Slow Shutter Speed on Water

By Ian Middleton

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This website and its articles contain links and adverts. The adverts and some links, but not all, are affiliate links. This means that if you click and buy something I will receive a small percentage of money, but at no extra cost to you. The price remains the same if you buy.

Slow Shutter Speed photography looks great on water.

But don’t always be tempted to go for the slow shutter speed. A faster shutter speed can also create interesting effects. On my workshops at the beautiful Vintgar Gorge in Slovenia, I use this waterfall scene to illustrate to participants the different effects you can get by varying the shutter speed. Usually a slow shutter speed of 1 second or more is enough to make the water look smooth and dreamy, especially when water is flowing fast like this.

Smooth dreamy water is not to everyone’s taste though. Some might prefer to capture a more realistic view of fast flowing water.

If you want to capture the water droplets, or give a sense of movement and a more realistic look to show how it might actually appear to the naked eye, then you need to start using faster shutter speeds.

Take a look at the photos below and the shutter speeds at which I took them.

Which one do you prefer?

The 16 Metre high Sum Waterfall in Vintgar Gorge, near Bled, Slovenia.
2 seconds
The 16 Metre high Sum Waterfall in Vintgar Gorge, near Bled, Slovenia.
1/8 second
The 16 Metre high Sum Waterfall in Vintgar Gorge, near Bled, Slovenia.
1/25 second
The 16 Metre high Sum Waterfall in Vintgar Gorge, near Bled, Slovenia.
1/100 second

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