I returned from a fantastic trip to Norway with the Mentor Series. We explored the Lofoten Islands, a dramatic fjord landscape along the north coast of Norway. Our main goal was to capture the dramatic, moody landscape of this remote area. Weather changes by the minute there, creating dramatic lighting and cloud formations. We even had a few nights of successful northern lights shooting.
One creative choice that we made daily was deciding how to photograph water in the image. Crashing ocean waves and meandering streams could be frozen with fast shutter speeds to create an image with tension and drama. Or the water could be photographed at slow shutter speeds to create silky, tranquil moods. I found myself wanting to slow the water down for that beautiful silky effect. I like to use shutter speeds around 1 second for just the right mix of ‘silky’ and ‘texture’ in my water. But shooting at my lowest ISO at F16 (my smallest aperture) my shutter speeds were still around 1/30 of a second in midday light. I normally use my trusty 5 stop Singh-Ray filter to reduce light and allow me to shoot at slow shutter speeds. But what happens if you forget your filter and still want to create silky water? Try multiple exposure.
First, check to see if your camera has multiple exposure. Most newer cameras have multiple exposure. Next, set up on a tripod for your shot. You have to make sure there is no movement in the scene other than the flowing water. Finally, set your multiple exposure for 2-3 frames, and take the shots. The camera will automatically figure our the exposure for you. Since the water is moving, but the landscape is still, each frame renders the moving water slightly differently and merges all the frames into one. The end result is water that looks similar to being photographed at a very slow shutter speed even though you are shooting at much fast speeds. The image at top was photographed using 3 shots in multiple exposure mode.