Professional sports shooters do this almost instinctively by panning with the action using a slower shutter speed. Take a look in almost any auto magazine like “Car & Driver” and you’ll see what I mean. The cars will be in perfect focus while the background is all a blur suggesting speed, movement or motion.
So how do we capture this feeling of motion with a stationary camera and a moving subject like water? The answer is a little counter-intuitive for most but becomes second nature once you understand the technique. To capture that sense of movement in a landscape image you need to slow down your shutter speed and let the subject blur as it moves through the scene. Just the opposite of what the sports shooter do when panning.
To get you started with this technique using your Canon G9/G10/G11 you’ll need to enable the built in 3-stop ND filter:
- Press the Function/Set button to get to the Function menu.
- Use the Up arrow or Down arrow to highlight the ND icon.
- Use the Right or Left arrow to select ND (ND Filter On).
- Press the Function/Set button again to exit the menu.
Once that’s done you’re ready to shoot but here are a few tips to help you get the most out of this type of shot.
- Set your G9/G10/G11 on Manual (M) mode. You’ll need a shutter speed of at least 1/4 second to create the sense of motion in the water. The longer the shutter speed the better the shot will look.
- Use a tripod to eliminate camera shake when using the built in ND filter.
- Use a Canon RS60-E3 remote cable release with the PowerShot G9/G10/G11 or the Self-Timer to activate the shutter and eliminate even more camera shake.
- Always use a circular polarizer to eliminate glare in the water and to add color depth to your images. My previous post explains how to “trick out” your G9/G10/G11 for landscape shooting.
- Experiment with your compositions. Adding a stationary object like a rock in the middle of the river helps convey that sense of motion. Have some fun by trying a diagonal composition.