Frost creek

by Anthony Knight
(Ashville, Alabama, U.S.)

Frost Creek

Frost Creek

I am new to photography and would like some advice.

I was looking for a soft very relaxing picture. I shot it at 12 noon bright sunny day, the light made the creek look almost like frost was every where.

I'm not sure how well the effect is in reality, so any info good or bad is welcome. It's how we learn so I'm ready, and thanks again for any response

(For convenience, all links below open in new windows)
Anthony was going for 'soft' and 'relaxing' here. Hmmm… well, it's certainly soft, I'm just not sure about the relaxing part.

I think (although I may be wrong) that Anthony might have been going for one of those classic photos – the ones you see where the water has turned to mist.

If that misty water effect was the shot in mind – here's how to do it.

First set your camera up to take a long exposure. For fast bubbly water about a second will do, for slower calmer water go up to about 10 seconds. You need enough time for the water to blur across the photo –it's this blur that creates the misty effect.

Then set your camera down on a solid surface, or if you have one with you, a tripod. You need to keep the camera still for this effect because you want only the water to blur, not the rest of the scene.

Then, either using a remote shutter release, or the camera's own self timer, take the photo.

Now there are pitfalls with this misty effect, and I think (again, assuming this is what Anthony was going for) Anthony has fallen into one of them.

To create the misty water effect you need a long exposure. And this means letting a lot of light into the camera. You have to compensate for the long shutter speed by first closing down the camera's aperture. Click to read more on understanding exposure.

If this still results in too much light you have to take further steps. You could buy some neutral density filters and put these in front of the lens. These reduce the amount of light entering the camera, but don't add any colour tint (hence the term 'neutral'!)

The only other alternative is to take the photo when there is less light – in other words, very late in the day.

So . . . back to Anthony's photo. I think there is too much light here. The photo is overexposed, and this has led to many bleached out areas.

I also think (and I'm sure other readers will have their own opinions on this) that for a relaxing photo, maybe this was the wrong time of year.

There are few leaves on the trees and this has given the photo a stark quality.

Here's a suggestion – at this time of the year go for dramatic photos that could be turned into black and white pictures. When summer comes and the leaves return, then go for the relaxing shot.

Hope there are a few tips here, and thanks Anthony for the submission.


Get our recommended eBook.

Click here to post comments

Return to Digital photography tutorials - submissions, May 2008.