Features of Your Camera That Will Improve Your Photography

When you decide to take your photography beyond the fully automatic “point and shoot” stage you find that, not only do you increase your chances of capturing some great shots, but you also experience the added satisfaction of knowing that you have captured these shots because you applied the techniques necessary to achieve the result you were after.  Not only that, but when you make the decisions yourself, rather than leaving them all to the camera, you are more likely to be able to achieve good results in the future, because you have experimented and found out what worked and what didn’t. Continue reading “Eight Features of Your Camera That Will Improve Your Photography”

Five Things to Remember When Photographing Buildings, Bridges etc

Almost everywhere you go you will find buildings, bridges and so on that just cry out to be photographed, but often the results don’t quite convey what you pictured at the time.  Because such structures vary so much in their size, design and surroundings there are no hard and fast rules as to the best way to photograph them all.  However, if you think about the following points each time, you will definitely increase your chances of taking home that spectacular image you were aiming for.

DSC_0957 web

Continue reading “Five Things to Remember When Photographing Buildings, Bridges etc”