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50 Ways to Shoot Water with ICM

Text and Photos by Morag Paterson

Water is by far my favourite subject matter for photography, in all its many guises, whether that be a tiny stream, an impressive lake, the mighty oceans, clouds, waterfalls, ice or steam.

There are also possibilities for shooting  water right in your house, and I’m including a couple of examples here for those of you who live far away from water or are housebound for any reason.

I’ve tried to describe what each photo is of, as well as what the settings were so you can try similar ideas if you are inspired, and I’m happy to answer questions on any of the subjects or techniques if anyone would like to know more. Simply tag me in a forum post with a screenshot of the image and I’ll  get back to you as soon as I can.

This image is a small piece of water foam on a forest river in Scotland.  I’ve underexposed the water behind and used a mixture of my own movement and the waters movement to achieve this photograph which has an other worldly feel.

Canon EOS 5d Mark III
70-200mm lens
0.8s f/32 ISO 100mm

Ode to Pluto

Watch this immersive video that explores the energy and movement of water.

The dog beach at dawn. Whenever I have to do an early station drop-off  I use it as an excuse to indulge in the early pre dawn light at the beach.  This is of the shore, water and sky and I used a horizontal motion with a slight wave in it, to reflect the waves that were coming towards the shore.

Olympus EM1 Mark III
12-100mm lens
0.6s f/9 ISO 200

This image always reminds me of a cave painting.  I took it on the Isle of Arran in a place called Glen Sannox.  The colour comes from the rocks in the water and the texture is a combination of their surfaces and the water tension.

Canon 1ds Mark III
50mm macro lens
1/4s f/16 ISO 50

A wild and stormy sea off the south coast of Iceland, shot from a safe distance using a telephoto lens, my movements exaggerate the wildness of the water.

Canon EOS 5d Mark III
100-400mm lens
0.4s f/36 ISO 100

A beautiful dawn on the famous “iceberg beach” in Iceland, a rare treat to get such a warm sunrise and the ability to blend the fiery sky in with the freezing waters, using a soft side to side sweeping motion.

Canon 5D Mark III
100-400mm lens
0.5s f/4.5 ISO 100

This was shot on a tiny beach stream on the Faroe Islands. Another take on working with water highlights combined with under exposure. Taking images like this really feels like random sketching.

Canon 5D mark III
100m macro
0.3s f/32 ISO 100

Using light and white water to create texture and movement. Another shot on a stormy day in Liguria, at the famous Cinque Terre villages. This was in the middle of the day in soft November light,  I always watch the water intently when working with this type of shot and use a telephoto lens to focus in on the areas where the light is at its best.  Generally the best spot is fairly fluid and rapidly changes so you have to be on your toes. If I remember rightly, I got a good drenching from a wave on this shoot and had to go and find new socks and plastic bags for my shoes for the rest of the day.

Canon 5d mark III
1/8s f/32 ISO 100

This image is another sea photograph that attempts creates the illusion of land from a wave, this time using very stormy weather to achieve a wild Turneresque feel.

Canon 5D mark III
100-400mm lens
1.0s f/5.6 ISO 100

There are plenty of opportunities to create interesting impressionist sea pictures even without the startling colours of dawn and dusk. This image makes use of more subtle light, and has a soothing, wintry feel.

Canon 5d mark III
100-400mm lens
0.5s f/20 ISO 100

Sunrise at Alassio

Sit back and relax, watch silently or choose your favourite soothing music.

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