Photo of the Week: Week 14

This week’s photo is once again a little late due to the computer issues from last week, but I think that things are finally getting back to fully functional status and I’m slowly getting caught up.

I shot this image just over a week ago out in Kananaskis Country at the Canoe Meadows area. While I’ve shot here a couple of times before and usually had good results, I wanted to try something different than what I’d done before here. I spent quite a bit of time just walking up and down the river bank studying the water and the different rapids without shooting anything before I decided on an idea to try. I would typically shoot scenes like this with flowing water using longer shutter speeds to smooth out the motion of the water and then contrast that against some sort of static object (ice, rock, branch, etc.) in the image. This time however, I decided to try the opposite, and go with a fast enough shutter speed to stop the motion of the water completely. I was looking at the rapids and the way the water was splashing up and down and thought there could be some interesting images there if I could capture it properly.

I knew that I wanted to try and get the splashing water against a dark background, so I used a polarizer to cut the reflections and darken the water. Because of the moving waves and splashes, the camera’s meter was having a really hard time correctly exposing the scene so I just went to manual mode and locked in an exposure that gave me good detail in the brightest parts of the water. Since I needed such a fast shutter speed (1/1000th) to stop the motion of the water, I had to shoot my lens as wide open as it would go (f/5.6 on my 70 – 300), and then push the ISO up to 1000.

The biggest challenge was getting focus on the waves and splashes as they went by because the water was moving so quickly, and because I was shooting with such shallow depth of field. I basically had to just sort of guess and anticipate where the action was going to happen and then do my best to pre focus on that spot. After that it was just a matter of firing off a LOT of frames to try and get something interesting.

While it was a challenging shot to make, I really enjoyed the process and had a lot of fun doing it. I can’t wait to try this technique again soon!

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