A lot of people asked me, how I photograph streams and rivers, so that water gets that “Milky” look, and the sky, with clouds stretched across the sky.
My Gear, I use myself:
1. ND filter, which darkens the scene for several f stops; consequently causing, that we need to have the shutter open for several seconds, sometimes minutes to get proper exposure.
I use one, which darkens the scene for 10 stops. More at this link:
2. Next is a good and stable tripod, which will prevent even the smallest vibrations; that will cause an unsharp photo.
3. And finally, a cable remote shutter release; that has, the ability to lock the shutter and can leave it open more than 30 seconds in the BULB mode of your camera, if necessary.
– There are wireless one and better, but I don't need it :)
Taking the photos:
4. When you get to the location choose the composition, In your viewfinder or live preview, Set the depth of field as desired and meter the scene, as you would take a picture without the filter. You must remember, what shutter speed you got, because it is a vital peace of information to calculate the actual shutter speed, later when the ND filter is attached.
– In the settings of your camera, you can turn off “long exposure NR” (.) ,so you will not need to wait double the time of your exposure for the photo to show on the back of your camera, if this feature is turned on.
5. Then press the shutter button halfway, and camera focuses the scene, then we switch (usually on the lens) the button for auto or manual focus from A to M (-), so that later, when we take the photo, camera doesn't try to focus again.
6. Then we place ND filter on the lens and if necessary cover the viewfinder, so that light doesn't leak inside the camera and consequently ruins the photo.
7. Then calculate the actual time, how long we need to have shutter open according to the metering, we conducted earlier.
-Example: if your metering without the filter showed you shutter speed of 1/15 of the second, it is necessary to prolong the exposure (in my case 10 stops) so that the actual time is 10 stops – slower and it is around 67 seconds.
For faster calculation you can use tables, which can be found on the Internet, or you can install special apps on your mobile phone. I use ND FILTER CALC for andrioid.
8. Then we turn the shutter speed button on your camera so long that it comes to BULB mode (very important!).
9. Press the remote trigger and lock it in pressed position.
10. With a stopwatch measure the time for how long shutter must stay, opened, and hope, that your photo will come out fine. :)
11. Once the time has expired, unlock the shutter and take a look at the result.