Are you interested how photo on the top of this post was taken? I will try to describe... Surprisingly no tripod, nd filter or color grading was used. The image was even captured only by compact camera. But three important factors came together:
Good water, good sky, good light.
You can see how the sky influences final color and texture of the water. The first photo below is taken during day light and probably cloudy sky. The second photo is taken during the blue hour. It is the time when the day is over and night not started yet. Something between day and night. Sky was clear and sun under horizont. It means that golden light of the sun was changed by blue light typical for nightfall. There is one more advantage to take photo at this time. Water is usually calm because there is no wind. I’m considering Czech climat :) After all when the water isn’t calm, you can set up long shutter speed and make it smooth, you know...
Next point is the composition. If you are standing next to calm water you need to take calm shot. Clean and simple picture. It means that all disturbing elements need to be excluded and all calm elements included.
Water is as nice as the sky is. It’s a mirror.
Below you can see two pictures. In the first one there is a lot of things around: pier, landscape, sky, boat. Forest on the other bank is natural but not so clean. Sky is cloudy, so it isn’t clean and water is cloudy, because it reflects sky. Remember that water is as nice as the sky is.
The second picture is much better. There are only two important objects: clam boat and calm pier. Those objects are surrounded by calm water that reflects calm & clear sky. It is not easy to exclude all disturbing elements. You need to find good angle and focal length. The river is narrow and it’s difficult to exclude reflections of opposite bank. You can use a garden chair to stand on and find good angle to shot.
Take advantage of your situation. Just break the rules.
Different conditions means different benefits. Don’t worry to break the rules. First picture below shows that small amount of clouds in the sky can bring interesting texture to your scene. Clouds are reflected in the upper part of the photo. Also fog can help to make picture more simple and you can try to set up different angles because opposite bank is hidden.
Finally to do it less complicated, those are some basic tips for still water photography:
- Clear sky
- No wind
Do you have some photos of calm water? Which one do you love? Which are your tips & tricks? Share on twitter...