Yes, You Can Shoot The Shimmering Water
I’ve never been a tripod sort of guy. Yes, there are many good reasons for using one, especially in low light, in darkness and when using long exposure times. But I have to admit, for a bloke who does a fair amount of low-light shooting, I haven’t felt a pressing need for one.
The only time I’ve come close to acknowledging it would be handy to have a tripod was on New Year’s Eve a few months ago. There were thousands of families (some official estimates put the figure at more than 100,000 people) on both banks of the Yarra to watch the fireworks, a great Melbourne tradition.
Complete darkness only cloaked the city at about 9.30, because December is a summer month for us topsy-turvy Australians. And shortly after, I walked down past the river bank to see what the crowds were like. That’s when I noticed the lights reflected in the rippling surface of the river. I took a couple of shots, but they weren’t great.
I was about to move on when a boat went slowly up the river towards the city centre. Of course, its wake created more movement across the surface and that started me thinking. Yes, I could find a handy post or railing and steady the camera to get the shot I wanted. Or I could go the other way instead ....
I could embrace the shimmering river and set a slower shutter speed to emphasise the movement and colour across the water. The results are fairly interesting, because the red and gold patterns look like spiral spangles. Just goes to show – never be afraid to experiment or to think outside the square.
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