Long water exposures with the EM5

Discussion in 'Micro Four Thirds Forum' started by tdp, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. tdp

    tdp Guest

    Built a homemade variable ND filter using 2 polarizers I picked up in a camera store bargain bin for 3 dollars each. Wanted to test it out today so I took a detour on the way to work, then again on the way home - to shoot some long exposures of moving water.

    Setup was an EM5, 12-50, wired release and a tripod. I set the front polarizer to get the reflection how I wanted, set the focus then turned the outer reversed polarizer until I got the darkness I wanted. Camera was on manual, ISO 200 and f8. Shutter speed was 20-30 seconds on bulb.

    Lessons learned: Next time I will bring a small flashlight so I can see what I am doing and so I can paint a little light on rocks as I see fit. Also while I know how to manual focus on my CV lenses, I couldn't figure it out on the fly with the kit lens....in the half dark. Lesson there is to set your gear up before you head out.

    Here are the shots, hope you all enjoy. Pretty cool what a small camera, the kit zoom lens and a 6 dollar VND can do.

    - tdp


    Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr

    8134366293_07fea4f6d1_b.
    Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr


    Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr


    Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr


    Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr


    Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr


    Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr


    Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr


    Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr
     
  2. winginkris

    winginkris SC Veteran

    315
    Dec 15, 2011
    Very creative. I love the look of long exposure water pics!
     
  3. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    Very nice. Only problem with doing this is that trees blown in the wind do show blur. Overall though, very nice.
     
  4. Ripleysbaby

    Ripleysbaby supernatural anesthetist

    Sep 9, 2011
    Cumbria UK
    Garry
    Or do it in the daylight with a strong nd OR Multiple exposures. or both. :)
     
  5. tdp

    tdp Guest

    I used a variable nd which is pretty strong, and the movement from the leaves doesn't bother me at all. In fact, I think it is part of what makes a photograph like this appealing.
     
  6. photogfollett

    photogfollett SC Regular

    194
    Feb 7, 2012
    Roseburg, Oregon
    John
    Fantastic images, thanks for posting them!
     
  7. Ripleysbaby

    Ripleysbaby supernatural anesthetist

    Sep 9, 2011
    Cumbria UK
    Garry
    Sorry missed the first bit about the polariser . Tapatalk seems to be misbehaving today ?
    Nice clear contrasty images
     
  8. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Wow, awesome effect!
     
  9. Ghosthunter

    Ghosthunter boo!

    Sep 8, 2010
    London UK
    Andy
    Well that worked really well! Excellent job and a bargain too!
     
  10. tdp

    tdp Guest

    Thanks everyone. More to come once the weather lets up.
     
  11. tdp

    tdp Guest

  12. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I'm not following this. I understand working with layers, but how is this effect achieved by layering multiple shots?
     
  13. tdp

    tdp Guest

    underexpose a few shots by -.7 to -1
    create a layer stack in Photoshop with each individual image on a layer
    leave the base layer alone
    the next layers set blend mode to screen, adjust level to taste


    Then I like to add contrast via all or some of these: curves layer, dodge/burn, soft light layer. Finally I sharpen and export.
     
  14. Very nice photos.
     
  15. Luke

    Luke Super Moderator

    Nov 11, 2011
    Milwaukee, WI USA
    Luke
    I may give this a shot..... I had never heard of this technique and I'm usually too lazy to haul the tripod along or I forget the ND filter. Thanks for the details.
     
  16. Djarum

    Djarum SC All-Pro

    Jul 10, 2010
    Huntsville, AL
    Jason
    Wouldn't a few shots need over exposure to slow the water down?
     
  17. tdp

    tdp Guest

    All you need to do to make the water look fluid is have a slow shutter speed. You can do that with ND filters, stopping your lens down, low ISO or merely a rather low lit situation. Even at a low ISO, a long exposure time will result in some noise. Playing with all the options above and your particular camera will result in finding what works best for you. With very rapid water and the magic of image stability, you can even pull it off handheld if you have a steady hand. Its digital, so mistakes are easily deleted :)

    At 30 seconds, ISO 200 and a variable ND filter set to pretty dark I got the motion results I wanted but I got some noise. Not too bad, but I am interested in perfecting my water shots with the EM5 so I can tuck that technique away in my photo bag of tricks. I later tried shorter exposure times and blended the images together. Not bad either, but not the same amount of motion as the 30 second exposures.

    There is a technique where you use Photoshop Extended to stack multiple shots as smart layers and let the computer do the math for the blend, but I do not have the Extended version of Photoshop. Below is a single shot I modified using the Orton effect, something usually used on flowers and people. It turned out ok as well.

    8147301442_3e39fb182f_b.
    Orton by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr
     
  18. tdp

    tdp Guest

    Oh also if you overexpose your digital image the areas of bright white contain no almost no data, recovering detail in those areas with PP is near impossible. Most digital cameras do record a good amount of detail in the dark areas - that data is much easier to recover with software. Due to that, I think it is easier to go dark at the time of exposure then correct later with software. If you wanted to go overexposed then blend them down to the proper darker image, you would want to try the multiply option of your layer blending mode.