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"Milky Water"

I have to admit I really do love long exposure photography, especially when flowing water is involved. The story and overall mood of a photo can be greatly enhanced with the ‘milky water’ affect. Waterfalls are commonly showcased using long exposure photography but this method can be used for any moving body of water. This brings me onto this months snap of the month…as voted for by you!

This picturesque river weaving its way through the surrounding bushland is Tallebudgera Creek in south east Queensland, Australia.

After some recent heavy rainfall across south east Queensland we ventured across to Tallebudgera Creek hoping the recent downpours would lend itself to some nice photography opportunities. A couple of high stream crossings on the way to the carpark gave us an early indication that there was going to be a lot of water to come…

and how right we were!

What usually would be a short 5km bushland walk to the beautiful Gorge Falls became a real military operation. The usual river crossings along the hike were now chest height with fast moving water. After a couple of hours of wading through crossings with my camera bag above my head, desperately trying not lose my footing and it turning into a very expensive morning we FINALLY made it to Gorge Falls. The falls had been transformed from its usual elegant trickle to a thunderous torrent of water down into a deep plunge pool below.

The way back down to the car, retracing our steps was just as hard as on the way up. Trying to pick out where our route was with very little sign of any path the whole hike made it really difficult.

But WOW it was all so worth it!!

What an absolutely stunning environment this was, made even more spectacular by the sheer volume and power of water on the day. At several points on the way back down I managed to find the odd river bank where I could set up my tripod and camera (somehow still dry!) and take a few shots of our amazing surroundings.

I really hope you like these snaps and enjoyed hearing a bit more about the adventure that went along side them. If you have any questions about the location, settings used, or any general photography questions please comment or message me directly via the ‘contact’ page.

What kind of photography would you like to hear more about next month? Id love to hear from you!
Tips & Tricks:
  • Aperture:

Set aperture to around f/16-22. This will ensure that the majority of the image will be in focus but also will reduce the amount of light entering your camera, allowing for a slower shutter speed which is needed to get the blurred water affect.

  • ISO:

ISO should be set to 100 to ensure the image is as dark as possible to allow for the slow shutter speed.

  • Shutter Speed :

As you can see from above I used a shutter speed of 1 second for the photos from Tallebudgera Creek. You will want to use a shutter speed of at least 1/2 (or slower) a second for any milky water photography. The shutter speed you will use will be different for every scene depending upon how fast moving the water is and how much ambient light there is. For this reason I highly recommend shooting these shots around sunrise and sunset when there is lower light. This will allow you to decrease the shutter speed and allow for more motion blur without being left with an overexposed image.

  • Focus:

Once you are happy with the focus of the scene a good tip is to switch to manual focus to ensure the focus remains exactly how you want it throughout the shoot. It is worth also turning any lens stabilisation off at this point to reduce any unwanted shaking.

  • ND Filters:

Neutral Density Filters are an extremely useful tool for this type of photography. They reduce the amount of light that can enter the lens/camera and in doing so allows you to slow the shutter speed down further without over exposing the image. For example if shooting at mid day you might only be able to get away with a 1/2 second shutter speed before your image is overexposed. This won’t allow for much motion blur if the flow of water is fairly slow. Using the ND filter you will be able to set a shutter speed of 3-4 seconds gaining that milky water affect while having a suitable exposure to your image. I highly recommend spending slightly more on a variable ND filter which can be adjusted while on the lens itself, making the adjustments of the image exposure much easier.

  • Delayed Shutter:

If you have a remote shutter release cable to ensure the camera and tripod is completely still when taking the photo that would be well worth using too. If your camera has an inbuilt delayed shutter release I would recommend using a 2 or 10 second delay to ensure the tripod and camera are completely still. This will ensure your shot is focused correctly leaving you with a nice crisp shot.

Any questions I'd love to hear from you!


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