Water, water, everywhere… Part 2

Water is wonderful stuff.  We would, after all, not be able to survive without it.  It’s also great stuff for photography.  How it looks in photographs depends on its energy; still water gives reflections, fast moving water a blur, water’s impact with surfaces gives streaks.  You can use these different effects, and its refraction of light, in your photography.

"Pousada pool" by Derek Gale

This image, of a cool pool of water at a Portugese pousada, is a repeating pattern of large sunlight ripples broken up by smaller ones.  It’s then divided by the reflection of the building in the right hand side.

"The house of the birds" by Derek Gale

Here the water is flowing, but quite slowly, into a small fountain pool.  You can see where the surface tension has pulled the water slightly under the lip of the chute, because the water’s energy is not enough to immediately overcome it.  The long exposure (ca. 0.5 sec) has given a lovely mistiness to the pool’s surface.

"Tomar sluice" by Derek Gale

The water in this image is rolling over a sluice.  It’s accelerating so there’s more blur at the bottom of the image compared to the top.  The energy where it impacts the sluice causes a mass of small droplets each of which reflects a lot of light, so the water goes white.

"Bom Jesus fountain" by Derek Gale

Back to a fountain, but this time one with much more energy.  The falling water gives streaks and a mass of turbulence when it hits the rocks and pool at the bottom.  I love the way some water bounces off in a series of droplets giving a “dotted line” effect.  You can see them getting closer together as they slow down at the top of the parabolic path.

"Convento do Christo" by Derek Gale

This final image is of water on another fountain.  Small drops were falling about a metre on to a stone surface and then explosively bouncing off in every direction.  This gave wonderful highlight streaks.  Even with a shutter speed of 1/200th of a second the streaks are quite long, showing just how fast the drops were going.

Water’s great.  Get out there and get wet!

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