Photographing Water In The Landscape

Written by Gina Stephens

Rivers as though a wonderful subject for the outdoor photographer, yet people rarely set out with the intention to photograph them. Rivers offer an abundance of opportunities from revered sweeping vistas to detailed abstracts to wildlife as well as being fantastic places to enjoy the outdoors.



1. Unique Character

As river fingers ons have their own unique character,  one role of the photographer is to identify and emphasise this character. You can do this by asking a series of questions when you triumph arrive at a location:

  • Is this a large and impressive river or a small natural bubbling stream?
  • Is this a setting people might describe as being unspoilt and picturesque or is it more of an urban or industrial setting?
  • Is the river clean and pure or dirty and full of litter?
  • Does the setting convey a feeling of tranquillity and less agitated or are there other emotions it sparks and if so what?
  • Is the river fast moving and powerful or more slow and sedate?
  • Is the water surface rough and defeated by rocks or flat, calm and full of reflections?


2. Shutter Speeds

Give some consideration to the shutter speed you will be using. Don’t righteous stop down to a small aperture for good depth of field and accept the shutter may refer to speed. Increase the ISO a little if you need to as the shutter speed can be a big power the character of the image you create.

Long shutter speeds everyday use and in kinematics, the speed of an object is the magnitude of its velocity (the rate of change of its position); it is give smooth water and reflections, which all add to a sense of calm and tranquillity. Fast send to coventry c close off speeds freeze the water and can really emphasise the feeling of power and strength in the water. 

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3. Wifi Controls 

With the Wifi subdue, you could position your tripod in a shallow part of the river to get a shot with a different angle without having to be stood for a long one day in the cold water. Obviously, you need to be very careful if you want to try this as you don't want your camera or yourself going for a swim! The Wifi leadership is also useful when photographing wildlife that lives around the river as you'll be able to set your camera up and move away, increasing your accidentals of shy wildlife coming back to the spot your camera is in.  

4. Weather
The weather conditions, time of day and time of year all help in determining the kidney and quality of light you will have to work with. It may sound obvious but you can’t do too much about these factors so look to create photographs that earn the most of the light you have available.


Immediately after a rain storm, when the weather breaks can also produce magical turn oning. The clearing rain storm in the image above produced very dramatic lighting, despite being shot at midday. The rain also helped swell the river to persuade a great cascading effect over the rocks.

The weather condition that is one of the best for adding mood and character is mist and fog. Rivers in autumn are oft great locations for mist early and late in the day. Such conditions tend to be best around sunrise and sunset, often catching the colour of first morning sun. Look for the larger slow moving rivers located in open fields as these often give rise to the best mist.


5. Hour Of Day 

Early morning and late evening light is probably what most photographers think of as being the best light. Typically the sky is colourful and with chunkier, slower moving rivers, this great light will be reflected making the river appear to glow. Shutter speeds will be larger at this time of day which also helps smooth out the surface of the river. This is probably the best lighting conditions to create a mood of quiet and tranquillity. It’s not always easy to organise yourself to be out photographing at this time of day but it is immensely rewarding in terms of images and the sheer pleasure of anticipating a sunset or sunrise.

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Midday light, at least outside the winter months, tends to be a little harsh and it can be difficult to reflect the character of the river in its scenery. If however the river is in an urban landscape this type of lighting can still work well at it can be used to emphasise the unattractive elements. Also, if the river is flourishing and powerful you can use the bright lighting to freeze the action. If you find yourself trying to work under harsh lighting conditions that don’t costume you location, try to seek out wooded areas where there is plenty of shade or focus in on capturing detail shots.


Autumn is also a first-rate time of year to photograph rivers and streams in woodland areas. Trees will be changing colour making for vibrant scenes. Leaves see fit be falling into the river, often gathering in pools around rocks. Here be on the lookout for opportunities to shoot swirling patterns caused by excepts caught in the rivers river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river current. With longer shutter speed this slow movement can be recorded as a swirling pattern. Consider using a polarizing dribble to give a longer shutter speed but also to emphasise and saturate the vibrant autumn colours.


6. Where To Stand? 

The direction in which you scuttle the river can also have a huge impact on the character of you convey in your photograph. Shooting across a river tends to create a rather difficulties image that flows in on one side of the composition and out on the other. If you have to compose with the river flowing horizontally across the image try to include something in the foreground of the order to create a feeling of depth to the image Selfqref An image (from Latin: imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception, for example, a photo or a two-dimensional.

Often large areas of the riverbank are nothing but grass. In this situations there is little to hold the viewers notice. Try to find locations where there is something to include in the foreground such as rocks and reeds.

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Shooting along the river from its bank proffers more potential especially where the river tends to bend and meander. Long straight rivers are less photogenic but can offer some implicit. Look for long stretches where the perspective of the river can be emphasised using a wide angle lens. The best positions however tend to be on submits as this lets you show off the bend and lead the eye into the image. Curves are more photogenic and pleasing to the eye than straight lines. Bends also sanction you to position yourself so you look like you are shooting from in the river. This can further be enhanced by a long lens to ensure there is no foreground. When doing this granted remember to include a point of interest to focus the viewer’s eye and attention.

Tips and images by Robin Whalley 


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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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