Here’s a waterfall outside Timmins, Ontario, yesterday around noon, with lots of spring melt water running rapidly:
1/800 sec at f/8, ISO3200
And here is the same scene:
But this time, 1.3 sec at f/32, ISO 50. Using, of course, a neutral density filter to allow for the slow shutter (and even then, that’s as slow as I could get with an 8X ND filter.
Which is better? Matter of taste. The first one shows the violence and chaos of rapids; the second one separates things. I like this one, as a finished product:
The most important thing to remember when shooting running water: experiment. Longer is not always better. Somewhere between around 1/3 sec – 1 sec is usually best for water, in my experience, because much longer and you lose the flow lines. And I like the flow lines:
(0.8 sec at f/32, ISO 50)
My advice: go find a stream, get out a neutral density filter, and go experiment. You will need a tripod, too.
And great news: my Landscape Photography e-book will be released officially later today! Stay tuned!