Fort Worth Water Gardens

Water and Steps 40mm, f/16, 0.4s, ISO 100

Taking pictures of flowing water is always fun but it requires a bit of experimentation.  Of course the definition of a “good” result is completely subjective — Do you want to completely lose the definition of the water? Completely blow out the water’s highlights? Freeze the motion or splashing of the water?  All of those things are cool at times.  My objective in these pictures was to open the shutter long enough to show the motion of the water yet keep some definition in some of the individual streams/strands of water as it flowed over the features of the water park (i.e. not turning all the water into a plain white blur).

There’s no one method to use when doing this.  My ideal aperture would be something around f/11 to be in the sharp range of the typical lens and have reasonable DOF.  However, I don’t own a neutral density filter so I sometimes have to stop down to be able to open the shutter as long as I’d like (I used f/16 in these photos, f/22 in some of the others I took).  Sometimes I’ll use my circular polarizer (gets me 1.5 to 2 stops).  I pick a shutter speed next — via experimentation to get the definition (or lack of) that I’d like in the water.  ISO is ideally 100 but I’ll vary that as necessary.  Then I play around with all three exposure variables until I get “good” results, the definition of which varies from outing-to-outing.

Composition options were endless in this park, but rather tricky.  Unless I was zoomed in very tight on a feature, the angles were such that something always looked out of whack.  When one feature was nicely framed, something else was awkwardly framed.  It made it rather interesting…

Post-processing was simple Lightroom tweaking.

Cascading Water 35mm, f/16, 1/4s, ISO 100

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