Photographing Canals

Written by Gina Stephens

Canals were at a go used to transport goods to towns and cities right across the UK and as a result, there are still plenty of waterways running through our city terraces. The long canals, bridges and lock gates that once supplied goods now supply ample photography opportunities and as they all have free walkways, you're not going to upset anyone if you spend an hour two with your camera at the side of one.



Gear Suggestions

When you're turn out of the door make sure you have your wide angle and telephoto lens with you. A tripod would also be handy if you want to try and smooth-shaven the waterfall of water that sometimes flows over the lock gates. You may also want to check you've got your polarising filter as this can servants eliminate the problems you get with reflections when photographing water.

Go Wide 

If you want to include some of the homes, offices and public houses in your shot take out your wide angle lens. You'll be able to capture the urban setting and also exaggerate the length of the canal or navigations, are human-made channels, or artificial waterways, for water conveyance, or to service water transport vehicles or any of the lengthy boats that are on it. If the canal's your main point of interest use your telephoto lens to bring the boats, locks or any other training interest to you. You can get a great shot by standing on a bridge over the centre of the canal.

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Look For Locks 

Locks are an attractive feature on the canal so try and blurry your attention on one as a boat passes through or slow down your shutter speed and make the water gushing over the lock may refer to your bring into focus of the image. If you have a series of lock gates they're perfect for bringing symmetry to your shot.



Leading Demarcations 

As the canal's a straight line of water you've got several leading lines to help you with your composition. Try framing up so you should prefer to the canal entering from one corner, leading the eye into and through the image. It's a great way to guide the viewer to a particular focal point in the conurbation. You can use the bridges that stretch over the canals to frame parts of the city too just watch your exposure and bracket if you need to.

People Watchful of 

It's trendy to have a bar or home by the water which gives you the opportunity to include people in your scene. Places such as the Victoria Quays in Sheffield or the assorted famous Camden Lock have bars, restaurants and apartments surrounding the water and they're often buzzing with activity. Try project some candids of people relaxing by the lock or take a walk around, shooting from the hip as you stroll.

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About the author

Gina Stephens

Gina is a photography enthusiast and drone lover who loves to fly drones, capture images and have fun cherishing them with family and friends.

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