How to Photograph Moving Water


Moving water, a waterfall. The Wissahickon Creek at the end of its' run.
Moving water, a waterfall. The Wissahickon Creek at the end of its’ run. Photo by Donna L. Long.

Photographing moving water can be tricky. Sometimes, I look at photographs of silky-looking waterfalls, and I want to take a picture like that. Or I want to catch the blurriness of a fast moving stream. Or the smooth as glass look of a lazy, winding river.

I share this article by Jennifer Wu that covers the techniques of photographing moving water. Water appears as  slow and gauzy to a fast-moving blur.

Learn How to Photograph Moving Water

There are techniques for getting the look you want. It all boils down to shutter speed. Even my basic point-and-shoot has different shutter settings.

Or you can use the programmed settings on the camera. I am sure there is an ‘action’ setting for taking photos of fast moving objects. Sometimes the action setting is depicted as a person running.

And there is usually a burst setting. The ‘burst setting taking photographs in quick, consecutive bursts.

  • Faster shutter speeds catch a moving object in mid-action.
  • Slower shutter speeds create a flowing, blurry effect.


Moving Water Nature Journal Prompt

Start by photographing waterways in your local area. Vernal pools, streams, springs, rivers, and lakes are all good subjects. After photographing the water, you can create a map in your nature journal of all the places you photographed. Your photos can illustrate the map.

Read the Article

The spring thaw is upon us. Winter frozen water quickens its’ flow and moves again. I hope these hints and tips are useful for nature journaling prompts.

Read Jennifer Wu’s excellent article by following the links below.

Text and photos © Jennifer Wu Photographing water at varying shutter speeds produces different looks, from a silky effect to frozen detail. When photographing the ocean surf, waterfalls, streams or any moving water, I often bracket the shutter speeds to create a variety of results. In the vertical waterfall image in Iceland, above, the […]

via Photographing Water in Motion by Jennifer Wu — NANPA | North American Nature Photography Association

If you have tips and hints you would like to share, on photographing moving water, tell me in the comments below.

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