Micro 4/3 Long water exposures with the EM5

Tdp

All-Pro
Feb 15, 2019
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

View attachment 61393
Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr


Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr

View attachment 61395
Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr

View attachment 61396
Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr

View attachment 61397
Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr

View attachment 61398
Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr

View attachment 61399
Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr

View attachment 61400
Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr

View attachment 61401
Fluid by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr
 

Tdp

All-Pro
Feb 15, 2019
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.
 

Tdp

All-Pro
Feb 15, 2019
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.
 

Tdp

All-Pro
Feb 15, 2019
Wouldn't a few shots need over exposure to slow the water down?
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.


Orton by Photos By 夏天, on Flickr
 

Tdp

All-Pro
Feb 15, 2019
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.
 

Latest posts

Latest threads

Top Bottom